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i Making global audiences for a Hollywood ‘blockbuster’ feature film: Marketability, playability and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) Charles H. Davis, Ryerson University Carolyn Michelle and Ann Hardy, University of Waikato Craig Hight, University of Newcastle A later version of this paper was published as: C.H. Davis, C. Michelle, A. Hardy, and C. Hight (2016). Making Global Audiences for a Hollywood 'Blockbuster' Feature Film: Marketability, Playability, and The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey, by Journal of Fandom Studies 4(1): 105126.

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    MakingglobalaudiencesforaHollywoodblockbusterfeaturefilm:

    Marketability,playabilityandTheHobbit:AnUnexpectedJourney(2012)

    CharlesH.Davis,RyersonUniversity

    CarolynMichelleandAnnHardy,UniversityofWaikato

    CraigHight,UniversityofNewcastle

    Alaterversionofthispaperwaspublishedas:C.H.Davis,C.Michelle,A.Hardy,andC.Hight(2016).MakingGlobalAudiencesforaHollywood'Blockbuster'FeatureFilm:Marketability,Playability,andTheHobbit:anUnexpectedJourney,byJournalofFandomStudies4(1):105126.

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    Abstract

    Thisarticleinterpretstwokeyconceptsinmoviemarketing(marketabilityandplayability)throughanempiricalexaminationoftheeffectsofcommercialinterpellationofaudiencesforaHollywoodblockbusterfantasyfilm,PeterJacksonsTheHobbit:AnUnexpectedJourney(2012).ThearticlereportsresultsoftwoonlinesurveysofHobbitaudiences,oneinNovember2012intheweeksprecedingtheatricalrelease,andoneinFebruaryJune2013amongpostviewingaudiences,employingamixedmethodsapproachthatincludesQsortingandaquestionnaire.Weidentifyanddescribefivemainprereleaseandfivemainpostviewingaudiencegroups,showingthatthefilmhadgreatermarketabilitythanplayability.Threeoftheprereleaseaudiencegroupsexpressedahighdegreeofanticipationtoseethefilm,butonlyonepostviewingaudiencegroupexpressedahighdegreeofenjoyment,whiletheothersexpressedvariousdegreesofdisappointment.Wediscusstheattributesofthefilmthatmostaffectedthefilm'smarketabilityandplayabilityforeachoftheaudiencegroupsduring the interpellation process from prefiguration to reception.

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    Introduction

    Researchonfans1demonstratesawiderangeofidentities,literacies,engagementsandbehaviours,andproposescriteriatodistinguishfansfromotheraudiencemembers.Thesecriteriamayincludedegreeorvigorofengagement;specificfanidentities;authenticity;activity,creativity,orproductivity;specialexpertiseorliteracy;adoptionoftastemakingorgatekeepingroles;devotion;marginalitywithrespecttomainstreamconsumers;resistancetocommercialism;andinvolvementinacommunityofpersonswithsharedinterests,tastesorviews.Thediversityoffansandfandomsservestoremindscholars,intheiraccountsofaudienceengagement,nottoforfeitasenseofthevariationandvarietyofmeaningsandselfunderstandingscirculatingwithinfancultures(Hills2007:151).Ultimately,however,thequestionofwhatshouldultimatelyconstitutethecentralobjectoffanstudiesisacrucialone(BusseandGray2011:432).

    Apossiblyusefulapproach,whichweexplorehere,istoexaminevarietiesofengagementamongspecificaudienceformations.Therearemanypossiblewaystoapprehendaudienceformations,mostofwhicharebasedonbehaviouralorsociodemographicvariables(Webster2014,chapter5).Sinceweareprimarilyinterestedinsubjectiveengagement,weadoptanapproachthattheorizesandobservesaudiencesubjectivities.WethereforelookinthedirectionofFishsinterpretivecommunities(1979),whichweconceptualizeasgroupsofaudiencememberswithsharedsubjectivitiesormatteringmaps(Grossberg1992).WeproposeatypologyofHobbitfilmaudiences,partlyinresponsetorecentcallsforaudienceresearchthatsupportsgeneralization(e.g.Schrder2012)andaudiencetypologies(Barkeretal.2008:222),andalsotopermitcomparisonwithpublishedtypologiesofcloselyrelatedaudiences(asinMeers2006;Mikosetal.2008;Trobiaetal.2008).WeemployMichellesCompositeModel(2007)toprovideaconceptualframeworkthatdistinguishesamongmodesofreception,andweuseamixedqualiquantitativeapproachborrowedfrompsychologyQmethodologytohelpmap,describeandinterpretthesharedsubjectiveorientationsthatdefineaudiencegroupsinresponsetoaspecifictextinthiscase,PeterJacksonsblockbusterfeaturefilm,TheHobbit:AnUnexpectedJourney(AUJ,2012).

    TheHollywoodentertainmentindustryseekstomanufactureandmobilizeaudiencesforblockbusterfilmsviahugepromotionalcampaignsthatactivelyinterpellat[e]viewersasfans(BusseandGray2011:431).Byelicitingviewersengagement,thesecampaignsattractnotonlyconventionalfansbutalsoconsumerswhoareencouragedtodevelopfannishdispositionssuchasadesiretolearnmore,meetlikemindedpeople,orextendtheirenjoymentofaculturalproduct.Butwithneitherdeeprootsinfancommunitiesnordeephistoricalknowledgeofafanculture,fannishconsumersmayenactfandomsmorecloselyresemblingahobbyorstyleofconsumption(BusseandGray2011).

    InthisarticleweareinterestedinwhatGrayetal.(2007:16)callfandomsexpansionintoregularconsumptionbyinvestigatingvariationsinaudiencesresponsestocommercialinterpellationinthecaseofamajorHollywoodfeaturefilm.WeinvestigateTheHobbit:AUJsmarketabilityandplayabilityintermsofaudiencessubjectiveorientationstowardsthefilmbeforeandafteritwasreleased.Weidentifyanddescribetheprincipalpreandpostviewing

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    audiencegroups,anddiscusstheirpositionswithrespecttothefilmanditsperceivedattributes.Weshowthatviewerswithdifferingliteracies,motivationsandintertextualallegiancesrespondeddifferentlytointerpellationstoengagewithacommercialentertainmentproduct.Ourfindingsrevealthatthefilmhadgreatermarketabilitythanplayability.Whilemanyviewersrespondedfavorablytothefilm,othersexpressedresistancethroughrejectionofthetextspreferredreading.Ourfindingscontributetounderstandingoffansandfannishaudienceengagementbyidentifyingfactorsaffectingaudienceretentionorlossduringthecommercialinterpellationprocessfromprefigurationtoreception.

