As the movie business tries to come to grips with the question of where and on what format and technology people will watch new releases, the parallel idea of who watches movies has also been reconsidered. The business has belatedly realised that people over the age of 50 like going to the movies, and they're unlikely to either illegally download a picture or watch it on a tablet. Last year the New York Times reported that between 1995 and 2010 the number of Americans older than 50 who regularly went to the cinema had increased by 68%. Suddenly teenage boys aren't the be-all and end-all.
The success of films such as The King's Speech and Red Dog speak to the power of an older audience, and the movie business is now belatedly catching up. This could explain the sudden slew of titles being made about the making of old movies, such as the recent My Week with Marilyn and the forthcoming Hitchcock, where Anthony Hopkins plays the legendary director during the making of Psycho, as well as ensemble pieces with veteran thespians such as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
But there's also a tendency, as with the comic action flick Red, to take contemporary concepts and remake them with an older cast. The latest example is Last Vegas, a comedy to be directed by Jon Turteltaub (National Treasure) about a group of ageing men returning to Las Vegas for a bachelor party before one of them marries a younger woman. Yes, it's The Hangover with pensioners, although they're rather well preserved. The groom will be played by Michael Douglas, while those present who help events get out of hand could include Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken. The odds on at least one Viagra gag must be short.
A decade on from her international breakthrough in Amelie, Audrey Tautou is busier than ever. David and Stephane Foenkinos' Delicacy, in which the actress plays a grieving woman courted a longtime admirer, opens in Australia on May 3, while it's just been announced that Therese D, an adaptation of a 1920s French novel about a woman trying to escape her place in society, will close the Cannes Film Festival to honour director Claude Miller (Un Secret), who passed away just after finishing editing. Beyond that Tautou (pictured) will play a woman who suffers from an unusual illness caused by flowers growing in her lungs in Mood Indigo for the always eclectic Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).
Electric in her responsiveness and compelling to watch, Keira Knightley was a revelation in David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method, and still only aged 27 she appears to be pushing herself. Her next film reunites her with director Joe Wright, who drew a fine performance from her in Atonement, for a new take on Leo Tolstoy's 19th century tragedy Anna Karenina. Knightley will play the title character, married aristocrat in Czarist Russia whose infidelity amid the pressure of a cloistered society eventually drives her to take her own life, and there is a stellar supporting cast in place: Jude Law, Olivia Williams, Aaron Johnson, Kelly Macdonald and Matthew Macfadyen.