How did audiences across the world respond to the films of The Lord of the Rings? This book presents findings from the largest film audience project ever undertaken, drawing from 25,000 questionnaire responses and a wide array of other materials. Contributors use these materials to explore a series of widely speculated questions: why is film fantasy important to different kinds of viewers? Through marketing, previews and reviews, debates and cultural chatter, how are audiences prepared for a film like this? How did fans of the book respond to its adaptation on screen? How do people choose their favorite characters? How was the films’ reception shaped by different national and cultural contexts?
The answers to these questions shed fresh light on the extraordinary popularity of The Lord of the Rings and provide important new insights into the global reception of cinema in the twenty-first century.
About the Author
The Editors: Martin Barker is Professor of Film and Television Studies at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He is the author of many books about film and film reception, including The Lasting of the Mohicans: History of an American Myth (with Roger Sabin, 1996), Knowing Audiences: Judge Dredd, its Friends, Fans and Foes (with Kate Brooks, 1998), and The Crash Controversy: Censorship Campaigns and Film Reception (with Jane Arthurs and Ramaswami Harindranath, 2001).
Ernest Mathijs is Assistant Professor of Film and Drama at the University of British Columbia, Canada. He edited From Hobbits to Hollywood (with Murray Pomerance, 2006), The Lord of the Rings: Popular Culture in Global Context (2006), Alternative Europe (with Xavier Mendik, 2004), The Cult Film Reader (also with Xavier Mendik, 2007), and is the author, with Jamie Sexton, of Cult Cinema: an Introduction (2008).
Table of Contents
Contents: Martin Barker/Kate Egan/Stan Jones/Ernest Mathijs: Introduction: Researching The Lord of the Rings: Audiences and Contexts – Janet Wasko: The Lord of the Rings: Selling the Franchise – Daniel Biltereyst/Ernest Mathijs/Philippe Meers: An Avalanche of Attention: The Prefiguration and Reception of The Lord of the Rings – Breda Luthar: Promotional Frame Makers and the Meaning of the Text: The Case of The Lord of the Rings – Barbara Klinger: What Do Female Fans Want? Blockbusters, The Return of the King, and U.S. Audiences – Kate Egan/Martin Barker: The Books, the DVDs, the Extras, and Their Lovers – Sue Turnbull: Understanding Disappointement: The Australian Book Lovers and Adaptation – Lothar Mikos/Susanne Eichner/Elizabeth Prommer/Michael Wedel: Involvement in The Lord of the Rings: Audience Strategies and Orientations – Giselinde Kuipers/Jeroen De Kloet: Global Flows and Local Identifications? The Lord of the Rings and the Cross-National Reception of Characters and Genres – Martin Barker: The Functions of Fantasy: A Comparison of Audiences for The Lord of the Rings in Twelve Countries – Sue Turnbull: Beyond Words? The Return of the King and the Pleasures of the Text – José Javier Sánchez Aranda/Joseba Bonaut/María del Mar Grandío: Heroism in The Return of the King – Daniel Biltereyst/Sofie Van Bauwel: The Fantasy of Reading: Moments of Reception of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – Lothar Mikos: Understanding Text as Cultural Practice and as Dynamic Process of Making – Martin Barker/Ernest Mathijs/Alberto Trobia: Our Methodological Challenges and Solutions.