    Marketability,playabilityandblockbusterfilms

    Tocounterincreasingcompetitionfromscreenbasedentertainmentonotherplatforms,Hollywoodstudiosannuallyproducesafewexpensive,highlypromotedblockbustertentpoleeventfilmsintendedtoappealtolargeglobalaudiences(Elberse2013;JckelandDbler2006;Milleretal.2005;StringerinLewis2003).Blockbustereventfilmsaredesignedtohaveveryhighearningpotential.Theycorrespondinglyhavehighproductioncosts,largemarketingbudgets,andarereleasedinthousandsoftheatersconcurrently.AlthoughNorthAmericaisthereferencemarketforHollywoodblockbusterfilms,mostincomeisearnednotintheNorthAmericantheatricalmarket,butinothergeographicmarkets,othermediawindows,andindownstreamfranchiseproductssuchasmerchandisingandlicensing,sequelsandspinoffs.Thefilmsperformanceintheatresisthereforeimportantnotonlyintermsofboxofficereceipts,butintermsofdemandforancillaryrevenuegeneratingopportunities.

    Commercialinterpellationofaudiencesformajorfeaturefilmstakesplaceintwosteps.Thefirststepistocultivateanticipationamongpotentialviewersbeforethefilm'swidereleaseintheatres,becauseofthecrucialrequirementtoelicitsufficientinterestamongaudiencestomotivatethemtotraveltotheatresduringthefilmstheatricalviewingwindow.Thesecondstepistocreateenoughenjoymenttoelicitpositivewordofmouthamongviewers,attractingfurthertheatricalattendance(Kerrigan2010;Marich2009).Thismusthappenveryquickly,becauseonceafilmhasbeenreleased,theimportanceofownedandpaidmediavisibilitydeclinessubstantially,andearnedvisibilityviawordofmouthandprofessionalcriticalreviewsdeterminesthefateofthefilmintheatres(DeVany2004;LampelandShamsie2000).

    Marketability,afilmsabilitytodrawviewersintotheatres,denoteshowattractiveafilmistoitsprospectivetargetaudience(OReillyandKerrigan2013:770).Attributescontributingtofeaturefilmmarketabilityincludegenre,celebrities,releasedate,familiarityasanadaptationorsequel,useofcomputergeneratedimagery,andvolumeandclevernessofpromotionalhype(ElberseandEliashberg2003;KriderandWeinberg1998).Playabilitydenoteshowwelltheaudiencewillrespondtothefilmoncetheycommittowatchingit(OReillyandKerrigan2013:771)andconsequentlyhowwellthefilmelicitspositivewordofmouthamongviewers.Ideally,afilmwillhavestrongmarketabilityandplayability.Failingthat,itmusthavestrongmarketability.Studiosseektobuildmarketabilityandplayabilityintotheirproductinevery

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    stageofthefeaturefilminnovationprocess,fromscriptselectiontoscreeningprereleaseversionsoffilmsfortestaudiences(Griff2012;Shutt2003;Silver2007;Zafirau2009).

    Blockbusterfilmsareveryheavilypromotedbeforerelease,exposingprereleaseaudiencestoahugevolumeofparatextualmaterialdesignedtoelicitdesiretoseethefilm.2Studiosinterpellatetheprereleaseaddresseeaudienceviaconventionalandsocialmediatocreatemarketmomentumthroughawarenessofthefilmandelicitationofinterest.Movietrailerssuggestthefilm'svalueproposition,attractingaddresseeaudiencesandpresumablyalsodeflectingviewerswhowouldnotenjoythefilm.Socialmediabuzzbeforereleaseprovidesearlyfeedbacktothefilmscollectiveauthorswhichmaybeusedtomodifythefilmsdesign.

    However,asstudioshavediscoveredoverthepastseveralyears,itdoesntmatterwhetherornotblockbustershaveplayability.Thekeytotheirpromotionandreleaseisamarketabilitythatisfactoredintotheprojectfromtheverystartofdevelopment(Lewis2003:48).YetthereisagrowingsenseinHollywoodthatthestudiosemphasisonmarketabilityoverplayabilityishavingdeleteriouseffectsonmoviegoing.JeffreyKatzenberg,CEOofDreamWorksAnimation,recentlycitedthisasthereasonwhymanymoviessuck:

    todaythethingthatisprobablymostaskewinHollywoodistheissueofmarketabilityversusplayability.Andwhatthatreallymeansisthatthereisthissortofunholyalliancethathasexistedforeverbetweenartandcommerce,showandbiz.Andtodayitsoutofbalanceanditstoomuchonthebiz,anditstoomuchonthecommerceanditstoomuchonthemarketability.(asquotedinMangalindan2011)

    TheHobbit:AUJconformswelltotheblockbustermodel.Accordingtothetradepress,thefirstHobbitfilmcost$250Mtoproduceand$81Mtomarket(Rosz2012).Itsmarketingcampaignincludedthousandsofitemsconsistingofnews,gossip,productionvideoblogs,posters,trailers,specialpreviewsatfanconventions,interviewswithcelebrities,anofficialFacebookpage,YouTubechannel,website,trailers,Twittermessages,acostumecontest,andthelaunchofvariousitemsofthemedmerchandise.Bythetimeofitsreleaseon14December2012,1310websiteswerehyperlinkedtotheofficialHobbitwebsite,andTheHobbit:AUJwasthetopratedfilmintheIMDbMovieMeter(Fiorelli2013).Releasedinover4000theatresinNorthAmerica,thefilmsglobalearningsexceeded$1BbyJune2013.3AlthoughTheHobbit:AUJcontinuedplayinginsomeNorthAmericantheatersfourmonthsafteritsrelease,thefilmearned78percentofitstotal$303MNorthAmericanboxofficerevenuesinthetwoweeksbetween14December2012and1January2013,illustratingtheimportanceoftimingandmomentuminattractingcasualmoviegoers.4

    AhighlyplayableblockbusterfantasyfilmmobilizestheconventionsofthehighconceptHollywoodaesthetic(Wyatt1994)toproduceapowerfulsubjectiveexperiencewhichOlsontermsaweinspiring:

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    InthecaseoftheHollywoodaesthetic,thisisprimarilyinstilledbyhighproductionvaluesthatpresentmajesticvistas,lavishsets,andlushcostuming.Newdigitalproductiontechniquesfurtherenhancetheaudienceawe.(1999:12)

    Theawesomeviewingexperienceprovidedbyaneventmovieissaidtobe

    likeathemeparkride,thesensationsphysicallyexperiencedaremoreimportantthananyideasthefilmmaybearticulating.Simplecharactersandnarrativesdonotdemandmuchthoughtfromaudiencesandsocanbemorereadilyenjoyed.(Lacey2002:11)

    SeveralhighconceptattributeswereincorporatedintoTheHobbit:AUJtoenhancethetheatricalcinematicexperienceonlargescreensandtobroadenaudienceappeal.Jacksonsadaptationcombinesadvancedcomputergeneratedimagery,stereoscopic3Dandhighframerate(HFR)toproduceahyperrealisticaestheticthatpromised,tomultitudesofTolkienandLordoftheRingsfilmtrilogyfans,acompellingimmersiveexperienceinthefantasticalworldofMiddleearth.Sensuousexcessassheersensory,narrative,andemotionaloverloadwasalsoahighlyvaluedexperienceamongmanyviewersofJacksonsLordoftheRingsfilms(Barker2009:301).

