It might be bad form to do this, but I just read Andrew O’Hehir’s article Does Hollywood Hate Adults?
I have no idea if it can be correlated to my age (31), but I’m becoming less and less interested in the tentpole stuff that the major studios are putting out. I don’t have any immediate plans to see any of the bigs ones (Avengers, Spider-Man, Dark Knight Rises). This isn’t to say that these movies are inherently bad simply by virtue of their subject matter, but that I’m not really that invested anymore. My guess is that as I encounter situations for adults (marriage, kids, responsibilities, etc), I am more interested in films that speak to those things, which in turn leaves out a lot of major Hollywood movies. This doesn’t mean that I lack the desire to be entertained, but that I need to be entertained in a way that actually matches me in where I’m at in life and my intelligence*
We all know Hollywood sucks. So let’s just dispense with that for right now. What I’m interested in is if you feel that your age has any relation to your willingness to endure or enjoy the major Hollywood spectacles.
*I know I’m not the smartest person around, but it hurt my brain to sit through The Pirates! Band of Misfits.
I’ll get around to the actual article later, but it’s pretty well known that the demographic with the most disposal income are teenagers and young adults, and that adults in addition to being more careful with their money are also more discerning in their interests.
PLUS, nowadays we have an exciting brand new element! 31 year olds remember seeing Raimi’s Spiderman in theatres, 16 year olds don’t.
Disposable income may be a factor and it may not be. Most financially solvent adults are willing to spend their money on all sorts of things – from scrapbooking supplies to fishing rods – so I feel like “disposable income” is a cop-out. Adults are totally willing to pay out enormous cable and/or satellite bills, right?
As an adult with a relatively healthy amount of disposable income and no children of my own, I still find myself hard-pressed to pay full admission to most movies out these days. I’ll lay my dollars down when something I really want to see comes around (something I know won’t make it to the dollar theatre), but it’s a rare thing for me to spend on first-run unless it’s something like A Separation or The Kid with a Bike.
My tastes might be different from the average adult, but still.
When I first started reading about film in the early eighties, it was Ebert asking the same question, so there should be no illusion that we’re witnessing some new trend. Its been this way since Jaws. Prior to that, Hollywood spectacles (say, Cleopatra) were geared toward adults, but that didn’t make them any better. As far as films geared toward teens, there’s good ones and bad ones. It would be nice if the lousy ones didn’t do so well, but a lot of adults aren’t discriminating filmgoers either.
I’m not a fan of Andrew O’Hehir, always found him uninteresting and uninspring. Salon could do with a better film critic, and has in the past.
“Adults are totally willing to pay out enormous cable and/or satellite bills, right?”
…. right. And so their teenage children don’t pay those bills, or the rest of the bills, or often even their own gas or cellphone or lunch money, and so they use the rest to buy entertainment, of which movie tickets are framed quite cheap and ‘eventful’ in comparison to, say, buying an $80 videogame or its hundreds-of-dollars system, etc. and so on. When an adult spends $10, an adult thinks about how much work it took to make that $10. A teenager gets $10 and thinks of it as a quick trip to the movies.
No, really. Hollywood discovered long ago they were going to make more money off of teenagers than adults. This is why so many movies are argued down from R ratings to PG-13: bigger demographic.
Moving backward, “Most financially solvent adults are willing to spend their money on all sorts of things – from scrapbooking supplies to fishing rods – so I feel like “disposable income” is a cop-out.”
Social studies time.
16-18 Year Olds Have More Disposable Income Than Any Other Age Group
Most teens live at home with their parents, and are free of paying off home mortgages, electricity and water bills, and other responsibilities.
Teens have the most disposable income then any other age group in U.S. Teens spend in excess of 179 billion per year; it looks something like this: $179,000,000,000.00. Teens spend 17% of that in food & drink or $30,500,000,000.00 per year. Teens w/part-time jobs avg. $104.00 per week disposable income. Teens between ages 12 to 16 receive an or average $50.00/week allowance; and approximately 40% receive and allowance. Allowance also consists of weekly handouts, as well as for chores completed. Teens have relatively low to zero debt, so their disposable income to income ratio, as is much greater than that of their parents.
