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Even though Last Vegas is about four elderly men partying in Sin City, those affiliated with the movie think it will appeal to audiences of all ages.
Even CBS CEO Les Moonves showed up to sing the praises of his film division’s latest release at its New York premiere Tuesday night.
“This movie appeals to more than just older people,” Moonves told The Hollywood Reporter. “There’s a lot of star power here; there’s a lot of goodwill. All these five stars won Academy Awards. The movie is a terrific movie; it’s a lot of fun. We’re hoping that older people or younger people will get out of the house and see it.”
“This movie also speaks to a younger demographic, which was the happy surprise, is that the younger people, who are under 35, go to the movie and really enjoy it and think it’s funny because it’s about things like friendship,” Amy Baer, a producer of the film, told THR. “They don’t have to relate to aging as much as understanding what it’s like to have friends and what the dynamics are and growing up with them.”
Director Jon Turteltaub, who previously made family films like Cool Runnings and the National Treasure movies, sees this movie, like those, as something for all audiences.
“The goal is to make a movie that the most number of people can get the most enjoyment out of,” he said. “And I’ve never made a family movie that I thought was a family movie. I always thought it was a movie for everybody. I feel that way about this film as well. There’s nobody that I think can’t enjoy this movie, as long as they’re old enough to understand the bad language.”
“They’re all so huge and so experienced with great directors, you want to live up to the guys they’ve worked with,” the longtime director said.
Despite their legendary status, all of the lead actors were down-to-earth, hardworking and professional, their co-stars said.
“It’s not that I didn’t expect them to be any of those things,” Mary Steenburgen explained. “It’s just when you work with them, you realize, ‘Oh, this is why you’re who you are, because you worked really hard for this, and you’re still working hard.’ ”
(Steenburgen also told THR that she would “definitely” support her friend Hillary Clinton if the former first lady ran for president in 2016, saying “it would be nice to have a woman president,” but cautioning, “we’ll see what happens.”)
Entourage‘s Jerry Ferrara, who has a supporting role as a young Vegas partier in the movie, said he was reminded of the importance of hard work.
“I definitely learned that no matter what level you get to, it never changes the fact that you’ve just gotta work really hard and conduct yourself like a professional,” the actor said.
Meanwhile, the younger versions of De Niro, Douglas and Freeman’s characters were in awe just to have had a chance to observe and briefly interact with their older co-stars.
“I got to pass by [De Niro] once, and that was enough for me,” RJ Fattori said. “I wish I could’ve gotten more, but that was all I really needed. I can say that I passed by Robert De Niro one time and that was awesome.” We later walked by Fattori at the afterparty, so maybe he got his chance to meet De Niro after all.
The film is the first title that former CBS Films CEO Baer produced after leaving her executive job at the company, but she said she got plenty of help from longtime producer, and friend, Laurence Mark. She joined the project after Mark had already been working on the film.
“He was a remarkable partner on my first film,” Baer said. “He really took care of me and showed me the ropes and it was great, so the whole experience, beginning to end, was just a pleasure.”
Despite no longer being in CBS Films’ executive suite, Baer achieved one of her goals — to make a boomer movie — with the film, which is being released at a time when older moviegoers are flocking to theaters.
“When I first started at CBS, one of my goals was to get a boomer movie because, first of all, the CBS network, that’s their demographic, they really know how to get that audience to watch their network on a fairly regular basis,” Baer explained. “And it’s just a neglected demographic because for years, everyone just assumed that they don’t go out, they don’t go out regularly, they don’t go out the first weekend, but if you make stories that they really relate to, which are universal themes, they will come.”
Indeed, CBS execs seem to be committed to presenting movies that people will go to the theater for.
In the wake of a renewed debate about whether first-run movies should be distributed digitally while they’re in theaters, ignited by Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos’ comments over the weekend, Moonves said he wasn’t interested in getting in the middle of that situation.
“We’re just a tiny, little movie company. I’m not going to speak for the bigger companies and movie theaters,” he said. “I don’t want to get into the Netflix-movie theater battle.”
And CBS Films co-president Terry Press seemed committed to the theatrical experience, deflecting our questions at the afterparty about whether CBS would be interested in premiering a movie on demand with comments about the joy of going to the movies.
“I wish everybody could feel the sort of addiction that I felt to going to the movies, but I think that you have to [pass it down, from parent to child],” she said. “But I also have told my children that if they ever illegally download a movie, they will be on the streets.”
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