Hollywood's Bizarre Release Date Strategy

Hollywood's Bizarre Release Date Strategy

You might want to skip the theater some months.

For a movie fan, the holiday season means two things: trying to catch up on interesting movies from the current year and looking forward to the major releases of the coming year.

However, looking ahead at each year's release schedule, you begin to notice some bizarrely specific parallels. Every single year of movie releases cycles through a few very predictable stages.

The Dump Months

Each year starts off a little rough, with few if any interesting new releases for the first few months. This is actually part of Hollywood's business strategy. When studios aren't confident that certain movies can compete in a crowded marketplace, they choose to release them during January and February. Sometimes these movies are initially planned as big releases, but the studio loses confidence after seeing the finished product or getting negative feedback from test audiences. It may seem arbitrary, but there are some good reasons behind this tradition.

Throughout most of the United States, the weather is terrible during this time of year. People are less inclined to go to the movies when it means braving an endless frozen hellscape just to get to a theater. Many of the previous year's limited releases get a wide release in January, and new releases might struggle to compete. With the beginning of the new year, people are returning to work and school, and have a lot less free time. They've also just spent a frankly unwise amount of money, and are naturally reluctant to spend any more.

The weak competition can work to some movies' favor, however, especially for horror and comedy. Silence of the Lambs was moved to February for a Valentine's Day release, but went on to box office success and swept the Academy Awards. This February saw the release of Deadpool, which became one of the top ten grossing movies of the year. It looks like next year's The LEGO Batman Movie is hoping to repeat that success.

Blockbuster Season

Since the huge summer successes of Jaws and Star Wars in the 1970s, blockbusters have become a part of the season in the minds of filmmakers and moviegoers alike. Teenagers have long been an important market for Hollywood, so it makes sense to save the year's biggest releases for when they're out of school.

However, the last few years seem to suggest that blockbusters are changing. Traditionally, May has been the beginning of blockbuster season. However, this year's Batman v. Superman was released in March. Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the first huge hit of 2014, was released in April. In the past, August was long seen as a dump month, but that may be changing with the record-shattering August openings of Guardians of the Galaxy and Suicide Squad.

Judging by the films involved, it seems that the expansion of the blockbuster season is largely due to the development of cinematic universes. Studios have had to branch out into traditionally less lucrative months simply because they are trying to release as many installments as possible each year. September still remains a bit of a dump month, but that may change in coming years.

Awards/Holiday Season

Thanks to Halloween, October is unsurprisingly a good time of year for horror movies at the box office. While none of these movies can match the box office of a summer superhero movie, they are made on much smaller budgets and thus expectations are lower.

Audiences can expect plenty of blockbusters throughout November and December, however. Most installments of the Hunger Games, Harry Potter, James Bond, and Twilight series have been released in November. December is holding its own as well, with the openings of Avatar, the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, and the last two Star Wars movies. With people having more free time over Thanksgiving and Christmas, these months can rival the summer months at the box office.

This time of year also belongs to the awards season. Studios choose to release their awards-worthy films as close to the major awards ceremonies as possible. As a result, many of the year's most interesting and artistic movies come out in these later months. Perhaps it helps a film's chances if it's still fresh in the judges' memories when they vote. It's also desirable to stay in theaters after the awards are given, as a nomination or win may give a movie a boost at the box office.

If you can boil this down into simple advice, avoid most January, February, and September movies like the plague. Spring and summer are for massive movie franchises, and the end of the year is for dragging your family and friends to weird movies about the human condition.

Cover Image Credit: Thomas Wolf

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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