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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

question of the day: Are movies about to become even more youth-oriented?

The grownup movies are not doing well at the box office at the moment. Duplicity, State of Play, The Soloist: none have caught fire with audiences. A recent article in The Hollywood Reporter worries:

Pricey, star-driven thrillers and dramas will struggle for profitability as the recession intensifies a trend toward youth-dominated openings.

That’s the consensus after the weekend’s soft opening for Universal’s Russell Crowe starrer, the latest in a series of misfires by adult-oriented releases. Investigative-journo thriller “State of Play” rung up just $14.1 million over its first frame, meaning the Americanized adaptation of a British miniseries must overperform dramatically overseas for the $60 million production to break even.

The pic’s travails reflect this rude awakening in Hollywood: Older demos may be resisting the recent enthusiasm for moviegoing. Certainly it’s been months since anything has caught fire at the arthouses.

Is anyone who wants to see more than horror or action at the multiplex doomed? Are movies about to become even more youth-oriented?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)

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