A provocative new survey by Joe Farrell’s National Research Group appears to confirm the film industry’s biggest fear since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
It finds that 60% of people over 35 don’t want to go out to the movies — especially men who watch a lot of television news coverage.
Many distribution and marketing execs — the primary target for NRG’s proprietary data — dismiss the study, however. They point to overall grosses since Sept. 11, which have gained over 2000 levels every weekend but one, leaving total fall B.O. 9% ahead of last year. In addition, the ascendance of teenage boys as the key movie demo in recent years has lessened the commercial necessity of reaching adults.
Despite some good bows of late for “Training Day,” “Zoolander” and “Iron Monkey,” weak ones for “Bandits” and “Riding in Cars With Boys” have prompted more questions about what American moviegoers want.
And while this sort of second-guessing goes on in any climate — especially due to the weight given to tracking research — world events have undoubtedly left a mark on movies.
“I think people want to go out and see comedies,” observed one marketing vet. “They’ll see ‘Ocean’s Eleven.’ They may not see a heavy drama.”
Farrell could not be reached for comment.