Working Title Synthesis

Working Title is a British film production company. It was founded by Tim Bevan and Sarah Radycliffe in 1983. At the time, it was originally an independent production company similar to the other British production company Warp films . They released their first film My beautiful laundrette in 1986, in which they probably gained most of their funding from government grants, tax schemes or/and tax shelters. This film received around £650,000 budget, but Working Title weren t the only production company involved. It then made around $2,500,000 of gross profit, but not all of that would have gone to Working Title, but the fact that they were involved with other production companies such as MGM, will have made them more recognisable and respected by those involved in the film industry. 1992 was a big year for Working Title, as Sarah Radycliffe left the company and was replaced by Eric Fellner. As well as this, Polygram became Working Title s corporate backer, as part of this relationship Polygram provided funding for Working Title and helped them progress into a better established production company, and in return, Working Title made films for Polygram Filmed Entertainment. Working Title made a big brake through in 1994 when they produced the film Four Weddings and a Funeral. The film received a budget of £3,500,000, which was very high for Working Title, as they were only a small production company at the time; therefore this shows the advantages of working with other companies, conglomerates and sharing investments. Another advantage of sharing investments into a film is that if one company has to drop out from producing a film, then the film can continue to be developed. A disadvantage of shared investments is that the profit has to be shared out and everyone has to consider the ideas and proposals of everyone involved in the production process. The gross profit made from Four Weddings and a Funeral was around $52 million. This was a huge profit and due to this Working Title then had a lot more money to invest in future films, and due to it being so successful, a much larger audience want to go see Working Title productions. After this film was made, Working Title focused a lot more on the romantic comedy genre, and is now famous for making romantic comedies with all-star casts, such as Notting Hill and Love Actually. Then, in 1999, PolyGram merged with MCA Music Entertainment to form Universal Music Group. This then became part of Universal Studios who are now the parent company of the conglomerate between Universal studios and Working Title. This was a huge advantage for Working Title as it meant they could have much higher budgets for their films and involve major Hollywood actors. This could make the films more appealing to the target audiences. Notting Hill is a perfect example of this. It was made in 1999, following the merge between Universal and Working Title. The film had a budget of over $42 million; however a third of this went on securing the leading actress, Julia Roberts. This was a good investment, because if less well known actors and actresses were used then the film wouldn t have encouraged as much audience interest. The film went on to make a profit of over $116 million, whereas if the budget was lower, then Working Title wouldn t have been able to secure A-list actors like: Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts and therefore wouldn t have made such a high profit.

Bevan and Fellner then introduced Working Title 2, an independent sister company of Working Title, who were introduced so that a different type of filming could be used for their films, because they obviously still wanted the creative and artistic types of films that they made prior to their join with Universal Studios. Working Title 2 have produced well known films such as Billy Elliot; Shaun of the Dead and the Calcium kid, and have made a reasonable profit from these. During the following ten years, Working Title went through phases where they focused on making films for specific genres. For example, a lot of Working Title s recent films are adaptations of novels, from both pre-1900 s and from more recent films, such as Pride and Prejudice, Atonement, High fidelity and About a Boy. Another example is Working Title s most recent films, which, since 2006, have started to fall under the genre action. Hot Fuzz, Smokin Aces 1 and 2, and Green Zone, can all be classed as action films. As Working Title making a large variety of films, this suggests that they are trying to target a larger range of audiences. They have made films for both male and female, old and young. This is known as a Four Quadrant audience, as they do not specifically target 1 genre, but a range of genres, to get larger audiences in general. The large variety of films created by Working Title also means that they can target all 6 categories of audience. These categories are: A (doctors, businessmen etc); B (teachers etc); C1 (office supervisors, nurses etc); C2 (skilled workers, tradesmen etc); D (semi skilled and un-skilled workers) and E (unemployed people). By targeting such a large range of audiences by creating films of many different genres, Working Title attract more and a wider range of audiences and therefore create more profit for future investments. In 2010, Working Title made large progress in the film industry. The release of Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang was a giant step for the production company. This was important because it was the first Working Title film to be released in 3D. Although released as 3D film, the movie was not actually filmed with 3D cameras to get the effect but instead just added the effect in as a postproduction enhancement. Although this is the case, this step was important to Working Title as they are starting to create more 3D films in the future, and this will lead to filming with 3D cameras to get a larger audience. Also in this year, Working Title released the film Green Zone. A film based in the Iraq war in 2003. Due to the film being based on a real life situation, it can plant an idea into the audiences mind. This is known as the Hypodermic needle theory; a theory which suggests that a message can be sent from the film into the viewers mind, and in some cases, causes a panic amongst the audience. An example of this is the film 2012, in which the audience believed what happened in the film would happen in the year 2012. Green Zone is based in the Iraq war, and therefore plants an idea into the audiences mind relevant to what s happening in Iraq at this moment. This film received a budget of around $100,000,000. This shows how much Working Title has progressed since their break through with 4 weddings and a funeral. They can afford to invest more than 10 times the budget of 4 Weddings now into their new films, because of the large profits that they make from their previous films. Since Working Title started as a production company is 1983, they have made massive progression in the films they make, the audiences they attract, and the investments they can afford to pay. We can see this if we compare Green Zone , one of their most recent films to 4 Weddings and a funeral. There is a huge gulf in the size of the budget that the two films received. Green Zone

has a much larger budget than 4 weddings and a funeral and shows that Working Title are constantly getting bigger, and developing into a worldwide company. They have relied majorly on the conglomerate between them and Universal over the years, as this is where a large proportion of their money comes from. The help of Universal has resulted in better financing for films, and has resulted in larger profits for both the films and Working Title, helping them to develop into a bigger company. The progress in 3D technology is further evidence to show that Working Title are progressing as a company, and the fact that they are continuing to make films in 3D suggests that it was a success. Putting everything together suggests that being part of the conglomerate with Universal is a major advantage for Working Title, and will help them develop into a major production company in the future.

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