In the film industry, as with any media relate industry, establishing a target audience is highly important. Without a specific audience, it's hard to know who will see your film, therefore you will not know if a profit will be made.
Having an age range is also important. Young people (7-34 years old) make up 64% of the audience. Meaning a film is more likely to be watched if targeted towards that age range. However those people only make up 39% of the population, meaning that though there is another 61% of people out there, only 36% of those make up the audience.
Choosing a genre is highly important as studies have shown that cinema-goers strongly identify and need genres to assist in their choice. The main genres are Comedy, Romance, Period, Crime/Gangster, Horror, Action and Sci-Fi. Usually, specialized films are aligned to one of the main genres to make positioning and marketing easier. This makes it easier for the cinema-goers to decide if they want to watch it.
Taking advantage of synergy is an easier (but usually more expensive way) of getting a wider audience for the film. A popular cast of crew will normally attract a bigger audience because people will go to see the film as they have seen their previous work.
A specific type of film-goer is also a good idea. These people can be Mainstream, Mainstream Plus, Aficionados and Buffs.
Mainstream people only tend to see the bigger, mainstream movies and nothing else. At the extreme, they only focus on romantic movies or Hollywood action films. They particularly emphasis on 'big films' or blockbusters.Often for them, films are an escape from their everyday lives. Escapism is one of the main reasons to visit a cinema. It's incredibly rare for a mainstream person to see a foreign film, as these films rarely flow into the mainstream.
Mainstream Plus's tend to be looking for 'good films' (without placing them in categories). They will usually find a mainstream film that meets their demand and fits their 'good film' criteria, generally because their cinema attendance can be as infrequent as once a month. If a non-Hollywood film has earned itself a high status as a 'must-see', it can appeal to them and will often become their first choice as a film to go and see.
Aficionados are more likely than Mainstream Plus to see a 'specialized film' and usually class it as a category of its own. They will often put effort into seeking these specialized films, more so than Mainstream Plus. They like to portray themselves as more discerning than other film-goers, occasionally to the point where they describe themselves as 'anti-Hollywood', though then still will see mainstream American films.
Film Buffs have an identity that is strongly bound within film. Films that don't fit neatly into any genre are strongly liked by film Buffs. Their love of cinema extends to the point where instead of simply watching the film, they will go out and seek outside knowledge on the subject. The language that Buffs use is normally more sophisticated than and thoughtful and more mainstream people. They typically plan much further in advance than other film-goers, and make trips out specifically to go to the cinema. Sometimes they even prefer to go to the cinema on their own. They use a variety of sources to find out what's going on, like Empire Magazine and various film websites. They will see mainstream films for different reasons, like viewing James Cameron's Avatar for the visual effects. Often they see the same film more than once, generally for analytically reasons. If a film is made for the reasons of making money, it's rare for it to be aimed particularly at the Buffs, as they make up a small part of audiences.
Taking all of this into account is important before entering the production process. Especially if making money is a primary goal, and also to know who would like the film in question. If you know who will watch your film, you can also expect the feedback that will come. If you know they type of feedback and therefore negative feedback, you're able to adjust things to the liking of the audience and hence making a film for the majority to enjoy. Of course, that may not be the goal. The goal may be to send a message to some of the audience, a message that other members may not be able to see. This in turn could please the members who got the message but confuse and anger people who didn't understand. So, it could be a great film in the eyes of some, but a film with no obvious meaning to others.