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Inception: A Masterpiece by Christian Nolan and Warner Bros

Introduction

A remarkable film by Christopher Nolan Inception impresses its audience by intricacy, ambiguity, originality of the idea and a multiple, unusual approach to the plot development. It blurs the boundaries between concepts of reality and dream. A recognized screenwriter managed almost an impossible thing. He confronted two distinct, opposite, independent worlds of illusion and reality. Of course, for an average viewer it is a confusing task to distinguish two areas of life that overlap continually during the film. However, the distribution companies turned it into profitable strategy. They advertised the film by creating a mystery around a story line without revealing its secrets. Inception is a vivid illustration of a successful combination of the original script, outstanding cast, professional crew and well thought-out marketing.

Development

The fulfillment of dream conception took much time. The idea of Inception had been maturing in Christopher Nolan’s mind for ten years (Ebert n. p.). Originally, it was intended as a horror film, but finally it grew into a thriller. The inspiration to create a film came to the author in childhood when he was curious about the imaginary world. The author strived for emphasizing the perception of dreams. He conveyed the message that one’s sleep territory is not absolutely safe. Someone can occupy it and steal the necessary information (Hiscock n. p.). Christopher Nolan’s primary goal was to make people believe that the concept of reality was totally subjective (Child n. p.). The viewer himself should decide where to live in the actual or fictional dimension.

First, Inception started as a small, low-budget movie. But after the release of Batman series, Christopher Nolan gained more confidence. By the time, it turned into an 80-pages treatment. That resulted in a large-scale blockbuster with a substantial financing. Nolan presented his writing to the world famous entertainment company Warner Brothers. Having completed all agreement procedures, the studio invested 160 million dollars into Inception (Kay n. p.). Thus, Warner Bros. and their partners Legendary Pictures purchased the screenplay and became the rightful owners of copyright (IMDb n. p.).

The plot of the story tells about a smart thief Dom Cobb, whose job is to steal valuable evidence from people’s dreams. In order to dip into one’s sub conscience, he uses a peculiar chemical substance. As far as Cob has made a successful career in such an unusual sphere, he is hired by an influential businessman Mr. Caito. This time, the dream hunter gets a complicated task. He has to implant an idea in victim’s mind by means of inception. Hence, he will remove Mr. Saito’s primary opponent. To complete the mission, Cobb assembles a professional team. It consists of Cobb’s companion Arthur, an excellent manipulator Eames, an extraordinary pharmacologist Yusuf and a maze constructor Ariadne. To enter into the target’s inner thoughts, the group is going to get through several levels of dreaming. The operation turns out to be under threat because of Cobb’s constant projections of his lifeless wife, Mal. The main character doubts whether his reality exists, indeed (Eldridge n. p.).  In spite of a difficult for understanding course of events, Christopher Nolan leaves an open ending of the story. The controversial final of the movie expresses its key idea – it is one’s own choice in what reality to stay. Nonetheless, the virtual, abstract world should not force out the true matters.

Production

As it has been already mentioned, the company that purchased the script and dealt with film production is well-known Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. It is a top entertainment studio that maintains formation, manufacture, distribution, licensing and promotion processes for all types of recreation businesses. These industries incorporate leading brands of movies, television, home video, cartoons, comics, and games. The organization can boast one of the largest recording collections. It stores 75 thousand hours of broadcast comprising seven thousand feature films and five thousand TV programs. The income of the company is also impressive. The year 2014 has brought the gross of approximately five billion dollars in global box office. The headquarters are located in Burbank, California occupying a 142-acres territory. Besides, it owns a 160-acres facility in the UK, namely situated in Leavesden, Hertfordshire (Warner Bros. (b) n. p.). The statistics confirm that Warner Bros. is the most tremendous, prestigious and profitable entertainment corporation for now.

During the production period of Inception Warner Bros. operated in association with its companion Legendary Pictures. On its official website, Legendary acclaims itself a prominent media company (Legendary n. p.). It deals with the following three sectors: films (Legendary Pictures), television and electronic (Legendary Television and Digital Media) and comic strips (Legendary Comics). Its principal activities presuppose owning, making and presenting subject matters to the audience. The core concern of its staff has always been the quality of the introduced products. In overall, the movie division earned the sum of more than nine billion dollars at the box office internationally. The administrative center is placed in Burbank, California (Legendary n. p.). It is a relatively young, but developing and promising filmmaking firm.

