tentpole movie

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An allusion to the manner in which a supporting tentpole holds up the structure of a tent.


tentpole movie (plural tentpole movies)

  1. (US, idiomatic, film) A major motion picture which is expensive to produce and which is expected to generate significant revenue for its producing studio and investors.
    • 1995 August 11, Steve Persall, "Critic's Notebook: Previews whet our cinematic appetites," St. Petersburg Times, p. 6:
      United Artists hasn't prospered in recent years, so a box office hit from its tentpole movie franchise is essential.
    • 2005 Dec. 3, Todd McCarthy, "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," Variety (retrieved 28 Sep 2012):
      Just coincidentally, it also provides the opportunity for the sorts of extravagant computerized effects that create tentpole movie attractions these days.
    • 2007 May 25, "The 1997 Summer Movie Review," Washington Times (retrieved 28 Sep 2012):
      The tentpole movie is an attraction popular and exploitable enough to prop up the entire moviegoing tent for several weeks or even months.
    • 2009 April 1, Brian Stelter, "Piracy Puts Film Online One Month Before Open," New York Times (retrieved 28 Sep 2012):
      “We've never seen a high-profile film—a film of this budget, a tentpole movie with this box office potential—leak in any form this early,” he said.
    • 2012 Feb. 14, "Guillermo del Toro to direct Emma Watson in “Beauty and the Beast”," IFC (retrieved 28 Sep 2012):
      Variety is reporting that del Toro will direct the flick with Watson cast as its titular Beauty. . . . So we’re thinking big tentpole movie versus introverted indie.


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