    Translatedintocontemporaryaudiencereceptionterminology,whenviewersexperienceahighdegreeofcognitiveandemotionalengagementandfullimmersioninthetext,aresweptawaybythestory,andmayexperiencestrongfeelingsofidentificationwiththecentralcharactersortextualthemestheyareconsideredtoexperiencethefilminatransparentmode(Michelleetal.2012:110).Inthecaseoffictionaltexts,viewersadoptingatransparentmode

    temporarilysuspenddisbeliefandcriticaldistancetograntfictionalworldsthestatusofreallife,orarealisticsliceoflife,forthepurposeofenteringintothestoryandengaginginit.Indeed,suspensionofdisbeliefisanessentialprecursortoderivingthespecificformsofpleasureandenjoymentintendedbythemakersofsuchtexts.(Michelle2007:196)

    Amultinationalmediaconglomeratemayactivateaparticularreadingofatextdesignedtoappealinspecificwaystospecificaudiences(WaetjenandGibson2007).AlthoughTheHobbit:AUJpromisedmultiplepleasurestoprereleaseaudiences,thepreferredreadingofthefilm(i.e.,thevaluepropositionasintendedbythefilmsmakers)undoubtedlylayinthepromiseoftransportationtoMiddleearth,conveyingasenseofawe,immersion,andenchantment,asPeterJacksonhimselfmadeclearinhisFacebookQ&Anotes:Itrytomakemymoviesimmersive.Iwanttodrawtheaudienceoutoftheirseats,andpullthemintotheadventure(https://www.facebook.com/PeterJacksonNZ/notes).

    Methodology

    WeconductedanonlinesurveyofHobbitprereleaseaudiencesinthethreeweeksbeforetheworldpremiereofthefilm,heldinNewZealand(wherethefilmwasshotandpostproduced)inlateNovember2012.Thissurveyyieldedonethousandusableresponsesfromindividualsin59

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    countries(Davisetal.2014).Followingthereleaseofthefilm,asecondonlinesurveyofHobbitaudienceswasconductedinthefirsthalfof2013.Thesurveywasofferedinsevenlanguages(English,French,Spanish,Dutch,German,DanishandFlemish),usinganidenticalinstrumentthatwastranslatedintoeachlanguage.Morethan2800Hobbitviewersfrommorethan80countriesparticipated.

    WeemployedanovelmixedmethodssurveytechniquecombiningQmethodologywithaconventionalquestionnaire.Qmethodologyspurposeistoidentifysharedsubjectiveviewpointsamongrespondents.5Qmethodologyinvolvescreationofamodelofthediscursivefieldorconcourseofthingsthatpeoplecanthinkorsayonaparticulartopic.Wecollectedhundredsofstatementsfromsocialmediasites,articlesinthepress,reviewsanddocumentsreleasedbythefilmspublicityapparatusbothbeforeandafterthefilmsrelease.Wethenselectedasampleofstatements(inthiscase,about40)torepresentsignificantissuesorthemeswithinthelargerconcourseduringeachperiod.TheQsurveyrequiredrespondentstosortthesestatementsaboutTheHobbit:AUJfrom+4(mostagree)to4(mostdisagree),effectivelyproducingadescriptivemodelofeachrespondent'sviewpoint.Respondentsalsoprovidedqualitativecommentsaboutthestatementswithwhichtheymostagreedandmostdisagreed.ThematrixofbypersonQsortsisreducedthroughprincipalcomponentsanalysiswithacommercialsoftwareprogram,PCQ,topermitidentificationofsharedviewpointsamongrespondents.Althoughidiosyncraticviewpointsarealwayspossible,typicallythenumberofmajorsharedviewpointsisrelativelysmallfewerthanahalfdozen.Forourpurposes,thesesharedviewpointsdefinetheaudienceformations.Thequestionnairescollectedqualitativeinformationaboutrespondentsconsumptionofthefilmandtheircommentsaboutthefilmviewingexperience,aswellasrelevantsociodemographicdata.

    WeconceptualizeandmeasuremarketabilityofTheHobbit:AUJasthedegreeofanticipationtoseethefilmamongprereleaseaudiences.RespondentsintheprereleasesurveywereaskedtoindicateHowimportantisitforyoutoseeTheHobbit?onafivepointscalefromnotatallimportant(1)toextremelyimportant(5).WealsocreatedanindexofanticipationbyaddingthescoresfromeightQstatementsexpressinginterestinseeingthefilm(from1=moststronglydisagreeto9=moststronglyagree).6Table2presentstheeightstatementsusedtocreatethisindex,thescoresforeachstatementforeachofthefiveprincipalprereleaseaudienceformations,andthemeanscorefortheindexofanticipation.7

    Weconceptualizeplayabilityashighlyenjoyablesubjectivetransportationintothefilmsstoryworld.Wecallthisimmersiveexperienceenchantment.ImmersiveenchantmentamongHobbit:AUJviewersismeasuredwithanindexofsixQstatementsexpressingfeelingsofabsorptionor,conversely,boredom.8Table4presentsthesixstatementsweusedtocreatetheindexofenchantment,andthescoresoneachstatementforeachofthefiveprincipalpostviewingHobbitaudiences.

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    MarketabilityandprereleaseHobbitaudiences

    OursurveyofTheHobbit:AUJsprereleaseaudiencesidentifiedfivemajorgroups,twoofwhichclearlywerethefilmscoreaddresseeaudiences(seeTable1).9LoTRfilmfans(herelabelledH0:G1)10regardedTheHobbit:AUJasanextensionofJacksonspreviousLoTRfilmtrilogy,andindescribingtheiranticipationfortheforthcomingfilmoftenmadereferencetotheirverypositiveexperienceofthesepreviousfilms.Asa58yearoldCanadianwomanexplained,

    IvebeenaTolkienfanformostofmylifeandafterlovingwhatPeterJacksondidwiththeLotRtrilogy,Icantwaittoseethisnewmovie.

