Archive for the ‘Film & convergence’ Category

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I

A film I saw over break that I enjoyed was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I.  I saw this movie in the theater and I did not see many trailers for it during commercials.  But I watched it because I have been a fan for a while.  In the movie, there are no examples of technological, economic, or cultural convergence examples; however, the movie itself serves as an example in the three areas.  For technological convergence, this movie is a strong example and is also a popular one.  Originally Harry Potter began as a novel series but a few years later, they were made into films.  The convergence here is the novel (print) being adapted into a movie (digital media).  Since this series began as novels, it already had a fan base.  When the films were created, it became appealing to a wider range of people.  As a result, it became a cultural phenomenon that lead the series to become a pop icon.

Harry Potter was created in Britain but it is now known world wide, indicating the cultural convergence.  The films and novels have been translated in multiple languages to conform to other countries.  Additionally, the three main actors/actress have become pop icons from the films.  Just by looking at a picture of them, together or alone, they are instantly recognized and are typically associated with Harry Potter.

The company who produces the movies is Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., this group represents the economic convergence because they have many subsidiary companies.  Some of these subsidiary companies include Time Warner, Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment, New Line Cinema,, and DC Comics.  They also own half of The CW Television Network. Given that Warner Bros. Entertainment has many subsidiary companies they are able to utilize them to promote up and coming movies, which in this case is Harry Potter.  Through Interactive Media, Warner Bros. Entertainment was able to create Lego Harry Potter:  Years 1-4.  With the past couple of Harry Potter movies, The CW Television Network offered their viewers an exclusive clip from the movie.


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Blog #1–Black Swan

January 7, 2011 Leave a comment

During the break I saw the film Black Swan. It was terrifying, to say the least, but it did not fit the conventional horror movie mold. Labeled a psychological thriller, it definitely lived up to its name. It kept me continuously intrigued and scared, leaving me with new fears. It was also a box office hit, earning a new top record for production company, Fox Searchlight. This is partly due to Fox Searchlight’s valiant advertising effort. They employed technological convergence to promote Black Swan.

In keeping up with other companies, Fox Searchlight has Twitter and Facebook accounts, features in popular magazines, and a new iPhone application. The magazine, Entertainment Weekly, has published two January issues, one with James Franco and one with Natalie Portman. Both are actors in Fox Searchlight’s biggest hits of the year. If standing in the grocery checkout line, staring at James and Natalie isn’t enough of a draw to purchase the magazine and see the movies, Twitter also advertises it. Fox Searchlight’s Twitter account has posed a challenge to its’ followers—to buy both the James Franco and Natalie Portman editions. Twitter is also encouraging audiences to see Black Swan multiple times. One post, from December 20th says, “A lot of you guys are seeing Black Swan multiple times in theaters…and that’s totally awesome.” This type of informal post also serves as a thank you to devoted fans. Fans feel like they are appreciated by a Hollywood-powerhouse, such as Fox Searchlight.

Fox Searchlight’s interactive website gives exclusive information about its movies, as well as sneak previews. Each page has a different scene from Black Swan that plays immediately when opening the site. The website has hyperlinks that lead to soundtrack downloads and photo galleries from Black Swan. The book Converging Media suggests that the use of such hyperlinks make it easier for people to purchase products and view the information that they find most interesting (p. 11).

However, the iPhone app is what really pushed Fox Searchlight into technological success.  The application makes searching for movie times, tickets, and inside information about Fox Searchlight readily available at anytime. By downloading this app, the user gets the latest news as well as “special access to free screenings.” This transforms Fox searchlight from being an ordinary production company into an exclusive club. By using the most successful movie in its history as the face of new technology, Fox Searchlight is employing convergence to create a broader market and availability to audiences.


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A Charlie Brown Christmas

January 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Winter vacation, the snow was falling and the air was frigid on this winter day in Virginia, I sat with my grandma watching A Charlie Brown Christmas. I remember growing up watching this film with my Grandma. We always sat in the same couch with a big bowl of popcorn.  It was one of my most favorite memories from my childhood with my Grandma.  I was now reliving my memory fifteen years later, yet it had the same special feeling. It was Christmas season and I was ready for A Charlie Brown Christmas. Throughout the short film, Charlie Brown tries to discover the true meaning of Christmas.


