This is one of the undeserved markets I was talking about a few weeks ago -- a niche that AS might profitably exploit....
"LOS ANGELES — Anytime a film costs $10 million to make and ticket sales approach $100 million, Hollywood pays attention. But jaws really drop when a movie starring actors in their 70s and aimed at people over 50 pulls off that trick.
The film has taken in almost $90 million worldwide. Pictured, Maggie Smith, 77.
Wait. Stop. Older people will go to the movies if we give them something to watch besides superheroes and special effects?"
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, god, who is actually wanting to see this? old people i guess. i mean, they did keep Matlock on for as long as they could. i guess now we have them to thank for betty white's off their rockers. thanks old people!
This movie looked interesting to me, too, and I hardly think I'm over the hill yet. :)
I think this is the quote that pegs it:
"People may be surprised in Hollywood, but the popularity of this film is no mystery to us,” said Laura Resnick, manager at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema, an upscale theater in suburban St. Louis. “When there is a story being told on the screen, people respond.”
Last year the title and the teaser poster caught my attention. The cast and director then drew me in further........but then I saw the trailer this year and thought "Gah, it's one of THOSE films."
Although "Thelma & Louise" had a similar (if majorly deceptive) ad campaign. So who knows...I'll watch it if Maggie Smith and Judi Dench drive off a cliff at the end.
@ Brenton - that's the point of serving different niches -- if everyone makes movies YOU want to see, they're neglecting the market for movies you DON'T want to see.
In this case, serving that under-served market has yielded a 900% return on investment. That's a better ROI than any movie except maybe Avengers will make this year.
Meanwhile, plenty of movies aimed at the conventional target demographic of men under 25 (Battleship, John Carter, etc.) are losing money big time or struggling to break even.
Studios can decrease their risk, and probably boost their returns, by targeting a wider demographic and making "small bets."
Boomers represent an ENORMOUS market. But movies they would find interesting do NOT have to exclude other quadrants either. There is also an enomormous market for nostalgia and movies that reflect the 50's 60's have particular appeal. This intriguing aspect is that this market loves to go to the movies, grew up doing so on a regular basis. They just need good stories. And as Marigold Hotel demonstrates, good stories can be made on low-modest budgets. Why Hollywood doesn't set up a division just for this market (who would come out in droves and have the income to do so on a regular basis) is beyond me.
We have such a script set in the early 60's, with 'consider' coverage, a couple of contest awards, production subsidies from the State of Illinois assured, cooperation from a well known Chicago film school - where my writing partner is an alum - Chicago film office partnership, a budget under 3 mil, wall to wall music etc, etc., but we can not even get the script read!
A Participant says:
I hate to hijack Lauri's thread, but: http://studios.amazon.com/projects/8273#player/15354.
My 45 days will be up this coming week; hopefully I can get this to a company who supports old folks flicks. (try saying that 3 times fast).
I want to see it -- and, I'm not the demographic. It has an exotic location, great actors, and just looks interesting.
That's not really a surprise this movie did well, just that it did THAT well. The film has a big list of stars. It may not have been as heavily market it as most blockbuster (or wannabe blockbusters) but they did make a smart move and marketed a lot on PBS (sponsoring a few of their shows for a few weeks)
Though the lesson is that Hollywood really needs to diversify who they target more.
Oh and it funny that you brought up John Carter as a movie targeting people under 25. Because well that was the target group I giving that John Carter is an old pulp novel character, those under 25 where very unlikely to know who that character was but baby boomers and up would have been more likely to have been fans of the books.
I problem with films skewed to older demographics is that they tend treat the elderly (the viewers and characters) like children. It's a common statement that people say they don't feel their age and that they don't recognize the "old face" looking back at them in the mirror. So the fact that the younger generations treat folks of a certain age as befuddled people with delicate conservative attitudes is rather silly. I mean, senior citizens these days are more Pointer Sisters and Jimmy Hendrix than Andrew Sisters and Lawrence Welk. They were the generation of protesters and sexual revolutionists. Hell, they made porn in date movie material. Yet, if you make a film about them now it has to be at the level of a 70's Disney Live action flick like "Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo" Even when the films are of a mature nature, "Calender Girls" for instance, it presents the material in a cutesy way.
Films about the "plus 60" crowd need to grow up....the "plus 60" crowd did.
has anyone seen fishing in yemen?
Older single woman are a huge market. My mom, 79, and her friends go out a lot to see films. But, like Laura said, there's not much out there they want to see these days.
Lauri, I tried to see this movie opening weekend and it was sold out here in Austin. People came out to see it in droves. Most of the people in the lines that I saw for the movie were seniors, but not all. Lots of women also came out to see it, regardless of age.
It's a charming little film and I would second your motion that anyone with business sense would try to exploit this niche. Not every movie needs to be about aliens or monsters or superheroes or explosions...
