It is completely understandable and incredibly fortunate that the film industry saw the potential in we baby boomers as a new audience in the 1950s and the 1960s. We are, after all, the biggest generation in the history of the world and we did indeed become passionate consumers of filmed entertainment.
As we conclude our 3-part look at the similarities between the 1950s and 2010 in the film industry, there is one huge disconnect between the industry’s focus on young audiences: while the industry continued to romance new generations of teenagers, it somehow forgot that we boomers, and the generations that followed us, would always be “hooked” on movies, long after our teenage years were over. From Bringing Back The Old Hollywood:
The New Hollywood: Act One
The Old Hollywood: Acts Two and Three
“It’s never too late to become what you might have been.” (Away From Her, 2006)
The New Hollywood is almost exclusively focused on Act One of the human condition. Much as the youth-obsessed culture of Southern California in which The New Hollywood is centered, The New Hollywood primarily makes and markets films to people under the age of thirty.
The Old Hollywood used to make films for all audience segments because it recognized that, like movies and plays, our lives also include second and third acts.
Every generation feels somewhat left behind and even abandoned when their time in the sun (the California metaphors just keep coming) is over.
Baby boomers (those born roughly between 1945 and 1965), however, have a relationship with movies and media that is unprecedented. We were the first generation to be raised with both movies and television and have no interest whatsoever in abandoning them or, perhaps more succinctly, in being abandoned by them.
Generations X (born roughly between 1966 to 1980) and Y (born roughly between 1981 to 2000) followed the baby boomers and have the same movie and television orientation as well; consequently, they will likely have the same desire to not be abandoned by movies when they move past Act One.
In fact, even the youngest members of Generation X are now moving into Act Two while much of Generation Y is still in Act one.
People who are in the second or third act of life (age thirty and over) still want entertainment that appeals to them and their interests, and these generations now have the power to guarantee that those desires are fulfilled.
The New Hollywood is not structured to do that.
The Old Hollywood is being called home to do just that.
By the time we hit thirty or so, most of us have lived through at least a few dark nights of the soul and, if we are honest with ourselves, we know that we probably will face those kinds of challenges again. We have, that is, looked into our own personal abyss and made adjustments that changed our lives forever.
But, as the curtain rises on Act Two or Three of our lives, we’re still here, aren’t we?
And so is The Old Hollywood.”