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Summer Movies

According to a recent YouthBeat poll of over 1000 grade school kids (~ages 6-10), Toy Story was the most highly anticipated movie of summer 2010!

And why were kids were flocking to theaters to see these flicks? Check out some of our previous posts…We’ve written about the appeal of Toy Story 3 among teens, who grew up alongside toy-owner Andy; we’ve opined about the reasons behind the unending appeal of Twilight among tweens and teens (and moms, such as it is!); The Karate Kid made a brief appearance in our recent blog on 80’s properties that have stood the test of time.

We’d like to add just a bit more on why we think the results turned out this way.

Toy Story 3 seems to be that rare brand and property (think SpongeBob) that can truly capture the imagination and pull the heartstrings of three year olds, thirteen year olds and thirty (something) year olds.

My own preschooler can’t get to sleep these days without snuggling up to his Buzz Lightyear and Woody dolls. Independent of the compelling meta-narrative that is Toy Story (and one that plays into children’s deepest fantasies and fears that those toys are up to something when you’re not around), these characters deliver on the old-fashioned notion of a great toy.

In one of the DVD extras for Toy Story 2, the film’s creators discuss a moment that makes the film “pure Pixar”: engaging adventure, followed quickly by a bit of humor, topped off with a moment of heart-warming vulnerability. It seems that this formula fits the needs of many ages, not just the kids who are putting this property on top once again.

On Twilight…Having recently admitted to being a “Twihard”, or at least a “Twihard-in-training” (read a few of these books and you will begin to see the world in terms of Vampires versus Werewolves), I am happy to see that Twilight takes second place. We know that kids are watching, but we’re not surprised it took a backseat to Toy Story, which pushes the limits of animation, but continues to feel like a pretty safe viewing experience. In contrast, Twilight speaks perfectly to teens (who continue to make it one of the highest nominated films at the Teen Choice Awards), who are developmentally driven to be fascinated by risky notions, angst-ridden characters and moral dilemmas.

We’d love to hear what you’ve seen this summer – and whether you agree with our panelists that Toy Story 3 should get top billing this season.