Who’s smiling a wicked smile now? Just 3 months ago, financial experts were predicting doom and gloom for Disney’s Maleficent. On April 1, Wall Street analyst Marci Ryvicker wrote that Maleficent “is maybe too dark and scary to be profitable… expectations for a Maleficent write-off seem relatively widespread.” Another analyst said, “It’s definitely in the ‘not a sure thing’ bucket.”
And you want to be my latex salesman?
Fast forward to July 28. Maleficent has already earned $715 million worldwide and it’s just getting started in Japan (where Frozen earned $254 million). Maleficent is within a few million of passing X-Men: Days of Future Past to become the 2nd biggest movie of 2014. X-Men has yet to open in Russia but Maleficent is currently raking in 3 times more per week than Marvel’s mutant cluster-folk. Sure, Maleficent is rumored to have cost as much as $180 million but that’s starting to look like money very well-spent.
Maybe giant CGI dragon lizards aren’t so awful after all. Maybe we need to stop pigeon-holing movies as “targeted at children, targeted at teens, targeted at women, targeted at adults.”
The most successful movies don’t get this close to a billion dollars unless they entertain all kinds of people of all ages. At this level of bank, it’s silly to claim any credit for catering to a narrow demographic.
Maleficent’s audience is 60 percent female and 51 percent over the age of 25. Families account for 45 percent of attendance. Yes, it’s great that 6 out of 10 people in the audience are female. Brava! But do the math. Without men buying tickets too, Maleficent would have only earned $427 million. And then the Wall Street analysts would have been right: It would have lost money. A lot of money.
The same way Godzilla would have bombed without the 42% of its audience who are women and 60% of its audience who are older than 25.
I wish we could please stop talking about movies being made for teenagers or made for males. Stop talking about movies made for women or made for adults.
The best movies are made for movielovers. If they’re not, they crash and burn. Movies that are made for everyone can sometimes earn a billion dollars. I have trouble understanding why that’s a problem for some people.