The $11 Billion Year

From Sundance to the Oscars, an Inside Look at the Changing Hollywood System

by Anne Thompson

Product Details

  • On Sale:

    March 4, 2014
  • ISBN:

    9780062218018
  • Pages:

    320
  • This Edition:

    Hardcover

Book

"This chronicle of 2012 is a slice of what happened during a watershed year for the Hollywood movie industry. It's not the whole story, but it's a mosaic of what went on, and why, and of where things are heading."

What changed in one Hollywood year to produce a record-breaking box office after two years of decline? How can the Sundance Festival influence a film's fate, as it did for Beasts of the Southern Wild and Searching for Sugar Man, which both went all the way to the Oscars? Why did John Carter misfire and The Hunger Games succeed? How did maneuvers at festivals such as South by Southwest (SXSW), Cannes, Telluride, Toronto, and New York and at conventions such as CinemaCon and Comic-Con benefit Amour, Django Unchained, Moonrise Kingdom, Silver Linings Playbook, Les Misérables, The Life of Pi, The Avengers, Lincoln, and Argo? What jeopardized Zero Dark Thirty's launch? What role does gender bias still play in the industry? What are the ten things that changed the 2012 Oscar race?

When it comes to film, Anne Thompson, a seasoned reporter and critic, addresses these questions and more on her respected daily blog, Thompson on Hollywood. Each year, she observes the Hollywood machine at work: the indies at Sundance, the exhibitors' jockeying at CinemaCon, the international scene at Cannes, the summer tentpoles, the fall's "smart" films and festivals, the family-friendly and big films of the holiday season, and the glamour of the Oscars®. Inspired by William Goldman's classic book The Season, which examined the overall Broadway scene through a production-by-production analysis of one theatrical season, Thompson had long wanted to apply a similar lens to the movie business. When she chose 2012 as "the year" to track, she knew that box-office and DVD sales were declining, production costs were soaring, and the digital revolution was making big waves, but she had no idea that events would converge to bring radical structural movement, record-setting box-office revenues, and what she calls "sublime moviemaking."

Though impossible to mention all 670-plus films released in 2012, Thompson includes many in this book, while focusing on the nine Best Picture nominees and the personalities and powers behind them. Reflecting on the year, Thompson concludes, "The best movies get made because filmmakers, financiers, champions, and a great many gifted creative people stubbornly ignore the obstacles. The question going forward is how adaptive these people are, and how flexible is the industry itself?"

Author

Anne Thompson

Anne Thompson, who launched Indiewire's daily film blog Thompson On Hollywood for Variety in 2007, has covered the Hollywood beat for more than twenty-five years, writing for monthly, weekly, bi-weekly, and daily publications. For seven years she wrote the Risky Business column for the LA Weekly (and the Los Angeles Times Syndicate), followed by Filmmaker magazine and The Hollywood Reporter, where she also founded their first blog, Riskybiz, in 2005. Before that, she was West Coast Editor for Premiere, Empire, and Film Comment, and Senior Writer at Entertainment Weekly. She has also reported on film for the magazines Vanity Fair, More, Wired, Sight and Sound, Filmmaker, and New York, as well as for the newspapers the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the London Observer, and the Washington Post. Thompson currently hosts Sneak Previews at UCLA Extension, moderates and participates on industry panels, and does media interviews, especially at Oscar time, for such networks as MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN. Born and raised in Manhattan, she now lives in Los Angeles. The $11 Billion Year is her first book.

Reviews

Nobody reports on the movie business with greater savvy or a sharper eye than Anne Thompson. In this valuable book she explores an entire year’s worth of events, clarifying the Big Picture while revealing insider details along the way. What a juicy read! —Leonard Maltin, author of Leonard Maltin's 151 Best Movies You've Never Seen

Ace Hollywood analyst Anne Thompson not only knows where the bodies are buried-she digs them up for you! —Peter Rainer, author, Rainer on Film: Thirty Years of Film Writing in a Turbulent and Transformative Era

“$11 Billion Year” combines insight, intelligence, and irony. Whether she explains the growing importance of a film festival like Telluride, or dissects how a marketing strategy worked, she gives us “2012: A Movie Odyssey.” —Annette Insdorf, Director of Undergraduate Film Studies, Columbia University

The $11 Billion Year makes you feel like a Hollywood insider. No matter how much you think you know about the movie industry, you’ll learn more from Anne Thompson. She lives and breathes the business. —Nora Rawlinson, co-founder and editor Early World, former editor of Library Journal and editor-in-chief of Publishers Weekly

Anne Thompson knows Hollywood inside-out, and what’s more she knows pretty much all of the players—personally! $11 BILLION YEAR takes us on a first class journey to film festivals around the world and gives us the intimate scoop on the high level creative decisions and business decisions that shaped the year’s hits and misses. And as a bonus we spend a night with Anne at the Oscars! —Sid Ganis, producer and past president, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences

I loved it! The $11 Billion Year is both a wonderful read and an informative one. Not always the same. Anyone who is interested in movies, business, or American culture should read this book. You could make a movie about this book about making (and marketing) movies! —David Black, award-winning film & TV screenwriter and author of An Invisible Life and Like Father

Anne Thompson (her name is spelled correctly, and she has never suggested we are related) has for several years run one of the liveliest movie websites done with characteristic flair and aplomb. I am amazed by her cheerfulness, but I love hearing her give voice to it. —David Thomson, author of The Biographical Dictionary of Film and Moments that Made the Movies

No one rides the roller coaster that is Hollywood like Anne Thompson. One of the keenest observers of the industry, she can be counted on for intelligent and nuanced insights into a business in transition. The $11 Billion Year gives us a richly detailed cultural history as it is being made. —Cari Beauchamp, coauthor of Hollywood on the Riviera: The Inside Story of the Cannes Film Festival