Cinemagoing in Portsmouth during the 1930s

Cinema Journal 09/2006; 46(1):52-84. DOI: 10.1353/cj.2007.0005


Abstract: This paper uses the recently discovered box-office ledger of the first-run cinema the Regent in Portsmouth, U.K.. to test the POPSTAT methodology for measuring film popularity in the general absence of such data. In order to do this a dataset of the film programs of all twenty-one cinemas screening films in the city in 1934 has been constructed from which a clear picture of film distribution and popularity emerges.

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    • "As seen above, one of the Playhouse's highest earning features of the year occurred during the summer. A similar observation was made by Sedgwick (2006, p. 66) in his review of cinema attendances at the Regent cinema in Portsmouth. This is not to suggest that a successful film is immune to weather conditions, but rather that its success is determined by several other more significant factors. "
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose – Since its emergence in the early twentieth century, cinema has acquired a cultural identity. As purveyor of light entertainment, the local movie palace sold escapism at a cheap price. It also acted as an important social apparatus that regulated everyday mannerisms and appearance. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the box office ledger of a UK picture house and to consider the role of the accounting document as a medium through which both local and broader social and historical norms can be reflected. Design/methodology/approach – The paper primarily employs archival sources. It examines the box office ledger of the Edinburgh Playhouse cinema for the period 1929-1973. This ledger is held within the National Archive of Scotland. Secondary sources are also drawn upon to provide a social and historical context to the study. Findings – The analysis of the box office ledger illustrates the potential value of an accounting document as a source of social history. Not only does this single ledger mirror the defining moments in British cinema history, it also helps inform the conception of what constitutes accounting, shapes the perception of contemporary strategic management accounting rhetoric, and further an appreciation of the relationship between accounting and everyday life. Originality/value – The entertainment industry has been largely ignored within accounting scholarship. Such neglect is lamentable given both the scale of the industry and its impact on contemporary culture. This paper is an attempt to redress this neglect by examining one component of the entertainment business, cinema, through the medium of an accounting document.
    Accounting Auditing & Accountability Journal 06/2009; 22(July):677-708. DOI:10.1108/09513570910966333 · 1.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cinemagoing in the Netherlands during the 1930s appears to have been much less intense than in the English-speaking world. To support this assertion we examine film attendance and diffusion in the Dutch market by recourse to a new large dataset, and contrast it with observations drawn from recent research on the Anglo-Saxon countries (United States, United Kingdom, and Australia). In setting down the economic principles behind the organisation of the film industry that best describe the Anglo-Saxon model, we show how the Dutch experience differed in scale, but not in type. To investigate the reasons for this, we examine the idea that film consumption in the Netherlands was constrained through the operation of informal institutional pressures. In particular, we investigate the influence that the vertical stratification of Dutch society into distinct [End Page 634] religious and ideological strands may have had on the filmgoing appetites of the Dutch people. A further investigation looks at the combination of exhibitors and distributors into a single industry cartel and its impact upon prices and cinema building. The paper concludes that a complex mixture of cultural, economic, institutional, and social factors were at play, causing the Dutch people to be an outlier as far as film provision and consumption was concerned.
    Enterprise and Society 08/2012; 13(3):634-671. DOI:10.1093/es/khr073 · 0.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This article examines the localized nature of leisure provision and consumer taste in Britain in the first half of the twentieth century. Based on an analysis of the cinema-going habits of naval personnel and dockyard workers and their families in the naval town of Portsmouth, this article reveals how closely consumers’ tastes were predicated on their social and cultural identities. By mapping film booking patterns at one cinema, this article reveals how cinema managers chose to book films which responded directly to the tastes of their patrons. The article concludes that the film preferences of this community were shaped by their close connections with naval life.
    Urban History 05/2013; 40(02). DOI:10.1017/S0963926813000023
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