And Good Versus Evil
weve only reached the halfway point, I believe its
now very likely that domestic theatrical exhibition will
smash box office and admissions records this year. Despite
an economy that continues to languish, despite many alternative
entertainment choices, despite rampant movie piracy, despite
the aftermath of Sept. 11, and despite the threat of violence
and war throughout the world, more people are spending more
money going to the movies than at any other juncture in
my lifetime. Why is this happening?
all given our own reasons. Good movies and good moviehouses,
I always say. And that simple truth still makes sense to
me. The movies have been strong, and we have the best theatres
ever. But is there something else to this upsurge? Franchise
pictures, say some. Maybe. Good marketing and sufficient
marketing budgets? Obviously that helps.
I have come to believe that the industrys current
success emanates in part from something much more basic.
With all the unrest in the world, our patrons simply yearn
for good to triumph over evil. And (sorry Sen. Lieberman)
they want to see some appropriate violence on the big screen
to get that magical feeling.
face it, folks. Romance and soft drama arent where its
at this year. Ben, Matt, Tom, Tom and the Men in Black are
getting it on. But its not just the men. Sandra Bullock,
Jodie Foster, Ashley Judd and Jennifer Lopez are confronting
psychos, burglars, murderous spouses and vengeful ex-spouses.
More often than not, women arent acting simply as the
sister-of, daughter-of, or wife-of, but as dynamic and capable
protectors of the good. And its about the action. Even
pictures that include romance are favored for the action.
(Look at the patron reaction to the last half of Episode
II versus the first, if you want an example.)
patrons want to see some appropriate violence on the
big screen to get that magical feeling. Let's face
it, folks. Romance and soft drama aren't where it's
at this year.
heroes in this struggle to defeat evil often come from among
the unsuspecting and the meek. Spiderman is
the hit of the year in large measure because of Tobey Maguires
transformation from timid school boy to action hero. We
all rooted for him. And, obviously, he does good while kicking
a little butt and getting the girl at the same time.
my enthusiasm for family-friendly films has not dimmed.
Prehistoric creatures, sled dogs, animated mice and horses
have certainly helped, as has the year-round release schedule
for those family themes. And the violence of the more mature
pictures has been toned down, appropriately.
humans everywhere are a little scared right now. Were
afraid of real-world evil that we cant really see
but know is there. We watch the news and learn of the latest
world danger zone. We continue to hope for true economic
revival when the markets tell us were not there yet.
some magic. We need somebody to fight for us. And were
flocking to theatres to watch it play out on the big screen.
selling those tickets
and that popcorn too!!