Feeling inspired after seeing a tweet wonderfully titled “News Flash: Old Farts Love Movies!” by Scott Myers of my favorite screenwriting site Go Into The Story, I thought it might be fitting on the officially half-way mark of 2012 to acknowledge a few cinematic gamechangers.
Three films (“The Hunger Games”, “Think Like A Man” and “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”) have recently bulldozed a few of Hollywood’s biggest myths:
1) Audiences won’t see women-centered films: Remember seeing news headlines like “Hunger Games” toppled at box office after four week reign”? That’s right. Katniss and Co. only slipped to third-place after four weekends at No. 1 only after “Think Like A Man” and “The Lucky One” opened. The film raised its domestic total to $356.9 million. According to Boxofficemojo.com, “Hunger Games”, which cost $78 million has well-earned a place in box office history for a film with a female protagonist. The final listed earnings (domestic and foreign) for the flick are a little over $643 million.
2) Audiences won’t see films with predominantly Black casts: They’ve said it before and I’ll say it here. If you build it, they will come. Not only is “Think Like A Man” saying that yes audiences will see films with Black people as more than “Black Best Friends”, they also just want a good romantic comedy. The film already had a following from the Steve Harvey book, but the numbers don’t lie. The film which cost only $12 million (yes, in Hollywood, you can put the word “only” before such a number) and has earned well over $89 million (domestic and foreign). It’s safe to say that myth has been busted. Will we see a new trend?
3) Audiences won’t see films with lead character over 35: Straight from Nikki Finke over at Deadline Hollywood, this “Eat Pray Love”-styled film for the over 25 demographic has just passed earning the $100 million worldwide mark as of today (and it’s playing in less than 2,000 theaters too). The film also now holds the honor of being “the highest grossing specialty film of 2012 and has become the 7th highest grossing film for Fox Searchlight Pictures.” Not too shabby. Not to shabby at all for the beginning of what I’m dubbing “man-buster summer”. While the youngest star may be Dev Patel, I think “Marigold Hotel” shows that true thespians like Dame Judi Dench and Maggie Smith can hold their own just fine.
So what do these number tell us? Could the reign of the under 25 male demo be coming to an end? Probably not. These are just a handful of films to be released, but it gives me hope. In the midst of the usual trends (books to big screen adaptations, musicals and man-busters galore), there is a sprig of hope.