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Sophie Nutt Discuss the issues raised by media ownership in the production and exchange of media texts in your

chosen media area Media ownership plays a significant role in the production and exchange of a film, almost guaranteeing the success or failure of the film they are producing. Consequently, many issues can become apparent in the stages of production and exchange due to the media ownership. The studio that produces a film heavily influences the budget that is then used to make it, therefore influencing the quality of production that is used during the creation of the film. Kick-Ass, directed by Matthew Vaughn, had a small initial budget of $10,000,000 funded by himself and his production company Marv Films, Vaughn was forced to put up his own money for the production of KickAss due to the film repeatedly being turned down by other studios that were conscious of the violent and shocking source text. For example, Vaughn and his Marv Films had a deal with Sony Pictures, but the studio filmmaker couldn't see eye-too-eye on Kick-Ass on issues like the age of the protagonists; Sony, for instance, wanted Vaughn to turn the girl into an older teenager. Vaughn then decided to go the self-financing route. The production backstory of Kick-Ass is part of a trend of bigger-budgeted commercial movie opting to go outside the system as studios become more selective about that they make. This raised issues surrounding the film, as it was only just possible for the film to be produced under the quality that Matthew Vaughn wanted it to. However, Plan B Entertainment then began to show interest in Kick-Ass once pre-production for the film had started, following this, Brad Pitt, the face of Plan B Entertainment, added an additional $20,000,000 to the initial budget, creating a more substantial budget of $30,000,000. Even though the budget was increased due to the financial aid of Plan B Entertainment, it still wasnt enough for the film to afford Hollywood stars unless they work for the actors minimum, which was the case for the starring of Nicolas Cage in the film. Therefore, distributor of the film, Lionsgate, would not be able to use an all star cast as a marketing tool for the film and Kick-Ass would have to be a cast of relatively unknown, up and coming actors such as Aaron Johnson (the majority of the audience would know him from Nowhere Boy), Chloe Grace-Moretz and a significant amount of British actors playing Americans, reflecting Matthew Vaughn as a British director. Another issue raised due to the media ownership of Kick-Ass in production was that of not being able to afford effects such as CGI, unlike the majority of other films in the same genre. For such an action packed film with violent scenes, a lack of computer-generated imagery was a major issue raised in the production stage of the film, as Matthew Vaughn wanted these scenes to look realistic, which would have been difficult to achieve without the help of effects such as CGI. Another issue raised by media ownership in the exchange of Kick-Ass was the rating of the film, as it had a motion picture rating of being rated R for strong brutal violence throughout, pervasive language, sexual content, nudity and some drug use - some involving children. The usual comic book adaptation audience is a 12/12A; therefore the film would not have been accessible to a wide range of its potential audience. Consequently, Kick-Ass ended up as a cult film with a niche market.

Sophie Nutt However, even when a film is linked to well known companies during production, this will not reduce the number and intensity of issues raised during the stages of production and exchange. Joe Cornish, director and writer of Attack the Block, produced the film with Big Talk Productions (makers of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) and StudioCanal. Although these producers have a respectable reputation and produce films with the majority gaining a positive critical response, Cornish still encountered many issues during production of Attack the Block. The low budget of $13,000,000 consequently meant that Joe Cornish could not afford an experienced and celebrity cast for the film, leading him to invest in eleven first time child actors. There were three familiar faces that the director was able to star in the film: Jodie Whittaker, Luke Treadaway and Nick Frost. This would have attracted some audiences to the film, however starring eleven unknown first time actors as the main characters in the film was still a risky move made by Joe Cornish and raised several issues in the stages of production as they were not used to the surroundings and pressure they were placed in. The budget set by Big Talk Productions and StudioCanal also meant that the film had to restrict the money spent on technology used in the making of the film. As Cornish didnt have the money for 3D effects CGI creatures, he had to use practical, old school effects and a small amount of CG to remove detail rather than add it. This would have meant that the creatures would have been less realistic for the audience and inevitably, would gain a bad response from critics who were disappointed by the lack of effects. As well as this, the explosions, stunts and fight scenes would have also lacked realism, which is expected by a modern day audience. During the exchange of Attack the Block, issues concerning the film rating and controversy around the film emerged. These issues proved to impact the films economical success as the film had a total gross of $1,024,175, a serious loss for Joe Cornish. The majority of the people who went to see Attack the Block stressed that the film rating was an issue. Parents of children said things such as "This is a smart but violent alien invasion movie, with heavy gore." Another issue that emerged around the film's rating was that the language is strong, and drug-use is a major event in the characters' lives with some of the teens spending the whole movie intoxicated. To exaggerate this, critics also slated the fact that the kids hang out with a drug dealer who keeps a special room filled with pot-plants. However, some people said that there are positive messages sent through to kids who watch the film, about working together as a team. Therefore, there was a lot of controversy around the film's rating of a 15. Big production companies, distributors and big budgets do not prevent the raising of issues during production and exchange within the filmmaking process. Prometheus, directed by Ridley Scott, had a massive budget of $130,000,000 and was produced by Scott Free Productions and Brandywine Productions. With such a large budget, Ridley Scott was able to shoot the entire film using 3D footage and also had the ability to shoot the film via the use of IMAX cameras etc. exceeding the standards of technology used in the films previously mentioned, Kick-Ass and Attack the Block. However, this did not prevent the critics attacking the films standard of production with many slating the film due to its illogical progression of the film and quality of the script, with one critic stating One wonders if an hour was cut from the film, or whether the writer has a brain that

Sophie Nutt is functioning. Such negative criticism for a film like Prometheus was unexpected due to the high budget used to create the film and the technology used. During the exchange of the film, Scott said that he was filming Prometheus with both adult-oriented R ratings and more accessible PG-13 film ratings in mind, allowing the more adult content to be cut if necessary without harming the overall presentation. Scott said he had a responsibility to 20th Century Fox, distribution company for Prometheus, to be able to present a PG-13 cut of the film if the studio demanded, allowing it to be viewed by a wider potential audience. However, it was finally confirmed by 20th Century Fox to be a rated R film. Young sci-fi fans would then have been restricted from viewing the film due to this rating and would then have affected the films overall financial success. The film could have then been illegally downloaded or streamed through the internet by eager underage audiences and would have had a negative impact on the films success and raised issues in the stage of exchange in the film. However, Prometheus resulted in a massive $401,933,453 worldwide gross and received $51,050,101 on the opening weekend, proving the limit to not be such an impact on the film overall. There are issues raised concerning media ownership in the production and exchange in the film industry despite the size of the production companies or studios as it is inevitable for a producer to do so during the making of a film, due to the varying factors such as the budget, technology used, film rating or critical acclaim.