The Nicolas Cage Audience

In another link-bait story on Nicolas Cage (Who Keeps Watching Nicolas Cage’s Ridiculous Movies?), journalist Annette Bourdeau wonders why Nicolas Cage keeps wasting his talent on action-heavy duds. She’s even kind enough to give us her “bottom five” list of worst offenders.

But Ms. Bourdeau knows the answer to her own question.

In case she missed it, let’s take a look at the audience for Cage’s latest opus, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. It cost Sony $70 million. It made $22 million in its opening weekend. The reviews are terrible and its earnings are down over 50 percent from the inaugural Ghost Rider. So who actually showed up and laid down cash-money to see this film?

Big surprise: the opening weekend audience was 61 percent male and 48 percent under 25. We’ve talked about this audience before.

Ms. Bourdeau captures the spirit of these “dudes” when she quotes a Ghost Rider commenter: “I don’t give a shit how bad quality the acting or story line is, a flamin’ skeleton riding a motorcycle to heavy metal music makes it worth my money.” Oh and did we mention that the Cage character pees fire?

Unfortunately, even the core audience is deeply divided on Ghost Rider: The Sequel. There are lovers: “I watched this movie and it was fricking brilliant and by a 1000 times better and brutal than the first.” There are haters: “Just saw´╗┐ it this movie sucks. Save your money, it ain’t worth it.” And very little room between the two.

The critics, meanwhile, just hate it.

Is Bourdeau on point when she suggests Cage is doing these movies simply because of his financial troubles? Perhaps. But the bigger problem is the adolescent male rut that Hollywood now finds itself in: Action-adventure-sequels for the testosterone set.

Here’s hoping a new Hollywood, taking advantage of the long tail and a renewed revenue model, arises from the flames of movies like Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. Unfortunately, it appears Hollywood shares that hope — and can’t yet translate it into box office. I’m not holding my breath.

What Gets Made
Drama, Comedy and Romance account for 60% of movies made.

Horace Dediu -- Hollywood by the Numbers (What Gets Made)

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