From the moment first experimental movies started to appear out of the laboratories of film inventors from all around the world, and organized production of movies began, film creators strived to expand their knowledge about the medium, explore new ways of storytelling, and to showcase audiences the wonders of the moving silver screen. With over 100 years of experience, film industry managed to reinvent itself countless times, changing its fashion (sub-genre booms that came and went away) seemingly almost every decade of their history. Here are the most important film eras form its inception to today.
With zero experience and incredibly simple gear for recording and reproducing film, filmmakers started testing this new storytelling medium by creating film reels that were focused on recording of news, documentaries and stage plays. First purposeful film narration started appearing in early 1900s with the release of George Melies "A Trip to the Moon" in 1905. These 5 minute long short stories became very popular, and soon film makers started to emulate Melies and his “trick” filmography.
With American filmmakers starting their organized production, silent movies became very popular in both US and Europe. Film started being longer, slightly edited, they used minimal sound effects and musical tracks (no dialogue yet), and emphasis on professional-made narrative drama, romances and comedies. One of the largest stars from this period of film industry was phenomenal Charlie Chaplin.
1927 was the year Hollywood reinvented itself with the release of Warner Bros bold experimentation with “The Jazz Singer”, first feature-length sound movie created and promoted in the US. This great change enabled theaters to grow, new movie genres to be made (horror and monster movies), bigger stars to appear on silver screen, and expensive productions to enable creation of movies that challenged the impossible. Five big Hollywood studios reigned supreme, with Europe and India creating their own large markets filled with talented filmmakers. However, arrival of WW2 changed everything.
As the Great Depression of 1930s enabled arrival of new audiences and new filmmakers, Word War 2 brought new kinds of movies. With better production values and available film technology, audiences started enjoying comedies, slapstick films, gangster films, with even few science fiction offerings. Stars like Abbott and Costello, Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire and others, Hollywood truly became worldwide phenomenon and trend-setter. During this period, Indian cinema changed significantly and become even more popular and innovative.
Spreading of television and its organized production capabilities enabled audiences to have more choice, forcing cinemas to fight against TV with film productions that clearly outclassed anything could be seen on the home screen. Movies in cinemas become more mature, avant-garde, foreign films started to appear in US cinemas, and distribution rights were in flux. With innovations from the directors such as Hitchcock, Curtis, Munroe, Bardot and Taylor, industry of film was elevated on the new level. Toward the end of this era, Hollywood explored mature themes that formed the MPAA association.
Rapid advances in film production techniques and early age of computer generated special effects revolutionized Hollywood, which can best be seen with the 1977 release of Star Wars. This first true Blockbuster showed Hollywood how to create true worldwide media events that could earn tremendous amounts of money. Movie storylines and plot complexity take a hit somewhat, but these movies still remained entertaining.
Today, films are created all over the world, with the major business centers being United States, India, Hong Kong, Canada, France, UK, Italy and Germany. In the year 2012, worldwide theatre box office managed to collect 34.7 billion dollars, with United States making biggest share – 10.8 billion.