Reading through my RSS feed of Indiewire, I came across this article about the marketability to different age groups. The article isn’t all that suprising, everyone already knows that most movie studio executives are very cut and dry about the movies they pick up and how to market them. A particular line of it provides a general synopsis of the value in the playbook: No one sets out to make a movie without a particular audience in mind. One line of the playbook rings suprisingly true in a time of social media cravings and short attention spans: films no longer have time to find their audience; that audience has to be captured well in advance.
The article details the marketing drive that has a huge impact on the content of the film. It mentions why few films are made for certain age groups. Seeing the article’s title, most would brush it off as insignificant but it has some suprising statements.
Recent examples of that go off this guide could include the January openings of this year. The Kevin Hart/Ice Cube comedy Ride Along, with it’s humor filled action scenes and witty dialogue, went on to make $41 million in it’s opening weekend against a budget of $25 million. The film targeted the 18-30 demographic looking for a mindless comedy to gravitate to. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit failed in attracting much of the younger demographic but got a suprising turnout with viewers over age 50. Jack Ryan had what many older viewers liked: action, classic genres and men being adventurous. Ride Along targeted much of the younger generation with it’s mindless humor and comedic tone.
Movies are more manufactured than most outside the industry imagine. It’s time to take a closer look.
Jack Ryan is back, this time going to Moscow to stop a Russian radical from collapsing the U.S. economy. 2002’s The Sum of All Fears (with Ben Affleck in the main role) was the last time the Jack Ryan character has seen the big screen. The late Tom Clancy started the successful literary series. Now five films in the film lineup, with Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck all having a slice of the Jack Ryan pie, the film series has a history of reaping box office success (despite mixed critical reviews).
Plot: College-aged Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) decides to join the Marines following the 9/11 attacks. the decision to join leaves him skeptical and wanting more. A helicopter crash leaves him injured, retired from the military, and wondering what to do next. In comes mentor Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner). Harper recruits Ryan into the CIA, having him investigate companies on Wall Street suspected of funding terrorist actions. In the standard action move, Ryan discovers a plan by Russian radicals to collapse the U.S. economy via various transactions. Ryan is tasked with taking down the head of the operation Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh, who also directs) while holding together his complicated relationship with longtime girlfriend Dr. Cathy Muller (Keira Knightley).
Main Point: Everyone loves a good action/spy flick and this film , with it’s standard set of action intense scenes, satisfies that without being to over top.
The Jack Ryan name has been mostly forgotten following a string of successful action films in the past 12 years mostly due to the successful James Bond and Bourne film series. Action packed scenes and witty dialogue keep the viewer’s attention intact during the whole ride of 100 minutes runtime. The starring cast fill their roles well and Branagh, who has previous directed Thor, finds his filmmaking niche. The camerawork is great, shots done well, and the actors know what to do without feeling dull.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a great, solid film. The film’s MLK weekend opening didn’t attract quite the audience it was targeting (most of audience was over 50 rather than 18-25) it still holds well with it’s near 18 million debut opening. Go forth and watch it if you feel an adventurous itch inside or are tired of seeing the standard weepy rom-com’s and parodies this time of year. B+