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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

High concept is an ironic term used to refer to an artistic work that can be easily described by a succinctly stated premise.

The term is also applied, often disparagingly, to films that are pitched and developed almost entirely upon such a simply stated premise rather than standing upon complex character study, cinematography, or other strengths that relate more to the artistic execution of a production rather than simply an engaging high concept premise with broad appeal.

While nearly every production can be described in a briefly stated high concept synopsis, a movie described as being 'high concept' is considered easy to sell to a wide audience because it delivers upon an easy to grasp idea that is original, interesting, colorful, and sometimes humorous.[1]

An extreme example of a high concept film is Snakes on a Plane which put its entire premise in the movie title itself.

High concept movies typically feature relatively simple characters and a heavy reliance on the predictable conventions of film genre. Stylistically, high concept movies can be either big budget blockbusters or simple and cheaply made gag movies. In both cases, the movies often rely on pre-sold properties such as movie stars to build audience anticipation, and use cross-promotional advertising with links to a soundtrack, music videos, and licensed merchandise. They commonly apply market research and test screening feedback to alter the film to ensure maximum popularity. Some high concept movies are built as star vehicles for successful music and sports personalities to enter the movie business. Often high concept movies are pitched as combinations of existing high concept movies, or unique twists on existing titles.

The high concept style and mode of production was developed by Hollywood studios in the late 1970s. The term has also been claimed to originate from the marketing and management work of media executives Barry Diller and Michael Eisner at the ABC network in the 1960s. Steven Spielberg's Jaws (1975) and George Lucas's Star Wars (1977) are commonly referred to as the first high concept movies. However, some argue that some blockbusters from the past such as Casablanca were high concept movies in that they explored broad themes with a universal appeal.

High concept movies often have themes based on an existing area of popular fascination—such as sharks, dinosaurs, flying saucers, the Titanic, and so on—and thus have a ready-built foundation of subsidiary issues and ever-ramifying facts that can feed the marketing machine, from magazine articles to weblog chatter, on levels ranging from the superficial to the intellectually or factually exhaustive.


Prime examples



Star Vehicles



UFOs & Space Invasions


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