    Asecondhighlyinterestedsegment,Tolkienaficionados(H0:G2),approachedthefilmasanadaptationofafamiliarandcherishedchildren'sbookthattappeddeepfeelingsrelatedtochildhoodandfamily.Whilequiteenthusiasticabouttheforthcomingfilm,thisaudienceexpressedsomeapprehensionaboutthefidelityofthebooktofilmadaptation.Saida19yearoldFilipinowoman,

    Iread[TheHobbit]whenIwasachildThisbookanditsinfluenceonmehasbeenacrucialpartofmylifeandeventhoughI'mscaredthatitwouldnotliveuptothehype,Ineedtoseeit...ThebookisoneofthefewthingsmyfatherandIbondedoverwhenIwasyoung.SeeingthiswithhiminthemoviehousewouldbesomethingthatIneverimaginedasakid.(italicsinoriginal)

    Ofthethreeotherprereleaseaudiencegroups,one(Celebrityfollowers,H0:G3)consistedmainlyoffemalesinterestedprimarilyinthefilmsactorsratherthanintheTolkienstoryworld,another(Anxiousinvestors,H0:G4)consistedofpersonsconcernedaboutthefilmseconomicandreputationalspilloversinNewZealand,andone(AngryanddisappointedJacksoncritics,H0:G1)wasoutragedovercertainpoliticalandcreativeaspectsofthefilm.11

    Figure1summarizesthedegreeofanticipationamongthefiveprereleaseaudiences.ThetwomosteagergroupswereLoTRfilmfans(H0:G1)andTolkienaficionados(H0:G2).Almost94percentofLoTRfilmfansand89percentofTolkienaficionadosbelievedittobequiteorextremelyimportanttoseethefilm.Thesetwogroupsrespondedveryfavorablytothefilmspromotionalcampaign,illustratingthehighlevelofloyaltyandeagernessamongtheseprereleaseaudiencegroups,ofwhomsomemembershadbeenwaitingformanyyearstoseeTheHobbitonscreen(Davisetal.2014).LoTRfilmfansandTolkienaficionadosscored55and53outof72,respectively,ontheindexofanticipation,andtheirmeanscoreswererespectively4.6and4.4outof5onthescaleofperceivedimportanceofseeingthefilm(Table2).

    ThepromotionalcampaignalsocaughttheattentionofCelebrityfollowers(H0:G3),audienceswithaparticularinterestintheshowscast.Celebrityfollowersscored50/72ontheindexofanticipationand3.9/5onthescaleofperceivedimportanceofseeingthefilm.Atotalof69percentofCelebrityfollowersconsideredittobequiteorextremelyimportanttoseeTheHobbit:AUJ(Figure1).

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    Buttheinterpellationorchestratedbythemoviemarketingapparatusdidnotconvincetheothertwoprereleaseaudiencegroupstoseethefilm.Anxiousinvestors(H0:G4)wereambivalentandinnohurrytoseeit,whileAngryanddisappointedJacksoncritics(H0:G1)objectedtothefilm,andinmanycasesplannednottoseeitatall(Table2).Thesegroupsscoredverylowonthescaleofperceivedimportanceofseeingthefilm(2.6and2.0,respectively).Fewerthan20percentofAngryanddisappointedJacksoncritics(H0:G1)orAnxiousinvestors(H0:G4)consideredittobequiteorextremelyimportanttoseethefilm(Figure1).

    ThetopinterestsandmotivationsofeachprereleaseaudiencegrouptoseeTheHobbit:AUJareshowninTable3.ThebroadappealoftheHobbitbookorofJ.R.R.TolkienacrossallaudiencegroupsexceptCelebrityfollowers(H0:G3)isevident;particularlynotableistheverystronginterestofTolkienaficionados(H0:G2)inTolkienandhisworks(87percentofmentions).Celebrityfollowers,ontheotherhand,wereattractedoverwhelminglybyoneofthestarsinthefilm(76percentofmentions).

    RespondentswereaskedtoindicatewhattheyweremostlookingforwardtoinTheHobbit:AUJ.Interestinthebooktofilmadaptation,andcuriosityaboutthewaysthefilmmakerswouldrealizeMiddleearthonscreen,areevidentacrossallfiveprereleaseaudiences.ThefilmsmarketabilitytoaudiencegroupH0:G3wasenhancedbytheinclusionofcertainadmiredactors.However,the coreaddresseeaudiencesegments,LoTRfilmfans(H0:G1)andTolkienaficionados(H0:G2),expressedstrongestinterestinreturningtoMiddleearth.Thus,themostenthusiasticpreviewersofthefilmanticipatedapowerfullyimmersiveviewingexperience.ThiswasthekeytothefilmsmarketabilitytoindividualswithinterestinTolkiensstoryworldthroughTolkienswritingsorviaJacksonsearlierLoTRfilmtrilogy.

    PlayabilityandpostviewingHobbitaudiences

    Playabilityisthefilmspowertoinducepositiveresponsesinviewers,elicitinghighlevelsofwordofmouthreferrals.AmongTheHobbit:AUJspostviewingaudiences,onegroupexpressedaverystrongpositiveresponse,whichtheyassociatedwithasenseoftransportationtoMiddleearth.TheystronglyagreedwithQstatementsreferringtoexperiencinganoverwhelmingsenseofjoyandenchantment,alossofawarenessoftimepassing,andthedesiretoremainevenlongerinthefictionalstoryworldofferedbythefilm(seeTable4).WecallthisaudiencegroupEnchantedHobbitfans(H1:G1).SaidEnchantedHobbitfans:

    Thefilmwassobeautifullydonecharacterizations,scenery,costuming,storyline.Itwasallsorich,likebeingatafeast.Isawthefilmtwice,andeachtimefeltlikeIcouldsitthroughanotherfewhoursandwantedtogobackformore.(Americanwoman,39)

    Iliterallycried.Multipletimes.Ima33yearoldmanandIcriedrightatthebeginning,andespeciallywhenIsawGaladriel.Iabsolutelylovedit...ILOVEDthe48fps3Dversion.Lovedit.Ittookaboutfiveminutestogetusedto,andIwasthere,inMiddleearth,witholdfriends.(Americanman,33)

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    IfIcould,Iwouldsitdownandwatchallthreemoviesatonce.Oncethemoviestarts,Iamattentivetoeverydetail.Iamnotboredorrestless.Themovieflowedperfectly....IhaveseenthemovieseventimesnowandIstillthinkthesamethingeachtime.Thelongerthemoviethebetter.(Americanwoman,36)

    ImmersivetransportationtoMiddleearthwassostrongthatsomeH1:G1viewersexperiencedasenseofdissonancewhenreturningtotherealworldattheendofthefilm:

    Fromthefirstbarsofthemusictotheendcredits,Iwasmesmerised.LeftthecinemainatranceandwanderedaroundthecityforanhourfeelingasifIdlandedonanother,unfamiliar,andunappealingplanet.(Germanwoman,52)

    Also,formanyH1:G1viewers,thefilmhadadeeplypersonalmeaningthatspilledoverintoreallife.Saida21yearoldAmericanwoman,

    AsItoldPeterJacksonatascreeningofthefilmthenightbeforetheNYCpremiereofTheHobbit,Yourfilmschangedandsavedmylife.ThefirstinstallmentoftheHobbittrilogygavemesomethingtolookforwardtowhennothingelseseemedenough.Whileitmayseemhorrendouslyhyperbolic,waitingtoseeTheHobbit:AnUnexpectedJourneysavedmylife.12

    Withstrongemotionalattachmenttothefilm,EnchantedHobbitfanswereveryenthusiasticabouttheirviewingexperience,andtheywereconsequentlyeagertocommunicatetheirenjoyableexperiencetoothers,assuggestedbythepreponderanceofH1:G1viewersamongoursurveyrespondents.

