If you’d ever doubted, after what’s become of Comic-Con, that “fanboys” are everyone’s new favorite demographic, then consider a new study that tries, earnestly, to pin down those elusive creatures of the night who like to watch orcs and vampires skulk through the recesses of the imagination, or something.
At the Wrap, Brent Lang summarizes the ridiculously named “Fanboy FAQ!”,” a study co-conducted by the Online Testing Exchange and SoundThinkingNY, which came to the conclusion that “The popular perception of the entertainment industry’s most voracious consumers as pimply, socially awkward young men is too limited.” Half of them are girls! And they’re not just into superheroes and vampires! They like other things too!
The study itself isn’t online, so unless you were one of the people at Tuesday’s Culver City press conference, you may have a hard time figuring out what rigorous criteria were used in “separating the fanboys from more orthodox fans by measuring their collecting behavior, entertainment interests and familiarity with creators of books, comics, movies and shows.” Anyway, now we know: people who went to see “Lord of the Rings” and “X-Men” and “The Dark Knight,” there were a lot of them, and they look just like us, walking undetected amongst us.
Okay, it’s a mysterious world out there, and when I look at Ain’t It Cool News I get a little scared too. But, you know, two years ago Bruce Willis showed up on the site to shoot the breeze with the fans when promoting “Live Free or Die Hard,” so apparently he figured out a lot earlier than these paid professionals that “fanboys” couldn’t all be stereotypical nerds, and he might want to court them.
I especially enjoy this quote from SoundThinkingNY’s CEO Gwen Lipsky: “I think we have a secret fear that they’re misfits, but nothing about our data shows that.” What is this fear is based on? If only the nerds make up the fantasy grosses, do the terrorists win? Hasn’t every mainstream media outlet been writing endless reviews and think-pieces about the mainstreaming of graphic novels for years now? Isn’t “Paranormal Activity” less an example of fanboy triumph and more about an effective scary movie connecting with a public that, you know, loves horror movies? Isn’t “True Blood” freakishly and inexplicably popular?
I’m staying tuned for SoundThinkingNY’s upcoming “Classic Rock Fans National Online Survey.” I predict many of them will be over 40 and like Led Zeppelin.
[Photo: “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” New Line Cinema, 2001]