Friday, June 01, 2012

Finally a Film for Older Adults!

When I worked in advertising, the magic audience that consumer packaged goods companies wanted to reach was adults 18-49. In movies, the target audience tends to be young males, 18-24 (going on 10 to 16). But Fox Searchlight has done something enlightened and produced a movie for the over 50 set, "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel."

Even Fox Searchlight has been surprised at the response to this delightful film with top-notch British actors and actresses, including Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkinson. The film cost a mere $10 million to make. Yet, Marigold Hotel has become the top specialty movie of 2012, having already taken in over $90 million in global box office with only a limited release.  Its popularity has encouraged Fox to release it more widely.

Last week, I saw the film at my local movie theater and thoroughly enjoyed it. Great cast, fun screenplay, good story, wonderful characters. I particularly enjoyed watching Maggie Smith play a very different sort of person, after seeing her as a wizard professor in the Harry Potter films and the head of a aristocratic family in the "Downton Abbey" TV series. I also loved Dev Patel's portrayal as the young, entrepreneurial hotel owner. (Patel was the star of "Slumdog Millionaire.")

I hope more Hollywood producers learn from Marigold Hotel's success that there are other audiences (i.e., older adults) out there who will pay to go to the movies. They just want a good movie to see, something with substance, not just non-stop action, explosions and noise.

The New York Times ran an excellent article ("Older Faces on Screen Draw an Often Overlooked Crowd") on May 24 about the film's surprising success. I encourage you to read more there and to go see the film. The more demand we create for good films for the older generations, the greater chance we'll have of Hollywood producing them.