Behind every box office hit and Hollywood star is a movie mogul who makes it happen. In The Movies, that mogul is you. This simulation game, developed by Lionhead Studios, places players into the eyes of a studio owner, making them carry out the everyday roles of a movie maker. Players are able to construct their very own movie studio from scratch, hire talentless wannabes and turn them into stars, and, above all, create their very own unique films ranging in a variety of genres. Maintain and progress your lot, and eventually climb your way to the top of the industry with box office toppers.
Players have a choice to either play in a story mode, where they act as a rookie film maker in control of a small, currently unsuccessful studio, or in a sandbox mode (which must first be unlocked through the story mode. Sandbox mode is a free gameplay mode that gives players complete freedom over certain options of the game, such as size of lot and amount of starting money. Both modes, however, share the same basic fundamental goal: to make movies. Successful movies are determined by many factors, and the more success your movies have, the more critical acclaim and wealth your studio will gain.
Your studio lot will be fairly empty as you begin your career as a movie maker. The buildings that you construct on your lot vary in function and need, ranging from movie sets to restaraunts to surgical correction facilties. While not all of these may seem necessary to have, there is a good chance that a time will come when you will be required to build certain things to meet specific needs, especially of your movie stars. Some buildings, however, are absolutely vital to the movie making process, and they include:
- Staff Office - Hires contruction and custodial staff. *All studios start out with a staff office, located near the entrance gates.
- Stage School - Hires actors and directors.
- Casting Office - Assigns actors, directors, and crew to scripts.
- Crew Facility - Hires a crew to shoot your movies.
- Production Office - Releases your movies to the public.
- Script Office - Hires script writers to write your movies or lets your write your very own.
Movie sets, of course, are required to film movies. Sets are available for all movie genres, ranging from horror to romance.
There is also a selection of buildings that further enhance your movies, possibly giving them larger success in the box office and increasing your studio's reputation.
- Publicity Office - Increases public awareness of your film and the stars involved.
- Post Production - After a movie has finished shooting, post production allows you to add such things as subtitles, music, and even voiceovers to your movie. This is also the place that exports your movies to The Movies online communtity for the world to see.
- Laboratory - Hires researches that unlock new technologies to advance your studio and films. Unlock items such as new costumes, props, sets, and camera technology.
Lastly, there are buildings that can help increase the status of your stars by giving them a place for recreational pleasure, making them have surgery to better their looks, etc. All of them are completely optional, though help ease the movie making process.
- Makeover Department - Gives actors a new look that garner them new appeal.
- Cosmetic Surgery - Gives star some major appearence overhauls through nip and tucks, liposuctions, and implants.
- Snack Van - A small place to supply the stars with food for stress relief.
- Bar - Another place to let stars relieve stress, as well as helps build relationships between them.
- Restaraunt - Advanecs star relationships even further and yet again relieves stress.
- Rehab - Stars that develop bad addictions, such as alcohol and food, can go here to solve their problems, which increases their production and public image.
- Restrooms - These are required for stars to maintain a healthy hygiene.
- Trailers - Stars need trailers to stay happy. The bigger the star, the bigger the trailer should be.
- Star and Script Selling Facility - Allows you to sell any unwanted stars and scripts to gain extra cash.
There is also the matter of making your studio visually appealing. Adding in trees and other types of foliage increases your studio's status and will help keep morale up among stars. No one wants to work in an ugly studio, so be sure to fill yours with plenty of decoration. Aesthetic appeal is more important than it seems. Your studio's prestige is based on how nice it looks, its sanitation, organization, etc.
A movie lot requires a large variety of staff to maintain the studio's success. Actors and directors are not the only ones behind a film, however the actors are the main focus of the staff portion of this game.
- Actors - Play the lead roles in your movies. They can specialize in a certain genre, build relationships with each other, get addictions, and must be attended to if they are to remain happy. Their ratings will effect the movie ratings.
- Directors - Direct the movies, and effect the movie ratings.
- Crew - Operate the film equipment.
- Extras - Fill in nonessential roles in movies.
- Writers - Write scripts.
- Custodian - Make sure the lot is clean.
- Construction Worker - Build new buildings.
- Researchers - Unlock new technologies in the Laboratory.
If their studio is equipped with the required staff and facilities, players can now create movies. Creating a movie is a three part process:
- Script - As aforementioned, players have the choice to either hire writers to have a script created for them, or write their very own custom script. The former option is very simple, i.e. a hired writer creates a simple, generated script that is done after a certain amount of time. The latter, however, really puts the player in the shoes of a movie maker. Writing your own script allows you to create and customize every aspect of your movie, from which actors play the parts to the emotions on their faces to the sets the movie takes place on. Each of these aspects will also effect the movie's rating.
- Shooting - After a script is completed, the film itself is shot. This actually requires little player interaction, as the movie crew and actors will automatically shoot the movie per the script. Players are able to watch the filming process, which simply involves the crew moving from set to set to film each scene.
- Post-Production - After the film is shot in its entirety, players can add finishing touches of their own by adding in audio effects, voice acting, and reorganize/adjust the scenes..
The game was originally scheduled to come out for the PS2, the Xbox and the Gamecube as well as the PC, but for unspecified reasons the home console versions were cancelled.
An expansion disc entitled The Movies: Stunts & Effects was released in June 2006. This expansion added in new features to the game including stuntmen, new sets and costumes.
The Movies also had a large online component called The Movies Online. Here the player can upload their completed films for other users to view. Extra items are also available for download though the prop shop.
On the 5th of December The Movies Online was closed down by Lionhead due to the fact that so few people visited the site that it wasn't worthwhile to keep up from a financial point of view.
Some of the better movies remain up for download and a few fansites support uploads of movies made within The Movies so that people still have a place to show of their creations.
There was talk in Lionhead of expanding the game further, but the game never sold enough to warrant a sequel.
- Pentium III 800mhz or Athlon 800mhz or higher.
- Windows 95/98/XP/2000 OS.
- 256MB Ram.
- 32MB 3D accelerator card, NVIDIA or ATI.
- 8x CD-ROM or 4x DVD for premiere edition.
- 2.4GB Hard Disk Space.
- Direct X 9.0c compatible sound card