Blockbuster (entertainment)

A blockbuster is a work of entertainment – especially a feature film, but also other media – that is highly popular and financially successful. The term has also come to refer to any large-budget production intended for "blockbuster" status, aimed at mass markets with associated merchandising, sometimes on a scale that meant the financial fortunes of a film studio or a distributor could depend on it.


The term began to appear in the American press in the early 1940s,[1] referring to aerial bombs capable of destroying a whole block of buildings.[2] Its first known use in reference to films was in May 1943, when advertisements in Variety and Motion Picture Herald described the RKO film, Bombardier, as "The block-buster of all action-thrill-service shows!" Another trade advertisement in 1944 boasted that the war documentary, With the Marines at Tarawa, "hits the heart like a two ton blockbuster". Several theories have been put forward for the origin of the term in a film context. One explanation pertains to the practice of "block booking" whereby a studio would sell a package of films to theaters, rather than permitting them to select which films they wanted to exhibit. However, this practice was outlawed in 1948 before the term became common parlance; while pre-1948 high-grossing big-budget spectacles may be retrospectively labelled "blockbusters", this is not how they were known at the time. Another explanation is that trade publications would often advertise the popularity of a film by including illustrations showing long queues often extending around the block, but in reality the term was never used in this way. The term was actually first coined by publicists who drew on readers' familiarity with the blockbuster bombs, drawing an analogy with the bomb's huge impact. The trade press subsequently appropriated the term as short-hand for a film's commercial potential. Throughout 1943 and 1944 the term was applied to films such as Bataan, No Time for Love and Brazil.[3]

The term fell out of usage in the aftermath of World War II but was revived in 1948 by Variety in an article about big budget films. By the early 1950s the term had become standardised within the film industry and the trade press to denote a film that was large in spectacle, scale and cost, that would go on to achieve a high gross. In December 1950 the Daily Mirror predicted that Samson and Delilah would be "a box office block buster", and in November 1951 Variety described Quo Vadis as "a b.o. blockbuster [...] right up there with Birth of a Nation and Gone With the Wind for boxoffice performance [...] a super-spectacle in all its meaning".[3]

Blockbuster era

In 1975, the usage of "blockbuster" for films coalesced around Steven Spielberg's Jaws. It was perceived as a new cultural phenomenon: a fast-paced, exciting entertainment, inspiring interest and conversation beyond the theatre (which would later be called "buzz"), and repeated viewings.[4] The film is regarded as the first film of the "blockbuster era", and founded the blockbuster film genre.[5] Two years later, Star Wars expanded on the success of Jaws, setting box office records and enjoying a theatrical run that lasted more than a year.[6] After the success of Jaws and Star Wars, many Hollywood producers attempted to create similar "event" films with wide commercial appeal, and film companies began green-lighting increasingly large-budget films, and relying extensively on massive advertising blitzes leading up to their theatrical release. These two films were the prototypes for the "summer blockbuster" trend,[7] in which major film studios and distributors planned their annual marketing strategy around a big release by July 4.[8] The next fifteen years saw a number of high-quality blockbusters released including the likes of Alien (1979) and its sequel, Aliens (1986), the first three Indiana Jones films (1981, 1984 and 1989), E.T. (1982), Ghostbusters (1984), Beverly Hills Cop (1984), the Back to the Future trilogy (1985, 1989 and 1990), Top Gun (1986), Die Hard (1988), Batman (1989) and its sequel Batman Returns (1992), and The Hunt for Red October (1990).[9]

Eventually, the focus on creating blockbusters grew so intense that a backlash occurred, with some critics and film-makers decrying the prevalence of a "blockbuster mentality" and lamenting the death of the author-driven, "more artistic" small-scale films of the New Hollywood era (despite criticism of the praise the latter era received). [10] [11] This view is taken, for example, by film journalist Peter Biskind, who wrote that all studios wanted was another Jaws, and as production costs rose, they were less willing to take risks, and therefore based blockbusters on the "lowest common denominators" of the mass market.[12] In his book The Long Tail, Chris Anderson talks about blockbuster films, stating that a society that is hit-driven, and makes way and room for only those films that are expected to be a hit, is in fact a limited society.[13]

