In as early as 1895, the Berlin Wintergarten Theater hosted a movie presentation by Skladanowsky brothers. Another example of movies in these years is the silent film “A Trip to the Moon” by the French filmmaker Georges Méliès. Although the movie was a failure at the beginning because of the film’s incredibly high price, it became a huge success after the producers agreed to screen the film for free. Later on, in 1897, Méliès built one of the earliest film studios in the world. He later on produced and directed as many as 500 short movies.
The advance of the industry was especially sped up by the improvements in cameras. Better and more advanced cameras allowed movie makers to better capture scenes and resulted in higher quality movies that attracted more and more people to the cinemas.
It may sound quite surprising, but animation was incredibly quick to follow film making. In 1899 a 30-second animation was made to encourage people to send matches to British soldiers fighting Boer War in South Africa. It took some time for another animation to be produced that could rival the sophistication of the 30-second animation made in 1899. It was Edwin Porter’s “How Jones Lost his Roles”. In the early 1900’s, animations became much more realistic and picture movement became smoother.
Europe was the place to get all the newest, best and most successful films produced. More countries joined Britain in the booming age of the movie industry. France, Germany, the United States and Italy soon followed England and began producing movies in great numbers. Europe remained the biggest film maker for quite some time.
It was the First World War that tipped the balance over to the favor of the United States. Before then, France and Italy enjoyed worldwide fame and glory for their movies. With the destruction brought to Europe by the war, its movie industry was greatly damaged. In the 1920’s Hollywood was already dominating the cinemas with its average of 800 feature films per year. Charlie Chaplin is an example of the worldwide success of Hollywood during these years.
The sound era was another huge step forward in attracting masses of people to the movie theaters. The first use of sound in forms of dialogues as we know it today was in The Jazz Singer, which was released in the late 1927 by Warner Bros. Pictures. Soon other big names and companies in the industry realized that using sound in movies held the future.