    Otheraudiencesegmentsexpressedresponsesrangingfrommoderatelyenthusiastictostronglynegative.Theseviewersexperiencedthefilmindifferentvarietiesofamediatedmode.Inamediatedmode,viewersareovertlyawareofthe

    constructednatureofthetextasamediaproductionasanelaborationofestablishedmediacodesandconventions.Mediatedreadingsarethusgenerallycharacterizedbyamoredistantorseparaterelationshipbetweentextandviewer.Inadoptingamediatedmodeofreception,viewerscharacteristicallydrawon(oftenquiteconsiderable)knowledgeofaspectsofmediaproduction,aestheticideals,genericconventions,andthefunctionsandmotivationsofthefilmandtelevisionindustries.Attimes,thisknowledgemayinterrupttheprocessofidentificationand/ormilitateagainstviewersengagementwiththemessagecontentofmediatexts.(Michelle2007:203)

    Whileexperiencingaspectacularfantasyactionfilminamediatedmodemayyieldviewingpleasure,itdoesnotyieldtheenchantedpreferredreading.Disruptionofthetransparentpreferredviewingexperiencewasprovoked,amongsomeviewers,byspecificfilmattributes:thelibertiestakenbyJacksoninadaptingTolkiensbooktothescreen,theunpleasantperceptualeffectsgeneratedbythefilmstechnologicalenhancements(3D,CGIandHFR),theperceivedtediumoftheactionsequences,andthelengthofthefilm.

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    AmediatedmodeofreceptionwasevidentamongDisappointedTolkienreaders(H1:G2),whofeltTheHobbit:AUJfailedtocapturethespiritofthenovel.Theycomparedthefilmunfavorablywiththebook,stronglyagreeingwithstatement17thatTherewastoomuchdeviationfromthebookandtoomuchemphasisonaddingactionscenes.IwishithadstuckmorecloselytoJ.R.R.Tolkiensoriginalstoryintoneandemphasis.DisappointedTolkienreadersconsideredthatthefilmemphasizedactionattheexpenseofcharacterdevelopment,attributingthistocommercialpanderingtothelowestcommondenominatoroftaste.CommentedaSouthAfricanman(36),

    Igotthefeelingthatthevolumewasjustturneduptoohighingeneral.Whereverviolencewasavoidedinthebook,itseemedtoberelishedinthemovie.Itwasuntruetothespiritofthenovelinthatsense,andIfeltitsolditssoultopleasetheunthinkingmasses.

    Anotherpostviewingaudiencegroup,Criticsoftechnologicalenhancements(H1:G3),alsoexperiencedthefilminamediatedmode.H1:G3viewersfoundthecombinationofCGI,HFR,and3Dtobeunpleasantbecauseitseemedartificial:

    Everythinghadthisshiny'lookatmeI'mCGI'looktoit.TheglowlyeffectonalotofCGIelementswasalsoparticularlyunappealing.ThenaturalismthatcomesfromusingCGIonlywhennecessaryandrelyingmoreonpracticaleffectswaslost,andasaresultthemoviehadaratherdistastefulvisualaesthetic.(Americanwoman,23)

    SomeCriticsoftechnologicalenhancementsexpressedmildenjoymentofthefilmdespitethedisruptivesensationstheyexperiencedfromthe3D,CGIandHFR.13SaidaFilipinowoman(age27)residinginCanada:

    IdidnotcarefortheHighFrameRateasitremindedmeofwatchingmyboyfriendplayvideogamesonourhighdefinitionTV.Iknowitwassupposedtogivethefilmamorerealisticandnaturalsense,butitwasthetotaloppositeforme.Visually,themovementsoftheactorsappearedinsanelyrushedandfranticanditwasactuallyveryunnerving.Icouldnotstopthinkingabouttheeffectsandthehighdefinitionvideotheentiretime,whichcompletelypulledmeoutoftheexperienceofgettinglostinthefilm.Thisgavemealittlebitofareasontodislikethefilm,whichIfixedbywatchingitatthenormalframeratein2D.

    ThefourthprincipalH1audiencegroup,Mildlyentertainedcasualviewers(H1:G4),alsoexperiencedthefilminamediatedmode,findingthefilmtobetediouslylong,withtoomanypointlessactionscenes.WhileenjoyingtheNewZealandsceneryandnotobjectingtothetextualdetailsofJacksonsbooktoscreenadaptation,totheseviewersthefilmwasneedlesslystretchedout.SaidaBritishman(38)residingintheUnitedStates,Attheendofthefilmitseemedlikeverylittlehadactuallyhappenedonthejourneyasidefromafewminorencounters.ComparedtotheexcitementofFellowshipthiswasaletdown.

    ThefifthprincipalH1audiencegroup,BoredanddisillusionedHobbitcritics(H1:G1),expressedverystrongantipathytowardsthefilm,findingittobeexcessivelylong,clownish,superficial,

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    untruetoTolkien,andpackedwithmeaninglessactionsequences.SaidaCanadianwoman(19),

    IfIwerentwithfamily,Iwouldhaveleftthecinemaitseemedlikethefilmwasswallowedupbyneedlessactionscenes,withlittletimespentactuallymakingmecareaboutthecharacters.Itwasverylong,verydull,andverypoorlyedited,andleftmecompletelyuninvolvedemotionally.

    Table4showsthescoresofthesixQstatementsformingtheindexofenchantmentforeachofthefivepostviewingHobbit:AUJaudiencegroups,andtherespectiveenchantmentscores.Clearly,EnchantedHobbitfans(H1:G1)weretheonlyaudiencemembersthatweretrulymovedandtransportedbythefilm,andforwhomthefilmhadhighestplayability.Thefilmdidnothavehighplayabilityfortheotheraudiencegroups.Criticsoftechnologicalenhancements(GroupH1:G3)weresympathetictothefilmbutunhappyatthedisruptionofahopedforimmersiveexperiencebythevisualartefactsgeneratedbythefilmsparticularcombinationofadvancedcinematechnologies.AudiencegroupsH1:G1,H1:G2andH1:G4wereputoffbyotheraspectsofthefilmanddidnotenjoyitashoped,ifatall.

