This Is Why We Keep Getting Action Movies Starring 50-Plus-Year-Old Actors


By Tonya Garcia Comment

non stopDuring his Wednesday appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Liam Neeson reminded us that he’s 61 years old. 

Once known for making “films,” Liam Neeson is now a straight up action star. From Taken to The Dark Knight to The Grey to his most recent, Non-Stop, Neeson is kicking butt all over the place in movie after movie.

And he’s not the only one. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone have both made comebacks. The movie Red and its sequel have an ensemble cast that includes Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman. Kevin Costner is back in the theaters and wielding a gun. And then there’s The Expendables franchise.

It’s been a nagging question for a while (at least for me): Why are we getting all of these action heroes who have reached AARP age? Liam Neeson looks fantastic (with a capital “F”) for a 61-year-old man. But he’s seriously beating down entire bands of baddies on his own in some of these movies. We can suspend our disbelief, but really?

We may have an answer. Blame the Internet!

Like everything else, the Internet has fragmented the audience for movies. So where everyone once went in for the same movies and the same stars, now we have younger people going in for their movies, and older people heading to the theaters wondering what’s going on.

“This kind of fragmentation has forced Hollywood to cultivate two smaller action markets—young males on one side, older males on the other—where one big action market used to be,” The Daily Beast says. Young people don’t have the same strong connection to celebrity names like their parents and grandparents do.

“And so, Hollywood has reverse engineered another kind of action movie to cater to these older stars—and the viewers who follow them,” the article continues.

So PRs, when you’re coming up with campaign ideas, it’s worth it to keep in mind that not everyone wants to see the latest thing all the time. This isn’t to say that it’s needs to be some musty, old version of nostalgia. Kevin Costner in 3 Days To Kill is definitely not the same guy who was in The Bodyguard or Wyatt Earp. But when considering your campaigns, it worth the time to throw some familiar names (perhaps a few that have been familiar for a long time) in the running.