| Research Topics | Why More Research is Needed | Patterns of Bias | Discrimination | Financing |
| The Numbers Game | Distribution | Antitrust | Racketeering | Political Activism | Litigation | Historical |
| Academy Awards | Miscellaneous | Bibliography | Become A Research Director | Books by John Cones |


The Motion Picture Industry Reform book's companion volume Politics, Movies and the Role of Government reveals that the U.S. antitrust laws and the operation of the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry are inextricably intertwined.

Antitrust History--What is the history of U.S. anti-trust law enforcement in the motion picture business? What were the Paramount Consent Decrees and how are they currently implemented, (i.e., what is left of the Paramount Consent Decrees)? Did the Paramount Consent Decrees actually do much harm to the major studio/distributors? Did the decrees achieve their goals? Provide an objective presentation of the arguments of the major studio/distributors and the independent film community with respect to current antitrust issues.

Justice Department Policy--Has the policy of the U.S. Justice Department toward enforcement of the federal antitrust laws in the motion picture industry been relaxed in the past few decades and why?

Reform: In 1986, the Reagan administration asked Congress to make the most significant reforms in antitrust law in decades. The Reagan proposals raised controversial issues relating to when and how the government should intervene in the marketplace. The administration's legislative package primarily sought to facilitate mergers and to reduce the penalties for certain economic practices that could cost violators millions under current law. What happened to this reform effort?

Monopoly or Oligopoly--Is it true that the American feature-film industry has shown a tendency toward monopoly, oligopoly or a shared monopoly throughout its history and if so, why? Would such activities be actionable under the present U.S. antitrust laws if they were vigorously enforced by the U.S. Justice Department?

Cartel--Do the activities of the MPAA companies constitute an illegal cartel?

Vertical Integration--What effect does vertical integration of the major studio/distributors have on the independent producers, distributors, exhibitors and movie-going audiences?

Theatre Ownership--What is the effect of the re-entry of the major studio/distributors into the field of motion picture exhibition on independent exhibitors? On independent distributors? On independent producers? How does such re-entry affect the movie-going public? How many theatres and/or screens or owned or partly owned by major studio/distributors?

Industry Inter-Relationships--What are the inter-relationships through common ownership of the motion picture studio, production company, distributor, video, cable and television entities? Create a chart to show such relationships.

Blockbooking--How can the distributor practice of block booking be prevented as between a distributor and a theatre chain that is either owned or controlled by that distributor? How does the so-called blockbuster strategy differ from block booking? Isn't it true that a form of block booking continues to be a common practice in the industry today?

Agency Packaging--Conduct a study of packaged deals--which movies were packaged? By what agencies? With what financial and creative result? Also, what percentages of MPAA releases are packaged deals? Which studios release the most packaged films each year? How many of such films are fully packaged as opposed to partly packaged? How do the packaged films perform at the box office? Does agency packaging violate antitrust laws?

Home Video--What are the existing ownership relationships between the various entities in the home video arena? For example, what film production entities, are affiliates with film distributors? Which distributors are associated with affiliate or subsidiary video manufacturing entities? Which of the manufacturers are affiliated with wholesale distributors and which wholesale distributors are affiliated with retail outlets?

Paul Newman v Universal: Actor Paul Newman sued Universal sometime in the late 70s (or early to mid-80s) relating to The Sting (1973) alleging violation of antitrust laws, but the court dismissed the suit saying a profit participant does not have standing to sue on antitrust issues. The U.S. Supreme Court in the summer of 1988 refused, on a technical question, to reconsider the 1985 lawsuit filed against Universal Studios and its parent, MCA Inc., by actor Paul Newman and director George Roy Hill. "However, the ruling does nothing to quash the allegation made in the suit that the major Hollywood studios are conspiring to deny profit participants in movies and TV shows their fair share from the sale of videocassettes . . . The crux of the matter is what Hollywood lawyers, agents and studio business affairs executives call 'the 20% rule.' It means that the studios, in dividing up each dollar received from home video (and laser video disc) sales and rentals, assigned an arbitrary share of 20% of the total as profits. Those profits are the amount later used to calculate how much will be paid to profit participants in a movie or TV program. That means if an actor or director or writer is to get 10% of the net profits, they are actually getting 10% of the 20%. It is one of those issues that frequently raises cries of 'creative accounting.'" Research for more details about this lawsuit. Obtain a copy of the complaint and decision in that case. Develop some detailed analysis of this litigation along with background information. Write an article regarding the issues involved for a law journal.

