| “As I leave, believe I'm stompin, but when I come back, boy, I'm comin straight outta Compton” |
Straight Outta Compton entered the box office chart at #1 on it's opening weekend, with $56.1 million on 2,757 screens. Not only did it therefore already, on it's first weekend, make twice the amount that it cost to make the movie, but it also nearly doubled “expert expectations”. It went on to stay on #1 for several weeks. What I want to talk about here are these "expert expectations". The fact that it made much more than expected is likely not so much due to the quality of the movie (although it is definitely a great movie), but due to the fact that the industry and their so-called experts still don’t get it. They do not understand the power of youth culture and general (and hip hop in particular) and therefore do not understand millennials. This, of course, is nothing new. In his book “The Tanning Of America”, Steve Stoute, branding wizard, wrote the following about Will Smith and the release of Bad Boys 1:
“In spite of the worldwide recording success Will had achieved with Top Ten hits and Grammy awards, even with the international stardom he had attained as a television star, when it was time to go and promote the movie Bad Boys overseas, the studio didn’t want to spend the money to have Will go on a major international tour. Why? Because the marketing experts hired by the studio insisted, African-American stars could only garner five millions dollars in overseas box office receipts. No matter what James Lassiter did to try to convince the studio they were missing a great opportunity, they wouldn’t move. That is until Will was invited to appear at an MTV event at Cannes and did so well in his interviews with the foreign press - these were then picked up all around the world - that the studio agreed to give him the chance to go promote the movie. The end result was that Bad Boys did 138 million dollars in worldwide box office receipts. So much for those experts who predicted a fraction of that.”
As you can see, so called experts fundamentally getting it wrong is nothing new. But how does this happen, you ask? Steve Stoute wrote:
“Part of the cultural misread had to do with the generation gap. Those experts, after all, based their predictions on the track record of international stars like Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. They were out of touch, no doubt, with their own kids, who were now seeing Will Smith as the earlier generations saw Sly Stallone. The experts were so disconnected from culture that they avoided not just traditional assumptions but hard-core statistics like Will’s TV show share in Spain [50%] and the global fan base established from his recording career.”
There is a clear disconnect between many of those in charge and the “young people” (being young is a state of mind, let that be clear) of this world. As you can see, this is nothing new. It is a shame that this is still the case though, because it is bad for all sides: the companies miss out on profits and the public misses out on products that actually speak to them. This is why we, and other companies like us, exist. I guess that means I should not complain, huh?
M | 1520