Movie studios diversify summer line-ups

AMC movie theater in Monterey Park, California on May 22, 2012.

Jeremy Hobson: Another big budget movie opens at the box office tomorrow. The sci-fi action flick Prometheus will help kick off the summer movie season which is traditionally full of movies that appeal to teenage boys.

But as Marketplace's Adriene Hill reports, Hollywood has not forgotten about the rest of us.


Adriene Hill: Imagine a world, a summer, where movies aren’t all about saving the world.

Avengers Commercial: War has started.

And instead, about less dire scenarios.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Commercial: This is a new and different world. The challenge is to cope with it, and not just cope, thrive.

Actually, that is this world, this summer. You’ve got huge hits, like the Avengers and smaller successes like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Jason E. Squire is a professor at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.

Jason E. Squire: And so all the audience is being satisfied this summer in a period that traditionally is being dismissed as a period for kids going to the movies. Well that’s not the case any longer.

Studios “counter-program” to the big summer blockbusters. They look for the audience that doesn’t want to see stuff getting blown up -- take this weekend’s space-horror-thriller movie, Ridley Scott’s Prometheus -- opening with the decidedly less scary Madigascar 3.

And how do studios pick the audience they’re going to "counter-program" to?

Josh Dickey: Well usually it’s the opposite of the movie that’s going to be sucking all the air out of the room. 

Josh Dickey is the film editor at Variety. He says studios have also realized older audiences can be pretty reliable.

Dickey: You can find pretty good money in programming summer movies to that over fifty crowd.

Movies like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. He says studios are typically careful not to open their teenage-boy "blast-em" movie next to another big name teenage boy "blast-em" movie. And sometimes with these dates, it’s a bit like king of the hill. A movie claims a spot as much as a year or two out and then a bigger movie comes along wanting that same spot, and the first movie has to scramble to a safer place on the summer movie calendar. 

I’m Adriene Hill for Marketplace.

About the author

Adriene Hill is the senior multimedia reporter for LearningCurve.

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