Theater owners and TV stations/network owners have interesting, possibly opposing viewpoints when it comes to "family" entertainment content.
Seems that movie attendance is down some 12% this year so far. Why? Theater owners at their big annual event in Las Vegas, CinemaCon, are blaming too many "R"-rated movies. They suggest that the studios make more family-friendly fare -- and that will take care of things.
This strategy would seem to be the exact opposite of what TV programmers are doing.
Rough and racy TV content is big, from AMC's "The Walking Dead," to any Real Housewives show.
For years a contingent of the Association for National Advertisers have pushed for more family programming -- especially on broadcast networks. That hasn't gone as well as those marketers would like.
TV programming experts will tell you that overall "family" programming doesn't really work, that most pull in mediocre TV ratings for this fare. And despite what some advertisers say they want publicly, still some want high-rated TV shows.
A big segment of TV advertisers would like more family programming because it's safer, less controversial, and won't get their customers (or future customers) into a snit should a marketer be associated with something less-appropriate.
Theater owners don't have that problem. But theater owners do have a good argument when looking at the big success of animated-family movies -- Fox's "Ice Age: Continental Drift" ($879 million worldwide box office); Paramount's "Madagascar 3" ($743 million); Disney's "Brave" ($538 million); and Disney's "Wreck-It Ralph" ($435 million).
What do studio chiefs think? Adam Fogelson, chairman of Universal Pictures, said it's not about fewer "R" movies and more "family" films. It's about producing fewer "strange R-rated" movies.
Maybe the answer is more "good" movies or TV shows -- whatever good means.