Giving The Audience What They Want!
Last night came sad news that the most recognisable child star in movie history, Shirley Temple, passed away at the age of 85. While she may not have appeared in a movie for some years, she was incredibly popular during the great depression for one reason . . . she gave the audience what they wanted!
It has become a great cliché that during an economic downturn audiences love light and fun entertainment. But clichés develop for a reason.
When audiences’ money is tight the amount of risk associated with spending that stash goes through the roof. No longer is it good enough to buy a ticket for a musical, movie or play on the off-chance that you may enjoy it – because if you don’t enjoy it then that was a significant amount of money down the drain.
Which is why you need safe bets! And works that are bubbly and amusing are generally safe bets. You know you will leave the theatre or movie house having spent your money well and gained a memorable experience.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s audiences were looking for light and bubbly . . . and that was exactly what Shirley Temple provided!
Her name became synonymous with a movie that everyone would enjoy and an experience which consumers could be certain of leaving with a smile on their face. And this is an incredibly important feature during a recession like the 1930s.
But even closer to home in this century, we are currently coming out of a similar financial crisis where money is tight and consumers want low risk investments when it comes to entertainment. That’s why revivals are incredibly popular at the moment.
In Australia we have recently had South Pacific, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Grease and have many upcoming revivals including Wicked, Les Misérables and The King and I. When it comes to spending $120 on an experience we all want a safe bet, and now more than ever these are the shows we will be happy to risk our money on.
But the great thing about Shirley Temple was that her name was a guarantee for good-quality entertainment. Financial downturn or not, there is very little risk in seeing a Shirley Temple movie which makes her movies a very attractive proposition regardless of the economy!
And most of all, let’s not forget that incredibly tap dancing! Rest in peace Shirley Temple.