Monday, 30 June 2008

Hollywood Babble On & On #122: My Kind of Movie?

A tip of my jaunty busby to the indefatigable Nikki Finke for this report that says that Warner Bros. has decided to actually release the remake of The Women, because of the profits made by Sex & the City, instead of condemning it to straight to DVD limbo.

Now I'm man enough to admit that
The Women is not my kind of movie, and according to some sources, it's not the Warner CEO's type of movie either, but there comes a time in the life of every studio executive when they must accept that not every movie they green-light has to be their kind of movie.

The audience ha
s been balkanized to previously unimaginable levels. It seems that each demographic will only see movies that appeal directly to them, and only those movies. Cross-over appeal is rare and reserved for an elite collection of blockbusters. So it's only natural for a studio mogul to accept that their own personal tastes can't be the only arbiter of what movies get made and released, and the refusal to do so, is a sign of ego making decisions over ambition, or even greed.

Now the key is to make sure that the production/marketing budget is relative to the movie's target demographic, and often you'll find that many times that it's a problem that solves itself. Pictures aimed at a mature female demographic like S&TC and The Women, don't have over the top special effects, epic battle scenes, or giant monsters. So while the market for "women's pictures" may never be as big as the male teen audience, or the even larger G-rated kids film audience because of repeated viewings, but as I keep saying when it comes to smart budgeting it doesn't have to be as big.

Studios must break from this "everything must set a record" mindset and accept that you don't need to spend multiples of $100 million on every movie, especially when there is an under-served audience willing to spend that beautiful disposable income on smaller budgeted films with smaller marketing/distribution costs.

Sure, not every one of these niche films are going to succeed, but when your exposure is lower, and your marketing plan is carefully structured and targeted, you can have the reward outweigh the risk.

I know that if I ran a studio, it would not totally conform to my tastes, because I doubt any studio should only put out spaghetti westerns and samurai films.

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