Tent-Poles of the Blockbuster: How Transmedia Storytelling can Spin off a Mainstream Blockbuster

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Abstract

In 2005 the first book in the ‘Twilight’ series by Stephanie Meyer was released. The series consists of four books, the last one ‘Breaking Dawn’ published in 2008. The series were developed into four movies, the last one released in late 2012.
In 2011 E. L. James published her trilogy ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, a spin-of the Twilight series and originally written as a fanfiction story on fanfiction.net.
Both stories became so-called blockbusters, the latter even more successful than the original story (fastest selling novel ever as of 2012).
While Meyer’s story tells the love story of Bella, a human, and Edward, a vampire, James’ story is about Ana, a newly graduated college student, and Christian Grey, a millionaire. Meyer’s story evolves around the problematic relationship between a human and a vampire, while the fulcrum of James’ story is the developing BDSM relationship between the two main characters, creating the notion of housewife porn.
In the article the authors take a look into how transmedia storytelling, in the form of fanfiction, inspired by a blockbuster, Twilight, becomes the basis of another blockbuster, Fifty Shades of Grey.
The hypothesis of the article being transmedia in the form of social media and the tightly knit communities of fanfiction writers and commenters are able to become co-creators and thus stakeholders of a given story, telling and retelling it, and thus creating a larger audience and attention through the use of media like tumblr, twitter, facebook, and the like, and in the process expanding the possible tie-ins and spin-offs from the original story’s tentpole.
The article will explain the intricacies of fanfiction and the special target group, women, as well as the impact of social media on changing customers into co-creators and stakeholders, leaving the original producer with a limited power as to what is distributed on the Internet, giving the co-creator the possibility to use bridges and tie-ins from the original source to develop their own blockbuster.
Other perspectives on the above will be provided by delving into the terms of ‘suspension of disbelief’, ‘world-building’, and ‘subcreation’, as well as the ethical aspects of co-creating – both with respect to the original work as opposed to fanfiction, as well as the co-creational aspects in beta’ing and commenting on work in progress in a fanfiction community.
Translated title of the contributionBlockbusterens tent-poles: Hvordan transmedial storytelling kan skabe mainstream blockbusters
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2013
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventBestseller and Blockbuster Culture : Books, Cinema and Television - Aalborg, Denmark
Duration: 21 Mar 201322 Mar 2013

Conference

ConferenceBestseller and Blockbuster Culture
CountryDenmark
CityAalborg
Period21/03/201322/03/2013

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