Universal Amusement Case--Federal Judge John Singleton issued a directed verdict of insufficient evidence against defendants Columbia, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., United Artists, Buena Vista, General Cinema, ABC Theaters (now Cineplex Odeon/Plitt), Interstate Theaters and Loews. They had been accused by Universal Amusement Company and its subsidiary, Entertainment Projects, of illegal product-splitting, unlawful clearances, monopolistic practices, limitation of prints and distributor-circuit collusion. The Houston- based theatre circuit had sought $1.9 million in damages. Find a copy of the court's decision. Develop an analysis of the issues involved.

Secret Exchanges of Information--Steven Bach reported in his book Final Cut that "black books" containing " . . . columns of figures earned by each picture released by each major company . . . were exchanged on a monthly courtesy basis by the several chief executive officers (of the major studio/distributors) and were privileged and confidential: bottom-line numbers, picture by picture, month by month, dollar by dollar." Does this practice continue today? Are these numbers significantly different from what appears from time to time in the trades or other articles about the movie industry? Are they different than the numbers reported to the IRS and the motion picture corporate stockholders? Does this secret exchange of information among competitors run afoul of the antitrust laws?

Distributor Rentals--What is the ratio of major studio/distributor rentals to box office gross receipts for any given year expressed in the form of a percentage? Does that ratio vary with respect to the films produced and released by the major studio/distributors as opposed to the ratio for films produced by independent producers but released by the major studio/distributors? If so, what is the difference in those ratios? How much money is involved on an annual basis? Assuming there is a difference, why would such ratio differ for studio productions as compared to independent productions? Are any anti-competitive practices involved?

Rentals Ratio--Conduct a narrowly-tailored study of the ratio as between box office gross and distributor rentals comparing studio produced films vs independently produced films (all of which were released by the major studio/distributors) for a given year. Again, duplicate this study for several years. Does such information suggest any anti-competitive behavior on the part of the major studio/distributors?

Seven Distributors Dismissed in Harkins Case: Seven film distributors were granted a summary motion for dismissal in an eight-year-old antitrust case in which Phoenix-based Harkins Amusement Enterprises sought $9 million in damages ($3 million trebled) from the distributors and three exhibitor defendants. Harkins alleged illegal product-splitting, blind bidding, illusory advances and guarantees, circuit-wide deals, block-booking, bid-rigging, moveovers, illegal clearances and shared monopoly. The Harkins case was one of eight antitrust suits combined in a multi-district litigation in Houston Federal Court, and then remanded to the individual jurisdictions in which each filing originated. Find a copy of the court's decision, analyze and write about the issues.

The Theatrical Squeeze--Conduct a study of the weekly Variety box office reports for a recent year, comparing the number of screens exhibiting independent releases as opposed to major studio/distributor releases. Compare and contrast the two. Come up with a range and an average expressed as percentages for the year. Duplicate this study for other years and note trends, if any. Are any antitrust law violations apparent from this information?

Agency Packaging--Develop a columnar screen credit list showing, producer, director, screenwriter and main actors for all of the movies released by the MPAA companies in a given year. Then determine and record in a column adjacent to those names which talent agencies represented each individual. The film packages would then be apparent and the percentage of film packages versus non-packaged releases for the year could be calculated. The study might also determine what percentage of such packages were so-called full packages, as opposed to partial packages. The study could be taken a step further by comparing each film's box office gross with its reported negative cost to develop some information about whether packaged films, as a rule, have a higher or lower ratio of box office gross to negative cost than the non-packaged films. The difficulty with such a study is that all of this information is not readily available and that which is available is not always reliable. Thus, it is difficult for anyone to say with authority just how much damage agency packages are causing. And, of course, the studios and the top agencies want to keep it that way. Does the practice of agency package violate the U.S. antitrust laws?

