Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The 1990s: technical advances

The early 1990s saw the rise of a commercially successful independent cinema in the United States. Although the box office was increasingly dominated by effects-heavy films such as Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) or Titanic (1997), films like Steven Soderbergh's sex, lies and videotape (1989) and Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs (1992) enjoyed significant commercial success both at the cinema and on home video.

The major studios would begin to create their own "independent" production companies to finance and produce such films. One of the most successful independents of the 1990s, Miramax Films, was bought by Disney the year before the release of Tarantino's runaway hit Pulp Fiction in 1994. The same year marked the beginning of film and video distribution online. Animated films aimed at family audiences also regained their popularity, with Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. 1995 saw the first feature length computer-animated feature with Pixar's Toy Story.

In the 1990s, cinema began the process of making another transition, from physical film stock to digital cinema technology. Meanwhile, in the home video realm, the DVD would become the new standard for watching movies after their standard theatrical releases.

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