I was reading an article in Variety Magazine called “Graying Auds Help Seed the Specialty Biz.” It talks about how movie distributors has been actively promoting films for those of us over 50.
There’s been an increase in films targeted to the over 50 crowd in recent years including “Woman in Gold,” “Rickie and the Flash,” “Mr. Holmes” and “Grandma.” The number of ticket sales at movie theaters has decreased for younger audiences because they’re now watching films, TV shows and other entertainment on their phones. However, the over 50 crowd is still stepping out to watch films at movie theaters.
“These people are in the habit of going to the movies,” says Jack Foley, who is the distribution chief at Bleeker Street. Foley’s company released the film “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” starring Blythe Danner as a widow who rebels against the constraints of being a senior citizen. It was a niche hit.
Independent films like “Dope” and “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” that cater to younger audiences, and were thought to have blockbuster potential, are bombing out. With titles like that, it’s no wonder. The number of younger audience members attending movie theaters has decreased while ticket sales for those of us over 50 have increased.
Movie distributors are targeting a significant amount of their advertising dollars toward retirees. Rather than target urban areas like Los Angeles or New York, they’re making their presence known in communities with affluent over 50 populations like Orange County, CA or Baca Raton, FL.
Have you noticed the number of “action” films that have been released lately starring “old codger” heroes like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sly Stallone, and Bruce Willis? If a real cyborg looked any of those guys straight in the eyes they’d probably have a heart attack on the spot. I recently went to the premiere of Terminator Genisys at the Dolby Theatre on Hollywood Blvd. Both Arnold and Sly were there. Afterward, we attended the premiere party at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
This new “specialty biz,” as they call it, is a boon for Baby Boomers. We tend to enjoy films that are of higher quality with actual stories and fully realized characters. Many of us can afford to pay a little extra for an exclusive movie going experience. I love the new movie theaters that feature cushy adjustable lazy boy chairs, bar and gourmet food service, and stadium seating. If you’re a retiree on a budget, you can always use your good old “senior discount.”
Action movies make me snooze
Maybe it’s my menopausal equilibrium, but endless car chases and shoot ‘um ups make me zone out. Or, they stress me out.
I went to a screening of “Mission Impossible” starring Tom Cruise and I swear my blood pressure went up when I watched him hang onto the side of a plane taking off. My inner mother was calling out. “Tom! You idiot! Are you trying to give your mother a coronary?” Thank God I didn’t watch it in 3D or they’d have taken me out on a stretcher.
It’s always easier to see movies at home but it’s not as much fun to watch them on a small screen. We only have basic cable and our Internet sucks, so streaming isn’t an option. Plus, I’m remote control impaired.
Going out for the evening and being around other people brings more pleasure to my movie going experience. Although we mostly go to screenings, and I’m totally spoiled, it’s fun to sit in a regular movie theater once in a while with a big bag of popcorn. (no butter of course) I may not be sucking on JuJuBees or Jordan Almonds anymore, but I can sip a Pellegrino and enjoy watching trailers before the film starts with no one trying to fast forward with the remote.
Do you still go out to the movies? How do you like to enjoy films these days?