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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Has Hollywood abandoned young men?

This was the startling conclusion of Daniel Frankel at TheWrap after this weekend’s box office results: No one is thinking of the menz!

The strong showing of “Immortals” and “Jack and Jill” this weekend — raking in a total of $57 million combined and beating expectations — buoyed Hollywood’s hope that young men were finally turning back to the cineplex.

Uh, not so fast.

Exit polls showed that males made up 60 percent of the “Immortals'” audience.

But only 37 percent came from moviegoers under 25 — the segment that includes the endangered moviegoing species of young men.

Compare that to “300,” which when it opened in 2007 had 52% of its audience under 25 and was also 60% male.

And Adam Sandler? His “Jack and Jill” audience was 52 percent female.

This is Hollywood: Young men as a moviegoing audience are “endangered” if there’s a weekend that is not dominated by movies that young men want to see. It’s time to panic!

People were concerned about young males, but I think they came out for ‘Immortals,'” Kyle Davies, Relativity’s president of worldwide distribution, told TheWrap Sunday.

But that’s not really the case, since most of the “younger” ticket-buyers were between 25 and 35, hardly the teenaged male audience that used to drive much of the box office.

Wait a sec: “hardle the teenaged male audience that for a brief blip in Hollywood history drove much of the box office, and drove the majority of humanity that is not a teenaged boy away.” Fixed that.

Meanwhile, 45-year-old comic actor Adam Sandler — a reliable draw of young males earlier in his career with comedies including “Happy Gilmore,” Billy Madison” and “The Waterboy” — is drawing a different crowd than he once did.

His latest Sony offering, “Jack and Jill” drew an audience that was 57 percent above the age of 25, and 52 percent female, while opening to $25 million this weekend.

You know what? Adam Sandler is old… at least from the perspective of a teenaged boy. Adam Sandler is, like, as old as his dad. It’s hardly suprising that Sandler’s appeal is going to age along with him.

One veteran box office analyst said that Hollywood has stopped making movies for the young male demographic, noting that few movies have been aimed at that audience in the past year. Instead, Hollywood is making R-rated movies like “Hangover 2” that young men under 17 can’t easily attend on their own even if they want to.

Two words: Bull. Shit. The biggest movies at the box office so far in 2011 (via Box Office Mojo):

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (cumulative: $381m)
Transformers: Dark of the Moon ($352m)
The Hangover Part II ($254m)
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides ($241m)
Fast Five ($210m)
Cars 2 ($191m)
Thor ($181m)
Captain America: The First Avenger ($177m)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes ($176m)
Bridesmaids ($169m)
The Help ($168m)
Kung Fu Panda 2 ($165m)
X-Men: First Class ($146m)
Rio ($143m)
The Smurfs ($142m)
Super 8 ($127m)
Rango ($123m)
Horrible Bosses ($118m)
Green Lantern ($117m)
Hop ($108m)

In this list, I count precisely one movie — The Help — that you don’t need to be a rocket surgeon to know that teen boys won’t be interested in. Let’s eliminate the R-rated comedies, too — Hangover, Bridesmaids, and Bosses — because even though it’s pretty likely that lots of teen boys would want to see those films and did see those films, they probably did so in ways that aren’t reflected in the box office numbers (ie, they snuck in, or they bought tickets for a PG movie and hopped theaters). Let’s eliminate the truly kiddie flicks, too — Rio, Hop, The Smurfs — just so I’m not accused of stretching too far (even though I bet lots of teen boys did see those films, and liked them).

We’re left with 13 movies out of the 20 biggest films so far of 2011 that are clearly created with teen boys in mind, if not specifically and only for teen boys. (Harry Potter obviously has mass appeal, but still: its central character is a teenaged boy.)

Of those 13 movies, only one — Fast Five — does not have a science fiction, fantasy, or comic book element, the stuff that our multiplexes are clogged with precisely because it is believed to attract teen boys. (It’s almost an afterthought on Hollywood’s end if anyone other than a teen boy is also interested.) It should probably be argued that Fast Five could easily have been R-rated if not for the desire to get kids in to see it.

Look:

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Cars 2
Thor
Captain America
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Kung Fu Panda 2
X-Men
Super 8
Rango
Green Lantern

This is what 2011 looks like at the movies. In what way can it be construed that young men are “endangered” at the box office?

Seriously, what the fuck? Am I going crazy? Has Hollywood abandoned young men? Or is Hollywood panicking because it might have to figure out how to appeal to everyone else?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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