See also


  1. ^ "Google Ngram Viewer". Retrieved 2018-01-09.
  2. ^ "blockbuster | Definition of blockbuster in English by Oxford Dictionaries". Oxford Dictionaries | English. Retrieved 2018-01-09.
  3. ^ a b Hall, Sheldon (2014). "Pass the ammunition : a short etymology of "Blockbuster"" (PDF). Sheffield Hallam University Research Archive. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  4. ^ Tom Shone: Blockbuster (2004). London, Simon & Schuster UK. ISBN 0-7432-6838-5. See pp. 27–40.
  5. ^ Neale, Steve. "Hollywood Blockbusters: Historical Dimensions." Ed. Julien Stinger. Hollywood Blockbusters. London: Routeledge, 2003. pp. 48–50. Print.
  6. ^ "Celebrating the Original STAR WARS on its 35th Anniversary". Retrieved 2018-01-09.
  7. ^ Gray, Tim (2015-06-18). "'Jaws' 40th Anniversary: How Steven Spielberg's Movie Created the Summer Blockbuster". Variety. Retrieved 2018-01-09.
  8. ^ Shone (2004), Chapter 1.
  9. ^ "Did 'Jaws' and 'Star Wars' Ruin Hollywood?". Ross Douthat. Retrieved 2018-01-09.
  10. ^ Dargis, Dargis (August 17, 2003). "The '70s: Get over it". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  11. ^ "'60s Hollywood, the Rebels and the Studios: Power Shifted (or Did It?)". The New York Times. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  12. ^ Peter Biskind: Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-And Rock 'N Roll Generation Saved Hollywood. Simon and Schuster, 1998.
  13. ^ Anderson, Chris. "The Long Tail" (PDF). Chris Anderson. Retrieved April 20, 2011.

External links

1st Blockbuster Entertainment Awards

The 1st Blockbuster Entertainment Awards were held on June 3, 1995 at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles. The awards originally had categories for both video and theatrical releases. Below is a complete list of winners.

4th Annual Blockbuster Entertainment Awards

The 4th Blockbuster Entertainment Awards were held on March 10, 1998 at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles. Below is a complete list of nominees and winners. Winners are highlighted in bold.

6th Blockbuster Entertainment Awards

The 6th Blockbuster Entertainment Awards were held on May 9, 2000 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. They were the first Blockbuster Entertainment Awards to present awards for video games in addition to music and film.

Below is a complete list of nominees and winners. Winners are highlighted in bold.

7th Blockbuster Entertainment Awards

The 7th Blockbuster Entertainment Awards were held on April 10, 2001 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. This was the final Blockbuster Entertainment Awards ceremony. Below is a complete list of nominees and winners. Winners are highlighted in bold.

Benjamin Bratt

Benjamin Bratt (born December 16, 1963) is a Peruvian-American actor, producer and activist. Bratt gained exposure through his supporting roles in Bright Angel (1990), Demolition Man (1993), Clear and Present Danger (1994), and The River Wild (1994). He first starred in a film, with his role of Paco Aguilar in Bound by Honor (1993). From 1995, he extended his global recognition with his role of NYPD Detective Rey Curtis on the NBC drama series Law & Order (for which he was nominated for the 1999 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series).

In 2000, Bratt played supporting roles in Miss Congeniality and Traffic which for the former he received a Blockbuster Entertainment award for Favourite Supporting Actor. Bratt starred in Piñero (2001), for which he received an ALMA Award for Outstanding Actor. He has also starred in The Great Raid (2005), La Mission (2009) which he also produced and The Lesser Blessed (2012). Other notable live-action films of Bratt's include Catwoman (2004), The Woodsman (2004), Thumbsucker (2005), Trucker (2008), Snitch (2013), The Infiltrator (2016) and Ride Along 2 (2016). Bratt produced the film Dolores (2017) which follows the life of Dolores Huerta, the civil rights activist. The film received critical acclaim and received several awards.