Now wait a minute… I just noticed something w/ that last one…. “their disposable income to income ratio is much grater than that of their parents.” Hmmm, so are we discussing ratios or…
Oh wait…. “average $50.00/week allowance.”
In case you’re not noticing where I’m going with this…. teenager’s disposal income are their parents’ own. The parents dispose of the income to the teens, and the teens watch the superhero movie.
If a movie makes $200 million opening weekend, you can be assured kids aren’t the only ones seeing it. Adults are seeing these tentpole films too. Maybe not in large mass like 16-year-olds but they’re still seeing them. Most of the people I know are adults and they’ve all seen The Avengers.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is made for adults and has grossed $41 million domestically $82 internationally. Are you interested in seeing this one? lol
What I’m interested in is if you feel that your age has any relation to your willingness to endure or enjoy the major Hollywood spectacles.
Age—or maybe things correlated closely with age. For example, you become interested in different things as you get older, partly because of the type of concerns older people have. There’s the maturity factor. There’s also something else: I have this hypothesis that everyone has a “saturation point” for different types of movies. Simply put, after seeing a certain number of films, the viewer gets very little out of the film. The number differs from one type of a film to another and differs from person to person. My saturation point for action films might be 300, while the number may be 50 for another person. To me, this hypothesis explains the reason so many old people go to indy and foreign films (at least in Hawai’i). Seriously, I’m surprised to see so many people over 50 (sometimes much older) in these arthouse movies. I also don’t think they’re just older version of people here on mubi. Rather, I suspect they liked mostly mainstream films when they were younger, but I have no hard evidence of that. (My parents would certainly qualify, though—although my father probably would have had a little more interest in arthouse films than the average viewer.)
Btw, hearing you mention this makes me think that about the existence of phases that movie fans go through. My guess is a lot of people who really like movies and see a lot of them eventually get to this point.
I hear what you’re saying, but if what you’re saying is true, Hollywood is really missing out on a profitable market. I assume that Hollywood is fairly savvy about turning a profit, so I tend to believe this isn’t the case (although I wouldn’t rule it out).
This sort of reminds me of a discussion I had here (with DiB, I think) about making a little more than breaking even. I thought that a lower budget film with promising talent (directors, actors, etc.) might be a better strategy for making a profit. The profits may not be larger than a blockbuster, but the losses might be significantly less, too. (Actually, I think a small studio or subsidiary tried something like this recently. They recently four or five B-movie action/thrillers with no name filmmakers, but the films didn’t really play for very long.)
Hollywood appeals to the intellectually lazy masses. Hollywood appeals to kids who have not yet grown cynical. Hollywood has a HUGE market for developing countries. In developing countries , I would say that many are impressed by the Hollywood films and are not cynical about them; they appreciate the escapism that they provide.
It’s not just disposable income, but disposable time that teenagers have in more abundance than adults. This not only can lead to more of them seeing movies but to see them more than once, which is a key hope of the studios. Teenagers also are more likely to want to get away from home and go anywhere else, and their choices for doing that are comparatively limited when matched to adults; adults who are more likely to want to simply relax at home and watch that expensive cable it should be added.
That said, Santino is also right and adults are going to see these films too for a number of reasons. One of them might be the shift in the way 20 to 40 year olds live in small part, the frequently referenced extended childhood years thing, but even more than that is that these films are actually made to appeal to and marketed to both kids and adults but in slightly different ways. For many of the adults it is an appeal to nostalgia or their teen years as most of the major “tent pole” series are based on things popular back in the seventies and eighties and updated to seem fresh to the younger viewer. This gives the films a sort of double life in a way, where the older audience might look n the films through the interests they had when they were kids, while the younger audience is seeing them as something new.
Also it is simply that people like spectacle. Big event films with lots of action or fancy visual stuff have always done well with audiences.
Yeah, I don’t think many of these $300 blockbusters are developed as only one quadrant films. If you’re relying solely on under 25 males, you’re really limiting yourself when your investment is so high. For instance, in the case of the new Spider-Man, they tried pretty heavily (and were successful) at appealing to female audiences.
