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Lecture 8

FS280 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Opinion Poll, Research Institute, Oviduct

Film Studies
Course Code
Sandra Annett

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Creation of Public Opinion
Audience Polls in Classical Hollywood
What is a Gallup Poll?
Opinion poll, used in the US to determine what people think of a certain political
candidate, oviduct, film, etc.
Voice of the public rather then the king, shows the will of the people.
Present accurate unbiased results.
First developed by George Gallup in 1936
Data gathered by doing 1000 phone calls per day 350 days a year, to randomly
generated phone numbers (nowadays, 500 landline, 500 cell phones)
3 major topics in each poll : election or current presidential approval, economy, leisure
& well being
By using the phone they were able to reach people more consistently, results were
more accurate
George Gallup and the ARI
Developed the technique of polling movie audiences by “piggybacking” questions
about movie attendance of political polls conducted for the American Institute of
Public Opinion.
Data on film attendance drew the eyes of studios and independent producers, who
contacted Gallup with questions for polls and contracts for in house research.
Gallup created Audience Research institute in 1940 to handle film industry jobs
Case Study 1: Single VS. Double Features
Studios liked double features because they supported "block booking” forcing studios
to take a “block” of film with any cheap B movies along with one or two good A
Exhibitors disliked double features because they had to buy a lot of films they didn’t
want and got less money per screening and single features.
But do audience like double features or single ?
Survey Says : 57% of general public opposed to double features
Age: 77% of children, 58% of teens liked them
Class: 53% of lower income people liked them compared to 25% upper income
Result : Single features for most daytime and evening screenings for adults; double bills
for children morning matinees and are night “midnight madness” screenings for teens/
working class
Gone with the Wind : Selznicks
** Gallup polls from 1939 showed gone with the wind was the most interesting book to
the public after bible
casting controversy: news papers reported audiences wanted favourite hollywood starts
like Bette Davis or Kathrine Hepburn to play Scarlett but Selznick chose British
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