The Golden Opportunities of Film Exhibition

An area of multiple panels for the
2014 Film & History Conference
Golden Ages: Styles and Personalities, Genres and Histories

List of All Areas Main Conference Page

DEADLINE for abstracts: June 1, 2014

From coin-operated kinetoscopes to nickelodeons to picture palaces to drive-in theaters and multiplexes, motion pictures have only been as successful as the box office receipts earned through theatrical exhibition.

The early movie business offered golden opportunities for those who were willing to take the risks. Some became itinerant showmen, while others ordered projection equipment from Sears, Roebuck to open family-run small town moviehouses. Film producers seized their golden opportunity when they realized that theater ownership insured access to movie-mad audiences. Today movies can be accessed directly across multiple media platforms, while theater owners face the high costs of upgrading screening technology and the challenges of reinventing the moviegoing experience. What are the golden opportunities for the 21st century film exhibitor? This area will examine the history of film exhibition through its many permutations, from the local exhibitor serving the hometown audience to Big Five dominance during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Papers on other elements that affected the success of an exhibitor, including: theater design and safety, management and promotion styles, civic engagement, and the increased importance of the concessions stand are also invited and encouraged. Additional questions that might be explored, but others are welcome:

Proposals for complete panels (three related presentations) are also welcome, but they must include an abstract and contact information, including an e-mail address, for each presenter. For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website (

Please e-mail your 200-word proposal by 1 June 2014, to the area chair:

Deborah Carmichael
Michigan State University


Movie Posters