In the eyes of the public, movies reach old age much sooner than you might think
As we age, so do our cultural reference points. It’s not until we talk with someone from a different generation that we realise how far the goalposts have shifted.
We all understand the concept of “old movies”, but a new YouGov Realtime survey reveals that a movie reaches old age much sooner than you might think.
So soon do movies become old that cutting our study off with the most recent being from 2009 was almost premature. Avatar, that year’s highest grossing film, is seen as an old movie by 29% of people – not far behind the 35% who consider it a recent movie.
Pushing the date back just two years to 2007 sees Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End declared an old movie by a plurality of 35% of Brits. A further 29% consider it to be a recent movie.
The first movie that a majority of Britons describe as an “old movie” is 1999’s Star Wars: Episode One - The Phantom Menace, at 56%. Other nineties blockbusters like Titanic, Toy Story, The Lion King, Jurassic Park and Aladdin are likewise seen as old by between 57% and 64% of Brits.
Around three quarters of Brits see 80s classics like the Indiana Jones movies, ET, Top Gun and Terminator 2 as old movies.
Seventies hits like the original Star Wars, Rocky, Grease and Jaws are likewise all seen as old by around eight in ten of us.
The very oldest movies we asked about – 1939’s Gone With The Wind, 1931’s Frankenstein and 1920’s Way Down East – were all branded “old” by between 87% and 92% of the public.
Interestingly, there was virtually no difference in opinion between young and old Brits, with all age groups about as likely as one another to answer the same way on a movie’s seniority.