July 2, 2011
Listen up Hollywood (and film buyers): banking on under 25-year-old males ain’t working this year. As Yahoo! Movies reports, the superhero genre is foundering as young males begin avoiding the movie house.
Here’s the key takeaway from Daniel Frankel’s article:
“Perhaps no other genre has been as affected by the sharp decline in consumption by what has been traditionally the most active moviegoing demographic — men under 25. For ‘Green Lantern,’ for example, men accounted for 64 percent of the opening-weekend audience, but only 37 percent of the audience was under the age of 25. For ‘X-Men: First Class,’ only 46 percent of the audience was under 25; for ‘Thor,’ it was only 28 percent.”
Despite the enormous success of “Bridesmaids” and other films targeted to women — and those over 25 — the same films and sequels are continuing to be green lit:
“‘It’s a huge problem,’ said one studio distribution executive, referring to the flight of younger males from the multiplex. ‘I keep banging the drum about it to anyone on the lot who will listen to me.'”
My take? Men (and boys) under the age of 25 are not wedded to the movie theater experience like those above 25 (and certainly those above 45). They watch movies — if they do — in the family car, on their laptops, and through physical and digital media on HDTVs. In addition, they are often avid video game players, TV viewers, media producers, bloggers, texters, and involved in a million and one other digital and analog activities.
Hollywood used to produce more movies for women because they often dragged along male friends, boy friends, and husbands with them. This doesn’t always work as well in reverse.
The real culprit here is what Frankel doesn’t report: that domestic box office isn’t where the money for a film is made. That comes in licensing the film for TV, cable TV, VOD, international TV, digital distribution, and, more importantly, consumer products. “Cars” (2006), for instance, generated $10 billion in licensed merchandise sales between 2006 and 2011. Superhero movies, like animated films, are “toyetic”—they lend themselves to licensing and merchandising deals that work best for video games, t-shirts, action figures, happy meals, and the rest.
As long as merchandising is more important to media conglomerates than box office, the industry will continue to focus on the 5-25 year-old-male and the films they believe “he” will want. Sorry boomers: you’ll have to be happy with the occasional Woody Allen or foreign film to remind you of a time when moviegoing meant seeing a film in which narrative trumped spectacle.
July 1, 2011
That old (inaccurate) axiom that all publicity is good publicity wasn’t true yesterday for MoviePass. The new venture that offered moviegoers unlimited movie tickets for $50 a month has placed their beta launch in San Francisco on hold after AMC and other circuits expressed deep concern and refused to participate.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, “MoviePass insisted late Thursday that the company is not going out of business. A spokeswoman said the New York-based venture has funding and still plans to move forward, but first will reach out again to theater owners including AMC.”
For more in-depth coverage, follow these links:
June 14, 2011
New taxes on imported films is making it tough to see new American films in Indonesia. While so many in other parts of the world are frustrated with the glut of blockbuster films, this country is clamoring for them now.
Read more here
June 9, 2011
While they haven’t lost the battle to cable yet, broadcast network ratings are in serious decline. Advertising in theaters is nothing new, but so far in advance is.
Read more in the New York Magazine.
June 8, 2011
An interesting piece in CNN discusses how movie stars aren’t as alluring now that they can be watched anywhere with a cell phone or your home television.
In reality, the respectability of working in television has been going on for 10+ plus years, especially with the rise of top-quality on premium networks like HBO or Showtime. While tightening the window between theatrical and home media releases has changed the way we look at movie stars, the lack of privacy for anyone in today’s world has done much more.
June 7, 2011
While they continue to hold onto National Amusements, Shari Redstone and some other investors unloaded Russian chain Rising Star to the country’s largest cinema company, Cinema Park. This is only a couple years since they purchased the now 75- theater chain from Shari’s father, mogul Sumner Redstone.
They actually made a tidy profit off the investment as emerging markets like Russia haven’t had as much of a problem with declining attendance like the U.S. They’ve also been more receptive to 3-D, while American moviegoers seem to be a little frustrated with the premium ticket prices. An interesting counterpoint to the decreasing value of cinemas in the States.
Read more in the Wall Street Journal
June 6, 2011
June 2, 2011
May 31, 2011
Are major chains diminishing the quality of 2D presentations by leaving 3D lenses on their projectors?
The online publication CinemaSpy, along with a considerable number of other online sources, is reporting that a number of major cinema chains are allowing inferior 2D presentations to occur regularly by not removing the 3D lenses from their projectors. Leaving the 3D lenses on the Sony digital projectors used by many of major exhibitors results in considerably dimmer image. When asked for comment, the chain spokepeople appear to offer ambiguous replies. The story that appeared in CinemaSpy can be read here and another story on the topic can be read at CinemaBlend.