Bratt has voiced roles in five animated feature films which consists of Manny in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009) and its sequel (2013), El Macho in Despicable Me 2 (2013), Lor-Zod / Hernan Guerra / Superman in Justice League: Gods and Monsters (2015) and Ernesto de la Cruz in Coco (2017). On television, Bratt portrayed Dr. Jake Reilly on ABC's Private Practice (2011–2013), Steve Navarro on 24: Live Another Day (2014), and Jahil Rivera on Star (2016–2018).

Bratt extended his global recognition with his role of Jonathan Pangborn in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He appeared in Doctor Strange (2016) and he will reprise his role in Doctor Strange 2 (2021). Bratt has received one Screen Actors Guild Award out of three nominations, four ALMA Awards, one Primetime Emmy Award nomination and one Blockbuster Entertainment Award. He is an activist in the American Indian Movement.

Big Daddy (1999 film)

Big Daddy is a 1999 American comedy film directed by Dennis Dugan and starring Adam Sandler, Joey Lauren Adams and the Sprouse twins. The film was produced by Robert Simonds and released on June 25, 1999, by Columbia Pictures, where it opened #1 at the box office with a $41,536,370 first weekend. It was Sandler's last film before starting his production company, Happy Madison Productions, his first film distributed by Columbia Pictures, and his highest-grossing film domestically until Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015).

Blockbuster Entertainment Awards

The Blockbuster Entertainment Awards was a film awards ceremony, founded by Blockbuster Entertainment Inc., that ran from 1995 until 2001. The awards were produced by Ken Ehrlich every year.

Blockbuster LLC

Blockbuster LLC, formerly Blockbuster Entertainment, Inc., and also known as Blockbuster Video or simply Blockbuster, is an American-based provider of home movie and video game rental services through a video rental shop, DVD-by-mail, streaming, video on demand, and cinema theater. Blockbuster expanded internationally throughout the 1990s. At its peak in 2004, Blockbuster employed 84,300 people worldwide, including about 58,500 in the United States and about 25,800 in other countries, and had 9,094 stores in total, with more than 4,500 of these in the US.Competition from the Netflix mail-order service, Redbox automated kiosks, and video on demand services were major factors in Blockbuster's eventual demise. Blockbuster began to lose significant revenue during the 2000s, and in 2010, the company filed for bankruptcy protection. The following year, its remaining 1,700 stores were bought by satellite television provider Dish Network. In November 2013, the last 300 company-owned stores were closed.

While the Blockbuster brand has been mostly retired, Dish maintained a small number of Blockbuster franchise agreements, which allowed some stores to remain open. By March 31, 2019, just one store remained open—in Bend, Oregon.

David Arquette

David Arquette (born September 8, 1971) is an American actor, film director, producer, screenwriter and fashion designer. He is also a professional wrestler, most infamously known for his brief stint in World Championship Wrestling where he was a one time WCW World Heavyweight Champion. A member of the Arquette acting family, he first became known during the mid-1990s after starring in several Hollywood films, such as the Scream series, Wild Bill, Never Been Kissed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, See Spot Run and Eight Legged Freaks. He has since had several television roles, such as Jason Ventress on ABC's In Case of Emergency.

In addition to his full acting career, Arquette took a brief foray into professional wrestling in early 2000, competing for World Championship Wrestling (WCW). During his tenure (primarily to promote his upcoming film Ready to Rumble), Arquette became a WCW World Heavyweight Champion, an angle that has been cited as pivotal to the demise of WCW.


"Fortunate" is a neo soul song from the 1999 motion picture Life and was released on the film's soundtrack. The song was written, composed, produced and arranged by R. Kelly and recorded by Maxwell. "Fortunate" was awarded Best R&B Single of the Year at the Billboard Music Award and Best R&B/Soul Single (Male) at Soul Train Music Awards. Maxwell was nominated for a Grammy for Best R&B Male Vocalist and also nominated for a Blockbuster Entertainment Awards for Favorite Song of the Year.

The song, Maxwell's biggest hit to date, spent eight weeks at number one on the US R&B chart and peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100. It is his first number-one R&B hit, eventually followed by "Pretty Wings" in 2009.

According to R. Kelly, Maxwell didn't want to sing "Fortunate". Instead, he wanted to sing the song "Life" - which Kelly gave to K-Ci & JoJo. Kelly rejected Maxwell's idea because he felt that neo-soul singer wouldn't have been believable singing a song from the perspective of a prison inmate.

