By Amanda Whitaker
So, basically, everyone and their mom saw “The Hunger Games” last weekend, including myself. And my mom.By now, everybody has either seen it and breathed a sigh of relief that it didn’t screw up the book or has not seen it and doesn’t really care to read another review glorifying the decent adaptation. Therefore, I’m not going to bore the fanatics or the indifferent. Instead, I am going to offer a brief overview of the curious selection of trailers that lagged on forever before the movie began.
To be honest, I was relatively surprised with the trailer selection. Pleasantly surprised, actually. With all the arrow shooting, knife throwing, and alcohol consumption, “The Hunger Games” offers aspects that appeal to everyone, but when it all boils down to business, it’s the female 13-34 (and specifically, the female teenager) demographic that was the main target for the film. The trailers that previewed before the film, however, didn’t collectively reflect this fact. Here they are:
“The Amazing Spiderman”
The current superhero reboot craze, along with the fact that Sam Raimi’s “Spiderman” trilogy is in the not-very-distant past, is working against the very indie-looking fresh take on the comic book hero. In fact, the indie-looking aspects of the film–namely, Andrew Garfield as the lead and the whole “Untold Story” plug–are possibly the only reasoning behind this trailer selection. It certainly wasn’t the cheesy first-person CGI video-game-like clip of Spiderman flying through the air, or the explosions, which brings us to…
More superheroes, more explosions, more CGI. More impatience from the mostly female audience.
“Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 2”
This was one of the only trailers that seemed to be in the right place. Jacob flashes his pecs through his Baby Gap T-shirt. Edward slurs the cheesy, James Cameron-worthy line “We’re the same temperature now.” Then, a deer in the woods cuts to a brief shot of the new red-eyed vampire Bella. Part of me wished that it was a parody trailer and that a garlic-wearing Katniss would jump out from behind a tree and drive an arrow into the glistening grouch. But, hey, the trailer was spot-on demographic-wise.
“G.I. Joe: The Expendables”
Yet another superhero reboot. To be honest, there were crickets from every section of the theater, including the young teenage boy crowd, which I assumed to be the targets. There are only so many times that a G.I. Joe story can be told before everybody realizes that it’s not as cool as Spiderman, Superman, or even–dare I say it–Aquaman.
“Snow White and the Huntsman”
I was skeptical about this movie at first, but in comparison to the also-Snow White-adapted “Mirror, Mirror,” I am beginning to come around. In this case, this trailer was the only other spot-on demographic selection. “Twilight”’s Kristen Stewart, fairy-tale plot-line, attractive lead male wielding a heavy sword. What more does the average female 13-24 year-old want, right?
“What to Expect When You’re Expecting”
My, how the mighty have fallen. I’m talking about you, Elizabeth Banks. (Matthew Morrison, you fell long ago.) This would seem like a good trailer selection, except for the fact that, once again, the target seemed to be the young male crowd, with the new-father characters coming into the forefront.
I’ll admit that I was incredibly intrigued by this trailer–at first only because it first looked like a re-release of “Alien,” then a complete re-make of “Alien,” and then an “Alien”-rip-off-but-still-awesome-looking movie. But I recognize that I am a rare form, and most females aged 13-34 have not seen “Alien,” and therefore don’t even have relatable interest in the film that I gathered by the end of the trailer to be about something geeky and outer-space-centered.
So, perhaps there was anticipation that everyone and their mom and their dad would see “The Hunger Games” this past weekend (my dad saw it too). Therefore, the variety of the trailers could probably just as equally be because of the movie industry’s bias against men, driven this time by the fact that Jennifer Lawrence is a male aged 13-34 magnet.
But I am an optimistic person and would therefore like to think that the movie industry is finally recognizing–and trusting–the film palate of the 21st century young woman (or man, for that matter).
What does all of this say about the movie itself, though? I think the take home message is not only that “The Hunger Games” is for anybody and everybody, but that its producers are making a great attempt to appeal to anybody and everybody. What’s the difference? It’s all in the dollars: $155 million grossed in the first weekend is no joke. Much to the happiness of many and the disdain of many more, “The Hunger Games” is here to stay–to replace that “Harry Potter” void and to rival that “Twilight” trend.