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The Hollywood Economist 2.0: The Hidden Financial Reality Behind the Movies Paperback – January 24, 2012


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The Hollywood Economist 2.0: The Hidden Financial Reality Behind the Movies + The Business of Media Distribution: Monetizing Film, TV and Video Content in an Online World + Entertainment Industry Economics: A Guide for Financial Analysis
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Melville House; Reprint edition (January 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612190502
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612190501
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for The Hollywood Economist

"The answer to [the] mysteries of modern-day film financing can be found in The Hollywood Economist, Edward Jay Epstein's latest foray into the seamy underbelly of Hollywood spreadsheets."
The Wall Street Journal

"[A] terrific job.... There's fun to be had in knowing specifics, and Epstein
 offers plenty."
Entertainment Weekly
 
Praise for Edward Jay Epstein's The Big Picture


"A rich adventure that will change the way you look at movies."
BusinessWeek

"Edward Jay Epstein is here to tell us that when it comes to Hollywood these days, we've got it all wrong."
The Washington Post Book World

"One of the virtues of The Big Picture is Mr. Epstein's astonishing access to numbers that movie studios go to great lengths to keep secret....A groundbreaking work that explains the inner workings of the game."
The Wall Street Journal

"Hollywood has needed one of these for a long time--a user's manuel. This one could not be more complete....[Grade] A."
—Entertainment Weekly

“In his adroit charting of the confidence flow between the various entities and eras Mr. Epstein kicks up a lot of little surprises. . . Edward Jay Epstein is quite good.”
—Larry McMurtry, The New York Review of Books

“. . . [A] valuable education for those seeking to enter and under- stand the entertainment industry. . . . Factually impressive.”
—Joel Hirschhorn, Variety

About the Author

Edward Jay Epstein, who wrote the "Hollywood Economist" column for Slate, is the author of The Big Picture: Money and Power in Hollywood, as well as many other books. He has written for the Wall Street JournalVanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine, and The New Yorker, and he lives in New York City. His website is edwardjayepstein.com

More About the Author

I studied government at Cornell and Harvard, and received a Ph.D from Harvard in 1973. My master's thesis on the search for political truth ("Inquest: The Warren Commission and the Establishment of Truth" and my doctoral dissertation ("News From Nowhere") were both published as books. I taught political science at MIT and UCLA. I have now written 14 books. My website www.edwardjayepstein.com)

Customer Reviews

Well written and easy to read.
William A. Swenson
I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking to understand how the movie system works or has any interest in distributing a film.
MarsGirl
Movies rarely make money as a standalone entity and are purposely structured not to.
James East

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Duck on January 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
Quality of the writing resembles a series of blog posts, so some topics are repeated more than a few times. The chapters added for the second edition at the end of the book, mainly about streaming and downloadable movies, feels a bit rushed and the writing style in them feels a little different. Otherwise, it is a fine book for anybody interested in the business model of the movie making and how it evolved over the past couple of decades. The tone of the author is not critical or hectoring or full of adulation. I did not get the feeling that he was trying to make political points, for or against the studios. He just describes what he has learnt about this business over the years.

Government subsidies in many states and countries and the infamous tax loop hole in Germany are covered, as well as the risks studios take with expensive blockbusters and how much money they make through pay-TV, DVD sales and rentals. The book also explains how movie theaters earn a living -- and repeats it a couple of times in different chapters. It also explains the effect of the business model on the story lines used in movies and why formula movies dominate theatrical releases compared to TV shows, which are a lot more varied nowadays. How the studios react to new technology from VHS video to DVDs to streaming video are among the other covered topics. Some famous people in the business, such as studio executives, directors and actors are also briefly mentioned, but the book does not focus on their personalities or life stories.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Thad McIlroy on March 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
I bought the book thinking it would be a coherent account: it's not. It's an uneven collection of articles from different magazines and web sites published over several years. The "2.0" means there are some additional articles. There's no index, further limiting the book's value.

Epstein is a very good journalist and a good writer, so what is in the book is generally good.

The degree of detail available with specific examples of film financing deals is excellent.

So as long as you know what you're buying you won't be disappointed.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tim1965 on March 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
I am a very strong admirer of Epstein's "The Big Picture," and found his "The Hollywood Economist" strong -- but mostly because it contained most of what he'd already written in "The Big Picture." What I found weak in "The Hollywood Economist 2.0" is the lack of thoughtfulness. Epstein loads 2.0 with several pieces he's written for other publications (or his blog). Unfortunately, these often lack consistent tone of voice with his book chapters, making for an uneven reading experience. There is also a great deal of repetition in the added material, which means you get less for your money (and investment of reading time) than you might think.

Some of what Epstein has included in 2.0 is outright dated, even wrong: His discussion of Netflix is highly outdated (Netflx is stronger now than ever before due to VOD); his analysis of why HBO likes adult fare is terribly dated (in 2013, Epstein writes that HBO is devouring Hollywood's teen-oriented product voraciously); and he still doesn't really address the economics of 3D, or where that technology, pricing structure, and studio commitment is headed. But some of what he includes provides information that you just can't find elsewhere. His reporting on Hollywood is excellent, heads and shoulders above what you find in the "New York Times" or "Los Angeles Times" or "Associated Press" or, even, "Variety" or "The Hollywood Reporter". Epstein is not embedded with Hollywood, and it shows in his strong reporting.

One final note: This book STILL STILL STILL lacks an index! What the...??

With the dated information and repetitiveness, "The Hollywood Economist 2.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James East VINE VOICE on January 26, 2013
Format: Paperback
Review of Kindle edition of 2.0

As some have referred that the book is a compilation of previous articles/blog entries, one could agree but does not necessarily take away from the content. Continuity fails in a few places as the content repeats, but overall this quick read will provide one with `some' of the inside workings of Hollywood.

Many are familiar with the `3 Shell Game' where one attempts to find the pea. In this book one learns that in the movie business where illusion is front and center, the finance side has more illusion than the movie itself and is a '20 Shell Game'. Movies rarely make money as a standalone entity and are purposely structured not to. As the author documents, the finance structure of the movie itself is an illusion and is used as a veil to somewhat hid the fee structure of the key principals behind it.

Nevertheless content in the end will still be king, but as we move more and more to the digital world content may suffer. Suffer as fewer and fewer folks attend movies and content needs to appeal to many markets with simultaneous distribution. Will villains start to disappear as Communists, Nazis, and terrorists are now deemed off limits when 70% of your potential revenue is on a global scale? Time will tell, but in the meantime have fun at the movies.
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