List of awards and nominations received by Aaliyah

This is a list of awards and nominations received by the late American R&B singer Aaliyah. Aaliyah won many awards out of immaculate nominations.

List of awards and nominations received by Blink-182

American rock band Blink-182 has received 18 awards from 29 nominations. They are the recipients of six San Diego Music Awards, three Teen Choice Awards, two Kerrang! Awards, and two MTV Europe Music Awards.

List of awards and nominations received by Garth Brooks

This is an incomplete listing of awards and nominations received by American country music singer Garth Brooks.

List of awards and nominations received by NSYNC

This is a list of awards received by American pop group NSYNC. The group has won three American Music Awards, five Billboard Music Awards, seven MTV Video Music Awards and has received eight Grammy Award nominations. Additionally, they have received two RIAA Diamond certifications. NSYNC received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in April 2018.

List of awards and nominations received by Santana

Santana is a Latin-influenced rock band, formed in 1967 in San Francisco by its one constant member, Carlos Santana. Their album Supernatural (2000) and its subsequent singles "Maria Maria" and "Smooth" were particularly successful.

The group has won numerous awards, including ten Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammy Awards. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Santana's works entered the Grammy Hall of Fame and Latin Grammy Hall of Fame. Carlos Santana was inducted into the NAACP Image Hall of Fame, and was dedicated a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has also received accolades not related to his musical work, including the UCLA Cesar E. Chavez Spirit Award and Patrick Lippert Award, both for his social engagements.

According to its official website, Santana has sold more than 100 million records to date. Arista records Shaman and Supernatural as selling a combined total of 30 million. The band's best-selling album to date is Supernatural, which sold over 27 million copies worldwide. According to the British fact book Guinness Book of World Records, Supernatural is the best-selling album of all time by a Latin artist.

Superstar (1999 film)

Superstar is a 1999 American comedy film and a Saturday Night Live spin-off about a quirky, socially inept girl named Mary Katherine Gallagher. The character was created by SNL star Molly Shannon and appeared as a recurring character on SNL in numerous skits. The story follows Mary Katherine trying to find her place in her Roman Catholic private school. The movie is directed by former Kids in the Hall member Bruce McCulloch. It stars Molly Shannon, Will Ferrell, Harland Williams, and Elaine Hendrix. SNL and Kids in the Hall alum Mark McKinney, who appeared in many of the Mary Katherine Gallagher SNL skits on TV, also has a minor role as a priest. Molly Shannon received a nomination for Blockbuster Entertainment Award "Favorite Actress - Comedy" but lost out to Heather Graham in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.

The Preacher's Wife (soundtrack)

The Preacher's Wife: Original Soundtrack Album is the soundtrack to the 1996 film of the same name and features songs performed by Whitney Houston, who also stars in the film. It is the best-selling gospel album of all time, and has sold an estimated 6 million copies worldwide.The lead single, "I Believe in You and Me" (a cover of The Four Tops classic), became a top five hit in the U.S. and was nominated for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the 40th Grammy Awards, as well as for Best R&B Album."Step by Step" was another hit single, peaking at number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. "My Heart Is Calling" became the soundtrack's final release.

"Lay Aside Every Weight", covered and performed by Georgia Mass Choir and Whitney Houston, appears in the film but not on the motion picture soundtrack for unknown reasons.

There's Something About Mary

There's Something About Mary is a 1998 American comedy film directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly. It stars Cameron Diaz as the titular character with Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller, Lee Evans and Chris Elliott all playing men who are in love with Mary and vying for her affections.

The film was placed 27th in the American Film Institute's 100 Years, 100 Laughs: America's Funniest Movies, a list of the 100 funniest movies of the 20th century. In 2000, readers of Total Film magazine voted it the fourth-greatest comedy film of all time. Diaz won a New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress, an MTV Movie Award for Best Performance, an American Comedy Award for Best Actress, a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Best Actress. She also received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance. It was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy. It won 4 out of 8 MTV Movie Awards, including Best Movie.

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