Saturday, March 24, 2012

Breaking up with Edward Cullen, or My Thoughts on Hollywood and Teen Movie Sagas

Hollywood has not figured out how to totally appeal to teenagers. I discovered this nugget of truth out on Friday when I helped my librarian friend chaperon a trip to see the Hunger Games. While we were waiting for previews, we were informed by the theater manager that we would get to see the preview for the next Twilight film. The librarian and I assumed the whole theater would erupt in squeals. After all, it was just last year that all the copies of Twilight and the subsequent sequels were on a wait list at the library. Last year, students were wearing Vampire t-shirts and friendships were formed around whose team you were on (ie,"Team Edward" or "Team Jacob") Interestingly, I was the only one who seemed excited for the preview at the movies. As I watched the teenagers laugh with their friends and send text messages to people across the theater, it became apparent to me that they have long since moved on from being Twihards.

I shouldn't be shocked by their waning interest in the last teen book/movie sensation. After all, as a teacher I know students want instant gratification. They can't stand to wait for an answer to a text message from their friends. They hate waiting for me to grade essays (if they want good comments from me, they best get used to waiting!). And if you think they get upset about those things, try making then two minutes late for lunch!

Knowing all that I know about teenagers and the youth culture of today, Hollywood has got their movie release philosophy alllllllllll wrong. I think the big wigs in Hollywood believe that spacing popular teen films out will drum up excitement; instead, I think kids lose interest and move on to the next fad. Oh, but what about Harry Potter, you may ask. Well, HP continued to be popular in my opinion because the instant gratification of texting, Facebook, Twitter, etc. was only just becoming a part of youth culture. (I was in high school when the HPs began coming out, and I was almost a graduated senior before I sent my first text message.) As we progress into this age of "give me my news, music, and other forms of media NOW NOW NOW," I believe kids are becoming less interested in the art of anticipation.

If Hollywood's main goal is to maximize their profits, my personal suggestion is that they just bust the movies out. I believe the box office would make a lot more money if they kept teen movie saga release dates 3-6 months apart. This waiting a year and half to see the next film business is, I believe, losing them major dineros. If, however, Hollywood is interested in teaching kids life lessons, like the value of patience, then by all means they should keep the release dates two years apart.

Of course I could be wrong, but then again I myself have lost interest in Twilight since The Hunger Games became the new "it" series in young adult fiction. Sorry, Edward Cullen. Peeta just kinda does it for me.

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