Miley Cyrus is the new Whitney Houston, and yes, that’s Zak Efron reprising Travolta

The creepy tweening of Hollywood

The recent news that Miley Cyrus will star in a remake of The Bodyguard and that Zak Efron will reprise John Travolta’s star turn in Saturday Night Fever signals a cash-strapped Hollywood now utterly in thrall to the power of wholesome, antiseptic tween superstars, reports the Times of London. Part of it is their financial draw: Ticket sales for the three recent movies from Cyrus, Efron and Robert Pattinson have already reached US$750 million. But their success is not simply the result of giant corporations such as Disney cynically exploiting gullible eight to 12-year-olds, the paper argues. Parents are also complicit: “parents want the children to go to High School Musical because it’s empowering, and to Twilight because it’s about romanticism. All good clean family entertainment that makes parents feel safe.” Greg Livingston, co-author of The Great Tween Buying Machine: Marketing to Today’s Tweens notes that former Generation X and Y kids who are parents now include their children in all decisions: “they became what we call a superconsumer: a mom and a kid together.” But the paper points out there’s something fundamentally eerie about the tween superstars’ worldview, one where transgression, rebellion and sexual curiosity are almost entirely absent: “its blatant depiction of life denuded of even the smallest sexual nuance, though clearly appealing to parents, is ultimately counterintuitive, coolly corporate and anti-human.”

The Times

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