Alex Witt   |  November 30, 2013

Holiday films attract an older crowd

Alex Witt talks to film critic Ann Hornaday about the recent trend of holiday movies being geared towards older audiences.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> they will kill us.

>> what about the other families? huh? the one who's stay? what happens to them? people are looking to to you, katniss.

>> i don't want anyone looking to me.

>> catching fire" the second installment of the hunger games franchise is on track to make thanksgiving box office history. it's just one film on a very short list of movies this season that isn't geared to an audience of over 35s. a new article in the hollywood reporter says hollywood is going all out this holiday season to attract the older crowd. joining me now ann hornaday, film critic with the " washington post " and with a welcome to you, which films are going in this direction and why the sudden shift to attract older audiences?

>> we've got lots of wonderful more grown-up fare coming our way. nebraska is out with bruce dern . it's a terrific father-son road drama/comedy. philomena, a film i'm really fond of with judy dempbl and steve coogan is coming out around no now. another road picture of an unlikely pair on the search for her son. a lot of movies are still in theaters that people would enjoy, things like captain phillips and "12 years a slave" and all is lost. this is not just an annual -- it's not a trend just this year but i think in recent years we've seen a surge in studios saving up these sort of high quality prestige pictures to open in the holiday season to take advantage of award season and the kind of earned marketing that they get from the publicity they get around award shows.

>> but you know they're not always just thinking about publicity. certainly that's a big deal . do you think it's the sentiment of the holiday they're trying to appeal to that element with the older audience, as well thinking maybe they're more sentimental when they go to the movies?

>> that could be. although i think anecdotally and personally i know for jus grown-ups we would like for them to know there are 128 months in the year and we would like these all year long. it's a shame the year is so back loaded as it is. but i take your point. the holiday season is traditionally a time for people to go to the movies especially to go together as families. oh if people are especially taking teenagers or young adults and mom and dad and grandparents, then these are ideal choices.

>> but we're looking at ten or a dozen films that have more of an adult theme and focus here in terms of the audience. yet, the movies dominating the box office right now, catching fire," frozen, even "thor" to some agreeing. these are not geared to the over 35s.

>> i think this is all -- i think they stake out these opening dates month months and months in advance. in a way, "frozen," even hunger games" a lot of grown-ups really love those books. that is another example of a film that for certain families, would be appropriate family fare with teenagers and up, young adults and grown-ups. they would get a lot of it. "frozen" i would strongly recommend for families to see together who have little ones up to grandparents. it's the animation is beautiful. the music is gorgeous. the voice acting is terrific. i mean, it's really, a very high caliber film. so i actually think they do belong in all of this category in terms of just sophistication and you know, i think when in doubt, quality, i really think quality counts.

>> well, and to that point i want to pick up what you said about the award season. here's more from that hollywood reporter article which says the only two kids films are disney's animated film frozen opening november 27 and fox's walking with dinosaurs. deem works is pretty much sitting out the holiday season . many children's me ofs have gone on to become box office cash cows. do you think studio execs are placing golden globes and oscars before profit?

>> i wouldn't pretend to know what is going into their thinking. sometimes i think it might it be these animated especially the computer graphics and 3-d movies take a long time. they're labor intensive and technology intensive. it could be they weren't ready in time. but it's true that i really do think that this awards season marketing gambit that we're increasingly seeing, it might be -- this year especially we saw it getting so crowded that some movies had to move off. for example, george clooney 's movie "monuments man" is opening early 2014 . just you know, in large part i would imagine because it's so the crowded. i mean we have dozens and dozens. it's not even over yet. we have the cohen brothers ? inside louann davis" coming down the pike. august osage county , the david russell film. there's a lot. but the good news is that really i mean, this is the strongest year in recent memory in terms of sheer, sheer quality.

>> all right. well, that's something to look forward to. ann hornaday, thanks so much. i appreciate it.

>> thank you.