Adaptation Of Pop Culture In Lord Of The Rings

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The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) is undoubtedly one of the most notorious and successful tales ever told. The trilogy has earned around three billion US dollars and nominated for more than 800 film awards winning 425 of them, 17 of which were Academy Awards. This astronomical level of success has made Lord of the Rings a pop culture staple. Through the lenses of culture studies, the trilogy will be dissected critically to evaluate its success through the three main theories of popular culture. Specifically, this paper will discuss the film’s success and adaptation to becoming popular culture stemming from its pre-existing large fanbase from the novels, representing popular culture as popularity. As well as, the films creation team using newly discovered …show more content…
This is a view supported by historian Lawrence Levine, who believes pop culture is simply “culture that is popular; culture that is widely accessible and widely accessed; widely disseminated and widely viewed or heard or read.” (Takacs 4). Now this theory has its shortcomings, as it lacks the mechanisms to provide quantifiable numerical categories to distinguish popular culture (Takacs 4). However, the foundation of this theory can still be used to illustrate the success of the story and its adaption into a film. Prior to the films, the books had sold over 100 million copies, which would still rank it amongst the top 10 best selling books (Wagner). Now, the popularity theory of pop culture does not provide us with a quantifiable categorization system, but nevertheless, if a book ranks in the top 10 for most sold ever, its fair to say it is popular. Additionally, from this, we can extrapolate that the series has a large following, as you don’t see 100 million copies of a book if it does not. It is this very same popularity, that attracted Peter Jackson to produce it, he saw it as an untapped production just waiting to be cinematized. The reasoning for its popularity will be discussed in the section of popular culture as an expression of people’s interests and choices. However, it is important to recognize, that before the first production meeting was ever had, or the …show more content…
This theory outlines that the mode of production of pop culture is one which is commercial and industrial (Takacs 5). Thus, popular culture is designed to make a profit (commercial) and is produced on a massive scale (industrial). This portion of the theory is not relevant to the discussion, as films are typically produced to create a profit and these films were no different (Shefrin 263). Subsequently, the mode of transmission of popular culture is over distances, so that everyone can have access to it (Takacs 5). However, the transmission used in the adaptation of the films was what separated and helped solidify the success of the franchise (Shefrin 264). Mass culture theorists believe that pop culture is created by technicians overseen by businessmen to maximize profit potential (Takacs 5-6). This is done through the culture industries reliance on templates and formulas to appeal to the audience (Takacs 5-6). However, this was not the road Peter Jackson took, he was provided the freedom to create a movie with his own templates. This was largely since his pitch included the notion that there were at the time 100 million loyal Tolkien fans who should not be alienated (Shefrin 265). As creating a film that mimicked the books would attract them but creating an adaption not loyal to the novels would not (Shefrin

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