Filmmakers and Audiences

I basically like Tyler Perry movies.  The comedy’s a little broad and I don’t agree with his opinions about how modern black women can “solve” their relationship issues but c’est la vie.  Everyone has a point of view.  What I do appreciate is his unqualified appreciation of and support of black culture.  And largely African American audiences but others, respond enthusiastically.  There’s nothing quite leaving work with a racial tension headache then heading to the Magic Johnson theatre for the latest Perry fest.

The many critiques of Perry miss an important point.  What filmmakers want to see isn’t always what audiences want to see.

The dilemma is not new.

But with the heart breaking lack of funding for indie films, it has to be dealt with.

Audiences motivated to see smaller movies tend to be older, more sophisticated consumers of media.  They read more, travel more.  Maybe being more open to the world and to diverse experiences is the key.  Early exposure helps.  But this the bottom line.

Avatar:  $2.7 Billion

Precious:  Based …: $61 Million

An Education:  $22 Million*


It doesn’t mean that smaller films shouldn’t be made.  They have to cost less and filmmakers have to fight for them, tooth and nail with every available tool.  And they have to know that there might be fewer fans … a lot fewer.

Filmmakers can’t expect many people to be with them during the struggle.  Hell, you can’t count on them for opening weekend. But embracing the fact that you passionately want to make something that won’t buy a Bentley or even a Yugo is key. I’m tired of people arguing that despite an utter and profound lack of success that their movie is the one.

Lecturing people that they need to broaden their horizons.  Been there.  Done that.

A dear friend said it as clearly as anyone.  I don’t want to think.  I don’t want to feel. I just want to be entertained.

I don’t know if there really is a self sustaining answer to that.  Changing viewing habits really isn’t that simple.

The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien

(the Conan O’Brien Tonight Show set)

There is good news.  If we stop relying on old media approval and start exploiting new technologies, there actually is a chance where there was none.   😉


About liftingasweclimb

Mildred Lewis writes and directs for theater, television, film and the web. She's also a full time professor, Christian, activist and troublemaker with a passion to save as much of the world as she can.
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