News Column

New Films for New Audiences [Fast Company]

December 1, 2013



Most blockbusters target a homogenous audience. Denson-Randolph, a vet of Starbucks and Magic Johnson Entertainment, selects smaller movies to draw diverse crowds into the nation's second-largest movie-theater chain.

"The footprint of our theaters is unlike those of our competitors. We're very urban-centric. And we know that the country is only becoming more diverse. We were already reaching a large AfricanAmerican and Latino audience, but we also started seeing patterns of Chinese and Indian audiences. They want authentic films that reflect their lives.

When a large movie studio attempts to do a film for a very specific culture, it may get lost, because it's not what the studios know or do best We coach smaller filmmakers on how to selfdistribute to us. It's a collaborative effort I ask them, Who do you believe your audience is?.

We want to make sure a filmmaker will market to their audience. Take Mindless Behavior: All Around the World, a documentary about an AfricanAmerican boy band. We wanted their record label to reach out to its huge following online. We ended up opening it on more than 100 screens. It did a very respectable business.

Commercial films are the meat and potatoes of large commercial exhibitors, so smaller films take some internal nudging. If a third screen of The Avengers still makes several thousand dollars a week, I'm on the hook if we replace it with a little gem that does a few hundred dollars. But when the films work, everyone wins." -As told to AK


Can theaters appeal more to baby boomers?

"Those who are 55 and over spend $9.30 on average on concessions, compared to 13- to 16-year-olds spending $11.10. There's opportunity for the theaters to incorporate more choices for the boomers."

Catherine Paura, CEO, Capftonc Global Marketing and Rciaarch Group


Vice president of specialty and alternative content, AMC Theatres

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