MPAA Support for Fox: "The Motion Picture Association of America has come to the defense of 20th Century Fox in the distributor's appeal of its block-booking conviction (in the Fall of 1988) . . . In a friend-of-the-court brief, the MPAA declared, 'A corporation should not be found in criminal contempt because of the alleged wilfulness of a single employee.' The brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals (in New York) further states, 'The narrow issue in this case is whether willfulness of an employee, whose alleged violations of a decree's demands (referring to the applicable Paramount consent decree) were continued and episodic, may be attributed to a company which concededly had achieved general compliance and which offered to prove the absence of a corporate willfulness through its compliance program.'" On appeal, the conviction was reportedly upheld but the fine was reduced to $100,000. Obtain copies of these court decisions, analyze them and write an article for the general public.

Antitrust Law Violations--Write a summary report on all of the activities or business practices the major studio/distributors have engaged in from time to time that have been ruled in violation of the U.S. antitrust laws. Limit the report to those activities that might still be occurring today in some disguised form. Trace the evolution of these same business practices as they are used today.

Exhibition--Who controls (owns and/or manages) the top ten U.S. theatrical distributors? How many theatres and screens does each firm control? To what extent do the major studio/distributors have ownership interests in such theatre chains? Does their ownership interest give them a competitive advantage over independent distributors that do not have similar interests in theatres?

Santa Cruz Case Moves Forward: The U.S. Supreme Court refused to stop a Santa Cruz, California movie theatre's federal antitrust lawsuit against two local competitors and several film distributors. The owners of a two-screen theatre in Santa Cruz (The Movie) sued United Artists Communications which operates five theatres in the city and the Nickelodeon, a four-screen theatre that primarily exhibits what are considered art films (UACI is now part of the cable giant Tele-Communications Inc.) The suit contends that UA and the Nickelodeon conspired to monopolize the showing of first-run movies in Santa Cruz and that various film distributors joined in the conspiracy. What has happened in this case? Trace the development of antitrust law in the movie industry. What are the trends?

Justice Department Report: In its "Report of the Department of Justice on the Legality of Customer Selection Under the Injunction in the Paramount Decrees Against Discrimination in Film Licensing", Justice Department attorneys Michael Boudin and Frederic Freilicher set forth the Department's views relating to permissible and impermissible film licensing practices. Obtain a copy of this report, analyze and write about it.

UK Review of Competition in Film: In early 1992, "The U.K. Office of Fair Trading (initiated) . . . an informal review of competition in the distribution and exhibition sectors of the (U.K.) film industry. The review will look at competition in general, as well as the effectiveness of a 1989 government order that barred distributors and exhibitors from entering into exclusivity deals for film packages . . . " Lord Reay, the U.K films minister said: "There have been complaints recently about distribution and exhibitor arrangements in this country acting to the detriment of U.K. production . . . ." Determine the result of this review and obtain a copy of any report generated and/or press reports regarding the final result of the review. Write an article or book about the monopoly practices of the U.S. major studio/distributors in Europe.

Edison Trust--Obtain a copy of the 1915 or so decision relating to the antitrust violations of the Edison Trust. Is it fair to characterize the early efforts by the Edison Trust to protect its patent rights in its movie equipment as illegitimate, and that only after several years of frustration in dealing with the so-called outlaw independent producers, that the Edison Trust resorted to extra-legal measures to enforce its rights?

Continuing Violations--Is it fair to say that the Hollywood control group has consistently violated U.S. antitrust law and continues to do so today?

| Research Topics | Why More Research is Needed | Patterns of Bias | Discrimination | Financing |
| The Numbers Game | Distribution | Antitrust | Racketeering | Political Activism | Litigation | Historical |
| Academy Awards | Miscellaneous | Bibliography | Become A Research Director | Books by John Cones |


The John Cones book series contains a considerable amount of evidence suggesting that the business practices of the major studio/distributors rise to the level of RICO violations.

Control of Relevant Market--Have any of the business practices of the major studio/distributors which amount to a pattern of racketeering been used to attempt to control a relevant market, thus creating an antitrust law violation in addition to the RICO violation?

Racketeering--Do any of the business practices of the major studio/distributors fall within the federal RICO definition of racketeering activity, (i.e. constitute bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud or extortion)?

Pattern--Do any of the business practices of the major studio/distributors constitute an illegal pattern of racketeering under the federal RICO statute?

Bribery--Do any of the business practices of the major studio/distributors involve gifts, offers or promises of anything of value made to any federal official with the intent of influencing any federal official or any official act, thus falling within the federal bribery statute?