In other words, adults are just as stupid as kids. :)
Agreed. Many even more so.
One of the interesting things to think about is that the “tent pole” series which have been the most successful and that aren’t based on, generally speaking, male cultural phenomena from the eighties or before tend to have a much stronger female audience interest. Movies like the Harry Potter series, Hunger Games, and Twilight might lose the older male audience, but they make up for it with more younger female interest. (and sometimes older women too as with Twilight.) So, it seems that if you want to draw on more recent cultural works, then finding works that appeal to young men and women is key, but if you’re going to skew male then you might want to look towards the interests of thirty year old men and spin it to seem fresh.
I would also add that there has always been a fairly strong market for these sort of male oriented “action” films, but in different eras they were westerns, war films, or other tough guy fare. This doesn’t seem to entirely fade with even increased age as old westerns are fairly big business for smaller DVD companies. The amount of westerns, “noirs”, war movies and the like available seem to greatly exceed the other genres, judging from my casual looking anyway. I guess it could be said that a lot of men never really outgrow their love of good guys versus bad guys.
None of this discussion is new. I remember the exact same things being talked about in the Sixties when the dissatisfaction of Hollywood content was discussed. I think it would be charitable not to admit that the majority of active theater patrons has reached a dumbing down stage the likes of which we’ve never seen. However, to assume Hollywood is trending male 18 to 24 year olds primarily is a falsehood. The real target is kids and adults with children who are trapped into an endless parade of new animated features seemingly popped out once a week; these targeted tykes who have yet to (nor probably never will with successive viewings of Shrek 3 substituting for a variation of the cultural menu or- dare we raise a primitive concept? -book learnin’) develop a discerning eye in movie judgment, the result being a new age of moviegoers who have been spoon fed into reacting only to shiny animated/CGI objects of little or no merit attached, and who will be the next generation specifically bred to mindlessly consume the presumed fifth reboot (by all good calculations) of the Batman, Superman, Hulk and Spider-Man franchises and never think to demand anything better
The real problem is not that there multiplexes are flooded with kids films, but why so called ‘adult’ films are also simplistic bullshit that are praised to high heaven. e.g The King’s Speech etc
Hollywood barely makes any real adult films now.
I’m not sure what the adult audience is for blockbusters outside of the Anglosphere though. I remember Gerard Depardieu saying once that in France, barely anyone goes to the cinema over the age of 30 because movies are for kids. He could be wrong, or maybe the audiences their are changing too
There is nothing wrong with enjoying a film like Avengers at the age of 40. However, if you think it’s one of the best movies ever made, you obviouslyi need serious help.
One of the big issues is not just “adults” versus “kids” it’s also a market issue of foreign versus domestic. Hollywood feels the need to simplify things for a broader audience. It seems to be working as foreign audiences seem to go for less dialogue and more action. China is a market that’s really important to the studios and they often have to water down the material to reach the censors.
^ Lol quick relevant anecdote: I watched Kwaidan with my roommate and he said they should have made it more accessible because “they knew it would be released to an international audience.” :/
It’s always about coming up with the audience then you make the film instead letting the audience come to you right now from the studios…
Hollywood loves morons, that’s for sure.
Wow, the example cited as a Hollywood film for adults is Magic Mike. LOL. Let me reiterate. Hollywood loves morons.
Hollywood hates cans!
Stop shooting the cans!
Most of the people I know are adults and they’ve all seen The Avengers.
And you wonder why the world is going to hell in a hand basket.
What a statement.
Most of the people he knows are not children, but adults. LOL. Thank God. No Jerry Sandusky here. And then all of these adults he knows have seen The Avengers.
“The real problem is not that there multiplexes are flooded with kids films, but why so called ‘adult’ films are also simplistic bullshit that are praised to high heaven. e.g The King’s Speech etc”
Wait, I thought you liked The King’s Speech?
“It seems to be working as foreign audiences seem to go for less dialogue and more action.”
Pierre makes a good point. A lot of these big budget films are geared more towards international markets than domestic.
