Archive: May, 2008
Carrie Rickey, Film Critic
Are you excited about the prospect of Sex and the City, the movie, opening next week? I am. And also a little sad. While curious about where the journey of Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha will take us, I'm even moreso by the studio's assumption that only women and gay men are interested in signing on. (One guy I know who enjoyed the HBO show told me he wasn’t planning to see the movie because he got the impression it was a "chick flick" and that his manhood might fall off if he went to see it. When I asked why he felt he was "invited" to the TV show and "disinvited" to the movie he mused that TV was something you do in private and movies were something you did in public, and therefore potentially embarrassing if you were the only guy in the theater.)
Remember when movies -- and books -- were mass-marketed? When studios assumed that moviegoers were equally interested in Working Girl as Superman? And when publishers assumed that readers were equally interested in Portnoy's Complaint and “Fear of Flying”?
Those days are gone, baby, gone. Today we live in a gendered, demographically-stratified universe where most product is target-marketed to a specific audience and precious little – think Iron Man and Indiana Jones is mass-marketed. Target marketing reinforces the perception that consumers live in different worlds and the sense that those worlds are unbridgeable. Apart from being a bad business decision – wouldn’t movies potentially make more if more people thought they were invited? – doesn’t target-marketing impoverish the cultural dialogue when people of different lifestyles and genders are talking to each other? Your thoughts?