    Discussion:Playability,audiencefragmentationandfanpartisanship

    Asanexpensivecontemporaryblockbusterfeaturefilm,TheHobbit:AUJisevidentlypositionedinmanyrespectswithinthehighconceptdesignframeworkproposedbyWyatt(1994).Ithas,however,extratextual,intertextualandparatextualcharacteristicsthatwerenotsoapparenttwodecadesagoandhencearenotdiscussedbyWyatt,butwhichhavebecomemajorfactorsinthemarketabilityandmoreespeciallytheplayabilityofhighlypromotedcontemporarymediaofferings.

    Whileclearlyintended,designed,andfinancedasprofitmakingculturalcommoditieswithhighconceptblockbusterattributes,theproximityoftheLoTRandHobbitfilmstotherichTolkiencanongavethemaccesstoanaudiencethatwasmuchlargerandpotentiallymuchmoreknowledgeableabouttheextratextualstoryworldthanwereaudiencesforcomparableblockbusterfilmproductssuchasPiratesoftheCaribbean,ShrekorDaVinciCode.TheBatman,Spiderman,Superman,TwilightorHarryPotterfranchisesperhapsprovideclosercomparisons,buttheirfollowingsarguablyfallsomewayshortofthelongandrichhistoryevidencedinTolkienscholarshipandfandomsincethe1960s(Barker2006;Brayton2006).Crucially,theLoTRfilmtrilogyandtheTolkienwrittencorpuseachcastverylongshadowsoveraudiences'expectationsregardingthefilmversionofTheHobbit,leadingLoTRfilmfansandTolkienreaderstohavedissimilarexpectationsofTheHobbit:AUJ(Davisetal.2014;Michelleetal.2015b).Thefilmwasmarketabletothetwogroups,butwasmuchmoreplayabletoLoTRfilmfansthantoTolkienreaders.

    Meers(2006)suggeststhatHollywoodblockbusterfilmselicitspecificformsoffandom.HeidentifiesthreetypesoffansofJacksonsLordoftheRingsfilmtrilogy:personsinvestedinTolkiensLordoftheRings,fantasyfansandblockbusterfans.Inhisresearch,LoTRfanswere

  • 12

    themosthighlyengagedofthethreeforms,conductingmultiplereadings,seekingouterrorsordiscrepanciesinthefilm,andparticipatinginfanrelatedpublicdebateandsocialactivism.

    HobbitfilmaudienceformationshaveevolvedsinceJacksonsLordoftheRingsfilmtrilogy,whenviewershadmuchlesstextualknowledgeofTolkienthanreaders(Mikosetal.2008).InthecaseofTheHobbit:AUJ,audiencemembersorientedtowardsTheLordoftheRingsfilmtrilogy(H1:G1)hadalmostasmuchTolkienliteracyasTolkienaficionados(H1:G2),althoughmanyexpressedpreferenceforthevisualmedium.Beforerelease,TheHobbit:AUJseemedlikelytofollowinthefootstepsoftheLoTRfilmsinmattersoflook,feel,andthedirectorsartisticlicensevisvistheTolkiencorpus.PotentialviewersofTheHobbit:AUJalreadyknewaboutPeterJacksonscinematicstyleandpreferences,confirmedbyviewingthetrailersorJacksonsproductionblogs(Davisetal.2014).

    However,someaudiencegroupsexpresseddisappointmentrangingfrommodesttosevere.ThepriceofappealingtotheH1:G1audiencegroupwastodisappointaudienceswhowererelativelymoreattachedtothewrittenTolkiencorpusthantoJacksonsLoTRfilms,whowerenotenchantedbyactionspectacles,orwhopreferredgreaterstoryandcharacterdevelopment.ThedisenchantmentamongtheH1:G3audiencesegment,comprisedofindividualswhohadhighexpectationsaboutenjoyingthefilm,wasduetothedisruptiveeffectsofthefilmstechnologicalenhancements,whichaccordingtoH1:G3audiencememberswerenotonlyunpleasantorjarring,butalsocomparedunfavorablywiththevisualeffectscraftworktheysoadmiredintheLoTRfilms.

    Theproductionofapreferredreadingforaparticularaudienceattheperceivedexpenseofotherinterestedaudiences,manyofwhomalsoconsideredthemselvestobestakeholdersintheMiddleearthstoryworld,elicitedfanpartisanship.Negativewordofmouthisamplifiedinsocialmediajustasstronglyaspositivewordofmouth,andwarringassessmentsofthequalityofthefilmamongdifferentaudiencegroupsultimatelybecameburdensometosomehighlyengagedviewers.14Whileconductingourresearch,weobservedregularremindersonanumberoffandiscussionboardsformemberstoremaincourteousandmindtheirnetiquette,alongwithallusionstosomewhataggressiveposturingandargumentationamongstsomecontributors.Asoneofourrespondentsnoted,excessivepromotionalhypeandcompetitivepartisaninteractionwithinonlinefancommunitiesappearedtotakeitstollonthepleasurableengagementofsomeviewerswhowishedtopositionthemselveswithinthemoderatemiddle:

    DuetoTheHobbitfilms,IhaveremovedmyselffrominvolvementintheTolkiencommunitiesapartfrommanagingapopularblog.IfeellikeTheHobbitfilmwasmeanttobringfansoftheLegendariumtogetheronaverylargeandpublicscale,andtowelcomepeoplewhohavediscoveredMiddleearththroughthefilms.However,Ifeelliketheoppositeishappening.Thefandompartofthecommunity,aswecallit,subtractsfromthepositiveexperienceIhaveinviewingTheHobbitandwaitingforthenextfilms.Theanticipationhasbloatedtoapointwhereit'sbecometiresometome:thereistoomuchhypefromyoungfans,toomuchnewsfromcertainwebsites,andevenfansofthefilmsactorswhoaredisrespectfultothestory.Attheotherendofthespectrum,themorecerebralandLudditecommunitymemberscanbeexclusive,

  • 13

    unwelcoming,snobbyandharshwiththeiruncalledforgatekeepership,especiallywiththefilmsandfolkswhoenjoythefilms.ThislackofcommunityspiritisverydisappointingandhasswornmeoffthetraditionalTolkiensubcommunities.Overall,MiddleearthisahappyplaceformeandIdonotcaretoseepeoplebeingnegativeaboutdifferentinterpretationsandotherpeoplestastesandpreferences.Assomeonewhositsinthemiddle,Ifeelveryexcludedandoftentimesstressedwhenthesetwoextremesofthecommunityclashandfight.ThefilmshavebroughtouttheworstofPeterJacksonandTolkienfans,makingeverythingthatsurroundsthefilmsanunpleasantandnegativeplacetobe.AsmuchasIlovethefilms,Ican'twaitforTheHobbit:ThereandBackAgaintobeoutanddonesothecommunityingeneralcangobacktosomesemblanceofnormality.(Canadianwoman,26)

    Gray(2010)similarlyalludestothecompetitiveintertextualfeudingandoccasionallyaggressiveassertionofdisparatepreferencesandprioritiesamongLoTRfanswithindiscussionforumssuchasTheOneRing.net,whichseemtohavecomeintoplayoncemorewiththelatestadditiontotheTolkienfilmfranchise.

