Hollywood Needs To Get Over Its Crush On Teenage Boys
from the it's-not-you-it's-me dept
There are several theories as to why box office receipts have been down in recent years, all of which we’ve discussed many times. Lynda Obst, a producer at Paramount Pictures, has an interesting essay blaming the industry’s obsession with the teenage boy demographic. The problem isn’t that teenage boys have stopped going to the movies per se, but that studios end up pulling out all of the stops (huge budgets, huge marketing efforts) for this demographic, so naturally they’re setting themselves up for big falls. Teenage boys will still go to the theater if the film is good, but if it’s not, they have plenty of entertainment alternatives on a Saturday night. Furthermore, the internet and faster word of mouth can sink even the best-planned marketing campaigns, so there’s no hope in drawing viewers to a bad movie. The industry should take heart from what Obst argues, that there’s no one trend, technological or social, hurting the movie industry. Instead, the industry has bloodied itself by spending millions going after a single demographic. This is made worse by the winner-take-all aspect of the movie business. On any given weekend, a film that is even slightly better than the next best alternative will dominate ticket sales. If the industry diversifies their target demographic and learns that it can’t just pull people to a theater by marketing, they should be able to improve their returns.