Mothers are probably the most overlooked group of cinema-goers — even though women of a certain age make up a huge proportion of the population, generally have healthy disposable incomes and are looking for things to do.
Putting more women onscreen, making more movies that appeal to women or in some way showing that Hollywood understands that women do go to movies isn’t just about gender balance or equal treatment. It’s about the bottom line.
The fastest-growing sector of the cinema audience in Australia is also the least well-served in terms of content, according to a new survey conducted by academics at Swinburne University of Technology.
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“We can tell our stories to the world, which is exciting for our practitioners and exciting for us as a country, a great chance to export our cultural product,” she says. “But we won’t be all that we can be as either an industry or as cultural product if we continue to minimise the contribution and perspective of 51% of the population.
The gender composition of moviegoers (people who went to a movie at the cinema at least once in the year) in 2012 skewed slightly more towards women than the overall population (and up 1 percentage point versus 2011)
Motion Picture Association of America, 2012
In the past five years, five little movies aimed at female audiences - The Help, The Iron Lady, Bridesmaids, Mamma Mia and The Devil Wears Prada - delivered more than $1.6b globally. Why is it so hard to get these films made?
Don’t they want the money?
Females were more likely than males to participate in cinema and DVD/Blu-ray video, with participation rates of 31 per cent and 54 per cent respectively, compared to 27 per cent and 50 per cent for males.
The grand total US domestic box office number for the movies that passed the Bechdel Test is significantly higher than the domestic box office for the movies that didn’t. We’re talking billions.
“...to the audiences who went to see it and perhaps those of us in the industry who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films with women at the center are niche experiences. They are not. Audiences want to see them and, in fact, they earn money.”