AS Media StudiesAudience Research By Michael Kumar
Secondary Research TaskReasons why the top 5 films in the Superhero movie genre are successful in attracting audiences.
1 - The Dark Knight Top of the Superhero movie Genre Lifetime Gross of over $1,000,000,000 Worldwide Distributed by Warner Bros. Rated PG-13 Featured Actors include : - Christian Bale - Heath Ledger - Aaron Eckhart - Morgan Freeman
HistoryThe Dark knight is known to be one of the most successful movies of all time, so how did it attract such a huge audience? One of the main attractions of the Dark Knight is the history of the character, the “batman”. Batman has been known as a comic book hero, originating from the early 1940s. There have been many hundreds of thousands of comic stories, and 5 hollywood movies produced alongside the Dark Knight. This huge past has already created many fans of the franchise, who know the stories from the comic books, so any movie based on the batman is bound to have a wide audience.
The Idea of BatmanThe idea of the Batman is a superhero who is a master of martialarts, a true intellectual, and a man who possesses a lot of hightech to help him fight crime, yet he has no actual supernaturalsuperpowers, unlike most other popular superheroes. This ideamay attract an audience, as the batman is a unique superhero,who uses things that any normal person can use to fight crime.The dark past of batman, the many cool gadgets, and the relativelydark personality of both the batman and the villains he faces givesanything in the batman series a great potential to be successful, asany batman story can easily be captivating and action packed.
Distributors of The Dark KnightThe Distributor of the Dark Knight, Warner Bros, are one ofthe largest film companies in the world. They have producedmany successful films in the past that Gross huge profits,exposing their movies to as many people as possible.The Dark Knight was released to 4,366 theaters locally, andwas promoted on all forms of media at a grand scale, throughinternet adverts, TV ad placements and even through newcomics!The widespread advertising built up a lot of hype about thefilm, and had a huge effect on the size of the audience.
The Target Audience of The Dark KnightSo, has the Dark Knight hit the target audience? Taking intoaccount all the factors such as the distributor, the history andappeal of the batman, and the overall look and idea of the story ofthe Dark Knight, you can clearly see that the movie would attractaudiences of all ages, and both genders, although the batmancomics have always been aimed towards boys.Since the wide audience found the movie to be very well producedtoo, the film was spread through word of mouth and online posts,and after release, the audience grew and grew, making the filmone of the most successful of all time!
2 - Spiderman Placed 2nd in the top superhero genre Lifetime Gross of just over $820,000,000 worldwide Distributed by Sony Rated PG-13 Featured Actors include : - Toby Maguire - Willem Dafoe - Kirsten Dunst - James Franco
History of SpidermanJust like the batman comics, Spiderman has a large past of a comic bookseries that originated from the 1960s. Unlike the Dark Knight, this is thefirst Spiderman movie, so it doesnt have a huge worldwide filmaudience, but since the spiderman comics have been around for almosthalf a century, the audience would already be huge. Along with thecomics came a toy series and even a quite successful cartoon series,further increasing the fanbase of the spiderman franchise, guaranteeinga huge audience for this movieIdeaSpiderman is a superhero that gives a lot of people hope, as he is acharacter many people can relate to. He starts off as a normal student,although he isnt very popular, and is quite a geek compared to the otherstudents. He has a crush on a girl, Mary Jane, but she is not even slightlyinterested In him.On a school trip to a museum of science, he gets bitten by a radioactivespider which changes his life, and he gets spider powers such as webslinging, wall climbing, spider senses etcIts a story of empowerment of a normal person, and many kids would becaptured by this story, as they can relate to it.The movie is based of the initial events of Spiderman, so comic bookfans would love to see it, and children would love to watch it!
Distributor of SpidermanSpiderman was distributed by Sony Pictures, oneof the leading distributors of media in the world.They did a similar job to other distributors of largemovies, promoting the film through mass media,mainly through TV ads, but the internet was ahuge advertising zone, and even in the manyspiderman video games, they placed smalladvertisements in the games through informationupdates online via PSN and Xbox live.
The Target Audience of SpidermanWith large movies like this, with huge histories oftv shows, comics, games and toys, many peoplehave grown up with the franchise, so the targetaudiences are usually huge, and the movie has toplease everyone. Spiderman does thatsuccessfully, as the story is amazing, that theelder generations can watch over and over again,and the action scenes, the classic hero vs villainscenes keeps the kids excited and captivated.You cant go wrong with movies like these!
