A Meryl Streep sex comedy might not draw much interest for typical readers at TMB. Most fan-boys in the blogsphere will overlook a romantic comedy like “Hope Springs.” However, let me be the first to tell you that ‘Springs’ has the likely potential to be a big hit for the older date crowd…especially among women. Many summer blockbusters focus on young men and they do show up to those movies. Many times pent up demand for neglected adult fuels a desire to see movies targeted toward them. The American movie going audience understands this, but they are a crowd mostly overlooked by the disconnected industry. This is unfortunate, because these adults have money to spend and like to go see movies. This could be changing as the industry begins to see a high Return on Investment for these movies. With anticipation to see Meryl Streep’s follow up to her Oscar winning “Iron Lady” performance and solid reviews (currently an 76% on Rotten Tomatoes), “Hope Springs,” which opens this Wednesday on 2200 screens, is poised to be the Summer Blockbuster for the 50+ Crowd.
Some studios are now just realizing the potential of adult targeted films as the audience shows up for them. In Denver last week, Sony hosted an advanced screening of “Hope Springs” for AARP members. I wouldn’t be shocked if “Hope Springs” does very well at the box office especially during the early August release date. Other older adult/female targeted films have done very well this time of year include “The Help” (2011), “Eat, Pray, Love” (2010), and “Julie & Julia” (2009). As I mentioned in April during the ‘surprise’ success of “Think Like A Man,” Hollywood seems to be caught off guard when movies that target certain demographics beyond young, white, and male over-perform at the box office. Movies like this should reflect the industry’s business model, but seems to come about like freak accidents they stumble upon. “Hope Springs” will be the most recent example of a film not a typical young male dominated release to do well without that coveted audience.
“Hope Springs” could be successful for its niche crowd like an American mainstream version of “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” Only this time, success will be on a larger scale. Fox Searchlight should have expanded ‘Marigold Hotel’ to a wider release then it did, because older adults live in smaller towns, too. And like the British hit comedy, many older moviegoers will be delighted to show up. Older audiences take longer to make it to the theater. They will be motivated based on solid word of mouth as well as decent critic reviews. We will find out this weekend and in the coming weeks just how well “Hope Springs” will do among older audiences. I expect ‘Springs’ to perform beyond expectations…probably be the surprise of Hollywood yet again.