blockbooking.jpgBack in the days of a vertically integrated Hollywood – in which a studio like Paramount would own not just the tools and means of production and distribution, but also enough theaters in enough major cities to ensure that any film could get national play – the studios used a practice called "block booking" to tie independent producers and theater owners in a bind. The studios distributed prints in packages, and in order for an a small-town, locally run picture house to rent a print of a sure-fire hit like Swing Time, for instance, RKO would force them to take (and screen) several films of lesser-quality at the same time. The local theater owners would then usually lose money on the B-films in the package, even as Fred and Ginger were packing them in. Under this system, independent filmmakers couldn't wedge their products into any theater on their own, so they brokered deals wiith the studios, who in turn would use high-quality independent productions to lob off blocks of their own low-budget crap.
categories Movies, Cinematical