What can entertainment theory say about perceptions of classic versus popular films?
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The purpose of this study is to examine individuals’ perceptions of classicness in film experiences. To this end, the paper begins by providing general anecdotal and professional definitions of classicness, and by pointing out the limited explication found in previous academic literature in entertainment. I discuss distinctions between enjoyment and appreciation from previous literature in media psychology. Following this, a study is presented by applying a measure of enjoyment and appreciation adapted from Oliver and Bartsch’s scale (2010) to an online questionnaire in order to understand individuals’ film experiences with both popular (high grossing) and classic (high rating) films. Results indicate that perceptions of classicness are highly associated with appreciation, but unrelated to enjoyment. Additionally, results also provide a negative relation between appreciation and the release-year as well as budget. Discussion focuses on the study’s empirical definition of classicness, as well as the study’s extension of previous research examining the relationship between film popularity, budget, and audience perceptions (Grizzard, Lewis, Lee, & Eden, 2011).