An example of economic convergence has been used to create this film. The Coca-Cola Company, Dolly Madison, and Nabisco all sponsored the movie that was created by Warner Bros. Warner Bros decided to air the annual short film on CBS (1965-2000) and then move it to ABC and play twice a year (2001-present). A Charlie Brown’s Christmas is one of CBS’s most successful films. The short film would not have been possible without Coca-Cola’s support.


This film is also an example of technological convergence when it was made into a DVD in September 12, 2000 while it had previously been sold as VHS’s. The writer Charles M Schulz wrote comic strips titled Peanuts, which was used to create the film. Because this is an older film, the technology wasn’t the greatest and therefore many of the animations are choppy and there is poorly mixed sound. Despite the lack of technologically savvy equipment, or the convergence of many medias, the short film is still a Christmas classic.


The final type of convergence is cultural convergence. Charles Schulz was consulted by many people, including his director Bill Melendez to cut the Bible verse Linus uses to quote the real meaning of Christmas (Luke 2: 8-14) However Schulz was quick to reply, “If we don’t, who will”. Many of the movies made today do not explain or demonstrate the real meaning of Christmas unlike this one. Our culture has changed and formed away from this type of education. Many movies shy away from religious messages because the controversial comments they will receive in this culture.


Blog 1 The Next Three Days

One film that really stood out to me over break was The Next Three Days this action packed thriller had you on the edge of your seat in waiting in suspense. The Next Three Days was a very compelling film that had a star-studded cast. The film was directed by, Paul Haggis and it stared Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks who did a fabulous job in this remake. The original film was a French film that was produced in 2007 called“ Anything for Her”. The basic plot for the film is the character Lara Brennan “Banks” is accused of murdering her boss after an altercation at work. She is later found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. After multiple visits to prison character John Brennan “Crowe” her husband has had with her imprisonment becomes obsessed with the idea of breaking her out of jail.

The Next Three Days is an example of economic convergence because of the cost of its production and also the economic growth it has made after the opening weekend. The films production budget was $30 million, and the movie has since grossed over $20 million dollars domestically and over $35 million dollars worldwide. Its opening weekend earnings domestically was over $6 million dollars and ranked #5 in 2,564 theaters, and made around an estimated $2,552 per theater total gross was about 31%. This film has not yet been eligible for any awards but let me assure you when it is it will surely win some big time awards.

The Next Three Days is also an example of technological convergence because it will soon be available on multiple viewing options besides the big screen.  Since it is such a new movie when it is eligible it will be available on DVD, on direct TV, Comcast, video game consoles, blue ray, IPods, ITunes, and much more. Also its sound track will be most likely available to purchase in ITunes or as a CD in any music store. I also think it is an example of technological convergence because of the way it was filmed for example special effect’s that the film used and how it was produced for example camera’s used and more.

Lastly I feel that The Next Three Days is an example of cultural convergence because as I said before it was released not only domestically but also all over the world. It was also filmed here in the United States and in its closing scene was shot in South America so they had to use and adapt to the different culture. To be honest I don’t think this film did a great job of having cultural convergence.


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Blog #1

January 6, 2011 Leave a comment

One movie I saw over break was the Disney animated movie Tangled.  Thinking back on the movie I noticed several instances of technological and cultural convergance.  Technological convergance is the tendancy of different technological systems to evolve towards performing the same task.  Several of my different technological systems exposed me to this movie that I hadn’t heard of otherwise.  Before I even saw the movie, it was presented to me on several different technological medians mostly in the form of advertising.  I saw advertisements when I was watching tv and I also saw advertisements featured on my youtube homepage.  There was also an article on which is my internet homepage.  Even outside the internet and television I was still being exposed to this movie through other means of technology.  I read an article about the movie on my iphone on a newspaper application.  All of these different forms of technology were created with different purposes, but in this instance, they all performed the same task which was to expose me to a movie that I had never heard of before.  Tangled also had examples of cultural convergance.  Cultural convergance is the tendency of different cultures to change and become more similar to each other.  The movie tangled is a modern take on the classic German fairy tale from the 1800’s.  In the orignal fairy tale, the prince climbs up to Repunzal’s tower and immediately askes for her hand in marriage and she agrees.  Repunzal then accidently tells the witch of the prince and she is banished without her hair to eventually be found by her prince.  It is a serious tale on the importance of love and sacrifice.  The movie however, combines many of the common aspects of todays entertainment with the story and themes of the classic fairy tale.  The movie takes a much more humurous approach to the story, the prince for instance, doesn’t immediately propose to Repunzal and instead tries to flirt with her.  The movie is shown in CGI animation as apposed to the classic hand drawn animation.  The combination of the old and new styles of storytelling makes Tangled a perfect example of cultural convergance.

