Davis, C. H., Michelle, C., Hardy, A., & Hight, C. (2014). Framing audience prefigurations of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: The roles of fandom, politics and idealised intertexts. Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies, 11(1), 50–87.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/8909
Audiences for blockbuster event-film sequels and adaptations often formulate highly developed expectations, motivations, understandings and opinions well before the films are released. A range of intertextual and paratextual influences inform these audience prefigurations, and are believed to frame subsequent audience engagement and response. In our study of prefigurative engagements with Peter Jackson’s 2012 film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, we used Q methodology to identify five distinct subjective orientations within the film’s global audience. As this paper illustrates, each group privileges a different set of extratextual referents – notably J.R.R. Tolkien’s original novels, Peter Jackson’s The Lord of The Rings film trilogy, highly localised political debates relating to the film’s production, and the previous associations of the film’s various stars. These interpretive frames, we suggest, competed for ascendancy within public and private discourse in the lead up to The Hobbit’s international debut, effectively fragmenting and indeed polarising the film’s prospective global audience.
This article has been published in Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies. ©2014 The Authors.