(I wrote this blog post on my company website here, and am reposting it.)
REALLY?! According to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) women buy 55% of all theater tickets!
Melissa Silverstein, runs the blog Women And Hollywood, (now running on Indiewire here) wrote an excellent blog post about this with this dead-on observation, “This news should rock each and every executive in Hollywood more than the Bigelow Oscar win. Cause this is something they understand. This is money and women are delivering the money. Big time.”
Melissa S. thinks that the reasons female bought ticket sales increased so dramatically in 2009 are: “ New Moon and The Blind Side with a side of The Proposal.” I disagree. I totally and completely believe that the #1 reason that women buy more theater tickets than men is Twilight. Check this list of the top grossing films in 2009. Twilight: New Moon (the 2nd one) was #2 at a total box office gross earning of $296,623,634 and a whopping open night box office total of $142,839,137. Avatar did beat Twilight: New Moon in overall box office gross earnings ($749,766,139), but not in opening night box office totals ($77,025,481).Twilight: New Moon made double what Avatar did on opening night! Why?! Why do the high numbers of female bought ticket sales coincide with the release of the Twilight series? Each new Twilight release kills at the box office. According to Boxofficemojo.com, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 “Easily Holds First.” Box Office Mojo wrote, “Breaking Dawn has an overwhelming edge and will easily score its third-straight weekend on top of the box office.” Meanwhile the Muppets are plummeting in box office sales. But really who the heck wants to have sex with Kermit the Frog or Miss Piggy?
And is that really what it boils down to? Which film has the most sex appeal? And why does higher sex appeal translate into higher theater ticket sales made by women? Is Twilight really just acceptable porn for women? I really think so. I find it disturbing how many people are attracted to and obsessed with the Twilight series because of the underlying messages in the film.
I admittedly saw the first Twilight movie in the theater at a sold out showing with a good friend of mine who just so happens to work at a domestic violence shelter. We laughed the entire film. And this film was not a comedy. We laughed so hard because the whole thing was so ridiculous and over acted and teenage angsty. We even let ourselves get swept away by the insanely intense relationship between Bella and Edward, but at the end of the theater while we were shuffling out to leave with the rest of the filmgoers, we were shocked and horrified that we were probably the oldest people in the entire theater. (Except for 3 foreign men in their 40s who we assumed got confused and wandered into the wrong theater.) Not only was the audience almost totally and completely a tween or teenager, but they were all women! We saw maybe 10 males in the entire sold out showing.
Our feelings about the film immediately changed after seeing how young and female this crowd was. I would never ever let my teenage daughter see this film. Here’s why: Bella is in love with a man that they both know could at any time hurt her because he is a vampire and she is a blood filled human. Even though they both know (and more importantly she knows!) that he could potentially kill her, they still have a relationship. What kind of a message is that giving to young women?! It’s clearly telling young women that it’s okay to be in a relationship with a man that can hurt you as long as he loves you. As long as he stares longingly at you and hurts others who try to hurt you. Bella and Edward’s relationship is nothing more than a thinly veiled instance of what happens in domestic violence situations. The back and forth of threatening and actual violence and apologies and insanely intense displays of love. I find the Twilight saga disgusting. I wish that another film could be responsible for the higher number of ticket sales purchased by women, but sadly there is not.
If I had a teenage daughter, I would have taken her to see the Muppets this past weekend, not The Twilight Series: Breaking Dawn Part 1. Why? Because Miss Piggy is one of the strongest female characters on the big screen today. But sadly, she’s just a puppet. When will women start seeking out real strong women to represent them onscreen? I hope it happens soon or at least in my lifetime.