    AlthoughAUJremainedmarketabletoglobalaudiences,earningover$1Binworldwiderevenues,itdidnotreceivemuchcriticalacclaim,withmanyviewersregardingthefilmasjustanotherHollywoodblockbusterthathadbeenexcessivelyshapedbycommercialinterests.OursubsequentresearchonreceptionsofthesecondandthirdepisodesofTheHobbitshowsdecliningplayability,withsomeerosionofthecoregroupofenthusiasticviewers,andexpansionofoppositionalreadings,withfrequentresorttomediatedmodesofreception.Clearly,thesocialenvironmentofpreviewingandviewingcreatedbymassiveaudienceengagement,hypercommunicability,andcompetitiveintertextualfeudingamongpolarizedtastesubculturescanshapeandinformviewersengagementswithafilm,affectingtheplayabilityofthefilmandthemarketabilityofthesubsequentepisodes.

  • 14

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  • 16

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  • 19

    Table1:Audiencesegments.

    Prereleaseaudiencesegments

    EagerandenthusiasticfansofJacksonsLoTRfilmtrilogy(H0:G1),agroupwhoseprincipalframeofreferenceconsistedofJacksonspreviousscreenadaptationofTolkienswork.

    AngryanddisappointedJacksoncritics(H0:G1)whowereunhappy,forpoliticaloraestheticreasons,withthewaysthatJacksonwasbringingTheHobbittothescreen.

    Tolkienaficionados(H0:G2)whoseexpectationswereframedmainlybytheirreadingofTolkien.

    Celebrityfollowers(H0:G3),amainlyfemalegroupwhosememberswereprimarilyinterestedintheforthcomingfilmsactors.

    Anxiousinvestors(H0:G4),amainlyNewZealandgroupwhosemembersweremoreconcernedaboutthefilmsreputationalandeconomicspilloversthanwiththefilm'sstoryworld.

    Postviewingaudiencesegments

    EnchantedHobbitviewers(H1:G1),whoreportedapowerfulexperienceofimmersivetransportation.

    BoredanddisillusionedHobbitviewers(H1:G1),agroupthatwasverycriticalofthefilmandenjoyeditverylittle.

    DisappointedTolkienreaders(H1:G2),whoweredispleasedwiththefilm'smanydivergencesfromtheTolkiencanon.

    Criticsoftechnologicalenhancements(H2:G3),agroupwhofoundthecinematechnologies(CGI,3D,andHFR)tobeunpleasantordisruptive.

    Mildlyentertainedcasualviewers(H1:G4),whofoundthefilmoverlylongandrepetitive.

  • 20

    Table2:AnticipationamongprereleaseHobbitaudiencesegments.

    StatementsfromtheQsample(below)scoredbyaudiencesegment(atright).Scoresrangefrom+4(moststronglyagree)to4(moststronglydisagree)

    Angryanddisappointed

    Jacksoncritics

    (H0:G1)

    Eagerandenthusiastic

    fansofJacksonsLoTRfilmtrilogy(H0:G1)

    Tolkienaficiona

    dos(H0:G2)

    Celebrityfollower

    s(H0:G3)

    Anxiousinvestors(H0:G4)

    7.Mydisinterestgrowswitheachpassingbitofmediaandpublicityreleased.IamunderwhelmedbywhatI'veseenandheardsofar.

    3 3 2 4 1

    12.ImlookingforwardtoseeingthebeautifulNewZealandlandscapeonthebigscreenagain.

    1 1 2 3 2

    13.TheHobbitisdefinitelyonmymustgoseelistforthisyear.Itwillbeamajorcinematicevent.

    2 2 3 4 1

    15.Basedonthetrailer,thisfilmseemslikesomeproducersattempttoappealtothelowestcommondenominator.

    2 2 1 3 1

    19.ThemoreIhearaboutwhattheyaredoingwiththismovie,themoreIdontwanttoseeit.

    2 2 3 3 2

    20.Iamespeciallylookingforwardtoseethefilmwithmyfriends/family.

    1 1 3 2 0

    35.Thisfilmcantgetheresoonenough.Ivebeenwaitingforthismywholelife,andIcantwaittoseethisadventureuponthebigscreen.

    3 3 1 1 4

    38.IamreallylookingforwardtoreturningtothewonderfulworldofMiddleearth.

    3 3 3 0 0

    AnticipationIndex(mean;max=72;min.=9).Statements7,15and19arereversecodedforconsistentvalence.

    29 55 53 50 42

    HowimportantisforyoutoseeTheHobbit?(mean;5=extremelyimportantto1=notatallimportant)

    2.0 4.6 4.4 3.9 2.6

  • 21

    Table3:TopinterestsandmotivationstoseeTheHobbitamongthefiveprereleaseaudience

    groups(aspercentageofmentions).

    AngryanddisappointedJacksoncritics

    (H0:G1)

    Eagerandenthusiastic

    fansofJacksonsLoTRfilmtrilogy(H0:G1)

    Tolkienaficionados(H0:G2)

    Celebrityfollowers(H0:G3)

    Anxiousinvestors(H0:G4)

    Mostimportantmotivationtoseethefilm(topitems)

    FanofTheHobbitbookorofJRRTolkien(43%)

    Notplanningtoseethefilm(35%)

    Otherminormotivations

    FanofTheHobbitbookorofJRRTolkien(48%)

    FanoftheLoTRfilms(36%)

    Fanofoneofthestarsinthefilm(8%)

    FanofTheHobbitbookorofJRRTolkien(87%)

    FanoftheLoTRfilms(10%)

    Fiveotherminormotivations

    Fanofoneofthestarsinthefilm(76%)

    FanoftheLoTRfilms(12%)

    FanofTheHobbitbookorofJRRTolkien(6%)

    FanoftheLoTRfilms(26%)

    FanofTheHobbitbookorofJRRTolkien(20%)

    Filmtrailer(9%)

    Mostlookingforwardto(topitems)

    Nothing(30%) Faithfuladaptation(15%)

    Filmadaptation,realization(8%)

    ReturntoMiddleearth(8%)

    Filmadaptation,realization(7%)

    ContinuitywithLoTRfilms(5%)

    Filmadaptation(7%)

    ReturntoMiddleearth,realization,faithfuladaptation,characterSmaug(6%)

    ActorRichardArmitage(38%)

    Realization,landscape,score,story(6%)

    Realization(8%)

    Technology,cinematicexperience,socialfamily(7%)

  • 22

    Table4:ExperienceofimmersiveenchantmentamongsegmentsofpostviewingHobbit

    audiences(from+4=moststronglyagreeto4=moststronglydisagree).