3 - Spiderman 2 3rd most successful superhero movie Worldwide gross profit of just over $780,000,000 Distributed by Sony Rated PG-13 Direct Sequel to Spiderman
A Fans Review of Spiderman 2Spider-Man 2 picks up where the original film left off, this time showing the moredifficult hardships of being a superhero. Standing in the way is Dr. OttoOctavius(Doc Ock) a brilliant scientist whose fusion experiment goes awry at ademonstration Peter attends.The story, and characters are fleshed out more this time out, as well as theeffects. Kirsten Dunst is more convincing as MJ, she seemed a little flat in therole last time. Here she, like the rest of the cast, do a convincing job. The topperformance has to go to Alfred Molina. In the short screen time Otto has beforehe becomes a diabolical powerhouse supervillain, he is an endearing, likableperson. Spider-Man 2 also offers more confidence in its story telling. The"raindrops" sequence is an evident example. Not afraid to go full nine, this movieis the definitive comic book movie, possessing action, drama, comedy, andmessage(without being too preachy). Director Sam Raimi and crew really nailedit this time around. Be sure to check out comic artist Alex Ross paintings splicedin the opening credits, entailing the events of the first film. A great opening to agreat film.(http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0316654/reviews)
Why was Spiderman 2 Successful?The fan review pretty much sums up why. First ofall, since Spiderman 2 is a direct sequel, itsguaranteed to be a success with a huge audience,as the audience from the previous movie want toknow what happens after the first movie. Theproducers can focus on what people said aboutthe last movie too, and improve this movie usingthe audiences feedback. What youre left with isan improved version of the last movie, with abetter production value, and an eager audience.
So why didnt Spiderman 2 receive abigger gross profit than Spiderman?An explanation for this can be that Spiderman 2 wasnt asadvertised as much Spiderman, leaving the audienceunaware of the movies release in cinemas. I think otherwisethough. With Sequels, you can only rely on the people thatenjoyed the last movie to come and watch the sequel. Withthe first movie, a small percentage of people who went to seethe movie may have not enjoyed it, so they would neverdecide to see the sequel.This is why man sequels to other movies can be a major flop,as huge profits from the original movie may not mean aguaranteed huge profit on the sequel, as the people may nothave even enjoyed the original movie.
So, did Spiderman 2 hit its target audience?Seeing as the movie is a sequel, it has to have thesame target audience as before. To change thetarget audience when producing a sequel is moviesuicide, so the target audience is exactly the sameas the original spiderman movie.From what we saw in the fan review, Spiderman 2not only hits the target audience, but improves theviewing pleasure of the audience by improving themovie itself. Sequels can be risky, but DirectorSam Raimi has pulled it off!
4 - Spiderman 3 4th most successful superhero movie Worldwide Gross of just over $890,000,000 Distributed by Sony Rated PG-13 3rd Sequel, yet the lowest rated movie in the series, at 6.4 compared to spidermans 7.4 (imdb)
Why is Spiderman 3 4th?Youd expect the 3rd Sequel of a series to be a lot moresuccessful than the first movie in the series, so why isSpiderman 3 rated the 4th most successful superhero movieof all time?Well, keeping in mind it is a sequel, you have to take intoaccount the sequel effect that I mentioned 2 slides back,where audience members who disliked the previous movieare less likely to view the sequel afterwards.Spiderman 3s ratings are quite low compared to the othermovies in the series though, which means the movie wasntas good as the others. This can be a reason why it isconsidered to be 4th in the list.
A Fans review of Spiderman 3 : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0413300/reviews 198 out of 326 people found the following review useful: some good things but it never quite comes together, 8 May 2007 Third entry in the hugely popular series has Peter Parker and alter ego Spider- Man fighting what could possibly be the greatest battle of his life. The intrepidParker is on top of the world as the citizens of New York City have finally come to appreciate all of his heroic deeds, but more importantly hes found a stablerelationship with Mary Jane Watson. His seemingly perfect existence comes to an abrupt halt when he learns that his uncles real killer is still at large, and best friend turned bitter adversary Harry Osborn comes seeking revenge. Peter also bonds with an unusual black symbiote that unleashes a darker side of him and threatens to destroy everything he holds dear. Some effective moments of intense, exciting action and superior special effects are undermined by overlength, and juxtaposed against moments of corny, unintentionally funnyhuman drama. The ingredients for a success are there, including a good cast andsome interesting subplots, but they cant overcome a leaden script which chooses to revel in its mawkish material rather than flesh out its characters or tell acoherent story. Watchable, but never quite as engaging or spectacular as it could be considering the standard set by the first two films. **½
Fans disappointed...Most of the audience posted reviews like this, all you have to do isread the review title to see their opinions : - Big-Budget Special-Effects Extravaganza, Out Of Focus - Perfect example of trying to fit TOO much into a movie - Spider-Man 3 is adequate, but adequate just isnt enough - A Let Down - BEST effects, yet WORST movie - The worst Spidey yet. I LOVED IT! - Im so sorry, SpideyThe fans clearly are disappointed, so what went wrong?
