USA Today has an article out tonight by Andrea Mandel under the title “How Tarzan is Swinging for Male, Female Dollars” which takes a look at Legend of Tarzan within the context of “a summer in which tentpoles have fallen short of expectations.” The author notes that the studio is working up a sweat trying to make sure that audiences get “this is not your grandfather’s Tarzan.”
Opinion is divided on whether American audiences will welcome back the hero, who last hit cinemas in 1999 in Disney’s animated Tarzan, which grossed $171 million. Jeff Bock, box office analyst for Exhibitor Relations, calls the project outdated. “This has Lone Ranger written all over it,” says Bock, who forecasts just $25 million for opening weekend, though he predicts the film will still be a sizable hit overseas.
Or it could be “an unexpected surprise,” says Erik Davis, managing editor of Fandango.com and Movies.com — particularly because it’s not another superfluous sequel. “The success of something like The Jungle Book may play into teens’ and adults’ desire to see another story told in the jungle. And the trailers are pretty strong.”
The article goes on to talk a bit about the story and the characters, then ends with this:
Who is Tarzan aiming for? The trailers evoke “a Planet of the Apes vibe,” says Davis, and some experts say the gender-balanced marketing approach is a sign that Warner Bros. is trying for a four-quadrant movie, meaning a film that appeals to male and female moviegoers who are over and under 25.
“On the surface, it seems easy — it’s Tarzan, it’s an action movie — but it seems like they’re courting the female audience in a big way,” says comScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian, allowing that Tarzan and fellow newcomer The BFG have a “formidable competitor” in Finding Dory, which heads into its third weekend. “If you can get women going to see it because of Skarsgård but also because there’s a strong female character, that’s a smart marketing move.”
Folks around these parts will be happy enough to hear “smart marketing move” in connection with an ERB offering. We sure as h–l weren’t hearing that on the eve of the release of John Carter.
Just sayin’ . . .