    StatementsfromtheQsample(below)andscoredbyaudiencesegment(atright)(from4=moststronglyagreeto4=moststronglydisagree)

    BoredanddisillusionedHobbitviewers(H1:G1)

    EnchantedHobbitviewers(H1:G1)

    DisappointedTolkienfans

    (H1:G2)

    Criticsoftechnologicalenhance

    ments(H1:G3)

    Mildlyentertained

    casualviewers(H1:G4)

    11.Timeflewbysoquickly,Ibarelynoticed.Iwishedthefilmdidn'thavetoendsosoon;Icouldeasilyhavekeptwatchingforanotherhourortwo.

    4 4 4

    1 4

    13.IttookmebacktotheplaceIlovethemostMiddleearth.Youreallygetthesensethatthisisanoldworldrichinhistory,places,people,kingdoms,magicandwonders.

    2 2 0 2 0

    18.WithinsecondsIwastransportedbacktoMiddleearth,completelyimmersed,anduponleavingthetheatrefeltlikeIwashavingcultureshock,backinthemodernworld.Ijustwantedtogoback.21.WatchingthisfilmIfeltenchantedandhadanoverwhelmingsenseofjoy.Ilaughedandsmiledmuchofthetime,andalmostcriedinsomeparts.

    3

    3

    3

    3

    3

    3

    10

    1

    2

    32.Ifeltboredanduninterestedattimes.Itwasverylonganddrawnout,andlackedmomentum.

    4 4 1 1 3

    33.Thisfirstfilmjustdidntgivemeenoughtomakemecare.Iprobablywontwatchthenexttwofilmsintheatres

    4 4 2 4 2

    EnchantmentIndex(mean;max=54,min=6).Statements32and33arereversecoded.

    18 43 26 33 24

    Mostfrequentlymentionedmeaningofthefilm(%ofmentions)

    Disappointment/failed

    adaptation(52%)

    Adaptationoffavoritebook(16%)

    Disappointment/failed

    adaptation(28%)

    MoreofLoTRs,prequel(14%)

    Adaptationofafavoritebook

    (17%)

  • 23

    Figure1:Percentageofeachprereleaseandpostreleaseaudiencesegmentforwhomitwas

    quiteorextremelyimportanttoseeTheHobbit:AnUnexpectedJourney.

    Prereleaseaudiencegroups

    Postreleaseaudiencegroups

    0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

    H0:G1(angryanddisappointedJacksoncritics)

    H0:G1(LOTRfilmfans)

    H0:G2(Tolkienaficionados)

    H0:G3(celebrityfollowers)

    H0:G4(anxiousinvestors)

    40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

    H1:G1 (boredanddisillusionedHobbitcritics)

    H1:G1(enchantedHobbitfans)

    H1:G2(disappointedTolkienreaders)

    H1:G3(criticsoftechnologicalenhancements)

    H1:G4(mildlyentertainedcasualviewers)

  • 24

    Notes

    1Here,fansareprovisionallydefinedaspersonswhohaveasignificantlyhigherdegreeofpsychologicalengagementwithanobjectandrelationalengagementwithotherswhoarealsoengaged,thanpersonswhoarepassivelyinvolved,interestedbutinactive,orlargelyindifferent(Sashi2012).

    2OnthepromotionandbusinessmodelsofblockbustereventfilmsseeCucco(2009);DeVany(2004);Epstein(2006);Grainge(2007);Gray(2010);Hardy(2010);JckelandDbler(2006);Johnson(2013);Kerrigan(2010);Marich(2009);andStringer(inLewis2003).OnthepromotionalcampaignoftheLordtheRingsfilmsseeBiltereystetal.(2008)andLuthar(2008).3AsreportedinBoxOfficeMojo.com.

    4AscalculatedfrominformationinBoxOfficeMojo.com.

    5FordiscussionoftheuseofQmethodologyinaudienceresearchseeDavisandMichelle(2011)andMichelleandDavis(2014).Brown(1980),McKeownandThomas(2013),andWattsandStenner(2012)provideextendedtreatmentofQmethodologyfromtechnicalandoperationalstandpoints.Foranexampleofpreviousaudienceresearchusingthesamemethodologicalapproach,seeMichelleetal.(2012).ItisimportanttonotethatthepurposeofQmethodologyistoidentifyanddescribesharedviewpoints.Themethodologyisnotsuitableformeasuringthedistributionoftheseviewpointsthroughoutapopulation.6Theindexofanticipationhasacceptablescalarproperties(is0.72).

    7Thestatementscoresarefromthefactorortypalarraysforeachmodelviewpoint.Theyarecalculatedaccordingtotheloadingofeachresponseontherespectivefactor,usingdedicatedQmethodologysoftware.FormethodologicaldetailsseeBrown(1980),McKeownandThomas(2013)orWattsandStenner(2012).

    8Somestatementswerereversescored.Theindexofenchantmenthasgoodscalarproperties(is0.83).

    9ForfurtherdiscussionoftheseprereleaseHobbitaudiencesegmentsseeDavisetal.(2014).10ThenomenclatureweusetodescribeHobbitaudiencegroupsisreadasfollows:H0referstotheprereleaseaudienceandH1,H2andH3refertotheviewingaudiencesforeachfilminthetrilogy.AudiencegroupsarereferredtoasG1,G2,etc.,andaredescribedqualitativelyinthetext.Thus,audiencegroup2inthefirstHobbit:AUJreceptionsurveyislabelledH1:G2,audiencegroup3intheprereleaseaudiencesurveyislabelledH0:G3,andsoforth.

    11AnanalysisofthereasonsforangeramongH0:G4andH0:G1audiencesisprovidedinMichelleetal.(2014).

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    12Gwynne(2014)suggestsaparallelbetweenthepassionatewaitingofHobbitfilmfansforthereleaseofthefilm,andTillichsaccountofhumanspassionatewaitingfortheappearanceofGod.

    13FordeeperdiscussionofresponsesofHobbitaudiencestotechnologicallyenhancedcinemaseeMichelleetal.(2015a).

    14Also,negativewordofmouthhasbeenfoundtohavestrongeffectsoninfrequentorcasualmoviegoers(Chakravartyetal.2010).