To the surprise of no one but the Hollywood insiders, none of whom apparently have ever spoken to a teenage girl, “Twilight” set records at the box office this weekend, exceeding all predictions to bring in over $70 million, almost doubling the previous record for a movie directed by a woman. Blockbuster films have always been directed at teen boys. “Twilight” shows that teen girls are just as eager to buy tickets — often more than one — for movies that speak to their lives and interests.
“This is a game-changer. This is an industry-changing performance,” Exhibitor Relations analyst Jeff Bock said today. “…With the success of Sex and the City, and Mamma Mia!, we’ve awoken a sleeping giant at the box office.”
The Associated Press spoke to an expert who saw a trend:
“Teen girls rule the earth,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Media By Numbers. “If you look back at the `Hannah Montana’ movie, how well that did, and now this movie, the teen girl audience will never be ignored again or underestimated. It was always teen boys who were the coveted ones, but someone finally caught on to the idea that girls love movies, too, and if you create something that they’re into, that they’re passionate about, they will come out in big numbers and drive the box office.”
One of my favorite reviews of the film was from my pals at the Kansas City Star, who run my parental advisory capsules each week and occasionally invite me to write reviews. My email pen pal, “resident fangirl Sharon Hoffman” added her comments to the negative review from the paper’s critic, responding to his complaints about the story and the actors by explaining what she liked about the movie. In every case, I was on her side.