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Blog No. 1: Love and Other Drugs

January 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Listen, I’m not one for chick flicks. Honest. I don’t get googly-eyed over actors that People Magazine declares as being “most beautiful,” nor do I fall prey to sappy storylines. I swear. And so, it pains me to admit that I saw the film Love and Other Drugs over the break. It’s a dramedy about a pharmaceutical salesman who falls for a girl with early-onset Parkinson’s disease. Despite being comedic at times, it definitely pulled at the heart strings. (Kleenex recommended.) So, although I still maintain that I am anti-chick flicks, I will admit that this particular film is an exception.

Nevertheless, Love and Other Drugs exhibits the three main types of convergence: technological, economic, and cultural convergence. Technical convergence is demonstrated through the merging of various forms of media. For instance, the film is based on a book entitled Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman by Jamie Reidy. Additionally, the film’s soundtrack played a large role in not only the telling of the story, but also in eliciting powerful emotional reactions from the audience. (I heard a lot of sniffling.) The fusion of print, audio, and video mediums, make this film a prime example of technical convergence.

Second, economic convergence is demonstrated in Love and Other Drugs through the production aspect of it. For example, the film was produced by a number of studios such as, Regency Enterprises, New Regency, Stuber Pictures, and Bedford Falls. However, Regency Enterprises is the chief studio. In addition, the film was distributed by 20th Century Fox which has a television subdivision, Fox Television Studios. Love and Other Drugs is a joint venture between Regency Enterprises and Fox Television Studios.

Finally, this film demonstrates cultural convergence in that the story’s main theme is one that many people across all races, sexes, and cultures can relate to: love. Being that the film is about relationships, struggles, and hardships—things everyone encounters at some point in their lives—Love and Other Drugs gives people from various cultures and backgrounds something to identify with…at least it did for me.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

January 6, 2011 1 comment

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a comedy/romance about a young Canadian Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) who is a struggling musician in a band called Sex Bob-omb, who falling in love with a mysterious American named Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).  Only there is a catch, Scott must defeat Ramona’s seven “evil exes” in order to win Ramona’s heart.  Luckily Scott has very keen martial arts skills and can put up an epic reality defying battle.

This movie is an example of technological convergence because it is based on a comic book series. The series of six books was released by Bryan Lee O’Malley between August 2004 and July 2010. This is why there was an added sense of cartoon like effects in the film; an example of this is when Scott defeated an ex he got points, and coins. The Bluff Hampton Company was in charge of this and made this movie very original. A videogame entitled the same has been released also around the same time as the movie based off of the book series, which after seeing the movie I would not mind playing.

This film is also an example of economic convergence because it was not a very great success in revenue produced. During its opening week the movie only generated roughly 10 million dollars grossing at the beginning of August 2010 at around 30 million dollars. When considering the film’s production cost was an estimated 60 million dollars, it seems as though this movie was a failure in most people’s eyes.  I had no idea that this movie existed until my friend told me that he rented it.

This movie is also an example of cultural convergence because it was released in over 40 different countries. There are different themes in this movie which unite many different cultures; such as videogamers, rock and roll fans, and romantics.Another cultural fact is that it was recorded in Canada, but if you are from America watching this movie if the film never mentioned Canada you would have no idea that it was filmed in a different country. Ironically it shows how similar the USA and Canada really are.

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