Jaclyn Chantel

Jaclyn Chantel

Jaclyn Chantel

July 1, 2024

July 1, 2024

July 1, 2024

"Hitting the Heart like a Two-Ton Blockbuster"

"Hitting the Heart like a Two-Ton Blockbuster"

"Hitting the Heart like a Two-Ton Blockbuster"

Intimacy Coordination, CINTIMA, SAG-AFTRA, summer blockbuster, IDC, Intimacy Professionals
Intimacy Coordination, CINTIMA, SAG-AFTRA, summer blockbuster, IDC, Intimacy Professionals
Intimacy Coordination, CINTIMA, SAG-AFTRA, summer blockbuster, IDC, Intimacy Professionals

The term “blockbuster” originally referred to one of the deadliest bombs in WWII which could destroy entire city blocks. In 1943, the war drama Bombardier was the first Hollywood film to use “blockbuster” in its marketing. But summer months were still for the outdoors and family vacations, and so it would still be a few more decades before air conditioning, advertising, and Jaws would all align to create the modern summer blockbuster.

Today, a blockbuster referred to high grossing films with potential for merchandising and franchising. Summer blockbusters have a magnetic pull that draws us into theaters year after year until the Fate of the Furious has us following a car race on the moon. Amidst the action, adventure, special effects, and larger-than-life characters, there is one element of the summer heat that keeps us on the edge of our seat: intimacy. While subtle, almost every top ten grossing summer blockbuster builds sexual tension between lead characters, from Nala’s bedroom eyes in "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" to Raiders of the Lost Arc… you know the scene. Let’s get into why the crucial element of romance and chemistry is so downplayed in a space designed for thrill

Action Over Affection

Summer blockbusters thrive on high-energy, fast-paced storytelling. The goal is to keep audiences on the edge of their seat. Intimate scenes put the focus on emotional connection, and there is no time to disrupt the momentum of the force in a lightsaber battle or whatever. Action and spectacle are prioritized to keep the film’s energy high. So while dinosaurs escaping leaves little room for deep romantic subplots, the chemistry between Grant and Ellie adds a layer of complexity that keeps a broad audience engaged.

Broad Audience Appeal

A key characteristic of summer blockbusters is their wide ranging appeal. These films aim to attract diverse audiences, from kids to teens to adults to families. So filmmakers target a PG-13 rating to maximize their audience reach. Intimate scenes can push the limits on these ratings, limiting the potential viewership. By keeping content family-friendly, blockbusters like Finding Dory and Toy Story 3 ensure they remain accessible to all. And then there’s Top Gun

Storytelling Focus

Blockbusters usually revolve around high-stakes conflicts like fairytale creatures taking over an ogre’s swamp, epic quests like a kid getting his alien friend back home, or world-saving missions like avenging your planet from the rise of an evil empire. The stakes are often external, emphasizing physical challenges and heroic feats. While romance can add depth to characters, is it ever the main focus here? Intimate scenes can feel out of place amongst all the action. Imagine Jaws with romantic interludes…

Visual Spectacle

Visual effects are a cornerstone of summer blockbusters. Audiences flock to theaters for cutting-edge special effects, stunts, and grand set pieces. These films have massive budgets to create awe-inspiring visuals best experienced on the big screen. Intimate scenes come to life with tricks of their own, but don’t usually capitalize on cinematic spectacle. But Jake and Neytiti obviously got to work between Avatar and Avatar: The Way of Water. I mean what else would they have been doing for thirteen years?

Cultural Sensitivities

In an increasingly globalized film market, blockbusters are crafted to appeal diverse audiences worldwide. Different regions of the world have varying cultural norms, regulations, and standards regarding on-screen intimacy. By avoiding explicit intimate scenes, filmmakers ensure their movies are well-received globally and avoid potential controversies. The massive success of these tentpoles grossing into the billions is what ultimately supports other creative ventures throughout the year.

Top Gun: Maverick was the first movie I saw when theaters began reopening during the Covid-19 pandemic. Most people were still masked, but the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood was packed. I will never forget the sound of the crowd cheering for the thrills of that film - the excitement of being back in a theater together was palpable. The charm of summer blockbusters lies in their ability to entertain and inspire, and every audience resonates with some part of them. The shared experience might be the most intimate part of the audience experience in a summer blockbuster. That's the part that hits the heart.

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