Spreadable Media‘s section discussing the value of “cult” audiences really resonated with me. One of my favorite movies is Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. I was a huge fan of the comic books and found the movie to be one of the best adaptations I’ve ever seen. I felt like I was living every fan’s dream of seeing the pages come to life on the big screen. Even though it wasn’t a huge box office draw, my friends and I tirelessly promoted the movie’s virtues. Therein lies the power of the cult audience – word-of-mouth and avid fandom. Especially considering the powerful effects of social media, cult audiences can influence many, as seen in it’s top-selling Blu-Ray status on Amazon.com.
Cult audiences can also bring back shows that have been cancelled, like Community and The Mindy Project. This was largely due to fan outcry and support. Another example is Hannibal (think Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs). Despite relatively low viewing numbers, NBC kept it around for three seasons. Incredible acting and a unique visual style led the show to critical acclaim, and several awards and nominations. By many accounts, this show led to increased credibility in NBC’s programming. Hannibal was cancelled this year, but the fact that it lasted three seasons was a testament to the effect of “cult” audiences and their unique ability to influence the value of media. If you haven’t seen an episode of Hannibal, I highly recommend it.