Record #329

Record Type:
Letter & enclosures
Donald K. David, Assistant Dean, Harvard, Harvard University
Mr Will H. Hays, President, MPPDA
Reel 3
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Colleges - Harvard lectures

Business problems posed to Harvard business students, based upon the film industry, and specifically relating to Famous Players-Lasky (FPL) and Film Box Office (FBO). Includes details of pictures comprising a "block" in FPL's block-booking arrangements: their tentative release schedule, titles, directors and stars are given. Also included is an excellent analysis of FBO's business organization, relating to distribution and exhibition.


Block booking (30), Distribution (25), Double features (1), Exhibition (47), Newsreels (11), Short films (5), University courses in motion pictures (9) Show all keywords…


Long Description:

Harvard Business School -- using motion picture industry problems in their classes -- one on Paramount's decision to produce newsreels and shorts. The principal argument for doing so appears to be that their not doing so allows other producers access to Paramount theatres. There is a listing of a Paramount block. "Pricing practices in the distribution of motion pictures were unique. No definite price was quoted for a picture or a group of pictures. A minimum figure was named upon rare occasions, but for the most part the salesmen were given carte blanche with regard to pricing. While the amount pad for a group was the result of bargaining, the amount named for each title was adjusted separately." The other is on Film Box Office (FBO) reclassifying its productions -- FBO was the 5th or 6th biggest production/distribution company, but sold to no Class A houses, and sold all its feature films in a single block -- again, no definite price fixing, but flexible negotiation by salespeople. Anticipation that 60% of ultimate sales were made prior to production -- and this in a company that had no Class A houses, which would be more likely to be pre-sold. This suggests that an even higher proportion of A-features would be pre-sold by the majors, which confirms Mayer's statements at the Academy. Also, evidence of double bills among some of FBO's exhibitors, and of the practice in small towns of running program pictures during the week and features only at weekends.

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