That was a joke list Santino. Im surprised people took it seriously!! I haven’t even seen Avatar and thought Kings Speech was ordinary! :-)
^I think it was the inclusion of Midnight in Paris that threw me into thinking it was real. lol
Hey actually this discussion is bringing up a few things worth talkin’ about! Yay! I’m going to do one of Jazzahola’s longform response step-by-step things:
@Jazzahola: “I have this hypothesis that everyone has a “saturation point” for different types of movies. Simply put, after seeing a certain number of films, the viewer gets very little out of the film.”
This is called The Law of Diminishing Returns and is quite, quite documented.
“I hear what you’re saying, but if what you’re saying is true, Hollywood is really missing out on a profitable market.”
That’s partly what the article Nathan posted actually mentions. It builds on Magic Mike’s relative profitability to question whether this model of focusing on teenager-accessible features is really necessary, or if Hollywood is missing out on a hungry and neglected demographic. (Blue, whether or not Magic Mike is any good/intelligent/whatever is beside the point. The point is that it made a lot of money relative to its $7million budget. However I am going to counter the article’s argument immediately below).
“I thought that a lower budget film with promising talent (directors, actors, etc.) might be a better strategy for making a profit. The profits may not be larger than a blockbuster, but the losses might be significantly less, too”
People are closely watching this continual fragmentation of audience into more and more distinct niche markets with this in mind, but it may actually just push the studios to become even more lowest-common-denominator. I used to think in the same way this article and several people on here are posting: if it’s smaller and cheaper, doesn’t that cut losses and make the blockbusters even more profitable? This conversation gets even more hushed and anticipatory when something like John Carter or Battleship flops.
It does not work that way. You have to look at the actual, box office v. budget numbers to understand this.
Let’s start with the high-profile big money makers, as that’s the goal of Hollywood. So before I begin, remember that these numbers have absolutely no relationship to quality or intellectual integrity. I don’t give a shit if you hate these movies. That’s not the goddamned point. Just follow simple mathematics:
Avatar vs. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I choose these based on Box Office Mojo’s top ranking of box office openings (and one of top all time), versus Box Office Mojo’s top ranking of foreign language films because they don’t have a ‘non-studio’ or independent section. Basically, despite both being high profile blockbusters, Avatar stands in for the Big Guy and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon stands in for the Little Guy.
Big Guy cost $280million . Little Guy cost $17million . For the cost of one Big Guy, 16 Little Guys could have been made.
Big Guy made $2.8billion worldwide. Little Guy made $213million worldwide. That’s a 1000% profit for Big Guy and a 1200% profit for Little Guy. Ergo, Little Guy made more profit, strictly speaking. So why not make 16 Little Guys instead of 1 Big Guy, all other things being equal and risk spread?
Because with all of the money Big Guy Made, you could make 9 more Big Guys and still have enough money left over to make 16 Little Guys. But with ALL of the money Little Guy Made, you have enough money to make only 12 more Little Guys and don’t have the money at all to make a Big Guy. And due to this thing business people understand called compound interest. If you roll over Big Guy’s profits into lots of Big Guys and Little Guys, you both diversify your investments and roll that profit over into more profit-making schemes. This is harder to do with Little Guy’s profits.
Now of course comes the issue that few Big Guy movies are going to make, specifically, Avatar returns. But if a Big Guy makes only 100% profit, it can still fund 16 Little Guys and an additional Big Guy, whereas Little Guy has to make 3600% profit to do the same. Big Guy doesn’t really have to make mad news-attention getting blockbuster cash to fund more Big and Little Guys alike, but even the most mad news-attention getting Little Guy blockbuster of all time according to Box Office Mojo only made enough to fund a few Mid-Sized Guys and Little Guys.
Big Guy is better business. Period. Adults may respond better to Little Guys, and be hungry for them, but Hollywood privileges Big Guy because it’s better business, and that’s not conspiracy against Little Guy, it’s simple math I’ve given you the numbers and the references to crunch yourself. Little Guy may be more ‘valuable’ in terms of artistic, social, non-monetary concerns, and that is fine to argue and defend and I’m not arguing against it, but Big Guy is still better business, even when Little Guys make higher profits as measurement of percentage than Big Guy, because nominally speaking, Big Guy pays for the Little Guy.
