How a Clueless Studio Executive Responded to the Box-Office Demographics of 'Furious 7,' Probably
[Interior. Studio Executive’s Office. Universal Studios.]
Studio Executive — Come in, Bucky.
Bucky the Intern — I’ve got your coffee sir, and the box-office numbers for Furious 7.
Executive — Great! What’s the damage?
Bucky — We had great opening weekend numbers, sir! After three days, Furious 7 put up nearly $150 million, good for the biggest April opening ever, the biggest Easter opening, and the ninth biggest opening weekend of all time.
Executive — The 9th? We still have some work to do then, don’t we? How can we get that even higher? What’s the demographic breakdown?
Bucky — Well, that’s the great news, sir. The box-office receipts indicate a very diverse mix of demographics showed up to see the movie. According to internal figures, 37 percent of the total audiences was Hispanic, African-Americans represented 24 percent, Asians registered 10 percent, and 4 percent were defined as “other.”
Executive — Wait a second. How many white people showed up?
Bucky — Hang on, sir. Let me do the math (punches in numbers on his phone). Look like 25 percent of the audience was Caucasian, sir.
Executive — ONLY 25 PERCENT? Are you kidding me? Why didn’t more white people come out?
Bucky — Well, sir. That’s not really how we’re supposed to look at …
Executive — I don’t care what we’re supposed to look at, son. You think I got into this position by doing what we’re supposed to do? Look here, kid. If we’re going to make another sequel — and by God, you know we are — we’ve really got to work harder to tap into that white audience. We lost our lead white guy. How do we replace Paul?
Bucky — Well, uh, sir …
Executive — Who do white people like?
Bucky — Uh, Tom Hanks?
Executive — YES! Get him on the phone. Who else? What about younger?
Bucky — Ansel Elgort is gaining popularity?
Executive — Who? Ansel Elgort? No. Sounds too foreign.
Bucky — Mark Wahlberg?
Executive — Yes! That’s what I’m talking about. That’s a guy white people understand. That man saved the Transformers franchise. But you know what? Let’s get that kid he replaced, too. Shia Labeouf. He’s perfect. We’ll make them some kind of father/son racing duo who secretly hate each other. That should give us a leg up. We’ll be the studio that brought you BOTH white guys from the Transformers movies. And get Liam Neeson on the phone. White guys love him.
Bucky — But, sir. Are you worried about alienating the female fans with all these action hero types?
Executive — What? Female fans? What female fans?
Bucky — According to our numbers, Furious 7’s audience was comprised of 49 percent women.
Executive — Shit! You mean, only 51 percent of our audience was male? That’s down from, like, 65 percent for the first one. What’s happening here? Where’d all the men go? Were there not enough shots of T&A in the movie?
Bucky — I don’t think that was a problem, sir. There was plenty of …
Executive — Quiet kid. I’m concentrating. You know what? Get me that Daddario chick who took her top off on True Detective. That’s what we need. Who needs franchise Viagra when we’ve got the real deal.
Bucky — But, sir …
Executive — But nothing! Let me ask you something, Bucky.
Bucky — OK.
Executive — What movie has the biggest opening weekend of all time?
Bucky — That’s easy, sir. Avengers with $200 million.
Executive — OK. How many white male leads are in that movie?
Bucky — Uh? Most of them?
Executive — Exactly! If we want to play with the big boys, we have to play by big boy rules. Now get me Cumberbatch on the phone.