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What do you think makes a movie sucessful?

Not neciarily what makes a good movie, there are plenty of very suckcesful movies that sucked, and plenty off good movies that never made alot of money, or took quite a while to be really successful.
i think a new idea is always a good way to make a 'good movie'.

Also, good actors help, as well as directors, producers, and special effects

but most of all, i think that the storyline is the most important. without a good storyline, a movie will have to rely on the people making it.
DIRECTING: The director isn't afraid to make a big movie... thinks of creative ideas of his own, yet also gives his co-workers freedom to add in their input.

CAST: Movies are succesful when they have one or two famous actors (for the crowd followers) mixed with one or two rookies that eventually will grow to be famous (for the future crowd followers :o).

STORY: A bit of everything... love story for the romantics, seriousness for food for thought, action for everyone, and some comedy to add some spice! (I agree with Captiang that the story line one of the most important parts in a movie)

MUSIC: Music is one of the most important factors of a movie that is often forgoted, but if it is left out, then the movie won't work! It must have a great composer to develop a classic tune or two for the movie. One can always identify these tunes to their movies... Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jaws, Titanic, Lord of the Rings, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, etc. A theme song helps as well.

SPECIAL EFFECTS: Special effects that add to the movie without taking the audience's mind from the story. An example of when special effects have gone bad ar Matrix 2, Day after Tomorrow, and Star Wars:Attack of the Clones... Good special effects: Pirates, Matrix 1, LOTR, etc.

EDITING: The movie must flow together... I hate movies that are choppy and hard to follow.

SELLING IT: Putting together a trailer and posters that won't give away too much of the plot, yet give the viewer a good taste of the movie is important for the box office sales.

~Lady E.
I think it all starts and ends with the script. If the script is well written and has good direction of story then thats a good start. I think most producers know whether a movie is going to be good or not before its even made.

In some cases a director can make more of a movie than a script allows but it depends on the type of movie.

Second would be execution of that script by the director.

Third would be the casting. If the casting decisions are made based on who would serve a particular character best then the movie has something unique, but if an actor is chosed simply for looks or box office appeal it can make even the best movies suspect.

Beyond the script, everything else is superflous to me.
You might be interested in checking out this
website .

In particular, check out The Need For Structure, Pts. 1-5, The Intentions of Storytelling , A Lesser Form, The Lifespan of Creativity, and Monsterization.
I think pacing is more importnt than ever. I'm tired of seeing movies that are start off well and then the last hour sucks. The Fellowship of the Ring is about as good example of an excellently paced movie.