Injury and Interstate Commerce--Have any plaintiff's (writers, directors, actors, producers, attorneys or any other person) been injured in their business or property by reason of a pattern of racketeering activity committed by a major studio/distributor enterprise that engages in or affects interstate commerce and that invests in or operates the organization with its ill-gotten funds?

Extortion--Do any of the business practices of the major studio/distributors involve a victim's reasonable fear, under the circumstances of losing property (including business accounts, franchises or unrealized profits) unless he or she complies with the major studio/distributor's (extortionist's) demands, thus falling within the federal extortion statute?

Mail or Wire Fraud--Do any of the business practices of the major studio/distributors involve a use of the mails or use of wire, radio or television communications to obtain money or property by a scheme or artifice to defraud, (i.e., violate a standard of moral uprightness, fundamental honesty, fair play and right dealing in the general and business life of members of society), thus coming within the RICO definitions of mail or wire fraud?

Claims--Have claims under RICO and Section 1 of the Sherman Act been successfully asserted by film industry plaintiffs? The Clayton Act? The FTC Act? Against film industry defendants and otherwise?

Proclivity for Wrongdoing--Is the judgment of three people who have proclaimed over the years that the Hollywood establishment has a proclivity for wrongdoing (a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, a judge that administered the Paramount Consent Decrees and a litigating attorney) a fair overall assessment of the business practices and behavior of the Hollywood control group? [see Politics, Movies and the Role of Government, along with Hollywood Corruption]

| Research Topics | Why More Research is Needed | Patterns of Bias | Discrimination | Financing |
| The Numbers Game | Distribution | Antitrust | Racketeering | Political Activism | Litigation | Historical |
| Academy Awards | Miscellaneous | Bibliography | Become A Research Director | Books by John Cones |

Political Activism

One of the major areas that may lead to remedial action with respect to the activities of the Hollywood-based major studio/distributors is political activism of one sort or another.

Legislation--Should the U.S. Congress consider specific legislation, (e.g., "The Motion Picture Industry Fair Practices Act") which would be designed to prohibit certain unfair, unethical, predatory, anti-competitive and/or illegal business practices of motion picture distributors and others in this industry?

Public Policy--Should federal and state policies encourage or discourage a broader participation of interest groups in the production, distribution and exhibition of U.S. made motion pictures?

Entertainment or Communications--Is it fair to characterize the U.S. motion picture business as an entertainment industry or a communications industry, or should it be considered both? Does the answer to the former question have any implications with respect to governmental policies which affect the motion picture business, (e.g., governmental policy relating to such issues as vertical integration, block booking, blind bidding, settlement transactions, etc.)?

Tax Benefits--Determine what special tax benefits the studios have been able to lobby through Congress from time to time.

PAC Contributions--Which high level executives of the MPAA companies (and/or their spouses) have made significant political campaign contributions to U.S. Presidential candidates in the last several elections, how much and to whom? Is there any relationship between such contributions and the shift in U.S. antitrust policy in the U.S. Justice Department?

Influence--Do the massive so-called political contributions of the Hollywood major studio executives, their spouses and multiple political action committees to Presidential and Congressional candidates influence government policy toward Hollywood? Is our system of justice vulnerable to the indirect political bribe?

MPAA Issues--What issues has the MPAA lobbied for and against in Congress during the past ten years. What issues has the MPAA lobbied for and against in state legislatures around the country? What issues has the MPAA lobbied for and against at the federal regulatory agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission? What issues has the MPAA lobbied for and against at the federal law enforcement agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Justice Department? Is their a relationship between which issues are of importance to the MPAA and where their PAC money goes?

Taxation--What special tax laws have the MPAA companies lobbied for during the past decade and what special tax benefits are enjoyed by the major studio/distributors?

FEC Study--Obtain copies of Federal Election Commission campaign contribution records showing the amounts of campaign contributions made by the MPAA Political Action Committee, the PACs of individual MPAA member companies, their high level individual executives and the spouses of such executives to presidential candidates (winners and losers) in the last three presidential elections. Is there a relationship between those contributions and U.S. Justice Department policy relating to the film industry?

History--What is the history of political activism in Hollywood, among studio executives and motion picture stars?

NATO--What are the main industry issues of concern to the National Association of Theatre Owners?

