From commentary in the December issue of American Demographics by Cheryl Russell, the editor:
After a dismal summer at the box office, two movies emerged as winners: "Back to the Future" and "Rambo." "Back to the Future's" broad reach assured its success. The movie entertained a demographically segmented audience, appealing to both men and women. And because its storyline took place in 1985 and 1955, several generations of Americans could identify with it. But only one generation's demographics determined "Rambo's" victory -- the generation of young American men.
"Rambo" is a macho movie in a culture in which there are 6 million more women than men. But women don't begin to outnumber men until age 30, and among 18-to 29-year-olds, there are 600,000 more men than women.
"Rambo" is an adventure film for a generation of men who can't even venture away from their parents' homes. Sixty-two percent of men aged 18 to 24 live with their parents, up from 55 percent just since 1980. . . .
Rambo is a misfit, like the young men whose educational levels are falling relative to the generation ahead of them. Only 49 percent of 1980's male high school graduates went on to college, compared to 54 percent of male high school graduates in 1972. The proportion of 25-to 34-year-old men who have a college diploma is declining for the first time in American history.
Rambo is a persecuted hero for a shrinking generation of young adults whose median household income has fallen by 18 percent since 1979. . . .
Rambo is avenging more than MIAs in Southeast Asia. He's avenging a lost generation of Americans right here in the U.S.A.