'Blockbuster!'

1. A film that sustains exceptional and widespread popularity and achieves enormous sales. 

 2. A high-explosive bomb used for demolishing extensive areas, such as a city block. 

Noun, sing. 

 Hello Fellow Wordies,

In today's episode, Cameron and I delve into the history and evolution of the term 'blockbuster.' We cover a lot of ground: the British Royal Air Force, mechanical sharks, space operas, Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris, and Iron Man abroad.  

While we spend a portion of today's show talking about the term's super-literal origin, the focus of today's episode primarily addresses the word's more widely used definition (courtesy of Wiktionary):  

Since the summer blockbuster era commenced in 1975 with the massively successful release of Steven Spielberg's Jaws, filmmakers and studio honchos alike have sought to acquire and exploit the magic formula that would guarantee the highest audience turnout. After nearly forty years of tinkering and testing, we've reached a critical point where just about every genre and convention has been tapped, twisted, and turned out with the efficacy of an assembly line system. Every passing year (or fiscal year, for that matter) has yielded everything from monster flicks (Jaws, the Kings Kong, Cloverfield), to fantasy tomes (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings), to buddy cop films (Lethal Weapon, Rush Hour, Bad Boyz), and even summer romances (The Notebook, When Harry Met Sally).

What this process of experimentation has taught discerning film audiences is that success is rarely predictable, that risks don't always yield promising results, and that, above all else, audiences tend to defy expectations at every turn. If film audiences weren't the unpredictable rabble they so frequently prove to be, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and After Earth would be the top-grossing film of the year. On the opposite side of the coin, just look at Pirates of the Caribbean. Who the fudge could have predicted that shirt was going to be a hit? 

If we arrived at any sort of determination after recording this show, it's that it's often difficult - if not impossible - to boil cultural and artistic values down to an economic science. As the film market expands into the globalized world, we see a tendency on the part of film investors to tap into a global zeitgeist: an internationally homogenous appetite for entertainment that may not ever truly exist...or maybe shouldn't. 

So, without further ado, please silence your cell phones and enjoy the show!  

P.S. Please feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments below, or rate our show on iTunes. Thanks for listening!