And so, by the way, whenever a John Carter occurs, people then say, “So that means they’ll be making more Little Guys for a little while, eh?” Wrong. When Big Guy fails, the studio would prefer to afford another couple of Big Guy risks than several dozen Little Guys, for the reasons I’ve stated. In other words, you’ll notice over time if you follow the business side of studio production, that when Hollywood has a ‘good’ year, the next year there are a lot of Little Guys, but when Hollywood has a ‘bad’ year, the next year is almost all Big Guys. You would think the studios would engage in fear and we’d get us some Little Guy renaissance, but actually for the benefit of Little Guys, Hollywood still tries for the Big Guys anyway.
What I do thing, personally and just a hunch I’m getting, IS starting to get lost right now is Mid-Size Guys. Stuff in the $40-100million range. In the last year, I’ve either read or seen Terry Gilliam, David Lynch, Spike Lee, and John Waters all say that despite their previous movie’s relative profits, name-brand cred, and the relationships they have with people with money, they’re having a substantially harder time finding money now than before (Gilliam, however, kind of deserves some of the animus he receives from studio executives). Gilliam and Lynch may have given up. The reason why is because Mid-Size Guys and Little Guys make roughly the same amount of nominal money now, and even the Little Guy I cited is a Big Guy in comparison to what’s possible. John Waters explains it: “They’re not interested in people like me who can make a ‘no budget’ production for $2million. They’re interested in these new kids who can make a ‘no budget’ production for $25thousand.” Digital tech is kicking out the Mid-Size Guys.
Correct. I overprivileged the teenager’s disposable income meme to a degree. It is a lowest-common-denominator activity, and it applies also to what people are saying above about foreign audiences and box office.
Look guys, I’ve been in 14 non-US countries. In many of them, I’ve had good opportunity to talk to locals about their own ’nation’s’ cinema. They look at me like I’m nuts. A) I know more about their own country’s cinema as they do, B) they can’t possibly imagine why I’d be interested, and C) they also think their own cinema sucks. One memorable and distinct moment, the South Koreans who said, “OH yeah, Park Chan-Wook! Yeah he’s different. He doesn’t count. He’s actually good.” This was AFTER they thought I was talking about the baseball player.
The biggest exception I find is in Western countries where they’re generally familiar with these sorts of dialogs, and in Indian cinema which functions a lot like Hollywood (there’s Bollywood and then the Indian independents), except that Bollywood is aware that the massive amount of what Hollywood calls ‘foreign box office’ is actually their domestic one, so they pretty much just focus on selling to Indians and avoiding competing with Hollywood on the mass-scale-production mode.
@Greg X: “tent pole” series which have been the most successful and that aren’t based on, generally speaking, male cultural phenomena from the eighties or before tend to have a much stronger female audience interest. Movies like the Harry Potter series, Hunger Games, and Twilight might lose the older male audience, but they make up for it with more younger female interest.”
Yeah, you’ve talked about your interest in this as a phenomenon and so I’ve been noticing it myself and thus duly noting its returns. To be sure, Twilight is highly profitable.
It’s also a Mid-Size Guy. The most successful of the series made $700million worldwide, and that is for a HIGHLY publicized market-saturated commercialized event. That pays for The Avengers and The Lone Ranger, the former which made bonkas more nominal money than any Twilight movie and the latter which probably will even if it’s not Pirates of the Caribbean level returns Disney is expecting. Twilight is still more niche than tentpole if you think about it from that perspective.
It is also very useful to illustrate that even cult appreciation and hypersaturated marketing doesn’t change the fact that men don’t want in and so the returns are more limited. This becomes important when we consider
@Chandler: “The real target is kids and adults with children who are trapped into an endless parade of new animated features seemingly popped out once a week;”
Nope. Everybody I know who has children, especially very young children, really do not have the time or energy to go to the movies, and when they do go to the movies (yes, with their kids, and yes, to children’s movies), they go desperately hoping their kids will stay still and they won’t have to leave.
