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What is the Package Unit System in Film?

Throughout the history of filmmaking there have been a variety of different elements which have evolved to make the industry more efficient and effective. Think of the studio system as an early form of mass production of films. Which was actively engaged prior to 1950. But eventually the Package Unit System would be employed to take its place. The package unit system in film would eventually become the standard. But what is the package unit system in film and how is it different from the studio system?

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What is the Package Unit System?

The Package Unit System represented a new concept that essentially meant the producer organized a film project, secured financing, arranged for the laborers and skill.

As well as coordinated equipment and sites for production through a single leasing arrangement with a major studio. In addition to various support firms in order to produce the film.

Through the support communities, costumes, lighting, cameras, special effects, and various recording equipment needs were fulfilled as component packaging. 

This represented the package unit system and it took over the prior system of mass production of films by a studio.


Prior to the Package Unit System for film, on location shooting, and other needs, were really overseen by a studio. In fact, a studio would be responsible for the production.

And would generally mass produce the films that it would release. The package unit system would push out the prior studio system in which there would no longer be mass production of films.

Difference Between Studio System and Package Unit System

There were many differences between the studio system and the package unit system. For films prior to 1950, the studio system was completely responsible for everything!

From the oversight of the filmmaking and the creative processes to scriptwriting, production, and everything in-between.

As a result of the studio system, films were not largely being introduced to audiences in a way that they could relate and that they enjoyed.

Additionally, there was a lack of independence within the industry.

Complete Opposites

The package unit system introduced “packages” that included ideas developed outside major studios. This was completely opposite of the prior studio system.

In which all development of ideas originated almost entirely from within the studio. As a result, film packages would become a major source for labor and for materials used for film production. 

The package unit system would create competition for projects and would drive new creativity into the industry.

A producer would be responsible for overseeing a film rather than a single studio running the entire show.


In Summation

The package unit system created an industry of great talent and competition that the studio system was not capable of doing. Additionally, the package unit system would cause a shift in power.

No longer would studios and moguls be the ones with power in the industry. Instead the package unit system in film resulted in “stars” becoming the driving force of power behind films.

With the Directors and Actors involved being key reasons for a films’ success.