Saturday, February 17, 2007

Helpful movie terminology

Blockbuster: An archaic term from before the multiplex where films were so popular that the length of the line-up would be huge. The exact source of the term is unknown, but it has been suggested that either A. the film was so popular that other theatres on the block were 'busted' or B. that the line-up for the film would 'bust' the block. It is not a genre of film, and one cannot 'make' a blockbuster, as movies just become blockbusters.

Bomb (also, flop or turkey*): A financially unsuccessful film, making only a fraction of it's production cost.

Event movie (see Blockbuster link): A large budget genre film that is designed to be a potential blockbuster, but is never guaranteed.

Now, here's some clarification upon usage.

The term 'blockbuster' is not synonymous with the term 'event movie', but often appears to be. A non-Event movie can be a blockbuster. (See: The Elephant Man or The Blair Witch Project.) Obviously, an 'event movie' can be a failure, as there's plenty of supporting evidence.

Bomb is not synonymous with a bad film. (See: Slither, for a subjective example.) If a movie bombs/flops, it's not necessarily a poor film, but it usually helps. Also, as a corollary, the B in B-movie does not mean bad, as there are a number of excellent B-movies.

The reason I bring this up is that people need a common vernacular for discussion, and without one people really don't know what they're talking about. I see these terms (except for 'event movie') thrown around willy-nilly on the internet, and I'm really getting tired of having to correct people and then try to carry on an intelligent discussion.

Oh, wait, this is the internet... silly me.

(*I'm not sure why being a 'turkey' is a particularly bad thing, as I personally love turkey and it goes great with gravy and mashed potatoes.)

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