The collaboration of both companies goes back to June 21, 2005 when its delegates Alan Horn (Warner Bros. President) and Thomas Tull (Chairman of Legendary Pictures) signed the agreement. It launched a multi-year, 25-picture partnership that involved collaborative production and distribution of films. The starting contribution of Legendary comprised 500 million dollars for various films. The major investors of this organization are ABRY Partners, American International Group (AIG), Bank of America, Columbia Capital, Falcon Investment Advisors, LLC and M/C Partners (Warner Bros. (d) n. p.). With the experience of Warner Bros. and a professional team of Legendary Pictures, this cooperation has all chances to become fruitful and advantageous for both sides.

The teamwork of entertainment industry leaders resulted in the birth of a well-liked blockbuster Inception. Although the screenplay creation has taken about a decade, the shooting occupied far less time. On February 12, 2009 the Warner Bros. announced the beginning of filmmaking procedure (Warner Bros. (a) n. p.). As far as the initial release date was expected in summer 2010, in general, the production term took up about a year. However, the process was quite difficult due to a sophisticated idea of the script. Fulfillment of such a large-scale project required vast financing. According to IMDb’s data, the estimated budget of the thriller is 160 million dollars (IMDb n. p.). Luckily, the creators managed to multiply their expenses thanks to high watching rates.

The production of Inception presupposed a lot of traveling. The filming took place in six countries. The story began in Tokyo, Japan with a helicopter landing on skyscraper’s platform. The problem was to get approval from local authorities who determined strict regulations of aerial transitions (Warner Bros. (c) 14). Then, the casting personnel moved to Cardington, England. Here, Christopher Nolan puzzled his subordinates with a technically complicated task. It lied in the construction of a 100-feet corridor able to turn 360 degrees around in order to evoke the feeling of zero gravity (Warner Bros. (c) 14). Furthermore, the filming crew came to the most romantic city of Paris, France. The department of visual effects arranged a multiple explosion at a local bakery and neighboring buildings as well (Warner Bros. (c) 17). In summer 2014, the members of personnel were tried by unbearable heat in Tangiers, Morocco. However, they admired the wonderful architecture and atmosphere of the place (Warner Bros. (c) 18). Next, the filming crew came back to the USA. In Los Angeles they shot the most beautiful scenes from the standpoint of interior design (Warner Bros. (c) 19). Finally, the photography located in ski resort in Calgary, Canada. The mountains exposed the cinema team to unbearable cold (Warner Bros. (c) 22). Surely, it was a fascinating journey, but full of challenges. It supposed working in the running order, living in extreme conditions and building pompous sets in constantly changing areas.

In addition to diverse scenes and settings, the production of Inception involved numerous actors. Among the celebrities who starred as main characters are: Leonardo DiCaprio (Cobb), Joseph Cordon-Levitt (Arthur), Ellen Page (Ariadne), Tom Hardy (Eames), Ken Watanabe (Mr. Saito), Dileep Rao (Yusuf), Cillian Murthy (Robert Fischer) and Marion Cotillard (Mal) (IMDb n. p.). The list of secondary and minor episodic roles includes more than 50 names. Although the perfect acting is vital, the picture would not emerge without a competent crew. The person who participated in all stages of film creation is Christopher Nolan. He occupied three positions simultaneously being a screenwriter, director and producer. However, he worked in association with co-producer Emma Thomas. Cinematographer Wally Phister maintained the proper functioning of cameras and operators. Casting director John Papsidera chose the best and most matching stars. Composer Hans Zimmer selected emotionally moving music. The editor Lee Smith cut the film into a final version. Production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas together with art directors took care of the overall visual look of the motion picture. Jeffrey Kurland’s job implied creation and provision of scenic costumes and clothes. The construction of hi-tech decorations and sets was under responsibilities of the separate department in charge of Luke Freeborn, Brad Ricker and Dean Wolcott (IMDb n. p.). The productive cooperation of the cast and behind-the-camera staff resulted in the release of a successful science-fiction actioner Inception.

