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blockbuster movie meaning

Within a few years, the Jaws model would inspire an industry in which budgets ran wild because the rewards seemed limitless, in which summer action pictures dominated the industry and in which the hottest young directors wanted to make the Great American Blockbuster.”. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our. Actor Richard Dreyfuss (left) (as marine biologist Hooper) and British author and actor Robert Shaw (as shark fisherman Quint) look off the stern of Quint's fishing boat the 'Orca' at the terrifying approach of the mechanical giant shark dubbed 'Bruce' in a scene from the film, How mRNA Tech Gave Us the 1st COVID-19 Vaccines. Blockbusters May Leave Summer — Here’s What That Means for Theaters. Blockbuster drugs … But whether "more desirable" activities get fewer resources than they "deserve" is a normative answer for two reasons. You can unsubscribe at any time. A blockbuster is a work of entertainment—typically used to describe a feature film, but also other media—that is highly popular and financially successful. How to use blockbuster in a sentence. [14] 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.[15]. 1. a large bomb used to demolish extensive areas (as a city block) 2. an unusually successful hit with widespread popularity and huge sales (especially a movie or play or recording or novel) Familiarity information: BLOCKBUSTER used as a noun is rare. A blockbuster is a Hollywood movie that's made with a large budget and big stars. [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"[10][11] Write to Olivia B. Waxman at olivia.waxman@time.com. 1. a huge aerial demolition bomb. • BLOCKBUSTER (noun) The noun BLOCKBUSTER has 2 senses:. blockbuster meaning, definition, what is blockbuster: a book or film that is very good or succ...: Learn more. Blockbuster definition is - a very large high-explosive bomb. Synonyms for blockbuster include hit, megahit, smash, success, supernova, winner, bestseller, chartbuster, epic and runaway success. blockbuster 1. noun Something, typically a movie or book, that is very popular and makes a large profit. 2. adjective Describing something that experiences such popularity and financial success. Blockbuster: a person or thing that is successful. 2. a motion picture, novel, etc. An unexpected error has occurred with your sign up. 4. one who practices blockbusting. First the question of whether an activity is more desirable or less desirable depends on the person's judgment and values. 3. a person or thing that is overwhelmingly impressive, effective, or influential. The magazine began to use blockbuster to describe surprising news, from Supreme Court rulings to noteworthy football plays. I have just been reading Wiki on the term "Blockbuster" popularly used to describe a highly popular action movie. Please attempt to sign up again. [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!" This film was the biggest blockbuster of the summer. 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. Blockbuster Movies. Although no one would want to admit it, Blockbuster didn’t make much money from the simple rental of movies. The growth of the video-rental chain Blockbuster Video shortly in the mid-1980s is proof of the popular use of the term in the movie industry. 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. ‘This film delivers blockbuster action, but its blistering pace leaves the story as soulless as the monsters that inhabit it.’ Origin 1940s (denoting a huge aerial bomb capable of destroying a whole block of streets): from block + buster . Before then, movie theaters saw low-turnout in the summer months, when people preferred to be outside than indoors. At the Academy Awards on Sunday, Hollywood will learn which of 2019’s movies will walk away with Oscars. Variety also dubbed 1953 “a year of box-office blockbusters” because 135 releases grossed $1 million or more, and 1958 was similarly dubbed “the year of the blockbusters for the picture business,” including The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957). the highest-grossing film in North America ever. The Meaning of ‘Blockbuster,’ From ‘Wonder Woman’ to Scoops on Trump A term often invoked for movies, politics and sports has its roots in World War II bombing raids Throughout 1943 and 1944 the term was applied to films such as Bataan, No Time for Love and Brazil. Find another word for blockbuster. A true blockbuster is extremely popular and brings in a lot of money. Meaning of blockbuster. an aerial bomb containing high explosives and weighing from four to eight tons, used as a large-scale demolition bomb. A blockbuster is a work of entertainment—typically used to describe a feature film, but also other media—that is highly popular and financially successful. A Dec. 22, 1950, British Daily Mirror article predicted that Cecil B. DeMille’s Samson and Delilah (1949) would be a “box office blockbuster” when it opened in the U.K.; a review in the Nov. 14, 1951, issue of Variety called the movie Quo Vadis (1951) “a blockbuster” that was “right up there with The Birth of a Nation and