The Grey Pound, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Older Demographic

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has captured the ‘grey pound says Charles Grant in Sight and Sound  (May issue, Matinee idol P.9). He proceeds to quote the ex boss of Fox Searchlight Peter Rice “there’s an older audience and we should be thinking about them”.  Kate Gardiner (Fox’s Searchlight UK) in the same article about the notoriously under-catered for older demographic (Grant’s words) : “They have the money and they have the time. While we never wanted to alienate the broader audience we wanted to show this older audience respect, and give them a film that they can  take ownership of. ” But there are problems  in release timing she continues  “… targeting a demographic that seems to prefer their gardens to darkened rooms.”

What a lot of ageist nonsense. I would like to question the idea of an ‘older audience’ or ‘demographic’ as seen from producers and writers. How does one think about them?  Easy. They have money, and nothing to do with their time, they spend their afternoons gardening if it is sunny and they need respect.. So give them old,  well-known actors, a  script that make their characters escape away from their situations. Any film featuring an older person might alienate the broader audience which obviously does not include older people, so make it funny.

No I really cannot take ownership of this film. One day when I have time I will examine it in detail but it is sunny and I need to tend my garden.

The brief article gives also the box office figures for ‘Grey pound’ titles: The King’s Speech, Calendar Girls, Shirley Valentine, Gosford Park. Were any of these films written for the older demographic?

The Marigold Hotel was released in February with a lot of publicity. London buses still display the advertisement as I write. The U3A in Brent received multiple free copies of a glossy MovieMoments Leaders’ Guide  accompanied by a dvd. It is  published by Fox SearchLight and  Damaris (from their website: “an educational charity with a Christian foundation – but working with people of all faiths and none. We are committed to rigorous study and effective communication as we seek to relate biblical Christian faith and contemporary popular culture.” )

About rinaross

Born in 1935. MA in Film and Television Studies at the University of Westminster 1998. Studying the representation of older women in film since then.
This entry was posted in Ageing, Ageism, Conferences and comments and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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