Blockbusters

 

What makes a ‘blockbuster‘ a blockbuster? What’s the secret to success? The story below briefly examines this question. Make sure to also listen to the interview.

Blockbusters

Blockbusters

Movies like the the The Dark Knight or the Harry Potter series are touted as blockbusters — big budget spectacles sure to make box office bank.

And though wannabe blockbusters can — and do — flop, like the $120 million disappointment Speed Racer , big budget is still the way to go, according to Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse.

She’s just written a book called Blockbusters: Hit-making, Risk-taking, and the Big Business of Entertainment — and she says the title doesn’t just apply to movies. “It is identified a lot with movies,” she tells NPR’s Renee Montagne, “but I use the term more broadly to describe big bets in the world of entertainment, whether it’s film, television, book publishing or music, or a range of other industries.”

Interview Highlights

What makes a blockbuster?

The core idea in the book is that [of] a blockbuster strategy — so a strategy in which a company, a content producer … spends a disproportionate amount of their budget on just a select few of the most likely winners, that that blockbuster strategy, that that is actually the surest path to success.

On her case study of Lady Gaga and Born This Way

What a case study entails is me having access to everyone around Lady Gaga, and actually in fact Lady Gaga herself, and being able to ask questions.

And what I found is that they are well aware that it’s necessary for them to embrace risk, and to go as big as possible … they realized, we have to go so big that this is not even something the record label can pay for. What we need to do is get a whole bunch of partners. And they partnered up with Best Buy, with Zynga, with Gilt Groupe, with Starbucks, with a whole bunch of players that would make the launch even bigger than what a record label could do.

Anita Elberse is the Lincoln Filene Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Blockbusters is her first book.

On whether all that marketing and money really makes a blockbuster

In many ways, these are self-fulfilling prophecies. What you get when you put all your resources behind a product, is you get everyone to join in. If you are championing a product, your salespeople will follow and say, wow, this is really going to be great, we need to support this too. Your retailers are going to join in and say, this is going to be the greatest book that anyone has ever seen, or this is going to be the biggest movie of the season … if you swing for the fences, lots of people will come and support you.

It’s not the only reason why they’re so successful, though — we also see marketing advantages; it’s much more cost-efficient. If you double the production budget for your movie, you’re not necessarily doubling the advertising budget. So in a way it’s relatively inexpensive to market these movies.

Read More Here…

 

Key Terms…
  • blockbuster ↔ de enorme sucesso; estouro de bilheteria
  • briefly ↔ brevemente
  • Make sure to ↔ Certifique-se de, Verifique que
  • interview ↔ entrevista
  • like ↔ como, do tipo
  • touted as ↔ apresentado como
  • big budget ↔ grande orçamento
  • spectacles ↔ espetáculos
  • sure to make box office bank ↔ que sem dúvidas ganhará muito dinheiro na bilheteria
  • And though wannabe blockbusters ↔ E apesar de blockbusters “wannabe” (“que ser”; imita outra)
  • flop ↔ fracassar
  • the way to go ↔ a melhor opção; solução mais favorável
  • She’s just written ↔ Ela acabou de escrever
  • Hit – making ↔ torna-sucesso
  • Risk – taking ↔ corre-risco
  • more broadly ↔ mais amplamente
  • describe ↔ descrever
  • big bets ↔ grandes apostas
  • whether ↔ se
  • a range of ↔ um variadade de
  • Interview Highlights ↔ Destaques da Entrevista
  • core idea ↔ idéia central
  • strategy ↔ estratégia
  • content producer ↔ produtor de conteúdo
  • amount ↔ quantidade
  • a select few ↔ um pequeno grupo selecionados
  • most likely ↔ mais provável
  • the surest path ↔ o caminho mais seguro
  • case study ↔ estudo sociológico ou caso em estudo
  • entails ↔ envolve, implica
  • well aware ↔ bem ciente
  • embrace risk ↔ abraçar/aceitar risco
  • go as big as possible ↔ procedir com o plano tão grande quanto possível
  • record label ↔ gravadora
  • a whole bunch ↔ um grade groupo
  • partners ↔ parceiros
  • partnered up with ↔ parceraram com
  • players ↔ vendedores/ concorrentes/ participantes no mercado
  • the launch ↔ o lançamento
  • self – fulfilling prophecies ↔ profecia que se auto-concretizou (profecia que se concretizou apenas com a espera de sua concretização)
  • resources ↔ recursos
  • join in ↔ participar
  • championing ↔ defendendo, apoiando
  • salespeople ↔ vendedores
  • will follow ↔ seguirão
  • retailers ↔ varejistas
  • has ever seen ↔ já viu (present perfect)
  • swing for the fences ↔ fazer algo demasiado ambicioso (mais com chance de acertar em cheio)
  • though ↔ …alias, entretanto
  • double ↔ dobrar
  • advertising budget ↔ orçamento publicitário
  • in a way ↔ de um modo
  • inexpensive ↔ barato
  • market ↔ anuncia, lançar

 

