The Hobbit (1937) by J. R. R. Tolkien is one of Britain’s, if not one of the world’s, most beloved children’s books, whereas his The Lord of the Rings (1954-55) is today considered the keystone text of the modern fantasy genre. Similarly Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings has become the defining fantasy film, setting new standards for fantasy to become a mainstream cinematic genre. Based on data collected by the largest audience study to date, the World Hobbit Project, this article argues that the success of Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy is thus linked to its continuation of the filmic world-building and storytelling of The Lord of the Rings and that it is read by audiences as part of this ‚game-changed’ fantasy film genre, inaugurated by the original trilogy.



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