It's easier that way
Posted by aogSunday, 19 December 2004 at 22:03 TrackBack Ping URL

Orrin Judd wonders why Hollywood would continue to produce movies that are politically and culturally in tune with the minority of the public. It would seem to be anti-profit to make movies appreciated by 30% of the population instead of 70%.

However, this ignores the expected value of the potential viewers. It’s just as good, monetarily, to get 70% of the 30% as 30% of the 70%. The advantage of marketing toward the progressive minority is that they tend to be far more hard core and simplistic than the majority. Think of the small number of key taglines and/or tropes one needs to market successfully to that market segment. Michael Moore seems to have taken this lesson to heart. His movies are badly done, badly written, internally inconsistent and vague. But the movies hit the key political points so none of that matters in terms of bringing home the cash.

This ties in with something I wrote a few days ago, about the levels of ideological principles. For the 30%, the key tropes are specific like “President Bush is evil incarnate”. That’s very easy to work in to a movie, just drop the line in the dialog. On the other hand, majority / conservative tropes are easy to state (“love your family”) but can’t just be dropped in to dialog and expected to work. One needs to have an actual plot that, to some extent at least, makes the point obliquely. That’s harder and less certain. Better to go with the simple and dependable, which is why Hollywood makes the movies it does.