What went wrong?The pressure of making a good sequel is alwaysreally high, but what has happened here is thedirector trying to end the series with a bang. Hedid what he did with the last movie, read theaudiences reviews, and has clearly tried toimpress them, investing $200,000,000 as aproduction budget, but the movie ended up full ofaction scenes, leaving the story a little empty.The more you try to please a target audience, themore you can lose track of the plot of the story, sosometimes it isnt a good thing to please everysingle person in the target audience.
Did Spiderman 3 hit the target audience?Just like the previous spiderman movies, it has hit the targetaudience well again, as the distribution company did their job well,producing TV ads, video games, and even Spiderman 3s ownmovie website where fans can get more information on the film.The same audiences as before were the target, and since it is asequel, the audience didnt really need to be attracted, but simplynotified of the film. Fans of the comic books series who know thestory may have been disappointed by the movies lack of story andplot focus, but fans who havent read the comics or watched thecartoon wouldnt know better. So, although the target audiencewasnt as happy with this movie compared to the others in theseries, it has hit it, and made quite a large gross profit.
5 – Iron Man 5th in the Superhero genre Worldwide Gross of roughly $585,000,000 Distributed by Paramount Rated PG-13 Released 2008, use of improved CGI
History of Iron ManLike the Batman and Spiderman Comics, Ironman originates from 1963, from an Idea from acollaboration between comic book legend StanLee and scripter Larry Lieber. The comics aremore recent than the likes of batman andspiderman, but they have been around for almost40 years, so there is quite a history, and with ahistory there are willing fans who would be veryexcited if a movie version was released, so atarget audience appears, fans of the comics.
Idea of Iron ManIron man is seen as similar to batman in a way, asuperhero with a lot of money and a lot of gadgets, with astrong personality. Iron man also has a huge patriotic andalmost political side to the story too, as the lead characteris a weapons designer, owner of a leading business inmilitary technology, and fights villains that havecommunist views.Some readers believe that in the comics, some storylinesare written to convey the authors thoughts on the vietnamwar, so Iron man is seen as a very stereotypicalamerican, arrogant and very boyish, but very badass. Sothe American audience will love this side of Iron man.
Distributors of Iron ManIron man was distributed by Paramount, a giant ofdistribution, similar 20th Century Fox or WarnerBros, responsible for such movies as War of theWorlds, Transformers, Cloverfield, and evenhelped with the Titanic. So the studio is known todistribute many great films that use CGI. Like allother distributors too, they did a great jobspreading the movie around, via a great TV ad,internet ads, and even adverts for the VideoGame they planned to release at the same time ofthe movie.
Target Audience of Iron ManThe target audience is again, the fans of thecomic books series, and to attract a newaudience, the fans of action movies, the heavyuse of intense CGI action scenes and badass-ness of the American war hero brings in manyviewers seeking an intense action packed film.The movie has hit the target audience very well,bringing in many male viewers due to the strongmale character of Iron man.
Upcoming Superhero Movies : Iron Man 3Iron man 3 is scheduled to be released in 2013, sometime in march. Demographics for the previous Iron man movie and Iron Man comic books make it clear that this movie will be most popular with teenage males between 13 and 24 years old, as males in that age group tend to like a strong male character with an attitude, and superhero comics in general. Psychographically, boys will be able to relate to Iron mans personality, his personal values and moral values. He defends enemies against his company and against his personal friends, and never acts unjust, harming the innocent. In Iron man 2, he makes it public that he is a superhero, so he is seen as a role model by all viewers. In Iron man 3, viewers of the prequels would want to see what happens next, guaranteeing the success of Iron man 3
Upcoming Superhero Movies : The Dark Knight RisesThe Dark Knight Rises is scheduled to bereleased in late July, and is predicted to be one ofthe biggest movies of all time. Due to the prequelsmassive success, this movie is guaranteed tobring in a massive profit and and huge success atthe box office. Due too its popularity in the first twofilms it is expected to be even better. The trailer Isalso going to increase its popularity alreadyattracting millions of people.
