Several theories have been put forward for the origin of the term in a film context. These action-packed, star-studded films will have you reaching for the popcorn–but not the remote. Julien Stinger. Meaning of blockbuster. [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]. Streaming websites don't give you that same thrill. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our. 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. [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. [3], In 1975, the usage of "blockbuster" for films coalesced around Steven Spielberg's Jaws. blockbuster 1. noun Something, typically a movie or book, that is very popular and makes a large profit. Dictionary entry overview: What does blockbuster mean? * The request timed out and you did not successfully sign up. Nothing beat wandering the aisles of Blockbuster without a specific movie in mind, and coming across something that piqued your interest. Find another word for blockbuster. We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website, including to provide targeted advertising and track usage. 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. that is a huge financial success, typically one that has been extensively publicized and expensively produced. 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). 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. But whether "more desirable" activities get fewer resources than they "deserve" is a normative answer for two reasons. A film, novel, etc. What does blockbuster mean? an aerial bomb containing high explosives and weighing from four to eight tons, used as a large-scale demolition bomb. Blockbuster drugs … 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 movie looked so stupid in the previews, but it turned out to be a real blockbuster. 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. These are all conventions and extremely subjective. 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. Meaning, pronunciation, picture, example sentences, grammar, usage notes, synonyms and more. Please attempt to sign up again. Write to Olivia B. Waxman at olivia.waxman@time.com. Audiences interacted with such films, talked about them afterwards, and went back to see them again just for the thrill." 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? Synonyms for blockbuster include hit, megahit, smash, success, supernova, winner, bestseller, chartbuster, epic and runaway success. Making a blockbuster movie means that some other activities get fewer resources. 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. 21 synonyms of blockbuster from the Merriam-Webster Thesaurus, plus 26 related words, definitions, and antonyms. 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. Before then, movie theaters saw low-turnout in the summer months, when people preferred to be outside than indoors. Neale, Steve. In the decades that followed, that association only increased. 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). [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. 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. The release of Jaws was timed to come out well into summer to intentionally spook.... Words, definitions, and coming across something that piqued your interest used... Overwhelmingly impressive, effective, or effective person or thing that is successful - a very high-explosive! A genre the request timed out and you did n't know much about it besides the title 's and... The thrill. what that Means for Theaters our website, including to provide targeted advertising track! 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