Henry Holt and Co.
a Business of Blockbusters
In 1999, Alan Horn, new in his role as president and chief operating officer of the film and television studio Warner Bros., embarked on a high-stakes strategy. Entrusted with the power to decide which movies the studio would make—the coveted “greenlighting” decision—he chose to single out four or five so-called tent-pole or event films—those thought to have the broadest appeal—among its annual output of around twenty-five movies, and support those picks with a disproportionately large
Anita Elberse discusses 'Blockbusters: Hit-making, Risk-taking, and the Big Business of Entertainment' on Marketplace.
Anita Elberse discusses 'Blockbusters: Hit-making, Risk-taking, and the Big Business of Entertainment' on Fox Business's After the Bell.
Anita Elberse discusses 'Blockbusters: Hit-making, Risk-taking, and the Big Business of Entertainment' on WGBH's Innovator's hub.
Anita Elberse discusses 'Blockbusters: Hit-making, Risk-taking, and the Big Business of Entertainment' on NPR's Morning Edition.
"How come so many movies are sequels, adaptations and reboots? Why do music studios spend so much on just a handful of superstar artists? And since when did TV shows become so lush and sophisticated? . . . [Elberse’s] great new book, Blockbusters, explains that the . . . questions share one answer. The blockbuster strategy—betting more and more money on fewer and fewer titles—has taken over the entertainment world."—TheAtlantic.com
"In her new book Blockbusters …[Elberse] argues quite convincingly that in the music industry (in addition to cinema, television, books, and more) record labels are most profitable when they focus their funds on a small number of big-shot, can’t-miss juggernauts."—Billboard
"Forceful . . . Elberse analyzes the realm of culture with a rigorous, numbers-driven approach."—The Boston Globe
"Persuasive… Elberse’s research has now culminated in the publication of her first book, Blockbusters, in which she makes a bold…case against fiscal timidity in the entertainment industry."—Bloomberg Businessweek
"Convincing… Elberse's Blockbusters builds on her already impressive academic résumé to create an accessible and entertaining book."—Financial Times
"Blockbusters demonstrates that [a blockbuster] strategy usually beats the more cautious approach of spreading around lower-amount investments in a larger number of projects, a recipe for mediocrity that seldom captures the public’s imagination."—Forbes
"A compelling answer for those who wonder why Hollywood seems obsessed with superheroes and all hit songs sound alike. The formula works. . . [In Blockbusters,] Elberse delivers an accessible, convincing accounting for the ways in which contemporary entertainment is produced, marketed and consumed."—Kirkus Reviews
"As Blockbusters reveals, pursuing projects with high risk and high reward is actually the best long-term business model."—Omnivoracious.com
"The book effectively explains the paradox of why more entertainment channels result in fewer choices, and offers a welcome respite from the usual business titles."—Publishers Weekly
"Fortunate readers of the book are claiming that Anita Elberse’s Blockbusters is a compelling answer to those wondering why Hollywood seems obsessed with superheroes. Her book merits, not one, two, but three readings."—SciFied.com
"In Blockbusters, Anita Elberse… argues that the blockbuster strategy—a broad formula that assumes investing in big potential winners will account for a disproportionate share of returns—now governs consumer markets, from restaurants and hotels to electronics." —The Wall Street Journal
"Good books merit a second reading—Blockbusters merits at least three. First, read it for fun. Anita Elberse describes the history of how blockbuster products and star entertainers were built. If you’ve ever read arguments about whether leaders are made or born, you’ll love this. Then read it again for Elberse’s model, which explains the process by which hits and stars are made. This will make you feel like Columbus discovering a world that has long existed but few have seen. Then read it a third time, using her model to understand how other stars – leaders in politics, business and academia, for starters – often can be built in the same way. There is hope – because the world truly is entertaining. Blockbusters is a delightful, thought-provoking book."—Clayton Christensen, author of The Innovator's Dilemma