Blog Post #3

Audience Power:

On April Fools Day in 1976, a new film opened in New York City to audiences called the “The Rocky Horror Picture Show which was a low-budget film about a conservative suburban family stranded in a haunted house full of cross-dressing transvestites, aliens and a Frankenstein-style mad scientist. The movie got bad reviews and only got a sizable crowd in Los Angeles, bombing everywhere else. 20th Century Fox (the distributor of the film) decided to remove the film from theaters due to pressure as local theater exhibitors complained that only 50 of the available 800 seats were occupied.

What the movie theater owners failed to realize was that small group of 50 people who showed up would repeatedly come to watch the movie over and over. The dedicated core of regular viewers began dressing up as characters in the film, they would scream out the dialogue of the film (which they knew by heart) and a scholarly study found that two thirds of the people waiting in line to see the film had already seen it once. This film became a “cult” phenomenon grossing over $100 million so far. See how powerful an audience is? Had 20th Century Fox ignored the small loyal fan base and just payed attention to the overall audience; this movie would have flopped and they would have missed out on the potential to gross over $100 million.

Image result for the rocky horror picture show fans

There’s been cases where a movie would flop at the box office, but they would make another film due to fan demanding another one and there’s been films that have flopped at the box office but still generate more than production cost once it’s out of the theater. An example is Shawshank Redemption, it flopped at the box office but due to its cult following it made way more money through video rentals when it came out as VHS. Another example is the 1999 film “Fight Club” the 63$ million dollar budget movie flopped at the box office but once it was released to DVD; it started getting a cult following and the film made over $100 million dollars, the perception of the movie went from bad to good.

Fan Culture/Fandom with the rise of the Internet:

Due to digitization, mass computerization and the rise of the internet, the ability for audiences to select, consume, and remix media content has become greater than ever. With social media and new online platforms this gives audiences easier access and new opportunities for audiences to contribute their own creative ideas into media text; with this new trend the distinction between audience and producers is changing. With the internet, it offers offers a place where individuals can actively engage in conversation and share ideas and thoughts and a prime example of that is blogs, forums, Facebook groups. In Chapter 8, Sullivan defines fans as “audiences who are deeply engaged in their favourite media texts. Fans often reinterpret media content and create their own cultural production in response (p.193).” We are all “fans” of something whether it be music, sports, entertainment, politics, brands. Fans are “enthusiasts for a particular television program, film, or other media event who invest a great deal of time and intellectual energy into media text. Fans would collect artifacts related to their favorite texts, sought out social connections with similarly minded individuals and even marked themselves as fans to outsiders.”

I’m a fan of basketball and specifically the Toronto Raptors, I follow many Raptors related forums/groups where I meet other like minded individuals who have the same taste as me; some fans I’ve met have paid ridiculous amounts of money for Raptors souvenir (like game worn jerseys, shoes even headbands) and some have tattoo’s or bumper stickers on their cars which show they are Raptor fans.

Fan culture is important and can’t be ignored by producers because without fans, producers wouldn’t be making any money. An example of fan culture is Comic Con it’s a movie and comic book convention that happens in different cities throughout the years; at Comic Con you see people dressed up whatever they are a fan of (Star Wars, Marvel, DC Comics, video game character related costumes)

Fandom culture has existed throughout time and due to the digital age and the introduction of new technologies in our world fandom culture as evolved/progressed, we can access and consume media at a speed never seen before. These new technologies not only help us consume more media at once but also it allows us to have easy access on topics we care about, along with the ability to share thoughts with others who share those same passions.

We have easier access to see what athletes, musicians, performers and artists are up to compared to previous generations because we are more connected than ever because of the internet. Many ordinary people who don’t have celebrity status have used online platforms like Vine, YouTube, Facebook, blogs to become internet sensations which is basically like a celebrity; some examples are Rebecca Black (Friday), Danielle Bregoli (Catch me outside) and many more; they all got popular because of the internet (social media, the ability to reach a large audience number). There’s too many internet sensations to name and they are all apart of different subcultures (music, dance, hobbies, internet challenges, genuine reactions, different phenomena’s). John Fiske noted that fandom is “associated with the cultural tastes of subordinated formations of the people, particularly those dis empowered by any combination of gender, age, class, and race” (Sullivan, 2013). Basically, these individuals have a cultural advantage by being from a certain lifestyle and culture which is why they become popular. I’m personally a fan of Nas Daily, he’s a video blogger who travels all over the world and he’d sum up all his adventures in 1 minute. Today he has 2.2 million followers on Facebook, even travel blogging is considered a subculture, it’s just people who video blog their travels and give advice of what to do and not to do at the place they are currently at. Everyday individuals have the ability to share their experience with a broad audience due to online platforms.

Fandom Groups/Nicknames:

A group was presenting in seminar and they touched on fandom culture and subculture and they had this group activity where we match the fandom nicknames to singers, music bands, films, television shows, books, games, sports teams, and celebrities. An example of fandom nicknames would be how Beyonce fans are called “BeyHive”, Harry Potter fans as “Potterheads” and Justin Bieber fans as “Beliebers”; fandom nicknames group fans to subcultures they are into. This is actually a 21st century phenomenon and the reason why is because fans are connected more than ever due to digitization

Whenever we encounter media texts, we are engaged with in a particular moment and space. Two factors come out from when we encounter media texts; how we receive those texts (ex. were we distracted or not while encountering the text) and how we interpret those texts. Media consumption always takes place within a particular physical context. Physical context meaning the atmosphere of where you are (you could be home alone with headphones, or in the living room watching with roommates) and how you interpret those texts depends on the factors (physical context; the atmosphere)

The “The Influences of Sports Viewing Conditions on Enjoyment from Watching Televised Sports: An Analysis of the FIFA World Cup Audiences in Theater vs. Home” article made me think of my experience of watching a game live vs. watching a game via television. When you are at a live game the atmosphere is different vs. the atmosphere of watching a game at home. In a live game; you’re actually there when the crowd is cheering, everyone is wearing jerseys supporting the team and the game experience is different vs watching a game at home; where factors like lighting, other people in your home affect the overall atmosphere which is why watching a game in a movie theatre actually closes the gap of watching a live game vs. on tv (via theater) due to image quality, atmosphere, sound quality. I remember watching a Raptors playoff game at the Brock Lofts (which has a movie theater inside), now I’m not gonna say it was close to watching a live game but it sure was better watching it via television. The screen was huge, the sound quality was amazing (the cheering felt more realistic through the theater sound vs. a television) and the other people in the theater were Raptor fans as well. The atmosphere in a theater felt more better for a live game vs. watching at home, my moms not into basketball nor does she care so she would walk in interrupt me whenever I’m watching a game at home, she’d tell me to turn the sound down, basically interrupt my watching experience whereas in a theater the atmosphere is different, if my mom told me that in a theater she’d probably have the people around me heckling her 😛




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