Blockbuster Cinema: Hollywood’s Obsession with Low Risk

A presentation by James McMahon


Hollywood is obsessed with blockbusters – for 20 years the major studios have been making them, and it appears that blockbuster cinema will be with us for many years to come. This presentation will theoretically and empirically explain how blockbusters, and the associated business strategies that surround them, serve Hollywood’s financial goals. The key to blockbusters is that they allow major studios to reduce their risk. The revenues of designed-to-be blockbusters rarely fall below expectations, making the world of cinema increasingly predictable. Moreover, this predictability affects how the film business controls the social creativity of filmmakers and, indirectly, the behaviour of consumers.


James McMahon. PhD student at the Graduate Program in Social and Political Thought, York University (


This presentation is the third in the Second Speaker Series on the Capitalist Mode of Power, organized by and sponsored by the York Department of Political Science and the Graduate Program in Social and Political Thought.


Refreshments will be served and all are welcome.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

3:00–5:00 pm

Verney Room, 674 South Ross

Keele Campus of York University