Making a blockbuster movie means that some other activities get fewer resources. Definition of blockbuster noun in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. That fact is somewhat appropriate, as the word blockbuster has wartime origins — though not from the First World War, but the Second. 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. They earned their profits by charging late fees to customers. Among the Best Picture nominees is the World War I epic 1917, which was also a hit with ticket-buyers. Before then, movie theaters saw low-turnout in the summer months, when people preferred to be outside than indoors. And it came out in the summer, a season the major studios had generally ceded to cheaper exploitation films. Blockbuster: a person or thing that is successful. Several theories have been put forward for the origin of the term in a film context. [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]. A blockbuster is a film or book that is very popular and successful, usually because it is very exciting. 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. [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. [3], In 1975, the usage of "blockbuster" for films coalesced around Steven Spielberg's Jaws. 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.” Jaws was a hit of vast proportions, inspiring executives to go for the home run instead of the base hit. A true blockbuster is extremely popular and brings in a lot of money. Dictionary entry overview: What does blockbuster mean? ‘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 . These are all conventions and extremely subjective. (Today, 2015’s Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens remains the highest-grossing film in North America ever.). 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. Write to Olivia B. Waxman at olivia.waxman@time.com. 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. An unexpected error has occurred with your sign up. That transition too can be seen in the pages of TIME. 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. [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. 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). "Hollywood Blockbusters: Historical Dimensions." Here is an excerpt: "...a fast-paced exciting entertainment, almost a genre. Blockbusters May Leave Summer — Here’s What That Means for Theaters. But whether "more desirable" activities get fewer resources than they "deserve" is a normative answer for two reasons. [4] The film is regarded as the first film of the "blockbuster era", and founded the blockbuster film genre. Was Martin Luther King Jr. a Republican or a Democrat? 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. Apple is now in the movie-rental business, offering movie downloads for … [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. Streaming websites don't give you that same thrill. But it wasn’t long after that the word started to refer specifically to movies that were commercially successful. an aerial bomb containing high explosives and weighing from four to eight tons, used as a large-scale demolition bomb. Meaning The meaning of "blockbuster" is originally from the Second World War. Another trade advertisement in 1944 boasted that the war documentary, With the Marines at Tarawa, "hits the heart like a two ton blockbuster". Audiences interacted with such films, talked about them afterwards, and went back to see them again just for the thrill." Ed. Neale, Steve. 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? Nothing beat wandering the aisles of Blockbuster without a specific movie in mind, and coming across something that piqued your interest. A film, novel, etc. [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!" 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. 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. This film was the biggest blockbuster of the summer. Synonyms for blockbuster include hit, megahit, smash, success, supernova, winner, bestseller, chartbuster, epic and runaway success. A blockbuster is usually something that goes beyond the expectations attached to a super hit. 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.”. We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website, including to provide targeted advertising and track usage. Anything … a very successful product, film, etc. Blockbuster Movies. In the decades that followed, that association only increased. 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). What does blockbuster mean? 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. that makes a lot of money: A Hollywood studio releases dozens of films in search of that one blockbuster. Blockbuster drugs … 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. 2. adjective Describing something that experiences such popularity and financial success. 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. Throughout 1943 and 1944 the term was applied to films such as Bataan, No Time for Love and Brazil. 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 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. 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. How to use blockbuster in a sentence. I have just been reading Wiki on the term "Blockbuster" popularly used to describe a highly popular action movie. 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. 1. a huge aerial demolition bomb. Entertainment sense "spectacularly successful production" is attested by 1952. A blockbuster is a Hollywood movie that's made with a large budget and big stars. These action-packed, star-studded films will have you reaching for the popcorn–but not the remote. 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. Popular and makes a large budget and big stars Today, 2015 ’ s will. Commercial potential noun in Oxford Advanced Learner 's Dictionary Court rulings to noteworthy football.... 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