Friday, August 21, 2009

No movies for oldies?

According to Daniel Manus:
Here are the true reasons why studios don't make movies for the older crowd:
  • They don't come to the movies very often. They are picky and while they will come out to the movies ("Julie and Julia" proved that), they don't do it very often, and studios have to play the odds. Kids go to the movies every weekend. If it rains, even more kids come out to movies, but everyone over 55 stays home.
  • Their tickets are less expensive. Hello, Senior Discounts! Thank you AARP.
  • Even if they will go see a movie in the theater, they won't go buy the DVD afterwards, they won't buy the soundtrack or iTunes merchandise, they won't get the Happy Meal with a shiny old person toy inside and they won't buy the T-shirt, poster or any other ancillary crap that kids most certainly will.
  • Older crowds only respond to older actors that they can connect with (Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, etc). Unfortunately, there are only a handful of these women that can aid in opening a movie. The men are slightly different, as no one thinks of Harrison Ford as being 67 years old even though he is. But the type of movies he does doesn't bring his AARP co-patriots to the theater.

My opinion point-by-point:
  1. We don't go to the movies often because they're usually all about kiddie toothpick fashionistas. When we were kids we wanted to see kids doing stuff. Now we're oldies we want to see stories with depth, plots that are engaging, thespians that can turn a phrase on a dime with non-verbals that match, and productions that haven't lost the continuity girl. Yes, we're picky. We like quality. We're sophisticated viewers. You can't bamboozle us with the same schlock you feed kids. Everyone over 55 stays home? Hah! I see them in movie theaters all the time.
  2. If there were enough movies we thought were worth seeing, those miniscule "Senior" discounts would evaporate. And what about matinees? Hello cheaper tickets!!
  3. When, out of desperation, an oldie does see a movie it's usually not worth replaying. Make a quality movie and we'll buy it. Scratch that, I've bought DVDs and I still buy DVDs. I buy merchandise when it's worth having. Has anyone asked us what merchandise we would like to buy? Whatever it is it has to be worth making space for among all the schlock I bought when I was young.
  4. Sure, I respond to mature thespians. Why not? They're good, experienced and do quality work. Are you seeing a trend here? Quality work. I also respond to younger thespians who have more going for them than being able to model for a Biafra poster, look cute, and giggle.
Quite frankly I'm tired of seeing juvenile toothpicks with their bones poking out of oversized sleeves, wearing padded breasts and having to use body doubles whenever a scene requires a real body. I'm tired of thin plots, ubiquitous lines of dialogue, and characters that are cute trendsetters. I'm tired of linked merchandise that falls apart two minutes after it's out of the box and dumb tee shirts that are nothing but ads.

I want to be able to choose my merchandise and customize it. I tried in vain to find cuddly Dronkeys after the 3rd Shrek movie. If they had been for sale I would have bought them for me and everyone I know. I made a customized Dory mug. I plan to buy some good Star Trek merchandise (if I can find it). When the music is good I want the CD or to be able to choose the songs I liked as they were performed in the film. And let's not forget us oldies have grandchildren for whom we purchase items and with whom we sit in theaters.

So don't blame us for your lack of marketing research and blatant agism.

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