The making and showing of motion pictures became a source of profit almost as soon as the process was invented.
Upon seeing how successful their new invention, and its product, was in their native France, the Lumières quickly set about touring the Continent to exhibit the first films privately to royalty and publicly to the masses.
In each country, they would normally add new, local scenes to their catalogue and, quickly enough, found local entrepreneurs in the various countries of Europe to buy their equipment and photograph, export, import and screen additional product commercially.
The "Oberammergau Passion Play" of 1898 was the first commercial motion picture ever produced.
Other pictures soon followed, and motion pictures became a separate industry that overshadowed the vaudeville world.
Dedicated theaters and companies formed specifically to produce and distribute films, while motion picture actors became major celebrities and commanded huge fees for their performances.
In the 1860s, mechanisms for producing artificially created, two-dimensional images in motion were demonstrated with devices such as the zoetrope, mutoscope and praxinoscope.
These machines were outgrowths of simple optical devices (such as magic lanterns) and would display sequences of still pictures at sufficient speed for the images on the pictures to appear to be moving, a phenomenon called persistence of vision. Naturally the images needed to be carefully designed to achieve the desired effect, and the underlying principle became the basis for the development of film animation.
With the development of celluloid film for still photography, it became possible to directly capture objects in motion in real time. Early versions of the technology sometimes required a person to look into a viewing machine to see the pictures which were separate paper prints attached to a drum turned by a handcrank. The pictures were shown at a variable speed of about 5 to 10 pictures per second, depending on how rapidly the crank was turned.
Some of these machines were coin operated. By the 1880s the development of the motion picture camera allowed the individual component images to be captured and stored on a single reel, and led quickly to the development of a motion picture projector to shine light through the processed and printed film and magnify these "moving picture shows" onto a screen for an entire audience.
These reels, so exhibited, came to be known as "motion pictures". Early motion pictures were static shots that showed an event or action with no editing or other cinematic techniques.