MPAA Issues--What issues of concern to the Motion Picture Association of America come within the purview of the U.S. Congress? Briefly discuss each and identify which parties are on both sides of such issues?

Foreign Government Policy--How does the policy of the governments of other countries as such policy is directed toward their film industries differ from the policy of the U.S. government as it relates to the U.S. film industry?

Role of Government--What is the role, if any, of federal and state governments in ensuring that all interest groups have a fair opportunity to participate in the production, distribution and exhibition of U.S. made motion pictures? [see Politics, Movies and the Role of Government]

Independent Producers Organization--What organizations, if any, represent the interests of the independent feature film producer in this industry? Evaluate whether such organizations effectively represent such interests. Can any existing producer organization be truly considered an advocacy or lobby group? Does any group primarily focus its efforts on behalf of independent feature film producers? Why haven't independent feature film producers organized into an effective professional association in an attempt to protect their interests on vital issues that significantly effect the well-being of independent producers?

Industry Organizations--In what significant ways do the various U.S. film industry organizations protect the interests of such organizations' members, (e.g., professional and trade associations and guilds)?

Government Involvement--Considering the overall history of the federal government's involvement and interaction with Hollywood, has the result been positive or negative for Hollywood? In other words, is it fair to say that our federal government has a long and well-documented history of being highly involved in helping the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry achieve its dominance over both the domestic and international film markets?

Government Role--What role should the federal government play in the future in helping to being about film industry reform?

| Research Topics | Why More Research is Needed | Patterns of Bias | Discrimination | Financing |
| The Numbers Game | Distribution | Antitrust | Racketeering | Political Activism | Litigation | Historical |
| Academy Awards | Miscellaneous | Bibliography | Become A Research Director | Books by John Cones |


Another possible route to reforming the U.S. film industry is through litigation.

Class Action--Is it possible that all net profit participants of motion pictures released by the major studio/distributors or any single major studio/distributor within the period permitted by the statute of limitations could be certified as a class for purposes of litigating a class action lawsuit against such distributors based on unconscionability, antitrust, RICO and/or fraud allegations?

Partnership Lawsuits--Is it too late to file a class action lawsuit on behalf of all of the limited partner investors who invested in the Star Partners or Silver Screen Partners public limited partnership film offerings? What theories of liability may be utilized in such a law suit: (1) securities fraud? (2) unconscionability, (3) antitrust law violations? (4) RICO violations? What other causes of action might be fairly alleged?

Litigation Survey--Conduct anonymous surveys and interviews with the plaintiffs in lawsuits against the major studio/distributors to determine whether these plaintiffs were satisfied with their settlements or court decisions. Determine how many of these plaintiffs cannot or will not discuss such matters because of gag orders or confidentiality agreements? Find out how many of these cases were settled? Determine whether the settlement amounts were generally smaller or larger than the awards granted after a trial was completed. Of those cases that went to trial (i.e., did not settle prior to trial) can it be demonstrated that those litigants did not work nearly as much after the trial as they did before the trial? Or can it be demonstrated that those who settled prior to trial had more successful post-settlement careers in the film industry than the post-trial careers of those who went to trial?

| Research Topics | Why More Research is Needed | Patterns of Bias | Discrimination | Financing |
| The Numbers Game | Distribution | Antitrust | Racketeering | Political Activism | Litigation | Historical |
| Academy Awards | Miscellaneous | Bibliography | Become A Research Director | Books by John Cones |


The literature of the film industry provides enormous opportunities for fascinating historical research.

Historical Review--Select 10-15 or more movies which purportedly depict historical events. Choose a recognized historian (professors from various universities around the country) with expertise in the era depicted to review the movie and write an essay regarding how accurately the Hollywood movie depicted the historical event. Assemble all of the essays in a single volume and write a final essay summarizing the results of the review and publish the book (see Gomery's Movie History: A Survey).

Historical Public Policy--Since motion pictures sometimes deal with historical events, the truth and other important or powerful ideas, doesn't our U.S. government at least have an obligation to ensure that a broad cross-section of our multi-cultural society has real access to the production, distribution and exhibition of U.S. made feature films so that at least a number of viewpoints can be expressed through this important communications/entertainment medium?