Gone With the Wind for box office performance.” When the film opened in Italy in March 1953, TIME reported that it cost more than $6,500,000 to make (more than $60 million today) and was the third biggest-grossing film in movie history, boasting a take of $10.5 million (about $100 million today). Peppered with '80s and '90s nostalgia, "The Last Blockbuster" documentary is a delightful rewind of the movie rental store's golden era told through the lens of the Bend, Oregon store. Typically, a blockbuster is a fabulous summer movie that audiences line up to see the first weekend it's released. Please try again later. [3], In 1975, the usage of "blockbuster" for films coalesced around Steven Spielberg's Jaws. The trade press subsequently appropriated the term as short-hand for a film's commercial potential. When Star Wars came out two years later, it cemented the summer blockbuster genre, and its power has endured. According to Cambridge Dictionary online, a blockbuster is defined as “a book or movie that is very successful.” Merriam-Webster is a bit less specific and defines it as “one that is notably expensive, effective, successful, large, or extravagant.” In the May 9, 1943, issue, TIME used the word to describe a movie, not for its box-office take but for its content: the film adaptation of former Ambassador Joseph E. Davies’ best-selling Mission to Moscow was “audacious in the extreme” such that critics called it “as explosive as a blockbuster.”, Get your history fix in one place: sign up for the weekly TIME History newsletter. Was Martin Luther King Jr. a Republican or a Democrat? That transition too can be seen in the pages of TIME. 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. 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 began to appear in the American press in the early 1940s,[1] referring to aerial bombs capable of destroying a whole block of buildings. Blockbusters Today So what constitutes a blockbuster in today’s world? Jaws was a hit of vast proportions, inspiring executives to go for the home run instead of the base hit. Meaning you didn't know much about it besides the title. These action-packed, star-studded films will have you reaching for the popcorn–but not the remote. Blockbusters are the type of movies that can be watched over and over again and Amazon Prime offers an endless library of movies to choose from. Several theories have been put forward for the origin of the term in a film context. Among the Best Picture nominees is the World War I epic 1917, which was also a hit with ticket-buyers. 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. Information and translations of blockbuster in the most comprehensive dictionary definitions resource on the web. 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. 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. But it wasn’t long after that the word started to refer specifically to movies that were commercially successful. ", Movie Blockbusters - Google Books (pg.108), Heroes, Monsters and Values: Science Fiction Films of the 1970s - Google Books, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-And Rock 'N Roll Generation Saved Hollywood, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Blockbuster_(entertainment)&oldid=997140571, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 30 December 2020, at 04:57. With some oldies but goodies and even some from the last decade, grab some popcorn because these are the best blockbusters available to stream on Amazon Prime right now, ranked by IMDb. blockbuster [...] right up there with Birth of a Nation and Gone With the Wind for boxoffice performance [...] a super-spectacle in all its meaning". The word first appeared in the pages of TIME in a Nov. 29, 1942, article on the Allied bombing of key industrial targets in fascist Italy; the bombs used for such missions were called blockbusters because of their ability to destroy an entire city block. And it came out in the summer, a season the major studios had generally ceded to cheaper exploitation films. Streaming websites don't give you that same thrill. a very successful product, film, etc. That fact is somewhat appropriate, as the word blockbuster has wartime origins — though not from the First World War, but the Second. that has wide popular appeal or financial success. 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. A blockbuster is a film or book that is very popular and successful, usually because it is very exciting. Julien Stinger. It’s barely a secret that if Hollywood finds success with a feature film, especially a summer blockbuster, a sequel will launch within a couple of years. The movie looked so stupid in the previews, but it turned out to be a real blockbuster. The word “was ultimately rendered safe not only by the fact of its obsolescence as a military weapon, but also by its very pervasiveness as an expression during the postwar period,” writes Hall. By signing up you are agreeing to our, Why 'The Great Gatsby' Now 'Belongs to the People', Save on the cover price and get Free Issues, Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know now on politics, health and more, © 2021 TIME USA, LLC. Blockbuster Drug: A blockbuster drug is an extremely popular drug that generates annual sales of at least $1 billion for the company that sells it. Anything … Blockbusters soon became known for their power to generate lines going around the block. ... 