I've always heard that the demographic Hollywood studios aim for is the teenage boy, which explains why movies like Avengers make bazillions of dollars yet are so boring they put me to sleep.
Literally, I fell asleep in that movie. I didn't care who won or what happened.
Now my friend Judy, who lives in Los Angeles, posted on her blog what it's like to go to a preview of a new movie:
Getting daily invitations to free film previews in your inbox is probably an only in LA thing. The rest of you will have to trust me when I say that this experience is 100% NOT worth it. First of all, almost every film requires that you be not over 34 years old to get in. Rarely, you can be under 45. My age - never. Last night's film - Suffragette - was playing nearby and was open to people who were old. Because I was: a) was desperate to get out of the house and b) the subject sounded interesting, I decided to go.
You must arrive at least an hour before showtime. Then you line up and wait, fill out paperwork, wait some more. On your feet for at least an hour - what's worth that? After an hour of waiting the little I'm-in-charge-here pyoik walked down the line saying, "we're only permitted to seat people in the first three rows of the theater. Everything else is for invited guests only." I felt like a suffragette - a second class citizen without equal rights. Now I'm an hour and a half into my commitment to see this movie so I decide to stay. At the theater door, I get to hand over my cell phone while on both sides of me people, all at least thirty years younger than me, jostle past still talking on their cell phones and spilling their abundant refreshments, on their way to their upper level seats. Before the lights dim, the little short guy gets up in front of the theater and says, "you (meaning the little people in the first three rows) signed statements swearing that you would not Facebook, Twitter, blog or otherwise communicate anything about this film and we take any violation very seriously." He stops just short of wagging his finger at us. I am shaking in my sandals.
Okay. Here's the thing. There is nothing that pre-disposes me to hating a film more than: a) waiting an hour and a half to see it b) sitting in the second row of the theater craning up at giant, blurry heads c) being told that I'd better not say anything about it - or else. So, all things being equal, here's what I thought.
So nobody under 34 is welcome at the typical Hollywood movie preview?!?! That explains a lot.
What about recent films that do not pander to the youth demographic, though, like The Hundred Foot Journey? Or Red? Both star Helen Mirren, and thank God for an actress who can almost singlehandedly revive moviegoing fun for people over 40. Both movies were big hits. They made money. What else does it take to get Hollywood to quit being so dadgum ageist?!?
The popularity of movies about human beings, not about stuff that explodes, is not new. Remember The Bucket List? That came out in 2007. I loved that movie. Critics did not. Who cares?!?
Two things give me hope for more movies like The Hundred Foot Journey, or The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. One, they made MONEY. Hollywood respects money. Two, baby boomers are already in the AARP years, tail-end boomers like me are rapidly getting there, and even youngsters born in the 1970's are well into their 30's or 40's. We may watch more movies at home than in the theater, but we have money and we are a force to be reckoned with.