By Melissa Silverstein | Women and Hollywood July 16, 2014 at 4:20PM
The box office is down this summer in the US. And when the box office is down, especially in summer, it makes folks nervous. So all across Hollywood people are trying to figure out what went wrong. The good news is that there have been no big box office disasters like last summer's RIPD or The Lone Ranger, but the fact is that people especially young people seem to not be going to the movies. Data shows that the youth demographic of frequent moviegoers (ones who go at least once a month) is down between 15 and 17%
Interestingly, women, the entire gender that Hollywood has in the past dismissed because we were "unreliable" are shockingly becoming the most reliable audience out there. No shit. We've been saying this for years.
So if you get less young people going to the movies, and you don't create movies that women want to see - and let's also not forget that women make the buying decisions - you are screwed. As I have said time and again it's the women that help these tent poles become the successes that they are. It's the women who pushed Iron Man 3 over the top. Tent poles don't become blockbusters without women, yet it is clear and has been for some time, women can create a success ala Twilight and the Fault in Our Stars, yet men do not have the same ability.
So the lesson for Hollywood is to create tent poles and movies that are in the multiplexes that will interest women -- especially ones over 25 -- because the data shows that Hollywood has done a shitty job in creating the moviegoing habit for young people. But beware, don't just create a female character that is not integral to the story, make a movie where women matter.
We all know that there will always be successes that defy the data, but these demographic issues are going to continue to shift and it would be smart if Hollywood figured out how to create product that is original and interesting for all different kinds of demographics. Maybe we are moving back towards a world where we will see movies for adults at the multiplex with regularity.