Without an audience a film is pretty much pointless, the producers might have had a ball producing it but It’s like a tree falling in the wood’s; if you play a film to an empty cinema well nobody would care . You could argue that the emotions that an audience projects onto a film are what gives the films its qualities.
The audience theory focuses purely on the audience and how we react to a text rather than the techniques within the text itself.
If we take the hypodermic needle theory for example, which states that the audience is wholly submissive to the medias effect and compare this to the uses and gratifications theory which states the contrary, that the audience takes an active choice in the forms of media we choose to absorb the media for our own gratification (whether that be in basic terms knowledge, escapism or sexual gratification) than it is clear that there is no black and white way in which we consume the media.
My group and I created a short tutorial video discussing these theories and putting them into context.