Producing Quality: A Social Network Analysis of Coproduction Relationships in High Grossing Versus Highly Lauded Films in the U.S. Market

Jade L. Miller


While mainstream U.S. film production has been derided as following a “lowest common denominator” blockbuster-style logic, the industry has actually produced both popular and highly regarded productions. To imagine an alternative (lower cost, higher quality) Hollywood of the future, this article set out to examine the network structure of coproductions in both high grossing and in highly lauded films in the U.S. market for a recent five-year period. Using social network analysis, this study shows that the funding structures of both types of films were less centralized, dense, and clustered than is commonly believed. Coproduction networks of highly lauded films, however, did exhibit structural differences from their high grossing counterparts that suggest more collaboration and penetrability. If the future of film production looks like the structures of the alternative Hollywood described here, we may see a more cooperative, dispersed, and international industrial structure for the future.

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