Last week I wrote about the Fast and the Furious movie franchise. When I looked up how much that series has made I spiraled into a wormhole of looking up other successful movie franchises.
Before I knew it, I was looking at a list of the top grossing movies of all time. That was when I noticed something. I have not seen 5 of the top 10 grossing movies of all time. There have been nearly 10 billion dollars worth of movies that I have not seen, that basically everyone else has seen.
That actually wasn’t that surprising. I’m the guy who doesn’t have a Facebook account, so I will never be asked to be the spokesman for popular culture.
That being said, my look at the top grossing movies of all time did get me wondering about the history of film. In particular, the very early history…
Wonder Why Wednesday: What was the first movie ever made?
The question of the first ever movie turns out to be a complicate one. It all boils down to what we consider a movie. Is it the first motion picture ever recorded? Is it the first thing every shown on a projector? Or is it the first film ever copyrighted?
Each question has a different answer. Let’s look at each.
The First Motion Picture Ever Made – The Horse In Motion (1878)
In 1878, California senator Leland Stanford asked Englishman Eadweard Muybridge to use technology to settle a bet between horse owners: when a horse runs, does it ever have all four hooves off the ground at the same time? Muybridge used 24 cameras to take separate photographs. He then assembled them into a stop-motion movie, creating the first “motion picture.”
The First Copyrighted Movie Ever Made – Fred Ott’s Sneeze (1893-4)
This is reportedly the first movie ever made at Thomas Edison’s Black Maria rooftop studio. The actual name of this movie is Record of a Sneeze, which was made in late 1893 and copyrighted on January 7, 1894.
First Movie Ever Made for Projection — Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory (1895)
This is often referred to as the first real motion picture ever made because it was filmed by the Lumiere Brothers with a the Cinématographe, or an all-in-one camera. A private screening of the projected movie was held on March 22, 1895. The Lumiere’s then held their first paid, public screening of movies on December 28, 1895 in the basement the Salon Indien du Grand Café in Paris.
No matter what you consider the first movie ever made, one thing is clear…movies have come a long way. What began with horses running and mustached-men sneezing has turned into cars parachuting out of airplanes.