The Movies is a business simulation game created by Lionhead Studios for Microsoft Windows and subsequently ported to Mac OS X by Feral Interactive. It was released on November 8, 2005 in North America, and November 11, 2005 in Europe after reaching gold status on October 8, 2005. The game allows players to take the role of a Hollywood film mogul, running a studio and creating films.
Much has been made about the film-making aspect of the game, as it allows players to easily create viewable works or machinima. The game is similar to the early 1990s film production game Stunt Island; the game is also similar to the 1988 game Charlie Chaplin, the 1996 game Steven Spielberg's Director's Chair and, to a lesser extent, the 1995 game 3D Movie Maker.
On 6 June 2006, the first, and to date, only expansion pack was released, The Movies: Stunts and Effects. This expansion added a host of new features, among which were stunts (and stunt doubles), and special effects, as well as the ability to designate custom camera angles. This game is also available on the Mac. The Mac port of the game was published by Feral Interactive and developed by Robosoft Technologies. It won Best Simulation Game at the BAFTA Video Games Awards for the Mac specific features that have been incorporated in the game.
In The Movies, players get the chance to run their own movie studio. The game can be divided into three main areas — designing the movie studio, forging the careers of movie stars and making movies. It is possible to focus on any of those areas that appeal most, and spend less time on the others. The game plays through from the birth of cinema to the present day and into the near future, with all the technology and historical advances that occur along that timeline. After the movies have been made, they can be played back for the viewer to watch. It is possible once the movie is made to add voice, text and music in post-production.
The two most important types of staff in the game are actors and directors, referred to as "stars" in the game. In order to keep stars in a positive mood, the player will need to give them a salary the stars deem satisfactory (relative to their success), an image the stars deem decent, a trailer of good quality, and a large entourage. Stars can also get stressed or bored, depending on how many movies the player puts them in. Each star has different thresholds regarding when they will get stressed or bored. If stars get stressed, they will resort to alcoholism or over-eating. Actors play a big role in The Movies. An actor's age and physique affects the quality of movies. Scary-looking actors are suited for horror roles. Younger, more handsome looking actors are more suited for romance movie roles. 30-year-old actors are suited for action roles, and older actors are suited for comedy roles. All actors and directors will retire at age 70. However, depending on a Star's experience in the movie's genre, the movie's quality will go up if they have an adequate level of experience, or down if they don't have enough experience. All films require crew members to carry out the filming process. Early films just require a camera operator and a clapperboard operator, but more advanced films require boom mike operators, lighting controllers and other specialised crew members. Other staff include extras (which can be promoted to Star status if they are good enough), janitors, scientists, scriptwriters, builders, and crew members.