History of Hollywood/Early Times--What is true history of the beginnings of the movie business and then Hollywood? Is there any evidence to suggest that some historians of the movie business tend to confuse the two in an effort to rewrite such histories? What is the evidence that the original invention of the motion picture projector was stolen from its inventor? Who was the real inventor of the motion picture projector? Was Hollywood created primarily in an effort by the independent producers of the day to break the Edison trust? Were the activities of the early Hollywood independent producers illegal at the time?

Historical Comparison--Create of comprehensive list of U.S. made films which have been primarily based on and concerned with an historical event or matter, (e.g. JFK, Mississippi Burning, 1492, Malcom X, etc. Provide a brief synopsis of selected films from such a list and briefly discuss the question of whether such films were fair portrayals of such events? Is Hollywood selectively revising our history?

Historical/Disclosure--What responsibility, if any, do producers have in advising moviegoers as to what portion of their movie is considered factual, what is arguable and what is purely fiction?

Historical Accuracy--If a motion picture is about an historical event, does the filmmaker have a greater obligation to be truthful to his or her best ability?

Learning History--Do many people learn a great deal of what they think is history through film presentations?

Historical Revisionism--Does Hollywood engage in historical revisionism?

| Research Topics | Why More Research is Needed | Patterns of Bias | Discrimination | Financing |
| The Numbers Game | Distribution | Antitrust | Racketeering | Political Activism | Litigation | Historical |
| Academy Awards | Miscellaneous | Bibliography | Become A Research Director | Books by John Cones |

Academy Awards

The most visible and influential of the movie awards offers opportunities for evaluation and criticism.

Demographics--What are the demographics of the Academy membership and how do such characteristics influence Academy voting?

Membership--How does someone become a member of the Academy and do Academy membership admission policies affect the Academy Award voting?

Blind Voting--Approximately what portion of the Academy voters are voting on motion pictures they have never seen?

Economic Results--What is the economic result of an Academy Award nomination or win and how widespread is the practice of hiring people to influence Academy members voting?

Help at the Box Office--Is it true that the Academy voters are more interested in nominating successful movies that can still be "helped" as opposed to honoring unsuccessful movies or those that have already passed through the video supermarkets?

Timing--Is it true that the Academy generally honors films of the last quarter of the year?

Academy Awards Bias: Conduct a study of the major Oscar categories (best picture, director, actor and actress) over a specified period of recent years to determine whether a significant proportion of the winning (or nominated films) have common themes (e.g., Jewish stories, positive portrayals of Jewish characters, anti-Nazi/anti-Fascist portrayals, etc.), thus suggesting that the Academy voters are biased toward certain kinds of films or film content.

Best Foreign Films--Create a list of the "Best Foreign Film" winners at the Academy Awards for the past 50 years along with a brief synopsis of each. Determine whether any patterns of Academy preferences can be discerned through such analysis.

| Research Topics | Why More Research is Needed | Patterns of Bias | Discrimination | Financing |
| The Numbers Game | Distribution | Antitrust | Racketeering | Political Activism | Litigation | Historical |
| Academy Awards | Miscellaneous | Bibliography | Become A Research Director | Books by John Cones |


A number of other unrelated areas offer opportunities for research and analysis.

Merely Entertainment--Is it accurate to say that "movies are merely entertainment". Is it fair to say that all movies send messages of one sort or another? Do movies communicate messages? If movies communicate messages, isn't it true that they therefore must be more than mere entertainment?

Influencing Human Behavior--If all movies communicate messages or ideas, and ideas have always and will always be a significant source of motivation for human conduct, isn't it true then that movies can and often do influence human behavior?

Influencing Commercial Decisions--Research and discuss instances of movies influencing the purchasing decisions of American consumers. Is it true that the appearance of products in movies often increase the subsequent sales of those products?

Product Placements--What products have been seen or used in Hollywood motion pictures as a result of so-called "product placement" transactions between the product manufacturer and the film production company or distributor? How much money is paid to the film company for such product placements? Or, is some other exchange arranged for in these transactions?

Positive Social Change--Can movies be a powerful agent for positive social change? Is this concept widely accepted among the general public or within the entertainment community? Is this underlying basis for the creation of the organization (the Entertainment Industries Council) a false assumption? What health or social issues have been successfully addressed by the EIC? Has the EIC been able to effectively serve as a bridge between the entertainment community and the public interest in addressing health and social issues through films?

