narrowcasting

Culture Warrior

When I purchased my ticket for the Thursday night midnight show of Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, I had no idea what I was in for; not because I hadn’t seen any of the previous Twilight films – I have, in fact, seen them all – but because I had never seen a Twilight film in a theater before, much less on opening night. The Twilight subculture befuddles me, as I’m sure it does any non-initiate of the series. Having seen all the films, I still feel like I’m viewing them from afar, like it’s some strange anthropological project of a phenomenon whose worth and value I will never fully understand. Twilight seems to encapsulate the drastic changes that have taken place in big-budget event filmmaking in the last thirty years. Rather than a film made with the intent of mass appeal (like franchises ranging from Indiana Jones to Jason Bourne), the Twilight films play almost exclusively to a specific – but dedicated – demographic. Of course, one could make this argument about many film franchises. Everything from Star Trek to The Dark Knight certainly have rabid fanbases at their core, but the audiences for these films seem to be “filled in” with a significant amount of casual fans. For example, I once viewed the Harry Potter films similarly to the way I now approach Twilight – not in terms of filmmaking quality, mind you, but in terms of being a cult phenomenon surrounding a fictional narrative that I […]

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