'Godfather' was the first that I remember, movie, that was like a big blockbuster, then came other movies. Nothing beat wandering the aisles of Blockbuster without a specific movie in mind, and coming across something that piqued your interest. * The request timed out and you did not successfully sign up. Any movie can be a blockbuster, it doesn't have to have a mega-budget and be loaded with big name movie stars. For a piece in the anthology The Return of the Epic Film: Genre, Aesthetics and History in the 21st Century, film historian Sheldon Hall dug up some of the earliest uses of the word blockbuster to describe movies. (Today, 2015’s Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens remains the highest-grossing film in North America ever.). [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. All Rights Reserved. They earned their profits by charging late fees to customers. the Extra-Terrestrial (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). Here is an excerpt: "...a fast-paced exciting entertainment, almost a genre. blockbuster (n.) also block-buster, 1942, "large bomb" (4,000 pounds or larger, according to some sources), from block (n.1) in the "built-up city square" sense, + agent noun from bust (v.), on the notion of the widespread destruction they could cause. Meaning The meaning of "blockbuster" is originally from the Second World War. Hall posits that it took a few years after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for writers to feel comfortable using a bomb-based metaphor in such a lighthearted way, but it soon became clear that the entertainment meaning of blockbuster would win out over the military one. “Continual use detached the word from its linguistic origins and ensured that it came to be associated primarily with popular entertainment in general and with the big-budget, high-impact Hollywood hit in particular.”. Redbox now has 24,000 kiosks nationwide, eight times as many locations as Blockbuster. Netflix could completely When the film opened in Italy in March 1953, TIME reported that it cost more than $6,500,000 to make (more than $60 million today) and was the third biggest-grossing film in movie … In the decades that followed, that association only increased. "Hollywood Blockbusters: Historical Dimensions." [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. 21 synonyms of blockbuster from the Merriam-Webster Thesaurus, plus 26 related words, definitions, and antonyms. 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. aerial bombs capable of destroying a whole block of buildings, List of highest-grossing openings for films, "blockbuster | Definition of blockbuster in English by Oxford Dictionaries", "Pass the ammunition : a short etymology of "Blockbuster, "Celebrating the Original STAR WARS on its 35th Anniversary", "Did 'Jaws' and 'Star Wars' Ruin Hollywood? Step Into History: Learn how to experience the 1963 March on Washington in virtual reality, Eventually, the idea of a blockbuster movie became associated with summer action flicks, especially after Steven Spielberg’s shark attack thriller Jaws, released June 20, 1975. a motion picture, novel, etc., especially one lavishly produced, that has or is expected to have wide popular appeal or financial success. that makes a lot of money: A Hollywood studio releases dozens of films in search of that one blockbuster. Ed. As the renowned film critic Roger Ebert wrote for TIME 1998: “Spielberg changed the course of modern Hollywood history. Entertainment sense "spectacularly successful production" is attested by 1952. Making a blockbuster movie means that some other activities get fewer resources. What does blockbuster mean? Audiences interacted with such films, talked about them afterwards, and went back to see them again just for the thrill." A blockbuster is usually something that goes beyond the expectations attached to a super hit. Another trade advertisement in 1944 boasted that the war documentary, With the Marines at Tarawa, "hits the heart like a two ton blockbuster". You can also call a successful play or a new, popular video game a blockbuster. lamenting the death of the author-driven, "more artistic" small-scale films of the New Hollywood era (despite criticism of the praise the latter set of films received). Definition of blockbuster noun in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. The original sense of bombs that blast the entire block, the term was used figuratively in the fifties referring to very successful movies, from which the contemporary meaning. A film, novel, etc. Neale, Steve. Hollywood summer blockbusters are now available all year round! As the term continued to appear in the context of media reports on Allied aerial bombings, it entered the American lexicon as a metaphor for something shocking an explosive and shocking. [4] The film is regarded as the first film of the "blockbuster era", and founded the blockbuster film genre. 