Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Movie Seasons

I asked about this when I went to the Newseum’s Oscar Talk with Ann Hornaday. My question was there seemed to be season for movies. Now seemed the time where the duds come out. Summer is for the blockbusters. Fall is when the adult films come out. I asked if she thought we’d be stuck in this or if things could change.

She said she thought if more films like The Grand Budapest Hotel came out things might change. It came out early last year and did well at the box office.

This past Friday Hornaday did a column on this exact subject.

She starts it off this way:
Welcome to dump season.

That’s what late winter-early spring has come to be called by Hollywood studios, which typically release their most unremarkable films from January through March, having trotted out their most lucrative movies the previous summer and their best movies during Oscar season.
It’s a very interesting article. She goes on to talk about a survey from the Motion Picture Association of America:
In a comprehensive snapshot of moviegoing in America and overseas, the MPAA report revealed a number of diverting factoids: Although the Chinese box office grew by a whopping 34 percent, attendance in the United States was down by an alarming 5 percent — despite theater chains wooing filmgoers with comfy seats, premium menus and mood-enhancing wine and cocktails. Not surprisingly, the grown-ups who covet such comforts reacted accordingly: In 2014 the shares of tickets sold to 40-to-49 and 50-to-59 year olds were at all time highs, and filmgoers over 40 are far more likely to be frequent attendees (seeing a movie once a month or more) than 12-to-24-year-olds.

Meanwhile, the share of movie tickets sold to filmgoers over 60 was at its highest since 2011, at 13 percent. Women accounted for 52 percent of filmgoers, a figure that has been on the rise since 2010, while men’s attendance figures have remained flat.

A perfect example of this is the opening of Cinderella this past weekend. It took in $70 million. According to Box Office Mojo the audience was 66 percent female and 66 percent families. It’s the sixth highest March opening. Another example of movies working in the “dump season” is Kingsman: The Secret Service. It’s made over $100 million and just so happens to be rated R. I saw it saw it a couple of weekends ago and really liked it. Granted this film is probably geared more toward males but the R rating prevents teenagers (the main market for summer movies it seems) from seeing it. So it’s the adults driving the success of this film.

It will be interesting to see if the studios ever learn that people like to see movies all year round. Here's hoping.

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