Know Your Demographic: Panda 2 vs. Hangover 2 vs. The Tree of Life

It doesn’t matter what news you favor — political, entertainment, celebrity, animal, restaurant — you know that everything boils down to demographics. Success and failure of your venture can all be determined by the mathematics of your demographic, rendering talent and the individuality of mankind completely moot.
It’s been awhile since Film.com dabbled in demographic data, and I thought it was time to dust off the sociology and statistic credits (Editor’s Note: She took neither.) and make an educated stab at predicting moviegoer characteristics. To keep things simple, we’re restricting it to the films being released this weekend: Kung Fu Panda 2, The Hangover: Part 2, and The Tree of Life.
Kung Fu Panda 2
Kung Fu Panda 2
This is an easy one!  Kung Fu Panda 2 has the family demographic all locked up this weekend. Tykes of all ages will be sitting down with mom, dad, grandma, and grandpa to watch the continuing adventures of Po the Panda. But animated movies, particularly those by DreamWorks and Disney, are an all-encompassing demographic these days. The first Kung Fu Panda attracted a mature audience (the kind who normally flock to Pixar) who appreciated its kung fu film references and fuzzy, feel-good humor. Expect them to flock to the sequel, which has been getting a lot of positive buzz.
The “Bored Teenager” demographic (13-16) will also have a large showing at Kung Fu Panda 2, as they will want to see The Hangover: Part 2 but won’t be able to get past the R rating. They will entertain hopes of sneaking in once the lights go down, but chicken out, and opt for making out to the Kaboom of Doom.
Hangover 2
The Hangover: Part 2
Tracking from the Hollywood Reporter indicates an enormous amount of interest from “younger males” aged 17-30 years old. Big surprise there, though I suspect it’s tracking strongly with men 30-40 years old, many of whom identify with the need to get blindingly drunk and abandon their families. (Phil Wennick’s “I die a little inside” speech from the original undoubtedly speaks to many a man.)  I believe you can also expect a healthy amount of interest from females of the same age bracket, who are eager to see the male version of Bridesmaids.
Tree of LifeThe Tree of Life
Of the three films in question, The Tree of Life draws the most eclectic and indefinite crowd. The majority will be 25 and over, liberal, a 50/50 split of male and female, single and coupled. Expect serious cineastes, film students, philosophy majors, artists, intellectuals, faux intellectuals, hipsters, bloggers, Brangelina devotees, and snobs who Like Being Seen Watching Independent Film. (If you didn’t spot them conspicuously dining at the closest ethnic restaurant, you’ll hear them saying “Well, it won the Palme d’Or” loudly and often in the lobby.) If this sounds like a more sophisticated and appealing crowd than you’ll find at The Hangover: Part 2, well, you’ve never seen art house patrons shoving one another for free popcorn. Unfortunately, every film falls victim to the lousy patron demographic.

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