production value Noun, e.g., The production value associated with the name James Cameron is enough to generate full financing for a project.
Definition: Value conferred on a film by production as opposed to writing and acting.
History: A term coined in the late 1950s and early 1960’s as the film industry responded to the threat of commercial television. Production, as opposed to script and acting, was best able to create value that the public would pay to see. Studios accordingly invested heavily in epics that were filmed in CinemaScope, Technicolor and Cinerama, that were recorded in high fidelity stereo sound, and that featured casts of thousands, lavish sets and costumes, exotic locations, elaborate stunts and (rudimentary) special effects. Examples include “The Ten Commandments” (1956), “Ben-Hur” (1959), “Sparticus” (1960), “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962), and “Cleopatra” (1963).
Soon films such as “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968) would introduce large doses of special effects, an art that has since given production value a new meaning. Today films by George Lucas, James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, Jerry Bruckheimer and Christopher Nolan are the gold standard in production value.
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