By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com January 31, 2012 at 9:02AM
Hollywood, generally speaking, does not care about old people. Despite the teen audience seemingly flagging, the studios continue to chase that precious 13-25 demographic, leaving only a handful of pictures to cater for those over 50. But every so often, older audiences will turn up in droves -- think "The King's Speech" or "True Grit" or "Gran Torino" or "Julie & Julia." It's a hard crowd to draw -- they won't simply turn up every opening weekend, which is one of the reasons executives never quite know what to do for them. But if we do know two things about that demographic, it's that they love Meryl Streep and they love Clint Eastwood.
And fortunately, the two stars (Eastwood is now 81, Streep a mere 62) each have new films on the way, and both just landed new release dates. Eastwood, coming off the disappointing "J. Edgar," is taking an acting role for the first time since 2008's "Gran Torino" (and the first he didn't direct since 1993's "In The Line Of Fire") in the upcoming drama "Trouble With The Curve," in which he plays a veteran baseball scout losing his eyesight who enlists his daughter (Amy Adams) to help him land a hotshot new prospect.
The film, to be helmed by Eastwood's producing partner Robert Lorenz in his directorial debut, hasn't yet begun production, but Warner Bros is hoping for a swift turnaround, as The Hollywood Reporter have revealed that the studio will put the film out in just over eight months, on September 28th. It's a competitive date -- the film is up against Rian Johnson's "Looper," Oliver Stone's "Savages" and the Viola Davis/Maggie Gyllenhaal school-set drama "Won't Back Down," but seeing Eastwood on screen in what's expected to be his final acting role is sure to give it enough appeal for the film to hold its own.
Meanwhile Streep, whose "The Iron Lady" is currently performing strongly, is teaming up with Tommy Lee Jones for the dramedy "Great Hope Springs," in which the two play a long-married couple who, with their marriage in trouble, travel to a small town to visit a famed relationship guru (Steve Carell). The project, penned by TV scribe Vanessa Taylor, and directed by "The Devil Wears Prada" helmer David Frankel, was previously set for a Christmas release, as counter-programming to "The Hobbit," but according to Coming Soon, Columbia have boosted it four months up on the release schedule to August 10th, where it will open against Will Ferrell/Zach Galfianakis vehicle "Dog Fight," zombie romance "Warm Bodies" and the musical remake "Sparkle" (although given that's also from Sony, expect that to move shortly).
Some might take the move as a lack of confidence (particularly after Frankel's last film "The Big Year," barely received a release at all, despite three big stars), but this is probably a smart move: Christmas is crowded anyway, while August is thin on fare for older audiences, and Streep had a great success with "Julie & Julia" when that opened at the tail end of July three years ago. You'll be able to take your parents to see that one on August 10th, while they're also sure to enjoy "Trouble With The Curve" when that lands on September 28th.