Saturday, May 22, 2010

Summer Movies: the formula

I love that feeling when a movie is announced, and it's like there's just something under my skin that's just itching, compulsively, and won't stop until it forces me to see it. I love that feeling. I saw Star Trek on my own last year because I couldn't wait to schedule going to see it around my friends schedule. I did the same when Two Towers came out, and regrettably, I went straight from finals to go see the sequel to The Matrix when it came out. I don't know what I feel about the films coming out this year, suffice to say, deja vous? Have we been here before?

There's nothing too distracting about the movies coming out this summer and that has allowed me to peer behind the curtain and find something extremely telling: the formula. Here's how it goes: non-trilogy, franchise sequels & prequels are generally released earlier in the summer, along with long anticipated remakes/reboots they're the ones that will get the most hype and most anticipation, for instance, Ironman 2 and Shrek 4, and Robin Hood (AKA Gladiator: the sequel) coming out in May. This is followed by a slew of date films and bro comedies at the same time children's films from June -- August. Throw in some more big budget action/adventure stories, this time, ones that are probably more original, and then let the money roll in...

Studios posture endlessly to schedule release dates for their upcoming blockbusters because they want to have the most strategic release as possible so the most money can be made from it. The three biggest weekends to release summer movies are the first weekend of spring/summer--usually around May 1, July 4th, and Memorial Day. Cleverly enough, these weekends span the summer movie season roughly marking the beginning middle and end. You can pretty much guarantee a big, big, release on every single one of these three weekends.

Since we've already talked about May which has been dominated so far by Iron Man 2, lets move to June which is packed with huge releases geared towards the out-of-school age14-22 demographic.

June 4:
Get Him to the Greek

June 11:
The A-Team
The Karate Kid

June 18:
Toy Story 3
Jonah Hex

June 25:
Knight and Day
Grown Ups

And the big ball-busting can't believe it's going to make so much money:

June 30:
Twilight Saga: Eclipse

So in total, every weekend is something big, but it's geared more towards young adults because they're the ones killing time, spending parents' money.

Looking further ahead, at mid summer where the July 4th weekend is going to be dominated by "The Last Air Bender" the hopeful new blockbuster by a not so blockbusting director M. Night Shyamalan, there is a more diverse mix of films. This is because July is the one true month of summer where if someone were going to have a summer vacation or be off for whatever length of time, worldwide, this would be the month. So take a look:

July 2:
Last Airbender
I hate Love Stories

July 9:
Despicable Me
The Kids are Alright
Change of Plans

July 16:
Sorcerers Apprentice

July 23:
Dinner for Shmucks

July 30:
Charlie St. Cloud

Keep in mind, Iron Man 2, Toy Story 3, Twilight, and Knight and Day will all still probably be playing during this time and grossing big money. I'm excited that "The Kids are Alright" -- the indie/Hollywood film about lesbian parents whose children want to know who their sperm donor father is, got a release that falls in the mix of all these films. It's definitely on the "Little Miss Sunshine" marketing bus of "little indie film becomes summer's sleeper hit," sorry "Letters to Juliet," if it hasn't happened for you by this point it's over baby.

Moving on to August the summer movie season wraps up, but since that's so far away at the moment we'll keep the pre-game out of it as we've yet to really see how exactly June and July shape up. I hope this has been informative but I hope it doesn't discourage you from seeing what you want to see. Go support film!

1 comment:

  1. Hollywood is mighty predictable, you definitely called out their formula perfectly. I've never put much thought into that before, but it seems to ring true, each and every Summer.

    "Twilight" will front load opening weekend, but wont hold as well as say a "Harry Potter" film in subsequent weekends. I am thrilled to see "The Kids Are All Right", but I fear it will simply be lost in the Summer scramble, same as "The Hurt Locker" was last year. I'm not gonna lie, a small part of me wants to see both "The Last Airbender" and "Charlie St. Cloud". They both look like good studio productions, and I've always enjoyed M. Night Shymalan when he's on form, but when he's off it really sucks. "The Last Airbender" could be another sleeper hit, it has a very solid following from the Nickelodeon cartoon that I have never seen, but if anything that comic book movies have taught is, is just cause a property has a big following it doesn't mean it's a guaranteed success, just look at both of the films featuring the Hulk.