Social Impact--Do Hollywood movies, particularly those that consistently portray certain populations in a negative or stereotypical manner, help us solve our society's problems of misunderstanding and mistrust, or make them worse?

Political Messages--Have Hollywood films been used to promote political messages? If so, what messages? Are most of these political messages liberal or conservative?

Influencing Hollywood--What organized efforts have occurred over the years in attempts to influence Hollywood's depictions of certain populations in Hollywood films? In other words, have African-American, Latino, American Indian, the elderly, Jewish or other organized groups attempted to influence Hollywood's portrayals of such groups' members in films? If so, with what results? Have all of such groups been treated fairly, or in the same way? Did any of these groups get special privileges with respect to this issue?

Changing People's Lives--Is it fair to say that movies can actually bring about pivotal changes in people's lives? [see the David Rosenberg book, a series of 23 essays by authors, poets, university professors, novelists and literary critics entitled The Movie That Change My Life.]

Positive vs. Negative Influence--If we accept that movies can help bring about positive social changes, doesn't that necessarily also mean that movies can help bring about negative social changes in the lives of individuals?

Negative Portrayals--Does it follow that if Hollywood movies consistently portray whole populations of our multi-cultural society in a negative or stereotypical manner, that such portrayals may lead to prejudicial thinking about those portrayed populations in the minds of many moviegoers, and that such prejudicial thinking can often serve as the basis for discriminatory behavior directed toward those same portrayed populations?

Troubled Moviegoers--Is it possible that a troubled person hovering at the edge of violence could be sent over the brink to commit violence by scenes in a movie? Has this every happened? If so, what were the circumstances? Which movies were involved? How often has this happened?

Parental Responsibility--Is the Hollywood position that parents should be primarily responsible for the movies their children see, and that parents should preview the movies their children see, really good and practical advice? Are the Hollywood spokespersons who make such recommendations to parent really sincere? Is it physically possible for parents to preview all movies viewed by their children? Isn't this Hollywood advice just a scam for shifting the blame for the negative influence of films on children to parents?

Movie Propaganda--If movies have been used to consistently portray certain populations in a negative or stereotypical manner, and at least one population has generally been portrayed in a more favorable light, and it turns out that the group being portrayed most favorably, is closely related to the Hollywood control group, is that enough to conclude that Hollywood films are being used to disseminate propaganda?

MPAA Ratings--Does the MPAA ratings system actually provide enough timely, accurate and objective information about upcoming motion pictures to parents so that they can make informed judgments about such movies for the purpose of determining whether their children ought to see such movies? Isn't there a built-in conflict of interest in having an organization controlled by the same people who produce and release the movies determine how much information and what information parents should have prior to the release of a movie?

Movie Advertising--Is the motion picture promotion, publicity and advertising effective? How much money do the Hollywood major studio/distributors spend on promoting their movies, on average?

Target Audiences--Do the target audiences for movie advertising possess sufficient critical thinking skills to resist the film industry's powerful and often misleading mass media messages? Is movie advertising misleading?

High Salaries--Why are some film industry executives and creative talent paid such high salaries? Are such high salaries really a true reflection of the market or has an artificial market been created in the interest of Hollywood insiders?

Business Practices--Is it fair to say that the Hollywood control group gained and has maintained its control over Hollywood through the consistent use of several hundred specifically identifiable unfair, unethical, unconscionable, anti-competitive, predatory and illegal business practices? [see Film Finance and Distribution--A Dictionary of Terms].

Employment Discrimination--How widespread is employment discrimination in Hollywood? How can it be determined that employment discrimination is occurring? What are the various forms assumed by Hollywood's employment discrimination? Nepotism? Cronyism? Favortism? Blacklisting?

Cover-Ups--Explore the history of cover-ups in Hollywood? What kinds of incidents have been covered up? Who is involved in the cover-ups, studio executives, law enforcement officials and/or others?

Shareholders--How do film industry corporations cheat their shareholders?

Information Sources/Trade Publications--Is it fair to say that the so-called motion picture trade publications, (e.g., The Hollywood Reporter, The Daily Variety, etc.) do not provide adequate critical analyses of the motion picture industry, (i.e., they primarily publish the "good news" about their major advertisers the major studio/distributors)?

