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Decoding the Hobbit: Local Viewers Sought for Global Survey

19 March, 2013

Decoding the Hobbit Down under: Local Viewers Sought for Global Survey

An international post-viewing survey of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has already drawn a large international response on whether people's expectations were fulfilled and confirmed after seeing the movie.

Lead researcher Dr Carolyn Michelle of the Audience Research Unit at the University of Waikato is hoping to now turn local attention to the questionnaire, with the DVD released today.

“We have been very pleased with the international response to date, but would really like to dig deeper into the thoughts of the local community and New Zealanders in general on how they felt after seeing the movie and how discussion, debate, marketing and promotion of the film shaped subsequent responses to it”.

Locally, The Hobbit has generated debate about the power of Hollywood to dictate terms and conditions in the local film industry – and wider.

An industrial dispute during filming nearly derailed the project until the New Zealand government agreed to introduce new employment legislation, a controversial decision which drew widespread criticism.

“The results from the pre-release survey show a pattern of eight distinctive perspectives,” says Dr Michelle.

In New Zealand in particular there was a high number of what Dr Michelle calls "anxious investors" – not necessarily fans, but people worried that after a significant investment by the local film industry and even the government, The Hobbit might not be successful – but very much hoping it would be, and also very proud of New Zealand's involvement in this film production.

Now the film and DVD is out, the second phase of the survey, a post-viewing questionnaire is now available online.

The survey is in the second part of a three phase project, the next of which is the launch of a multi-lingual survey. "In the next phase, we plan to post the survey in Danish, Dutch, German and Spanish, to get an even broader response," says Dr Michelle.


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