Interested in learning more about MTV original TV movies? Since 1999, the popular music television channel has been making its own mark in the original movies niche with several films geared towards music audiences.
History of MTV Original TV Movies
MTV entered the original movie arena in 1999. The announcement correlated with Executive Vice President of Programming, Brian Graden naming Maggie Malina to a newly created position: that of Vice President of Motion Pictures for Television. The move into television seemed a natural decision for the network that was slowly expanding with more original programs such as repeat seasons of popular shows Road Rules and The Real World. MTV now competes with many major movie studios.
According to a Business Wire article, the intentions behind MTV original movies was to combine three categories of entertainment that would be of value to MTV viewers. The movies aim to combine "distinctive soundtracks" with real life situations. The movies also look to show how difficult it can be to grow up in the 20th and 21st centuries. This last step is important as much of the networks main demographic is under the age of 30.
Over the years, MTV has produced many popular original movies. The following is a short selection of some of these films:
The first MTV original movie, 2GETHER, is a movie about the creation of a boy band. However, the film is meant to be a spoof on the times. When the movie was written, it seemed as if every boy band fit the same formula. The movie followed this formula and openly mocked it. After the film, a track by the television band, "U + Me=Us", became mildly popular on MTV countdown show, TRL.
Another one of the first MTV movies, Jailbait told the story of an upperclassman accused of raping one of the underclassmen high school girls. The film is filled with characters many high school students would encounter in real life, from the religious virgin waiting until marriage to the pregnant student.
Love Song is a 2000 film featuring singer Monica playing Camille Livingston and Christian Kane playing Billy Ryan Gallo. As a med student, Camille is caught between trying to stay true to her heart or her father's will.
Carmen: A Hip-Hopera
A popular 2001 film by the network, Carmen: A Hip-Hopera starred Beyonce and Mekhi Phifer. The two starred in the film, a 'hip-hop' adaptation of the Georges Bizet's opera. The film features other famous cast members such as Mos Def, Jermaine Dupri and Wyclef Jean.
Anatomy of a Hate Crime
A controversial movie, Anatomy of a Hate Crime was based around the murder of Matthew Shepard. Shepard was an openly gay student in Wyoming who was murdered by homophobic students in the area. The film was the first MTV movie that was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award.
Another controversial choice, Wasted features friends Sam and Owen who happen to begin using heroin. The story follows the lives of these boys as their dependency on the drug continues.
The American Mall
One of the most recent MTV movies, The American Mall started with large amounts of publicity in 2008. The film shadows Ally, a music store and a standoff. It is meant to be similar to other popular films of the time like High School Musical and hit series Degrassi.
Another one of the most recent offerings, MTV recently released an original version of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, featuring Katherine Heigl.
One of the main reasons that MTV movies tend to be successful ventures for the network are that the channel remains loyal to its audience. The channel does not produce films made for middle-aged women, for example, and instead stays true to its younger crowd by creating characters that are real and stories that teens especially can relate to. Many of the more dramatic stories also provide a powerful educational lesson to younger viewers without becoming overtly preachy. The more music-focused pieces from the channel tend to create tracks that highlight what is popular at the time of production. For these reasons, MTV original TV movies will continue to do well for years to come.