Palgrave Studies in Screen Industries and Performance

Blockbuster Performances

How Actors Contribute to Cinema’s Biggest Hits

Authors: Smith-Rowsey, Daniel

  • Offers a new approach to the discourse on Hollywood blockbusters by countering the conventional wisdom that “special effects are the stars” of big films
  • Closely examines often-dismissed performances and establishes “auteur” status for certain actors
  • Unearths surprising connections between blockbusters and independent films
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eBook $44.99
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  • ISBN 978-1-137-51879-8
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  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $60.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-51878-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
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About this book

This book examines performances in the American film industry’s highest-earning and most influential films. Countering decades of discourse and the conventional notion that special effects are the real stars of Hollywood blockbusters, this book finds that the acting performances in these big-budget action movies are actually better, and more genre-appropriate, than reputed. It argues that while blockbusters are often edited for speed, thrills, and simplicity, and performances are sometimes tailored to this style, most major productions feature more scenes of stage-like acting than hyper-kinetic action. Knowing this, producers of the world’s highest-budgeted motion pictures usually cast strong or generically appropriate actors. With chapters offering unique readings of some of cinema’s biggest hits, such as The Dark Knight, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars, Iron Man and The Hunger Games, this unprecedented study sheds new light on the importance of performance in the Hollywood blockbuster. 

About the authors

Daniel Smith-Rowsey teaches Communication Studies at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California. He is the author of Star Actors in the Hollywood Renaissance: Representing Rough Rebels (2013) and a co-editor of The Netflix Effect: Technology and Entertainment in the 21st Century (2016).

Table of contents (8 chapters)

  • Why Do Critics and Scholars Dismiss Blockbuster Performances?

    Smith-Rowsey, Daniel

    Pages 1-11

  • Historical Epic Blockbusters: Are You Not Entertained … By Actors?

    Smith-Rowsey, Daniel

    Pages 13-39

  • Magic-Fantasy Blockbusters: One Whimsy to Rule Them All

    Smith-Rowsey, Daniel

    Pages 41-69

  • Superhero Blockbusters: Actors Ahead of the Curve

    Smith-Rowsey, Daniel

    Pages 71-102

  • Crime Action Blockbusters: Performing Shaken, Not Stirred

    Smith-Rowsey, Daniel

    Pages 103-129

Buy this book

eBook $44.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-51879-8
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $60.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-51878-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Blockbuster Performances
Book Subtitle
How Actors Contribute to Cinema’s Biggest Hits
Authors
Series Title
Palgrave Studies in Screen Industries and Performance
Copyright
2018
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-51879-8
DOI
10.1057/978-1-137-51879-8
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-51878-1
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIV, 211
Number of Illustrations
22 illustrations in colour
Topics