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Watching «The Lord of the Rings»

Tolkien’s World Audiences

Martin Barker and Ernest Mathijs

How did audiences across the world respond to the films of The Lord of the Rings? This book presents findings from the largest film audience project ever undertaken, drawing from 25,000 questionnaire responses and a wide array of other materials. Contributors use these materials to explore a series of widely speculated questions: why is film fantasy important to different kinds of viewers? Through marketing, previews and reviews, debates and cultural chatter, how are audiences prepared for a film like this? How did fans of the book respond to its adaptation on screen? How do people choose their favorite characters? How was the films’ reception shaped by different national and cultural contexts?
The answers to these questions shed fresh light on the extraordinary popularity of The Lord of the Rings and provide important new insights into the global reception of cinema in the twenty-first century.