@ Martin - you're right, and that may have been one of JC's problems. It's the TYPE of movie that's aimed at men/boys under 25, but the source material is no longer widely read by people in that demographic. So did the filmmakers/execs assume that because THEY read the books when they were that age, a new generation that never read the books would flock to the movie version?
Dosch - I don't think only "cutesy" movies about older people are getting made; in fact, I can't think of a cutesy one off hand. Look at a movie like "Red" that features older actors but isn't even a little cutesy.
When I was in my early 20's, working at a video store, I received a nice lesson in ageism from a couple of hip sisters in their 80's. I made the common mistake that the grandma age bracket was skewed to PG rated movies with no language, sex or violence. When they saw me going that route when recommending new flicks they set me straight on that antiquated concept. From then on I've always looked past a persons age. Doesn't throw me to see older folks buying tickets to "Oldboy" or "Anti-Christ" or what have you.
It seems that roles and movies utilizing the plus 60 crowd use the age thing as a gimmick (it's an action film with old people in it) or they write the roles as a cliche of how "old people act" or use stock old people characters. Suddenly the rock n roll generation is portrayed as is they were born in the 1800's simply because they hit an age that sounds ancient. If Barbara Walters can talk about what kind of lube she likes to use during sex then I think we can go past a great actress like Maggie Smith playing another frumpy uptight woman getting all bug eyed around the wacky foreigners (or whatever that gets her tightly wound in these films). That character has been done into the ground. Look at the amazing characters that Tom Wilkenson has had the pleasure of doing. I'd like to see woman of a certain age get those kind of roles ....instead of this twee fluff.
(update: I just watched the U.S. trailer. [my unimpressed Marigold rant was based on the U.K. trailer] It fairs a little better and seems less cloying except for poor Dev who is still reduced to some gross version of an Indian Stepin Fetchit.) I'll see the film but I doubt it's going to make any year end lists which is too bad. Wouldn't you like to see that cast have something to really sink their teeth into?
If you want to see great older actors sink their teeth into their roles, check out Coriolanus. I would put money on Oscar nominations for Brian Cox and Vanessa Redgrave.
People are going to see this because it's DIFFERENT. The notion that people only go to see films that feature their own age-range is ridiculous.
Also, possibly, it's a Brit movie with lots of talent. Perhaps the success of the King's Speech helped.
The UK release saw it do good business across the board, but mediocre reviews from critics. I suspect it's a nice, easy bit of counter-programming. I'm glad it's done so well.
Saw Marigold Saturday. A thoroughly enjoyable movie going experience. Don't trust trailers, they are so often wrong, not representative of the actual movie.
Really can't compare to Avengers or other action movies, totally different in terms of marketing schemes. Sure there is a market for movies like Marigold, I just don't believe AS is headed that way based on choices they have made. I wouldn't mind being wrong, however. I've always said don't make 1 make 101. Marigold has legs, good word of mouth and will continue to do good business. Another sleeper is Intouchables which is getting a USA release next week. As for critics, I don't pay them much attention.
"The notion that people only go to see films that feature their own age-range is ridiculous."
if you think that's ridiculous then you're in the wrong business. and you can exchange age with any other demographic: culture, race, occupation... some people in politics only see movies that involve politicians and power players.
btw - they're making a RED sequel. anthony hopkins wants to join the cast this time around. i don't think too many young people saw this flick b/c they didn't know these old farts. lol! but those old farts don't care that the movie didn't make a lot of money. they want to work. they want to make another fun action. and they don't care if young people check it out.
Red: $90 million BO on a budget of $58 million.
Those aren't awesome numbers but aren't too shabby either.
Coriolanus was released limited in December for the 2011 year Academy consideration. Its shot has come to pass.
Antony: If your post was aimed at me, I completely agree with your assessment of the film. My gripe is that it looks forgettable. A twee piece of location porn with likable actors getting a paid vacation to not do much. As one critic said of another film - a postcard serves the same purpose.
I would guess that they expected a new generation to flock to the movie even thought they didn't read the book. Which to be far does happen.
maybe they over estimated the market for that movie and over budgeted. The movie did make over 200 million in box office it just cost a lot to make as well.
I don't maybe the movie just didn't look good enough to people, to want to see it. I know personally the trailer for the movie left me cold, the computer animation didn't look good enough to be used so much. Though I'm just a tad over the under 25 group, so I don't know how much my thoughts on it would matter to the studio.
Personally I wonder how the movie would have down with an older John Carter.
Well, for me personally, I have watched perhaps 12 movies at the theater in the last 12 years. I refuse to watch remakes of movies I enjoyed in the 70s and 80s. I refuse to watch movies about teen angst. I refuse to watch movies overly dramatizing college life. I refuse to watch movies that glorify stupidity. I refuse to watch stories that tell me how much life sucks. I personally believe that life does not suck - but you do.
I do want to see great stories that teach me something, or give me hope about today or tomorrow. And how rare is that in Hollywood?