There was an article in the NY Times recently about the lack of female executives behind the scenes in studios, and it prompted an interesting discussion over at the main blog about how the movies that are greenlighted are the ones that make the most money. As a result, a lot of movies end up being ‘dumbed down’ or ‘cleaned up’ to a certain degree such that they’re rated PG-13, so that tweens (a large market, presumably the ones with the most buying power in the modern U.S. economy, as I talked about in an earlier post) are able to see them on the weekends. This makes a lot of sense; I’m sure lots of people have heard of the phrase ‘kiss of death’ used to refer to an X rating for a movie.
It must be true that the tween demographic makes up a significant portion of moviegoers if studios cater to them so much, but I have to wonder if the lack of older moviegoers is a result of there being a lack of movies targeted towards them, or adults simply not going to the movies and therefore giving studios less incentive to make more serious films geared towards them. It’s the old chicken-or-the-egg question. I think it also brings up an interesting question for the field of cultural studies–to what extent are people’s tastes formed by consumer culture?