Pixar regularly grosses about $250million domestically off of budgets around $60million. These are potentially what you could consider the most massive lowest-common-denominator children’s movies releases since adults actually tend to enjoy them too. Since parents don’t want their kids seeing stuff they can’t handle, children aren’t the target of PG-13 movies (hence the 13) which are the highest-grossing stuff because they have the most room to target teenagers and adults alike — the people who actually make the choices to spend the money, not the kids who don’t have any and whose options are limited.
Doesn’t mean it’s not a huge market. Parents are desperate to get out of the house and sometimes a movie ticket is cheaper than a babysitter.
“these targeted tykes who have yet to (nor probably never will with successive viewings of Shrek 3 substituting for a variation of the cultural menu or- dare we raise a primitive concept? -book learnin’) develop a discerning eye in movie judgment, the result being a new age of moviegoers who have been spoon fed into reacting only to shiny animated/CGI objects of little or no merit attached, and who will be the next generation specifically bred to mindlessly consume the presumed fifth reboot (by all good calculations) of the Batman, Superman, Hulk and Spider-Man franchises and never think to demand anything better”
Except that everything we’ve said above about widest possible audience domestically and internationally. These movies are simplified so that non-English speakers can understand them, not so that people become tools of the corporate machine.
Oh wait. That’s unpopular thought here. So let’s start with the use of the word ‘hate’ in the article.
To say that Hollywood doesn’t like, ‘hates’, or in any way works actively against Little Guys is just wrong. They’ll always embrace a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Each major studio has its little ‘Indie’ department that both trolls markets (literal festival markets where you not just watch what’s presented on-screen, but go market screenings to search for distributors) and fund Little Guys. If they ‘hated’ Little Guys and had some larger mass conspiracy against them, they’d nix those departments and do a much better job of keeping ‘Surprise Hits’ from ever happening anyway. They have the money to pull off a much better and stronger conspiracy than they’re often credited for, I mean come on.
They don’t make ‘smart’ or ‘intellectual’ movies because those movies don’t make money. And you can say it’s because audiences are stupid and go into this whole wide sociopolitical thing about it, but have you noticed that on this very site, WE who are a very specific niche audience for a higher standard of cinema can never agree on what a great movie is? In fact our closest cohesion is someone like Ozu or Tarkovsky, and there’s always SOMEBODY on this thread to challenge that those two are any good at all.
That type of stuff takes time, energy, and effort that the larger world doesn’t give a rat’s ass about regardless of its relative level of intelligence. If money is the goal than lowest-common-denominator is the means. If art is the goal then money needn’t and sometimes doesn’t enter into the equation at all, so the point is moot: Tell a studio executive that you want to provide the audience with something meaningful, and he’ll say, “Great! How much money will it make?” If you don’t have an answer, he won’t fund it.
He’s not against the meaningful. He’s against spending money to lose it, regardless of the other nonmonetary values of the movie.
What possible service would it do Hollywood to reject meaningful, artistic movies if they made Big Guy returns? It wouldn’t, but they don’t, and they don’t because their audiences are by nature and essence limited and niche. Just compare Twilight (tween girls) and Pixar (children’s movies) as highly news-attention-getting successful ventures against a single Big Guy. The more focused the audience, the smaller the returns. Basic math.
That said, I think more meaningful, artistic movies would be created if those artists making them would spend more time and energy actually trying to understand even simple business and writing out plans showing a studio exec that their $150thousand production can make $1.3million I’m working with a guy right now who has an film he’s shot a trailer for off of crowdfunding and built a business plan for a feature length. The business plan is well written, points out that it is aware of its niche audience, how much it expects to get back from that audience, and how it expects to keep its budget low ($150-300thousand). He may not get it but he’s doing substantially better than most simpering “Why does Hollywood hate me?!” people I know who refuse to learn basic accounting. It’s not that they won’t listen, you’re just not speaking their language.
Still don’t believe me? Robert McKee interviewed Alain Robbe-Grillet. Basically asked him, “How do you keep making wonky artsy movies when people don’t go see them?” Robbe-Grillet answered, “About $20million worth of people go see them maximum, so I keep my budgets to less than $20million.” Woody Allen keeps making movies every year because they cost like $2-10million and they make $10-50million. That’s pocket change for studios but hey, he’s consistently profitable regardless of how critically hit or miss he is. Hold this point in comparison to the Mid-Size Guys of Lee and Waters and so on above, and notice how much the term ‘consistent’ and ‘prolific’ will keep money in his pockets.
