Fans, Blockbusterisation, and the Transformation of Cinematic Desire: Global Receptions of The Hobbit Film Trilogy

by Carolyn Michelle, Charles Davis, Ann Hardy, Craig Hight

This book explores the evolution of audience receptions of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy (2012-14) as an exemplar of the contemporary blockbuster event film franchise. Drawing on findings from a unique cross-cultural and longitudinal study, the authors argue that processes and imperatives associated with Hollywood ‘blockbusterisation’ shaped the trilogy’s conditions of production, format, content, and visual aesthetic in ways that left many viewers progressively disenchanted. The chapters address public and private prefigurations of the Hobbit trilogy, modes of reception, new cinematic technologies and the Hobbit hyperreality paradox, gender representations, adaptation and the transformation of cinematic desire, and the role of social and cultural location in shaping audience engagement and response. This book will appeal to audience researchers, Q methodologists, scholars and students in film and media studies, Tolkien scholars, and Hobbit fans and critics alike.

No More Status Quo!

Canadian Web-Series Creators’ Entrepreneurial Motives Through a Contextualized “Entrepreneuring As Emancipation” Framework
Emilia Zboralska, Research Associate

The increasing ubiquity of broadband Internet and the rapid rise and uptake of new online video capabilities and platforms are transforming the ecology of traditional television across the globe, and restructuring its economics, politics, culture, and norms. The Canadian television sector presents a particularly interesting case study given its highly regulated dimensions, acknowledged absence of widespread and consistent critical and economic success, and proximity to the world’s most formidable cultural producer, the United States. Through in-depth interviews with 41 creators and executives active in the production of scripted, Web-first content, this article explores the motives of individuals who choose to enter this turbulent space. Responding to the call by scholars for a more contextualized entrepreneurship studies, the article employs a “contextualized” version of Rindova, Barry, and Ketchen’s (2009) “entrepreneuring as emancipation” framework to better capture the “why” and “who” of production for the Web in Canada.

Making global audiences for a Hollywood ‘blockbuster’ feature film

Marketability, playability and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Charles Davis, Research Director

This article interprets two key concepts in movie marketing (marketability and playability) through an empirical examination of the effects of commercial interpellation of audiences for a Hollywood ‘blockbuster’ fantasy film, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012). The article reports results of two online surveys of Hobbit audiences, one in November 2012 in the weeks preceding theatrical release, and one in February–June 2013 among post-viewing audiences, employing a mixedmethods approach that includes Q sorting and a questionnaire. We identify and describe five main pre-release and five main post-viewing audience groups, showing that the film had greater marketability than playability. Three of the pre-release audience groups expressed a high degree of anticipation to see the film, but only one post-viewing audience group expressed a high degree of enjoyment, while the others expressed various degrees of disappointment. We discuss the attributes of the film that most affected the film’s marketability and playability for each of the audience groups during the interpellation process from prefiguration to reception.</>