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In the past movies were produced pretty fast. For example Charlie Chaplin made about 5-10 movies a year, often being actor, director and producer in one person. Today a movie often takes many months until completion. Why did the production of a movie become so much slower?

Clarification: I count the whole production time here, not only the pure filming.

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    I'd imagine there are a lot more things that need to be done to complete a modern movie. In the 1920's you didn't have to deal with lawyers to fight for rights to use different intellectual properties. Deal with executives who want to change the view of a director. Deal with expensive and tough to work with actors. Not to mention the amount of editing and refining that are done in movies now. It would also help that movies from the 1920's where silent, and didn't often last for longer then an hour. High budget films that are 2-3 hours with 500+ people working on it take time. – onewho Jul 9 '15 at 17:21
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    @Mnementh Probably because good answers cite sources and that can take a lot more time. If it were posted as is, I'd likely downvote because it makes a lot of (logical and probably accurate) claims without backing them up. – Catija Jul 9 '15 at 17:25
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    @Catija [citation needed] - Randall Munroe uses that tag sometimes at trivial stuff to make fun of it. I think most people agree movies back then were silent, a bit shorter and had lesser people involved. This are basically onewhos arguments. So I don't think he need to back this claims up, but it can never hurt to do so. – Mnementh Jul 9 '15 at 17:27
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    Citation or not, it could still use a little more fleshing out, be it just to elaborate on the undoubtedly valid points a little more. While the reasoning makes sense, it would just somehow be a pity to answer such a rather fundamental question with a mere single 5-lines paragraph (but that is admittedly only my entirely subjective feeling on the matter). ;-) – Napoleon Wilson Jul 9 '15 at 17:32
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    Am I the only one who thought, just from the title, that it was referring to the fps? – veryRandomMe Jul 9 '15 at 20:05
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Original Answer: I'd imagine there are a lot more things that need to be done to complete a modern movie. In the 1920's you didn't have to deal with lawyers to fight for rights to use different intellectual properties. Deal with executives who want to change the view of a director. Deal with expensive and tough to work with actors. Not to mention the amount of editing and refining that are done in movies now. It would also help that movies from the 1920's where silent, and didn't often last for longer then an hour. High budget films that are 2-3 hours with 500+ people working on it take time.

After looking further, while there appears to be this perception that older movies where quicker to produce this may not be the case. See Charlie Chaplin and "The Gold Rush", which was an

elaborate production, costing almost $1 million, included location shooting in the Truckee mountains with 600 extras, extravagant sets, and special effects. The last scene was not shot until May 1925, after 15 months of filming.

Meanwhile a more modern movie like Interstellar started filming on

August 6, 2013, in the province of Alberta.

and

Filming concluded in December 2013

meaning it only took about 4-5 months to shoot. So with this evidence it might be a misconception that older movies were quicker to produce. It might come down to the overall scope of the film, as well as the difficulties within the film's production.

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    See, and that's why looking up some citations is useful... you can find out you're wrong. :D – Catija Jul 9 '15 at 18:00
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    Nice finds. So my assumption is already wrong. – Mnementh Jul 9 '15 at 19:07
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    @Mnementh: note that in a production like Star Wars principal photography is generally a fraction of the total work needed, which spans well before and after the weeks where the cameras are actually rolling. – Tobia Tesan Jan 17 '16 at 12:59
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There was no television in the silent era, but audiences had a voracious appetite for films, so most studios tried to pump out movies as quickly as possible. However, depending on the year and the studio, films still might be produced quicker or slower than average. For instance, Laurel & Hardy spent about a month working on their silent films, although these were only two-reel (20 minute) comedies.

When Charlie Chaplin got into features, he spent three years each on his The Gold Rush, The Circus and City Lights. He was a perfectionist, and filmed scenes over and over. He scrapped whole scenes that he didn't like after spending days filming them. He also took vacations and put the films on hiatus when he couldn't find comic inspiration.

However, when he worked at Keystone in 1914, he might appear in 2-3 short comedies a month. These were filmed quickly, with barely a scenario and a lot of improvisation. Chaplin was happy when he worked at Mutual in 1916-1917, and he could devote a month or two to a two-reel comedy.

Most of the special effects in silent films (there could be quite a few), were actually done in-camera. The post-production part of filmmaking was editing, tinting (sometimes), preparing alternate negatives for foreign releases, and possibly preparing a score for the film. Only major films had an official music score, and only a few theaters actually used them.

If you look at the end credits of a modern movie, you will notice that there are all kinds of jobs credited like caterers, accountants, lawyers, hairdressers, animators and so on. While these jobs existed in the silent era, modern films and studios have a lot more bureaucracy that takes a lot more time. Also, modern studios are not geared up to produce as many films as quickly as possible these days. That does happen for episodic television though.

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