Chicks Buy Tix Too

When I announce my exciting news, you’ll know why I wanted to share this post by  “Women & Hollywood” blogger Melissa Silverstein:

Young Women Save The Lovely Bones (1/19/10)

Back in November The Lovely Bones was on all awards watchers list just due to Peter Jackson previous pedigree.  No one had seen it, yet it was based on a best selling book and had awards potential written all over it.  Then people starting seeing it and the awards buzz virtually disappeared aside for Stanley Tucci in the supporting actor category.

But one thing that Paramount discovered in screenings is that young women — teen girls, you know the audience for Twilight — really liked the movie.

What happened with The Lovely Bones reminds me of that William Goldman quote- “nobody knows anything” when talking about Hollywood.

“The Lovely Bones” exemplifies how studios sometimes believe they have a firm understanding of what they are selling but are later surprised when moviegoers in focus groups and early screenings weigh in with contrary opinions.

You gotta give Paramount and Peter Jackson credit for getting on the girl wagon.  It’s not like they had any choice, it was pretty much that or nothing. They had the elements, a PG-13 film starring a young woman Saoirse Ronan.  So instead of just writing the picture off they changed their campaign.  They put a trailer for the film on New Moon.  They pulled back from the awards focus and waited until after the holidays for a wider released.

This past weekend they released the film on 2800 screens to a gross of over $20 million, way better than expected.  72% of the audience was female and 40% were under 20.  That means that young women went to see The Lovely Bones while their guy friends probably went to see Avatar again.

There are two lessons here.  One is that you can really make success from failure.  I think that Paramount didn’t give up because it was Peter Jackson and they want to be in business with him again.  I’m sure filmmakers without Jackson’s stature would never have gotten the same treatment.

Second, don’t underestimate young women and women in general.  This film was not a franchise film, it didn’t have a rabid fan base built in and it still did decent numbers.  That means that success can be found outside of fandom.  Just make a movie that people want to see and then sell it to them.  It really makes me want to see it now and before I was indifferent.

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