It can be said that from the 1980s until now, there is been a great change in the manner in which films are processed by the film audience. What used to be a simple one-format escapism has now developed into whole worlds that audiences can delve into, with many different avenues to pursue. One of the most iconic films to have done this is the Harry Potter franchise. Spanning a generation, the franchise has settled into the hearts of the viewers and become a part of their history, rather than just a distanced picture on a screen. Through a development of new technologies and alternative advertising methods, such films have ingrained themselves into the viewing public’s heart and caused a connection that was, before, absent. In addition, the strategies behind high concept films, more commonly known as blockbusters, have been further altered and, furthermore, utilised by the fan-audience who have often taken these stories and made them their own through their own paratext contributions.
Paratexts have become an integral part of the filmmaking process, automatically being developed with the intention of luring audiences to a particular motion picture. As defined by Jonathan Gray, paratexts are ‘ texts that…we consume on our way to consuming the “film itself”…texts that prepare us for other texts’ . Therefore, they can be seen as buffers, or bridges, whereby the audience can become introduced to the text, or film, before actually having the viewing experience. In terms of a blockbuster, everything from the motto of a film to the sub sequentially released videogames, can be known as paratexts and is often incredibly important to both the immediate success and the longevity a film may have. For example, with the lead up to Jaws , there…
…ld Separately: Promos, Spoilers, and Other Media Paratexts. New York: New York University Press, 2009.Jockel, Sven and Thomas Dobler. “The Event Movie: Marketing Filmed Entertainment for Transnational Media Corporations”, The International Journal on Media Management 8 (2006): 84-91.
Mahlknecht, Johannes. “The Hollywood Novelization: Film as Literature or Literature as Film Promotion”, Poetics Today 33 (2012): 137-160.
Mahlknecht, Johannes. “The textual paratext – the cinematic motto and its visual presentation on the screen”, Word & Image: A Journal of Verbal/Visual Inquiry 27 (2011): 77-89.
Steward, Meredith. “Will Pottermore Let Readers Create More?”, California English 17 (2011): 7-8.
E.T. the Extra Terrestrial. DVD. Directed by Steven Spielberg. USA: Universal Pictures, 1982.
Jaws. DVD. Directed by Steven Spielberg. USA: Universal Pictures, 1975.