[ELI5] How did Hollywood become the center for pop-culture and the film industry both globally and in just the USA?


[ELI5] How did Hollywood become the center for pop-culture and the film industry both globally and in just the USA?

In: Other

A couple of studios set up shop there because the land was cheap. Actors showed up to work and other studios popped up because that’s where the talent was. Which encouraged more actors to go there …

The simple reason, it had warm and predictably sunny weather and diverse terrain perfect for movie backdrops.

Additional theory is that Thomas Edison had patents on motion picture capture, but in California filmmakers couldn’t be sued for infringing on those patents by making movies.

Perfect storm of circumstances essentially.

Mostly just a coincidence. Back when movie cameras were new, they were under patent and had to be licensed, and that was expensive, and it was easier to dodge that if you went out west. And once you have film studios in a place, well then you have actors going there for work, and stagehands going to build sets, and seamstresses making costumes, it snowballed into a lot of film industry stuff being built around LA. It could have been anywhere, could have been Salt Lake or Seattle just as easily.

Nowadays the industry is physically spreading out, what with it being a lot easier to move people and stuff around. A lot of physical filming these days is done in Georgia and Texas because they offer tax breaks for movie and TV production.

As to why it became a global center of film too, the really simple answer is: America was left economically strong after WWII right when the movie industry was picking up, Europe had been bombed to hell and what industry they had was still rebuilding, and America was exporting *everything* back then, which included a lot of cultural exports like film and music and literature.

WWII devastated industry and economies all over Europe and they were in no position to compete with a US film industry that didn’t even slow down during the war. Since the US was the ascendent cultural and economic power and occupying half of Europe it could distribute its culture more easily.

Europe did bounce back with its own film culture in the 50s and 60s but these were small scale, art house films and couldn’t compete with the big spectacle Hollywood films, especially in the US.

edit: In the silent film era, there was more international viewership of cinema, but when talkies started, that went in steep decline, especially in the US.

Hollywood isn’t the centre of Pop culture globally… which is far.too diverse to have a ‘centre’.

Film… well that’s a different matter and other responses have nailed it.

Light levels – Hollywood gets a lot of sun and good light levels for shooting.

Weather – The weather is warm and predictable.

Cost – The studios originally operates in New York and shot on the streets, it was expensive to have to shutdown parts of the city to shoot so the decision was made to move.

Cheap land – Hollywood was considered fairly undesirable land at the time and was very cheap to buy so the studios were able to buy up huge plots for their studios and fake towns.