Group DiscussionWhat people liked in a superhero film- Most people enjoy the action seen in these filmsand they say they should have good fightingscenes Most find the storyline captivating, and peoplecan relate to the story and characters involved(eg. Peter Parker aka Spiderman losing his uncleBen to a criminal) The heroism and morals given from thesuperheroes, along with the costumes andsymbols gives the superhero idealogy anattractive look and cool attitude
Group DiscussionWhat people dislike in a superhero film - Storylines are often predictable (Guy saves girlfrom evil villain) Superhero storylines can be cliché andrepetitive, as in people can tell that certainsuperhero storylines are similar even though thesuperheroes are completely different Some of the things superheroes say, thedialogues involved between the superheroes andthe civilians are just cheesy and predictable
Star AppealStar appeal is a huge part of bringing in a large audiencefor a movie in modern times. To guarantee a moviessuccess, the actors and acting must be impressive toreally convey the story the director is trying to tell.Already established and Iconic actors such as MorganFreeman, Bra Pitt, and Robert Downey Jr. will attractlarge audiences as movies they star in are perceived byeveryone as great movies.An example of this success would be in “TheExpendables” where most of the top action movie actorsall starred in one action packed film full of explosions andviolence. The idea of the film and the actors involvedattracted millions, and it became an instant hit!
Evaluation : Question 1We aimed our movie towards an age of 15 plus,as the movie contains violent scenes at certainpoints. The comedy and superhero blend will alsobe popular with older ages, similar to the likes ofKick Ass or Scott Pilgrim Vs The World.It will be most popular with a teenage audiencedue the basis of a school boy with a tough life.
Question 1In our Intro, wed thought we would film a clipwhere the audience can see what the charactersfuture looks like, like a pre-emptive scene that theaudience can see so they can understand thebuild up. This leaves our audience with a falseinterpretation of what our character will eventuallybecome at the start of the film.
Question 1We agreed that wed make the main characterseem very strong and seem like a character with alot of power. The actor had his chin up, not lookingat the camera at any point to show that he isabove the audience, and the camera circled him,to make him look like the center of attention.
Evaluation : Question 2To represent social class in school, the charactersinteractions with other students shows the socialclass and what we tried to represent. As thecharacter is depicted as a bit of a loser or low-class student in the scene halfway through thefilm, the scene where he gets bullied shows howhis attitude isnt accepted by other students.
Question 2The bullying scene shows a negativerepresentation of school, how certain people whoare considered lower than others are picked onand bullied by groups of other students.
Evaluation : Question 3I think the film should be distributed by a populardistributor well known for supporting superheromovies aimed at teens. Since Sony are greatdistributors, and have supported the SpidermanSeries, I believe that Sony would be suitable fordistributing our film. It would be spread worldwideas Sony is a huge firm, and advertising would beon a grand scale.
Question 3The film would be advertised through TV adplacements, and through Internet ads. Sony iswell known for supporting their movies withexclusive websites, so the movie would have aspecial game / trailer site!The film would then be released to theaters locallyfirst, then worldwide, and then be released onDVD and Blu-Ray, while being available fordownload on Itunes etc.If the film was successful, a video game could beproduced, along with merchandise.
Question 4The film would appeal to mainly teenagers whocan relate to the school life and socialrepresentations. Theyll be able to relate to thecharacters feelings, as he goes through trying tobe socially acceptable and attractive.The target gender would be more aimed towardsboys, as the main character is from a boysperspective of school life.
Question 4The video that we produced was posted online toa social networking site, where our friends andfriends of friends could post feedback. Thegeneral feedback was great, and people reactedhow we wanted to them to react.Since most of our friends are teenagers like us,the target audience was hit, and due to thepositive feedback, our movie representsteenagers very well.
Question 5The mise-en-scene in our movie was easy torepresent, as the majority of the trailer was filmedin school. The main character and othercharacters involved all wore school uniform, andthey dressed accordingly to their attitude (Bullysdressed in school uniform with Hoodies over theshirt)
Question 5The only general negative feedback from theaudience was the fact that there were some minorcontinuity errors that were noticeable throughstrict examination of the clip.Mise-en-Scene was seen as well selected andappropriate.
Question 6Technology was vital to making our film what it is.Use of Virtual DJ for the Audio and the use ofImovie made the clip very smooth and what wewanted it to look like.The software took some time to get used to, but inthe end it was very manageable and easy to use.At times the software malfunctioned, or the actualcomputer we used to edit wouldnt function, so wehad minor setbacks that left us unable to edit themovie.
Question 6To improve the editing side of the movie, Icouldve spent more time getting used to thesoftware and learning how to use all the effects.
Question 7Through the production of our film, we changedthe script so much, and had to re-film whole partsand add new parts that worked and made sensewith the old parts of the film.This brought many problems such as largecontinuity errors that had to be edited out as muchas possible, and we had make certain scenesstand out more than others.We did this through using video FX, and usingmusic that added to the comedy.
Question 7If we spent more time editing and maybe hadused a better editing program such as SonyVegas Pro or Final Cut Pro we couldve produceda better quality and smoother film.We did the best we could with what we weregiven, and the target audience clearly liked thefilm!