Producers are always happy to get high test scores on movies, but particularly when they expected a much more limited audience. Lorenzo Di Bonaventura has just experienced screenings of "Stardust," based on Neil Gaiman‘s graphic novel, where every demographic loved it.
"It’s a weird thing to say," said Di Bonaventura. "I don’t think everybody’s going to love the movie because it’s not a movie that’s designed to be that. And yet, when we went and tested it, they really flipped for it. It just caught me off guard. It was a movie where I expected to have a larger portion of the audience sort of go, ‘Well, that’s sort of out there. Not sure it’s for us.’ And what happened was that we delivered I think a romance so spectacularly well, Matthew [Vaughn] did such a good job with it, that it caught a segment of the audience in that I wasn’t expecting."
Gaiman’s story of a boy venturing to take a star to impress the woman he loves, pursued by various characters along the way, has all sorts of magical fantasy elements. But the one thing all audiences agreed on was that it is not a fairy tale.
"It’s interesting. We learned this from the focus groups. When we asked them to describe the movie to us and then they would give us a description and then we would say, ‘What do you think if we’d describe it as a fairy tale?’ They’d go, ‘NOOO!’ like that. Like whoa, okay, all right, we’re not going to call it that. It was really sort of an interesting thing. Because it’s not a movie that fits into any simple genre, it is an adventure movie, it is a romance, it is fantasy, it is Neil Gaiman’s bizarre world view, there’s going to be some struggle for us to find a way to voice this thing so we’re really going to need you guys to help us. It’s true. We’re going to be a very, I think, print driven movie."