Hollywood and theaters noticing more boomers turning out for movies

posted by CSWalczak on March 4, 2011 at 3:45 pm

NEW YORK, NY — The movie industry is often one of the last to notice shifts in consumers and respond, but according a an article in the New York Times, both the studios and theater owners are noticing a graying of the audience and responding both in terms of films that are more substantive and in theater amenities. Boomers, in their youth, were raised on film and then moved away as studios catered heavily to the youth market when they reached their middle years. Now, as more and more retire, studios are rethinking the projects to greenlight and theaters are looking at more 21+ services and food offerings.

“There is an older audience that is growing, and it’s an underserved audience, which makes for an obvious and important opportunity,” said Nancy Utley, co-president of Fox Searchlight, whose “Black Swan” has sold over $100 million at the North American box office. If the core audience for a particular film is over 50, she noted, “that’s now a gigantic core.”

The very young still go to the movies more than anyone else — especially on those all-important opening weekends — but distribution executives say they are getting harder to lure in huge numbers. Social networking has sped up word of mouth, turning teenagers and young adults into more discerning moviegoers — a phenomenon pushed along by rising prices. People age 18 to 24 bought an average of seven tickets per person in 2010, down from eight in 2009.

The full story can be read here.

Comments (6)

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 5, 2011 at 1:44 am

Every time the mainstream junk movies (GREEN HORNET, THE TOURIST, LITTLE FOCKERS) fail at the boxoffice and the award movies stand out, we see this same story. Only the Gorgonzola dip is new here.

The baby boomer love affair with film did not occur in 1969, which was a terrible year at the boxoffice. MEDIUM COOL may have been an amazing film but it was hardly a hit and 1950’s arthouse darling Ingmar Bergman hardly emerged on the college scene in 1972.

The painful truth is that TRUE GRIT, THE FIGHTER, BLACK SWAN and THE KING’S SPEECH put together will not outgross TOY STORY 3. All will be forgotten by summer. These reporters really need to do some actual research before writing these Hollywood fluff pieces.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm

I agree AlAlvarez.your statement pretty much sums it up.“MEDIUM COOL” is remember was an X-rated flick,that might have limited its BO.

TLSLOEWS on March 6, 2011 at 1:00 am

Me too Al well said.

CSWalczak on March 6, 2011 at 1:27 am

Well, I think, as a boomer, that the article is nearly a perfect descriptive match for for my movie-going experiences over the years, and there were certainly many Bergman films shown on or near the Michigan State campus when I was there, 1966-1970. I saw more films than perhaps is the average for my generation until about 2000, when the crop of each films to my interests and liking dropped considerably. I do not doubt that is why my interest in classic films and theaters that originally showed them have has deepened so much.

KJB2012 on March 6, 2011 at 9:06 pm

I hate to say it, but I’ve never even heard of “Medium Cool”. Have watched “Easy Rider” which has be one of the worst movies of all time.
As far as “True Grit” et al put together not out grossing “Toy Story 3” is dead on. as a story “True Grit” was pretty lame even with John Wayne. Why anyone would remake it is beyond me. The Fighter and Black Swan seemed like an invite to boredom.
But I did see “The Kings Speech”. It was a good film but hardly a classic.
I’m waiting for “Toy Story” $!

dfc on March 11, 2011 at 11:16 pm

We’ll just have to see if this trend continues. Maybe there is a market for interesting well written films. But it won’t stop the closing of movie theaters, even if the boomers re-discover movie going.

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