Make sure to Certifique-se de, Verifique que
Well, make sure to remember the most important words. ↔Bem, certifique-se de lembrar-se das palavras mais importantes.
(not always necessary to translate)Por favor, nos informe sobre qualquer alteração em sua chegada! ↔Please make sure to inform us of any changes of your arrival !
touted as apresentado como
Daniels has been touted as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2012.  
The much touted match between Bryon Russell and Michael Jordan never came to be (não aconteceu).  
apregoado por décadas ↔touted for decades
A tão propalada coesão económica… ↔The much-touted economic cohesion
A política energética do Brasil é muitas vezes elogiada e apontada como uma das mais limpas do mundo. ↔Brazil’s energy policy is often touted as one of the cleanest in the world.
sure to make box office bank que sem dúvidas ganhará muito dinheiro na bilheteria
Sure to MakeTours are limited to 20 people, so be sure to make (certifique-se) reservations well in advance.  
These limited editions are sure to make (com certeza, sem dúvidas causarão) her eyes light up on Christmas morning.  
Make BankTo make a gratuitous amount of money, in preferably a short period of time.Carl is going to make bank (ganhar muito dinheiro) when he hits up that liqour store.
Box OfficeA booth, as in a theater or stadium, where tickets are sold.
And though wannabe blockbusters E apesar de blockbusters “wannabe” (“que ser”; imita outra)
Você é um artista renomado internacionalmente, não uma pretenciosa metida a Barbra Streisand. ↔You’re a world-renowned artist, not some pathetic little Streisand wannabe.
flop fracassar
The party was a flop.A festa estava sem graça.
É um completo desastre; os actores saem do palco com os olhos marejados de lágrimas. ↔It is a complete flop; actors leave the stage with tears in their eyes.
the way to go a melhor opção; solução mais favorável
If the more advanced want to improve English ability (especially reading comprehension) increasing vocabulary is the way to go. ↔Se os mais avançados querem melhorar o seu inglês (em particular a compreensão escrita), enriquecer o seu vocabulário é a solução mais rápida.
If the more advanced want to improve English ability (especially reading comprehension) increasing vocabulary is the way to go. ↔Se os mais avançados querem melhorar o seu inglês (em particular a compreensão escrita), enriquecer o seu vocabulário é a solução mais rápida.
She’s just written Ela acabou de escrever

She has just written… (present perfect)

write – wrote – written

Hit – making torna-sucesso
Her talk made a hit (fez sucesso, foi “hit-making”) with the audience.
Risk – taking corre-risco
Gamblers enjoy taking risks (they enjoy risk-taking). ↔Jogadores se divertem assumindo riscos.
a range of um variadade de
They have a nice range (variedade) of cheeses at the store.
The music on that radio station ran the range (gama) from country to hip hop.
Ela tem um amplo leque de competências. ↔She has a broad range of skills.
embrace risk abraçar/aceitar risco
Throw caution to the wind and embrace risk
a whole bunch um grade groupo
Spanish is spoken in a whole bunch of countries. ↔O espanhol é falado em um monte de países. O espanhol é falado em muitos países
Existiam inúmeros contras. ↔There were a whole bunch of reasons against it.
self – fulfilling prophecies profecia que se auto-concretizou (profecia que se concretizou apenas com a espera de sua concretização)
These beliefs can all too easily become self-fulfilling prophecies.  
Warnings of America’s imminent decline, he concludes, could become self-fulfilling prophecies.  
These stereotypes then become self-fulfilling prophecies.  
swing for the fences fazer algo demasiado ambicioso (mais com chance de acertar em cheio)

To do something extremely ambitious, especially rashly.

Por “fences”, quer dizer a cerca do campo, bater um homerun

I’m not going to swing for the fences tomorrow, but I’m hoping my speech will be warmly received.
though …alias, entretanto
it was quite certain thoughaliás, estava bem certo
I hoped you had told him thoughesperava, entretanto, que você lhe tivesse dito.

Audio Notes

  • blockbuster ↔ de enorme sucesso; estouro de bilheteria

    A blockbuster is a really popular movie, for example, there are usually no more than 3 summer blockbusters, and years ago, there was perhaps only one blockbuster movie each summer.

  • touted as ↔ apresentado como

    When you ‘tout’ something, you present it as though it were something. However, this is not necessarily true. Movies are often touted as being great when in fact they are horrible. When you tout a movie as a blockbuster, you are saying that it will be the biggest success of the season.

  • sure to make box office bank ↔ que sem dúvidas ganhará muito dinheiro na bilheteria

    We can say that something is “sure to make bank” when we think it will gain a lot of money. “to bank” is to suddently make a lot of money.

  • And though wannabe blockbusters ↔ E apesar de blockbusters “wannabe” (“que ser”; imita outra)

    “wannabe” means “want to be”, referring to someone or something that wishes it were something that it’s not

  • flop ↔ fracassar

    In general, to “flop” is to fall and hit with a big thud or splash. Or, “to flop something over” just means to turn something over, but usually something that begins to fall as you are turning it over, such as a pancake of a really big person. A movie “flop” is something that hit the market with a lot of force, a lot of promotion, but fails. It fails exceptionally, it “flops”.

  • the way to go ↔ a melhor opção; solução mais favorável

    If I say, “that’s the way to go” I just mean that “yes, that is the best way to do it, the best way to move forward with our plan”.

  • players ↔ vendedores/ concorrentes/ participantes no mercado

    A player is anyone within the same market or competition as you.

  • swing for the fences ↔ fazer algo demasiado ambicioso (mais com chance de acertar em cheio)

    Swining for the fences is to try to hit a “homerun”. There’s the risk of not hitting anything, of failing, because, obviously, it’s not easy to hit a homerun. But if you suceed, the rewards are great.

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