Sony Pictures Classics (SPC) has made a calculated decision that the audience for the upcoming Jerusha Hess (who co-wrote Napoleon Dynamite) directed film will be predominantly women. They are so sure of the decision that their marketing plan is focused only on women.
We know that there have been movies that have relied on the female audience and have been successful in the past — namely Sex and the City, Twilight, Bridesmaids, and while their marketing might have been targeted at women, they never actually said what the folks at Sony Pictures Classics are saying about Austenland — that this film is just for women. Granted Bridesmaids may have started out with women, but the word spread, and both men and women came to that film in droves. The same can’t be said for Sex and the City and Twilight and they were both successful. Remember the big tentpole films are only as successful as they are because women go too, but there are films like the ones named above that are successful without having a significant amount of men in the audience.
Marketing to women is smart because women do go to the movies. And I imagine that the film will start in the big cities and depending on its success, will roll out in other places. How cool would it be for women to make this film a huge hit. The marketing folks need to be smart and figure out how to get especially older women in to see this film because as we have been writing all summer, there has been a lack of films targeted at women.
What I also find interesting is that SPC co-president Michael Barker was very clear that they are also targeting female reviewers and writers because from the debut at Sundance women writers liked the film, and the men, were in his words “vicious.”
Twilight author Stephenie Meyer is a producer on the film and she knows better than anyone the money that can be made on women.
“This film is very uniquely female,” she explains. “There can’t be many movies in the marketplace that are based on a novel by a woman, scripted by women, produced by women, directed by a woman and starring a woman. There are beginning to be more female-centric, female-created movies in the marketplace, but they’re still vastly the minority.”
The film will also be hosting women only premieres in NY and LA.
We will be watching to see if this strategy gets the women into the theatre on August 16.
No Men Allowed: How Sony Pictures Classics Is Wooing Women Only to ‘Austenland’ (Hollywood Reporter)