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Key concepts 4: Audience

Richard Dyer: Utopian Solutions

The idea of an ideal world. Dyer thought that this is what audiences wanted to see in a
film as it offered them solutions to their real world problems.

In the Sport-Drama genre, this theory only applies to certain films as the rating,
context and target audience varies with different films.

Examples of films that follow this theory include: Happy Gilmore (1996), Eddie the
eagle (2016), and Cars (2006). This is mainly due to the fact that these films have
include comedic elements and are targeted at a younger audience therefore have to be
colourful and have happy endings for the main characters.

Examples of films that dont follow this theory include: Rocky balboa (2006), Creed
(2015), and Southpaw (2015). This is because these films have a lot of graphic
violence and are aimed at an older audience therefore tend to be more dark and gritty
and dont always have a happy ending.

The Frankfurt school: Is the audience passive?

In most sports films the audiences are not manipulated or that passive as sports
movies tend to be realistic and dont really have many elements of fantasy. However,
there is a small selection of sports movies that do manipulate their audience.

Examples of films that follow this theory include: Turbo (2013), Cars (2006) and
Speed racer (2008). These films manipulate the audience mainly due to the fact that
the audience tends to be young children, who find the unrealistic and colourful themes
of the film entertaining. This is what keeps them engrossed into the film as realistic
features arent as appealing to this audience and they need the unrealistic action,
characters and plot to keep them entertained.

Examples of films that dont follow this theory include: Rocky (1982), Senna (2010),
and Pawn Sacrifice (2014). The audience tend to be older for these sorts of films
therefore arent easily manipulated. To further this, these sports movies mostly
contain realistic elements such as the types of characters, the locations and
atmosphere of the movie, and the chain of events through the movie. The only
unrealistic part in a selection of these films is the endings as they tend to be very
happy and the protagonist of the film always overcomes their obstacles to achieve the
end goal, which can be seen as unrealistic in some cases. Overall, these films rarely
have a passive audience as they use many real life situations which the audience can
relate to rather than be manipulated by.
Blumler and Katz: Uses and Gratifications

Uses and gratifications theory is an approach to understanding why and how people
actively seek out specific media to satisfy specific needs. Blumler and Katzs theory is
an audience-centered approach to understanding mass communication. Unlike other
theoretical perspectives, this theory holds that audiences are responsible for choosing
media to meet their desires and needs to achieve gratification. This theory would then
imply that the media compete against other information sources for viewers'
gratification. Different people will look for different things in the media they see:

Information: Some audiences will want to consume media that develops their
knowledge and understanding of something. These audiences may read magazines,
newspapers, factual books, but may also watch films to satisfy this need. These films
would have to be biographical and true stories to engage this type of audience. Films
that do this are Race (2016) which is about the first ever black athlete to win gold at
the Olympics, Enter the dragon (1973) which is about Bruce lee and how he became
the most legendary martial artist. There some other films that fit in this category
however there are not many as this is probably the least popular need that audiences
look for when watching films.

Entertainment (Escapism): These are films that are purely fiction based, can be
animated, and can have a lot of comedic elements. Films that do this include Cars
(2006), Space Jam (1996), and Dodgeball (2004) are all great examples of
entertainment films within the sports genre that consist of a not so serious plot, and
have many comedic elements throughout the film. These films have many unrealistic,
and utopian elements which gives their audiences a sense of escapism from the real
world.

Personal Identity: This is when the viewer can relate or compares themselves to the
characters in the films and the situations they are in. Usually, most sports films have
the same basic outline in that the protagonist comes from a poor background and
throughout the course of the film manage to achieve success by staying dedicated to
their craft. Examples of films that follow this would be Rocky (1977), Karate Kid
(1984), and Southpaw (2016). Viewers who are from a poorer background and who
are lower on the JICNAR scale may find these types of sports movies more engaging
as the protagonist is facing a similar situation and manages to overcome it. On the
other hand the viewers who are more wealthier and higher on the JICNAR scale will
not be able to relate and may not find it as engaging as they wont sympathize as
much with the characters in the film.

Relationships/Shared Interests: These are films that people tend to talk about a lot as
they are an established franchise and are well known in their genre, and are
considered classics. Examples in the sports genre would be the Rocky franchise (1973
2006) and The Karate Kid franchise (1982 1994).
David Buckinghams Creative Theory

Buckingham says: young people use the media to make sense of their experience, in
terms of relating to others and organising their daily lives. He claims that young
people use the media to fit in with their other social activities and experiences, and
that they see the media as wallpaper. However, Buckingham also says that the media
is a wall of noise to fill time and alleviate boredom and claims that: interactions with
the media are conceived, committed or concentrated but fleeting, visceral and
meaningless (e.g. Snapchat). As there are two sides to this theory, this creates a divide
between the films within the sport genre; half of the sport films may follow this
theory whilst the latter half may not follow the theory.

This divide occurs between the films that are aimed at an older demographic and the
films that are aimed at teenagers. Sport films that are aimed at teenagers include The
Karate Kid (1984), Bend it like Beckham (2002) and Fast Girls (2012). This is
because they contain content which only teenagers can relate to and involve situations
that teenagers face and may be familiar with.

Examples of films which are aimed not only at teenagers, but also an older audience
include Kicking and screaming (2005), and Miracle (2004) as they are rated PG which
indicates that they are family films which audiences of all ages can enjoy and may
find engaging.