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Despite Hollywood’s infatuation with youth, half of movie tickets are bought by people over 30.

“Youth-oriented movies make or break themselves on their opening weekends,” says Bill Newcott, host of Movies for Grownups® and editor of AARP The Magazine. “But three of the highest-grossing movies of all time—the grownup-oriented My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Dances with Wolves, and A Beautiful Mind—never reached number one at the box office. How did they manage that success? It was thanks to mature audiences, who kept those movies in the theaters for months.”

That’s right, Bill, and don’t forget that many of our best known and most prolific directors, actors, and screenwriters are working until later in life and producing some of their most powerful work to date.

Imagine if Clint Eastwood’s career had ended at age 55? His last movie would have been Pale Rider. Instead, we have what is widely considered the best work of his career, including Invictus, Gran Torino, Million Dollar Baby, Unforgiven, and many more.

“Life is a constant class, and once you think you know it all, you’re due to decay. You’re due to slide. I have to keep challenging myself and try something I haven’t done before. ” – Clint Eastwood

clint-eastwoodLike most of us, Clint’s life experience has informed his acting work and his years of directing experience have honed his skills immeasurably.

At age 42, the type of movie that appeals to me now is not the type of movie that appealed to me twenty years ago. This is not unusual! We all change throughout our lives, and our tastes change along the way. That is what makes marketing to older age cohorts – Baby Boomers and Silent Generation – a greater challenge. Not only is the target moving (continuing to age), but mature consumers become more skillful in deciding if something fits their personal taste. They are a tougher sales prospect, less willing to give over precious time to be ‘sold’ on something.

What do mature movie-goers willingly pay the record ticket prices for? Check out AARP’s ninth annual Movies for Grownups® awards for insight into the cinematic tastes of matures. They reflect some of the attitudes and preferences of your Boomer and Silent Gen marketing targets.

The success of Movies for Grownups® illustrates there is a hunger for thoughtful, legitimate ‘grownup’ perspectives on what is in the marketplace for mature consumers. Use the life experience and skills of mature prospects to your advantage. Approach them as adults, not children. Well-executed mature marketing is authentic. Reward the target’s interest and time by focusing on their specific concerns and respecting their experience.

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  • Wendy Goldman

    I agree with the author: most Entertainment companies have long ignored the Silver Market, and how we purchase tickets for entertainment that reaches us. Have you heard about the $70 million settlement on behalf of Tv and Film Writers? That is a drop in the bucket, since many writers have faced discrimination for decades, since they reached age 40. Also, the settlement funds were paid mostly by insurance companies, so the major studios and talent agencies felt little if any pain.
    Wendy Goldman, President, GeroBiz,