Information Services--Which source of motion picture industry information relating to box office performance and industry economics is the most current and reliable: Paul Kagan and Associates, The Hollywood Reporter, The Daily Variety, Variety, the Goldman Sachs annual Investment Research Report on the Movie Industry, The Motion Picture Almanac, Baseline, NATO's Encyclopedia of Exhibition, Harold Vogel's book Entertainment Industry Economics, The Ernst & Young Entertainment Business Journal, Art Murphy's Boxoffice Register or some other source?

Definition of Independent Producer--When is an independent producer no longer independent? Explore the various film financing relationships independent producers have with major/studio distributors and attempt to draft an all encompassing definition of the independent feature film producer.

Film Critic Bias--Conduct studies of the film reviews of Roger Ebert and other prominent film industry critics to determine whether such reviews reflect any special bias on their part. In the alternative, select a list of films and compare the reviews of some 5 to 10 critics on those same films to determine whether such a comparison can reveal film critic bias. For example, do some critics generally provide more favorable reviews for the releases of the major studio/distributors than the releases of the independent distributors? Also, do some of the film industry critics seem to prefer the work of certain actors, directors or writers because of the racial, ethnic or cultural identity of such persons?

Film Advertising vs Results--Is there a positive correlation between the amount of money spent on advertising a motion picture and its performance at the box office? Study the MPAA releases and independent releases. Also distinguish between independent productions released by the MPAA companies. Limit the study to a specified period of time and utilize a sufficient sampling of movies selected on some reasonable basis. If there is a positive correlation between the amount of money spent on advertising and the film's performance at the box office, doesn't this contradict the Jack Valenti position that the public votes on films with its pocketbook?

Film Schools--Is it true, as reported in the April 1991 issue of American Film magazine that " . . . film-study programs graduate 26,000 students every year . . . " and that " . . . only 5 to 10 percent of the 26,000 students actually find their way into the industry . . . " after graduating? What responsibilities do our colleges and universities have for achieving a more reasonable balance between the number of students they accept in these glamour film programs and the number of realistic job opportunities that exist in the film industry? Is this a national scandal?

Hollywood Criticism--What are the myths, smokescreens and straw-man arguments disseminated through the world's most powerful and highly-paid Hollywood PR machine, to cloud public discussion and understanding of criticism of Hollywood?

Hollywood Victims--Who are the victims of the machinations of the Hollywood control group?

Hollywood Deaths--Conduct a study of the so-called "Hollywood Deaths" (those discussed in this book's companion volume Legacy of the Hollywood Empire at "Murder, Suicide and Other Forms of Hollywood Death") to determine if there is any connecting link between most of them, (e.g., a pattern of studio abuse and exploitation inevitably leading to alcoholism and drug abuse for many of the creative people involved in the film industry, directly or indirectly resulting in the loss of their lives because of the deadly combination)?

Communications Media--Is it appropriate in our multi-cultural society for any readily identifiable interest group (whether the group identity is based on ethnicity, culture, religion, race, class, region of origin, sex or sexual preference, or otherwise) to be allowed to dominate or control any important communications medium, including film?

Cultural Environment--Do movies pollute our cultural environment?

Movies and Democracy--If the motion picture is a significant medium for the communication of ideas, as stated by the U.S. Supreme Court in its 1952 Burstyn v. Wilson decision, can a democratic society afford to stand by and allow any single narrowly-defined interest group to control or even dominate any of our important communications media, including film? Will that inaction inevitably weaken, if not destroy our cherished democracy?

Economic Boycotts--Have narrowly-focused economic boycotts directed against Hollywood or specific companies ever been effective? If Hollywood victims encompass members from a rather large number of varied groups, wouldn't it be more effective to organize a broad-based umbrella organization to instigate a broader economic boycott against the source of the problems in Hollywood, all of the major studio/distributors?


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If you would like to participate in researching, or directing specific research projects for any of the questions presented here, please contact us by filling out the below form. Hopefully, this effort will stimulate more original research on college and university campuses across the country and result in the development of third-party studies that will be useful in an effort to start a bonafide film industry reform movement.

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| Research Topics | Why More Research is Needed | Patterns of Bias | Discrimination | Financing |
| The Numbers Game | Distribution | Antitrust | Racketeering | Political Activism | Litigation | Historical |
| Academy Awards | Miscellaneous | Bibliography | Become A Research Director | Books by John Cones |

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