doomed.jpg A few weeks ago, an intriguing column in New York Magazine by Hollywood producer Lynda Obst appeared, named 'We Lost It at the Movies', and dealing with "...how Hollywood freaked out over vanishing audiences—who’ve now magically reappeared—and why teenage boys are a studio’s worst habit."

This started in June 2005, and Obst notes of the movie studios' frantic attempts to bring back movie audiences: "October brought Doom literally, which had started off tracking like gangbusters... Based on one of the most successful video games of all time, it would have to be a blockbuster, wouldn’t it? The tracking continued to build until the week of the movie’s debut, when it collapsed. If the kids didn’t come to Doom, starring The Rock, we could no longer call anything."

And, guess what? The film "...ultimately did $28 million in domestic box office. This was beyond horrible. Word of mouth killed Doom before it even opened. This was news; bad news." Of course, one does wonder how many teenagers have even played Doom, given that it's not a major console title. Nonetheless, Obst comments of market research: "Young men were too busy to go to the movies anymore. They would rather play video games on Friday nights or be on the Internet playing video games with strangers or hooking up or pretending to be hooking up or playing video games with or without the person they had just hooked up with."

So, Obst seems to be hinting that boy-friendly video game or action movies are some of the riskier things filmmakers can do right now, given their fickle audience: "We used to have a weekend to get our money out of a movie like Stealth or Doom. Now we get one night, tops. And that’s not enough to break even, the way it might have been in the good old days before the summer of 2003... we have to kill our singular addiction to teenage boys. We need to diversify the meaning of “our audience.”"

Of course, Obst has been diversifying for a while, given that she produced How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, but... maybe the film biz is going through some of the same diversification issues as the game biz, for high-budget titles?