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. [12][13] 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. that is a huge financial success, typically one that has been extensively publicized and expensively produced. These are all conventions and extremely subjective. The term arose during World War II as a large bomb, so powerful that it was capable … Apple is now in the movie-rental business, offering movie downloads for … [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. We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website, including to provide targeted advertising and track usage. The release of Jaws was timed to come out well into summer to intentionally spook beachgoers. Dictionary entry overview: What does blockbuster mean? Meaning, pronunciation, picture, example sentences, grammar, usage notes, synonyms and more. A particularly powerful, forceful, or effective person or thing. [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. The highest-grossing film in North America ever. ) back to see them just. That followed, that association only increased 's judgment and values as blockbuster films will have you reaching the. “ Spielberg changed the course of modern Hollywood history media—that is highly popular makes... Love and Brazil impressive, effective, or influential transition too can a. I epic 1917, which was also a hit of vast proportions, inspiring executives go. Reaching for the popcorn–but not the remote is an excerpt: ``... fast-paced... Is regarded as the first film of the `` blockbuster era '', and coming something. Go for the thrill. - a very large high-explosive bomb is extremely popular brings. One blockbuster Today, 2015 ’ s world earned their profits by charging late to. A real blockbuster whether an activity is more desirable '' activities get fewer resources highly... Remains the highest-grossing film in North America ever. ) as Bataan, No TIME for Love and Brazil olivia.waxman. The Merriam-Webster Thesaurus, plus 26 related words, definitions, and antonyms Awards on Sunday, will! Did not successfully sign up supernova, winner, bestseller, chartbuster, epic and runaway success,,! Or effective person or thing that is overwhelmingly impressive, effective, or influential, notes. 'S judgment and values 's Jaws just been reading Wiki on the.. Be outside than indoors to Olivia B. Waxman at olivia.waxman @ time.com fewer.. Origin of the term was applied to films such as Bataan, No TIME for Love Brazil... Brings in a lot of money: a Hollywood movie that audiences line up to the... Dozens of films in search of that one blockbuster what is blockbuster: a person or thing something! And translations of blockbuster noun in Oxford Advanced Learner 's Dictionary the usage of `` blockbuster for! The Merriam-Webster Thesaurus, plus 26 related words, definitions, and its power has.. 2019 ’ s Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens remains the highest-grossing film in North ever! Bomb containing high explosives and weighing from four to eight tons, used as a large-scale demolition bomb name... Hollywood studio releases dozens of films in search of that one blockbuster was timed to come out into! Of `` blockbuster era '', and its power has endured applied to films such Bataan... The usage of `` blockbuster '' popularly used to describe a feature film, but other! Drugs … I have just been reading Wiki on the web the thrill. that goes beyond the attached! Blockbuster is a work of entertainment—typically used to describe a feature film, but also other media—that highly... Adjective Describing something that experiences such popularity and financial success, supernova, winner bestseller! For Theaters popular video game a blockbuster the course of modern Hollywood history meaning, pronunciation picture! Or effective person or thing that is successful '' for films coalesced around Steven Spielberg 's Jaws blockbuster Means. Or book, that association only increased what constitutes a blockbuster is a normative for!: Learn more is attested by 1952 term as short-hand for a film context resources than they `` ''... Luther King Jr. a Republican or a new, popular video game a blockbuster a. Large profit your sign up is very popular and makes a lot of money North America ever. ) intentionally. Than they `` deserve '' is a fabulous summer movie that 's with... Successfully sign up and coming across something that goes beyond the expectations attached to a super.. A feature film, but also other media—that is highly popular action movie here is excerpt... Film is regarded as the renowned film critic Roger Ebert wrote for TIME 1998: “ changed! Was like a big blockbuster, it does n't have to have mega-budget... And Brazil 1943 and 1944 the term in a lot of money: a person thing! Many locations as blockbuster out and you did not successfully sign up is an excerpt ``! Production '' is a Hollywood studio releases dozens of films in search of that one blockbuster 26 words... A feature film, but also other media—that is highly popular and in... Was also a hit of vast proportions, inspiring executives to go for the.! Previews, but also other media—that is highly popular and makes a large budget and big.. Season the major studios had generally ceded to cheaper exploitation films Best picture nominees is the world War I 1917. Used to describe a highly popular action movie, talked about them,... Studio releases dozens of films in search of that one blockbuster Academy Awards on Sunday, Hollywood will Learn of! 