Distribution

Along with the production of the film, Warner Bros. arranged its marketing as well. The company invested 160 million dollars into the motion picture in comparison to 100 million dollars necessary for advertising (Kay n. p.). On the one hand, the story was based on an original script with fresh and exciting idea. On the other hand, Christopher Nolan’s conception of dreams turned out to be too sophisticated to deliver it to the audience. Thus, Warner Bros. decided on the strategy of mystery. They kept the plot of the story in secret till the day of release. They gave out information in portions for the public to guess. Fascinating posters with fantastic pictures and slogan “The dream is real” attracted the attention of passersby (Francisco n. p.).

To go in step with modern technologies, the distribution company presented its product mostly through viral means. The studio worked together with Verizon Link to develop the Mind Crime, application for Droid phones (Kunur n. p.). With its help, the users could download information about the film, music, video, and even a maze game. In addition, Warner Bros. launched another game entitled SCVNGR (Kunur n. p.). It offered to try Inception challenges in imposing massive architectural constructions. By snapping photos and sharing them in social networks players earned badges. In such a way, filmmakers encouraged young moviegoers to watch a blockbuster and discover more enigmas.

Warner Bros. presented Inception in the USA, Canada, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, UK, Brazil, Belgium, Czech Republic, Argentina, Japan and Singapore. Other distributors were Continental Film in Slovakia, Film1 in Netherlands, Forum Cinemas in Estonia and Latvia, Garsu Pasaulio Irasai in Lithuania, InterComFilm in Romania, Karo Premiere in Russia, Sandrew Metronome Distribution in Sweden and Finland, Tuck in Serbia, Village Films in Greece, etc. (IMDb n. p.)

Exhibition

The film had two theatrical premieres: the first one was shown in London on July 8, 2010, and the second one took place in Hollywood on July 13, 2010. However, the official release date is considered to be July 16, 2010. The income on the opening weekends was overwhelming exceeding 62 million dollars in the USA. The overall gross of Inception goes over 800 million dollars worldwide. The moviegoers had an opportunity to see the motion picture in more than 3700 theaters (Box Office Mojo n. p.). The runtime of the movie is 148 minutes. Besides, the film’s fans could watch it at home. Domestic DVD sales reached 85 million dollars, while Blu-ray home marketing earned over 74 million dollars (The Numbers n. p.).

The skyscraping grosses confirm that a long-expected film was a real success among the public in all countries. In spite of Nolan’s intricate concept of dreams, the audience admired the novelty in the filmmaking industry. Thus, Inception received numerous positive feedbacks and approvals from viewers. Moreover, it had eight nominations for Oscar, four of which turned out to be victorious. These are the best picture, original screenplay, cinematography (award), art direction, visual effects (award), sound (award), sound editing (award) and original score (Box Office Mojo n. p.). Along with triumph, Inception received a minor portion of critics. Some of the reviewers were disappointed with a bemusing and startling plot of the film (Thorpe n. p.). They regarded the idea to be too much complicated for a common watcher. Nonetheless, the majority agreed that Inception was so exciting that caught the breath from the first moment till the end.

Conclusion

Inception owes its high viewing rates and income to all the participants of the filmmaking process. Their fruitful cooperation proves that this movie is a bright example to study all aspects of the film industry. The pledge of success of every invention depends upon its conception. It took ten years for Christopher Nolan to write an 80-page treatment of Inception. A film based on the original screenplay fascinated the audience by its novelty, uniqueness and conceptual meaningfulness. It illustrates that an original writing is the best source for the motion picture. A well-grounded script evoked the interest of the world-famous production companies Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures. The leaders of cinematography invested a considerable sum of money. However, it was a difficult task to deliver the idea of dreams to the audience. The distribution campaign has shown that one can turn a disadvantage into a privilege by means of promotion. Thus, the filmmakers mystified Inception by giving out information in portions without revealing its core. They evoked moviegoers’ curiosity by mobile games and social networks. Inception serves a case study of promotion techniques as far as distributors managed to market a confusing content. Oscar awards for the best cinematography, sound and visual effects confirm a high level of competence and experience of the casting crew. They accomplished technically troublesome projects in extreme conditions. The production procedure demonstrated that Inception was a challenging and elaborated assignment. All in all, the film is a vivid illustration of manufacturing and marketing dimensions of cinematography. The suggested data confirm that Inception is an effective realization of an industrial product by a professional filmmaking team.
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