Women. They are the audience that any smart director would make a movie for. Or so Alfred Hitchcock alluded to in an interview with Huw Wheldon in 1964 on a BBC program called “Monitor.”
“Eighty percent of the audience in the cinema are women,” he went on. “Even if the house is 50-50 — half men, half women — a good percentage of the men has said to his girl … what do you want to see, dear?”
More than 40 years later, with the release of “Twilight,” the studios have finally caught on.
As much as you’d like to argue, Hollywood sees you not as a consumer of art, but as a statistic. And that statistic is defined by your age and sex; you are either male or female, and you are either young or old — specifically, plus or minus 25 (sorry mid-life crisisers). To break it down more: quadrant A is male, 25+; quadrant B is female, 25+; quadrant C is male, 24 and under; and quadrant D is female, 24 and under.
Take a moment and absorb this information. It is all you need to become a big-budget Hollywood producer; that and a lot of sleeping around, of course. (Just kidding. Not really.)*
For example, the “Saw” series is aimed at quadrant C, “Gran Torino” would fall in the quadrant A-ish area, and something like “Julie and Julia” would be more like B. There are also the Pixar hits like “Finding Nemo” and “Up,” which the whole family can get into. These little ditties are known as four-quadrant movies — “jackpot,” in Hollywood lingo, and a fat wallet for producers.
Movies have been made aiming at each of the aforementioned quadrants, but quadrant A has become the audience that producers turn to sell the tickets that bust blocks. The 2009 scene was streaked with such titles as “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” “Star Trek,” “Terminator Salvation,” and “Fast & Furious,” to name a few. These films are about three things: explosions, fast moving vehicles and tits; not necessarily topics teenage girls are filling up their MySpace posts about. The fact is that “Twilight” really did revolutionize the way things work. And yes, “Twilight” is 100% D quadrant.
The vampire-gone-romance flick has grossed a domestic total of $192,769,854, and a worldwide total of $384,997,808. Its sequel, “New Moon,” upped the bar further, bringing in a world total of $707,168,801. To give you some perspective, “Sherlock Holmes,” has brought in under $500 million worldwide; and it was “New Moon” that blew past “The Dark Knight’s” single-day sales record of $67.2 million, with $70 million worth of tickets sold on opening day.
It all boils down to one thing: asses in seats. People — girls — want to see these movies.
This little “Twilight” experiment that the production studio, Summit Entertainment, performed on the world proves that the system can change. And why not for the better?
“Twilight” spoke Hollywood’s language, and because of it, two more sequels are on slate for release: “Breaking Dawn” for 2011, and “Eclipse” for this year. And clearly other studios are taking note of Summit’s success: “The Last Song” (starring Miley Cyrus), “Letters to Juliet,” and “Sex in the City 2” are all quadrant D movies coming to a theatre near you in this year alone.
Though many of you read this hating that I used Hitchcock and “Twilight” references on the same page, why not take the success the “Twilight” series has experienced within the system and create positive changes? Let’s watch good movies, people. Less big studio productions at better quality: better stories, not just plugging “A” list star into tired script here. Support the indie scene. Get them some cred in the non-independent theaters (which many cities aren’t as lucky as Rochester to have).
We’ve become too easy as viewers. We’re like a ditched cheerleader captain on who has had two too many daiquiris and is lost on the wrong side of town. Go ahead, watch “Death at a Funeral” when it comes out on the 16th; laugh at Martin Lawrence’s jokes and Chris Rock’s goofy voice.
When you’re finished, pop in the British version with the same title from 2007 and tell me you don’t feel date-raped. It’s a shot-for-shot remake that Hollywood made “black” to score a couple bucks from you. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Tracy Morgan on “30 Rock.” And who could tire of Chris Rock’s humor? But the fact is, we’re being cheated. Paying the same ticket price for a half-assed attempt at an already-existing story that Hollywood plopped familiar actors into? We deserve better.
So, stay in tonight. Watch some Netflix if the movies at the Regal aren’t up to par. Or maybe the Little, or the Dryden, or Cinema Rochester are playing something better. (Don’t forget about those little gems we have in our fair city.) Please, dear reader, don’t conform to Hollywood’s low quality product. After all, you wouldn’t pay for a double cheeseburger if it only had one patty.
Let the system know that you’re mad as hell, and you’re not going to take it anymore. And I hope you know what movie that’s from.
*This entire paragraph is based on hearsay, mostly from what we see on Youtube and Facebook. If we really knew what it took to become a film producer in Hollywood, we’d be telling Sandra Bullock, not the Views section of Reporter.
The opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of the magazine. Views submissions may be sent to email@example.com.