$20million Robbe-Grillet films are beautiful to behold and more valuable in their history and artfulness than every cent, but if you’re the one funding the film you’d still like your money back, n’est pas?
@Joks: “The real problem is not that there multiplexes are flooded with kids films, but why so called ‘adult’ films are also simplistic bullshit that are praised to high heaven. e.g The King’s Speech etc”
Right, and well basically the problem is that smart adults will still often go see dumb movies, but dumb adults will not see smart movies. I had this discussion recently with the scriptwriter of the short film I produced for a contest a couple weeks ago. He’s one of those “stories win” guys, so I was skipping about the Internet showing him non-narrative film of repute. He pointed out, “But that’s like museum art. You are the type of person to go to a museum.” True. “Most people aren’t.” Sadly true. "But the thing is, you also watched The Avengers. " Also true and not guilty about it. “How many of the people you talk to who are very concerned with cinematic art and intellectual things in cinema also watch the mainstream stuff?” Basically all y’alls. Point and match for Hollywood accounting. Isn’t that one of the frustrations brought up on this forum often? "Fuck, why are we all watching and discussing The Avengers? "
‘Cause The Avengers ain’t high art but it’s certainly well-done enough to attract even a large portion of Mubi users. Trans-Europ-Express is high art and still attracts a smaller portion of Mubi users, even when we defend it’s values against the not-artistically-useful production of The Avengers. So shouldn’t we as certainly educated, not corporate-cog thinkers, not be responding to The Avengers?
“There is nothing wrong with enjoying a film like Avengers at the age of 40. However, if you think it’s one of the best movies ever made, you obviouslyi need serious help.”
@Blue: “Hollywood loves morons, that’s for sure.”
Whereas I deconstruct ‘hate’, I’m sure studio execs are plenty comfortable with idiots. It doesn’t matter their level of intelligence as long as the greenbacks get transacted.
“And you wonder why the world is going to hell in a hand basket.”
Any idea how to make the lowest-common-denominator prefer better films? ‘Cause it’s not going to work the other way.
“In many of them, I’ve had good opportunity to talk to locals about their own ’nation’s’ cinema. They look at me like I’m nuts.”
I have a similar experience in my job. I’ve never had the opportunity to travel to other countries but at my work, I work with a lot of people who come to the US from other countries (a lot of them come here as translators working on subtitling, etc). And almost always when I talk to them about their nation’s cinema, they look at me funny and don’t know what I’m talking about. Even a country as cinema-obsessed as France! This one guy I work with who is French hasn’t seen hardly any French films. And yet he loves Hollywood movies. lol.
I don’t think the “lowest-common denominator” thing is exclusive to Americans, especially when you see big films like MIB III and Pirates! Band of Misfits do average domestically but bofo overseas.
“It builds on Magic Mike’s relative profitability to question whether this model of focusing on teenager-accessible features is really necessary, or if Hollywood is missing out on a hungry and neglected demographic.”
I think that’s in part what Meryl Streep’s rant was about a couple weeks ago at the Women in Film forum. If a movie like The Help can cost $5 to produce and makes $300 million, why aren’t more studios making these films? It’s a valid question. This year, Magic Mike, Ted, 21 Jump Street, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel aim to make ridiculous profits for their studios in part because their budgets are relatively low. Of course the advantage of big tentpole films like Spider-Man and The Avengers is their ancillary profits (merchandise, sequels, video games, home entertainment, theme park rids, etc), which can reap profits for many years down the line (although I guess they are talking about bringing *Magic Mike * to Broadway so there you go, lol).
You make a good point with your Big Guy versus Little Guy analogy but you might be overthinking things. Sometimes it’s just as simple as ego – “this studio is making this big movie so we have to top them (or at least compete with them).” I know it sounds crazy but I’ve been in meetings where decisions are made based off of keeping up with the market, even if they know it’s a money-loser (or cost-neutral).