This book explores the evolution of audience receptions of Peter Jackson’s Hobbittrilogy (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.
Carolyn Michelle is Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, and director of the University’s Audience Research Unit. Her current research explores modes of reception and their relationship to aspects of social location.
Charles H. Davis is Professor in the RTA School of Media at Ryerson University, Canada, where he holds the E.S. Rogers Sr. Research Chair in Media Management and Entrepreneurship. He also serves as Associate Dean for Scholarly Research and Creative Activities in Ryerson’s Faculty of Communication & Design.
Ann L. Hardy is Senior Lecturer in the Screen and Media Studies programme at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. Her research focuses on New Zealand-based media products as they balance local and international imperatives, particularly those relating to intersections of culture and religion.
Craig Hight is Associate Professor in Creative Industries at the University of Newcastle, Australia. His current research focuses on the relationships between digital media technologies and documentary practice, especially the variety of factors shaping online documentary cultures.