Wednesday, 15 November 2017


If you're presenting a rundown of the target audience for your own slasher production you need to get into details such as:
  • a specific age range + gender/s for both primary + secondary target audience
  • justified through specific references to media language links to existing films
  • including representations (uses and gratifications theory)
  • a moodboard (or 2: 1 for each gender or 1 each for primary/secondary)
  • BBFC/MPAA (+/or others) age rating
  • test the familiarity of your target audience with the genre, and get some sense of whether there's likelihood some would watch yours
  • the historic and recent box office record of the genre
  • typical box office, and some comparison with other genres to put this in clear context 
  • production and distribution companies with a particular record in the genre
  • directors and actors strongly linked to the genre (and therefore with a niche fanbase)
  • the role + prominence of franchises in the genre
  • specific consideration of remakes, reboots, reimaginings, prequels, sequels
  • monetising back catalogue through editionalising DVDs and boxsets (Childs Play a good recent example)
  • typical budgets, and some comparison with other genres to put this in clear context (stars, CGI, IP, sets, extras all being significant factors in higher budgets) 
  • use of websites + social media by production and distribution companies for marketing
  • fandom: fan-sites and social media, as well as UGC on YouTube etc
Some simple searches...
She's written some great analysis on Scream fan communities online (google)
A fantastic book on the narrative structure and audience (using box office analysis) of the slasher (google)
I was looking for hits from the Guardian box office columns (could try it without Gant, others write this too...), and found some prominent links to my own blog - which are rather useful! (google)
I knew he'd written relevant material, having read it ... so widened the search to horror (bear in mind that slasher is a sub-genre and also has multiple alternative names eg slice and dice, stalk and slash) ... and saw lots of useful hits... (google)
Getting into the nitty gritty, homing in on the details of a single franchise. I figured I'd likely find US, world box office for each movie and franchise averages and budgets ... and I did! (google)

There are multiple options: presents a rather handy summary. You can see that budgets are low - interesting that they peaked in 1998, the reboots etc are actually lower budget (impact of digitised production? reduced costs with not having Jamie Lee Curtis?). Also note how the US box office amounts for most of the global total - you might ask yourself how you could help boost European appeal.
I'd want to give some specific examples to help further evidence my analysis - and the benefit of The-Numbers over BoM is it sometimes gives you DVD, Blu-Ray even TV revenues as well, extremely useful for a broader insight into the finances and economics of the industry. In this case US box office was about 85% of the global total, with US DVD/Blu-Ray sales also larger than the non-US box office total
You can see the benefit of taking the time to use multiple sources; BoxOfficeMojo offers inflation adjusted figures for comparison (so, if the original 1979 movie was released today, what would its take be in today's money?). This is great to better contextualise the figures - you can see that the original film remains by far the biggest hit, with the reboot only 4th on the list. We can also see that the franchise has moved around studios - note the name Dimension, one you'll see often in major slasher franchises, so worth looking into...
Yes, we need to be cautious with Wikis, but they can also be really useful - here the non-US share is made really clear.
In this same section of the Wiki, we find some great analysis:
The Halloween franchise, when compared to the other top-grossing American horror franchises—A Nightmare on Elm Street, Child's Play, Friday the 13th, the Hannibal Lecter series, Psycho, Saw, Scream, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre—and adjusting for the 2017 inflation is the fourth highest grossing horror franchise in the United States at approximately $667.9 million.[35] This list is topped by Friday the 13th at $825.1 million,[36] followed by the Nightmare on Elm Street series with $703.3 million.[37] The Hannibal Lecter film series closely follows in third with $737.6 million.[38] Following Halloween is the Saw series with $580.9 million,[39] Scream with $586.9 million,[40] Psycho with $554.4 million,[41] The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with $391 million,[42] and the Child's Play film series rounding out the list with $249.6 million.[43]
Scrolling down to Future, we get more useful info, which helps to evidence ongoing industry confidence in the appeal of the slasher movie (there are also Friday 13th plans and a just released new Child's Play movie, linked in with another new series boxset):
On February 9, 2017, Carpenter announced that the new Halloween film would be released on October 19, 2018 and was going to be written by David Gordon Green and Danny McBride, and directed by Green.[67] It will be a direct sequel to the original film and will ignore all the sequels.[68][69] In September 2017, Jamie Lee Curtis confirmed that she would reprise her role as Laurie Strode.[70] In October, Judy Greer entered negotiations to play Laurie's daughter Karen Strode.[71] The film will be distributed by Universal Pictures, their first involvement in the franchise since distributing 1982's Halloween III: Season of the Witch. On October 17, 2017, Carpenter announced that he would be returning to score the upcoming film, saying "I’ll be consulting with the director to see what he feels. I could create a new score, we could update the old score and amplify it, or we could combine those two things. I’ll have to see the movie to see what it requires."[72]
Still on the Wiki, you can see that there are more useful sections (screenshot above). You may not realise, but there are very useful books/DVD documentary on both the Fri13th + NoES franchises. You can see that the Wiki is getting into fan fiction, an example of UGC, as well as other means of expanding and monetising the brand. Not exactly hard research, but you're getting a lot of great content to work with.

If you watch either of the slasher docs I've recommended, or the specific docs on those two franchises, you should be aware that NoESt rather cravenly marketed children's pyjamas and duvet, lunch boxes etc - a fascinating example of how the film companies DO disregard to some degree the age ratings. The Freddy cartoon, Halloween comics - there's lots to think about.

Here's a few more. Critical reception is a useful element, and I easily found this franchise rating overview...
Mark Newton averaged the Metacritic and RottenTomato scores (Halloween then NoES in this fragment)
 There are lots of more subjective efforts like this one.

There are LOTS of fan-sites out there...

One of many...

There are film journals and blogs/e-zines offering detailed, more scholarly analysis, eg FilmSite and BloodyDisgusting, both very useful to have a search through.

Then there's Fangoria, maybe the leading global brand for horror fans.

Lots of potentially useful content (but look for sources being provided for any analysis or quotes) on SlideShare.

What useful sites have YOU found?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please ensure all comments are appropriately worded! Comments will appear once vetted.