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Meryl on the Narrowing of the Film Audience

by Melissa Silverstein
December 19, 2011 10:19 AM
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Meryl on 60 Minutes

There are not many people who can get away with saying that the film business has basically thrown away everyone except for teenage boys, but that's exactly what Meryl Streep did last night on 60 Minutes.

She talked about what drew her to the part, "the opportunity to deal with the deep, buried discomfort that people still have, men and women, with women in leadership positions", and the fact that she while might not admire Thatcher's policies she admires the woman, "I am in awe of what she did. The policies you can argue with. But to sit in the hot seat, I can't even imagine having that steadfastness."

But she saved the best for last when talking about how the film business has sold out all of us but the young boys -- the ones that play videogames.  

That's called the narrowing of the audience. The movie business has worked very assiduously to discourage you and other intelligent, discerning people from the theater, from the movie theater. They have worked hard to get rid of you, because you don't go then and buy toys and games.

We might not buy toys and games but we do buy movie tickets.  Too bad all these young boys playing games are now so obsessed with their games that they are no longer going to the movies.  These movie guys have narrowed themselves out of an audience.

The many faces of Meryl Streep (CBS)

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More: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady, Marketing

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  • Bes | January 19, 2012 12:13 PMReply

    I don't see commercialized escapist movies for my demo (adult women). I usually just read books because I find that even when Hollywood adapts a book that is a favorite of mine they use male imagery and it ruins the experience for me. Hasn't Hollywood ever discovered the concept of test audiences?

  • Sean | December 21, 2011 8:54 AMReply

    I was so stoked when she said this. She's so brilliant. BUT I do agree with Patricia. She's done films herself that are intelligent. They may not make her the money she gets from huge blockbusters and rom coms, but they're there, just not typically widely released. The entire interview was so engaging and enthralling. I can't wait to see The Iron Lady.

  • Kathleen | December 20, 2011 11:37 PMReply

    Great interview with a great actress, a great feminist, and a great human being. Meryl, you simply have to play Gloria Steinem. Do it. Do it now. :-)

  • Patricia | December 19, 2011 3:43 PMReply

    I heard the same argument when the first Star Wars movie came out---well over 30 years ago. And again with Indiana Jones, Star Trek, etc. There are still theatrical films for intelligent people, and there will always be the commercialized escapist entertainment, too.

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