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Old June 27th, 2004, 03:38 PM   #1
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WSJ - audiences burnt out from "event movies"

Interesting article in the Friday 6/25 Wall St Journal (Hollywood Report by John Lippman, p W4). "Dozens of new releases overload schedule, tire audiences: Onset of 'Event Fatigue'".

The article cites summer season audience numbers of 247 million in 2002, 243 million in 2003 and projects only 239 million in 2004. Box office is up about 2% over last year, but this is solely the result of higher ticket prices. "The cooling trend has some Hollywood executives questioning their summer strategy of opening a big new 'event' movie every weekend. The declining attendance suggests that audiences are tiring of saturation-marketing campaigns that often promise more than the movies deliver. 'Every studio is trying to make an event out of each movie, like a rock concert, and every movie is not meant to be that,' says Tom Sherak, a partner in Revolution Studios".

44 movies will open this summer as compared to 40 last year. "The strategy behind summer event movies is nonstop promotion to one of the industry's most coveted audience demographics. Hollywood wisdom holds that kids, teenagers and adults under 25 are easy to command through a barrage of advertising, whirlwind publicity campaigns on entertainment 'news' shows and merchandise tie-ins."

The author says this pattern began after the first Star Wars was released on Memorial Day weekend in 1977, played for 11 months and grossed $215 million. The major studios each released one or two films during the summer until 1996 when Warner Bros opened Twister in the second week of May. Then in 1999 Universal moved the season to the first week of May with The Mummy where it has remained.

The article quotes Tom Pollock, former head of Universal, as saying the studios should re-think the current stategy: " concerns take precedence in deciding which movies get made. The need to make weekly big splashes means that studios 'make what's marketable, then make it as best you can' rather than vice versa."
Boyd Ostroff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 27th, 2004, 07:28 PM   #2
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I though the first Jaws film was agreed to be the first film marketed in this way . . .

People have some many choices than they used to re entertainment and surely this takes a toll too. Maybe it's entertainment fatigue.
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Old August 10th, 2004, 10:18 AM   #3
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don't forget more and more people have home cinemas nowadays. some of those systems RIVAL local theatres. a lot of people just wait for the DVD. people are also a lot busier now with the Internet to goto the movies outdoors.

having said that, less people are going to movies cause they can now read the reviews online whether a film is good or not and decide.

you have to consider that people still go out in droves for event movies like spiderman2, shrek2, etc.
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