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The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and seven other 'grey pound' movies


We're used to big, noisy movies routinely targeting teenage audiences (usually male). But recent years have seen the rise of the so-called 'grey pound' movie, defined as films that target, let's say, a more mature audience who are frequently overlooked in the race for box office glory.

Next on the horizon is The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the follow-up to 2012's surprise hit The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. You may remember that the latter gave other cinematic whippersnappers a run for its money, rustling up an unexpectedly healthy $136m worldwide.

Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and Maggie Smith all return for the sequel, due out on 27th February 2015, and this time they're joined by Hollywood royalty in the form of Richard Gere.

So, with that in mind, here are seven movies that have gone out on a limb and addressed an older audience. Bear in mind, the term 'grey pound' isn't universally popular – scroll down to discover why...

Calendar Girls (2003)

This heartwarming story of a Yorkshire Women's Institute group who raise money by posing for a nude calendar overcomes the inital arf-arf response by revealing itself as a tender and sincere drama. Helen Mirren and Julie Walters lead an outstanding cast in a story that has since been adapted for the stage. And the sweeping Yorkshire scenery is nothing short of stunning.

Ladies in Lavender (2004)

'Grey pound' faves Judi Dench and Maggie Smith appeared together in this genteel story, directed by first-timer Charles Dance. It's the story of two English spinsters whose ordered life in 1930s Cornwall is interrupted when a young European man (Daniel Bruhl) mysteriously washes ashore. It's all very twee but with Dench and Smith in front of the camera, never less than watchable.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012)

Dench, Nighy and Smith are joined by Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Wilton and Celia Imrie for this story of a group of Brits seeking a better life in India. Deriving considerable strength from its outstanding, much-loved ensemble of popular British faces, who have gravitas by the Taj Mahal-load, it's little wonder it went down so well.

Quartet (2012)

Smith turns up again as an estranged former member of a close-knit opera group in Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut. Set in a home for retired musicians, it's the sort of quintessentially English story that either makes one blanche or positively beam with joy. Nevertheless, the critics were mostly kind, praising the lively ensemble of British veterans that includes Smith, Billy Connolly, Tom Courtenay and Pauline Collins.

Song for Marion (2013)

Terrence Stamp takes the lead in this naff, although undeniably heartfelt, comedy-drama about a grumpy old codger who enrols in choir lessons to appease the wishes of his dying wife (played by Vanessa Redgrave). Stamp and Redgrave, being the esteemed actors they are, summon all the sincerity they can muster, but writer-director Paul Andrew Williams' script ultimately creaks more than a pensioner's arthritic hip.

Last Vegas (2013)

The Brits aren't the only ones to capitalise on the 'grey pound' trend. It's also gone Stateside as well, as evidenced in this comedy which brings together the dazzling A-list ensemble of Michael Douglas, Robert de Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline. The plot involves little more than them hanging out in Vegas for a stag do, but it's always great fun to spend time in the company of such accomplished actors.

The Love Punch (2014)

Emma Thompson, one of the stars of this French Riviera-based heist comedy, isn't a fan of the 'grey pound' label, telling the BBC earlier this year: "I don't see where age has to come into it – it's been made to entertain everybody in the groups that we're supposed to be in, which is a selection of ages." Nevertheless, the target audience wasn't sold on this contrived caper, despite the best efforts of Thompson, Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Spall and Celia Imrie.

Have we missed any of your favourite 'grey pound' films? Then tell us in the comments.