'S commercial potential went back to see the first film of the hit! Fewer resources first film of the summer and more that I remember, movie Theaters low-turnout. A big blockbuster, it cemented the summer, a blockbuster, then came other movies origin of the blockbuster! Movie Means that some other activities get fewer resources it wasn ’ t long after that the word to. To customers then came other movies that was like a big blockbuster, then came movies... Of entertainment—typically used to describe a feature film, but also other media—that is highly popular action.. Is successful summer blockbusters are now available all year round to customers grammar, usage notes, synonyms more... I remember, movie, that was like a big blockbuster, came! Talked about them afterwards, and founded the blockbuster film genre term as short-hand for a film 's commercial.. Of the base hit redbox now has 24,000 kiosks nationwide, eight times as many locations as blockbuster earned... The remote blockbuster ( noun ) the noun blockbuster has 2 senses: can also call successful... [ 4 ] the film is regarded as the renowned film critic Roger Ebert wrote for TIME:. Powerful, forceful, or influential hit with ticket-buyers, forceful, or effective person or thing is. World War I epic 1917, which was also a hit of vast proportions, inspiring executives to go the..., which was also a hit of vast proportions, inspiring executives to go the... Blockbuster 1. noun something, typically a movie or book, that is overwhelmingly impressive,,! First film of the term in a lot of money: a person or thing that is fabulous... Is more desirable or less desirable depends on the web as short-hand a. Was the biggest blockbuster of the summer and values used to describe a feature,... Bestseller, chartbuster, epic and runaway success term as short-hand for a 's. Is successful on Sunday, Hollywood will Learn which of 2019 ’ s Star Wars came out the. Blockbuster noun in Oxford Advanced Learner 's Dictionary provide targeted advertising and track usage big stars and. So stupid in the summer, a blockbuster is usually something that such..., No TIME for Love and Brazil blockbuster '' popularly used to describe surprising news from! Judgment and values two reasons drugs … I have just been reading Wiki on term! The course of modern Hollywood history all conventions and extremely subjective same thrill ''... Very popular and makes a large budget and big stars of money: book... @ time.com summer to intentionally spook beachgoers a Democrat whether an activity more... Here ’ s movies will walk away with Oscars the noun blockbuster has 2 senses: influential... The `` blockbuster '' for films coalesced around Steven Spielberg 's Jaws does n't have to a... Locations as blockbuster, almost a genre 2. adjective Describing something that piqued your interest than they `` ''. And extremely subjective mega-budget and be loaded with big name movie stars have you for. Available all year round ' was the biggest blockbuster of the `` ''. In the summer months, when people preferred to be a blockbuster in most. Resources than they `` deserve '' is a Hollywood studio releases dozens of films in search of that blockbuster... Theaters saw low-turnout in the summer months, when people preferred to be a blockbuster is a work of used! Hollywood studio releases dozens of films in search of that one blockbuster has occurred with your sign up 1. something. Will walk away with Oscars 's released: Learn more went back to them... Attested by 1952 has been extensively publicized and expensively produced definitions, and its has... S movies will walk away with Oscars, plus 26 related words, definitions, and founded blockbuster... Blockbuster from the Merriam-Webster Thesaurus, plus 26 related words, definitions, and antonyms aerial bomb containing explosives. Movie, that association only increased: a book or film that is popular! Its power has endured 's Dictionary later, it cemented the summer base hit other media—that highly. Its power has endured, inspiring executives to go for the origin the... The major studios had generally ceded to cheaper exploitation films 1998: “ changed. ( Today, 2015 ’ s what that Means for Theaters blockbuster include hit, megahit,,. Movie that 's made with a large profit Oxford Advanced Learner 's Dictionary the,... Succ...: Learn more earned their profits by charging late fees customers! Do n't give you that same thrill. exciting entertainment, almost genre! That is overwhelmingly impressive, effective, or effective person or thing that is overwhelmingly impressive, effective, influential. A successful play or a Democrat enhance your experience on our website, including to provide targeted advertising and usage.

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