Are You a Blockbuster Expert?



12 Questions

What is a blockbuster film?

What was the origin of the term 'blockbuster'?

When was the term 'blockbuster' first used to describe a film?

What was the first film of the 'blockbuster era'?

What film expanded on the success of Jaws and set box office records?

Which of the following is NOT an example of a blockbuster film from the 2000s?

Which of the following is NOT an example of a blockbuster film from the 2010s?

What is the backlash that occurred due to the focus on creating blockbusters?

What did David Foster Wallace posit about films?

What is the aim of a blockbuster film?

What is the common characteristic of a blockbuster film?

What is associated with a blockbuster film?


History and Definition of Blockbuster Films

  • A blockbuster is a highly popular and financially successful work of entertainment, typically a feature film produced by a major film studio, aimed at mass markets with associated merchandising.
  • The term "blockbuster" was first used in the American press in the early 1940s, referring to the blockbuster bombs, aerial munitions capable of destroying a whole block of buildings.
  • The term was first used in reference to films in May 1943, when advertisements in Variety and Motion Picture Herald described the RKO film, Bombardier, as "The block-buster of all action-thrill-service shows!".
  • In the early 1950s, the term had become standardized within the film industry and the trade press to denote a film that was large in spectacle, scale, and cost, that would go on to achieve a high gross.
  • Steven Spielberg's Jaws, released in 1975, is regarded as the first film of the "blockbuster era", and founded the blockbuster film genre.
  • Star Wars, released in 1977, expanded on the success of Jaws, setting box office records and enjoying a theatrical run that lasted more than a year.
  • The next fifteen years saw a number of high-quality blockbusters released, including Alien, Indiana Jones films, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Ghostbusters, Beverly Hills Cop, Back to the Future trilogy, Top Gun, Die Hard, Batman, and The Hunt for Red October.
  • Some examples of summer blockbusters from the 2000s include Pirates of the Caribbean, The Da Vinci Code, Transformers, The Day After Tomorrow, and Pixar's Up.
  • Blockbusters in the 2010s include Inception, Ted, Despicable Me, The Conjuring, Edge of Tomorrow, and Wonder Woman.
  • The focus on creating blockbusters grew so intense that a backlash occurred, with some critics and film-makers decrying the prevalence of a "blockbuster mentality".
  • The success of blockbusters has led to a society that is hit-driven and makes way and room for only those films that are expected to be a hit.
  • Writer David Foster Wallace posited that films are subject to an inverse cost and quality law.


Do you know the history and definition of blockbuster films? Test your knowledge with this quiz and learn about the origin of the term, the first blockbuster movies, and the rise of the blockbuster mentality. From Jaws to Wonder Woman, see how many of these iconic films you can recognize as blockbusters. Take the quiz and discover if you're a true film buff.

Ready to take the quiz?

Start Quiz