Why Do They Make the Movies They Do?
By Dick Rolfe
entertainment industry is presently in a state of flux.
Filmmakers are searching for the "magic bullet" to target
the largest possible audience for their movies. Question is;
which audience segment will generate the most revenue?
Hollywood separates moviegoers into groups based upon what
they think about certain topics. These are called
psychographic profiles; unlike demographic profiles that
group people by age, income and social status. Psychographic
groups can be easily connected to specific kinds of films.
illustrate, I've developed a list of psychographic
categories below. If you want to participate in an
unscientific survey, write each of these categories on a
sheet of paper. Next, write the name of a recent film or
films that would appeal to people in each group.
Preschool children: Preadolescent girls: Prepubescent boys:
Love-sick adolescent girls (boys, too): Thrill-seeking
teenagers: Love-sick teenagers: "Gangstas": Romantics (a
euphemism for love-sick adults): Women-hating men:
Men-hating women: Homosexuals: Murderers and rapists looking
for inspiration: Youngsters looking for role models:
Animal/earth lovers: Animal/earth haters: Students of
history: Historical revisionists: Political liberals:
Political conservatives: Evolutionists: Creationists:
Atheists: Muslims: Catholics: Protestants: Jews.
that pretty well covers it -- something for everyone. The
point of this exercise is to increase our awareness of the
mental gymnastics movie producers go through before
green-lighting a picture. They not only have to identify the
potential audience for their project, they must also be
convinced there are enough people in that category to make
money - hopefully, BIG money. One producer admitted that he
focuses on making movies that appeal to "sub-literate, urban
males, between ages 12 - 20." He referred to them as "horny
are changing. More filmmakers are beginning to realize that
there is a formerly untapped audience that has both the
desire to be entertained and the money to go to the movies.
The largest consumer segment in America is mainstream
families with traditional values.
are still a few diehard filmmakers who insist on making
movies to impress their peers, without regard for the
audience-at-large. The recent Academy Awards ceremony
demonstrates that fact. Most of the winners achieved
relatively poor box office performance. These award-winning
producers didn’t impress their investors who are principally
concerned with the bottom line.
movie, Million Dollar Baby, winner of 4 top-end Academy
Awards (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, and Best
Supporting Actor) has only grossed $64.8 million at the box
office. And yet, three blockbuster hits,
Spider-Man 2, and
Passion of the Christ, which were not nominated for
those cherished categories, are ranked among the top ten
highest grossing moves in the US – not just in 2004, but for
choosing your next movie experience, ask yourself a couple
of questions. "Which psychographic group was the movie made
for?" And . . . "Do I want to be counted as a member of that
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