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Should studios spread out blockbusters over a whole year?

mclay18

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I'm talking about studios focusing on releasing big tentpole films solely in the May-August and November-December. Because of the release dates being in flux, studios are crowding their big releases in perpetually busy months... where there's much greater risk of being lost in the shuffle.

Now with successes of films like The Hunger Games, Fast Five, Fast & Furious and 300 earning summer-sized coin in spring months like March and April... studios are wising up.

Should studios spread their blockbusters throughout the whole year (like in slow months like February, April, and September) instead of just concentrating on the more popular months? I say spread them out.

What do you guys think?
 
Not sure if it would be a good idea, but then again, I'm not an expert on how much movies make in certain months.

I will say that I'm surprised that Thor, a comic book film, comes out in November.
 
I think it's good idea in theory, for at least mid-range budgeted films. After Hotel Transylvania cleaned up in late September, Sony essentially booked that same spot for this year, 2014 and 2015 for their animated films.

And if something like The Hunger Games can come out of nowhere and make $150M opening weekend in late March...
 
Well I think March is considered a blockbuster month ever since or even before 300 came out in 06 and with Captain America 2 coming out in early April I do see studios opening up. Hell even the new (bad) Die Hard movie came out in February.

So yeah I say yes.

Especially in September. Me and my friends always go to see a movie right when school starts and Im sure all of us would prefer a new good september action movie rather than the summer layovers
 
In recent years, the "summer" season has been getting earlier and earlier, it feels, with huge movies (generally superhero ones) coming out the first week of May, so basically the entirety of May-July is the true blockbuster season, with December also being a huge time. I do like the idea of spreading things out, though, as we have seen with March and April releases.

Captain America 2 is an April release, I believe, and Thor 2 and Catching Fire both come out in November. John Carter, which was supposed to be a huge blockbuster, came out in March, I believe, so they're definitely trying to spread it out. I think at least 3 of the Harry Potter films were November releases.

I'm not sure if we'll ever see huge blockbusters in January-February, but I could see March-July being the spring/summer blockbuster period, then Aug-Sept getting upper-mid level releases, October being franchise horror films, and Nov-Dec being blockbuster season 2.0, with a heavy focus on family-friendly stuff.
 
November and December have always been the technical blockbusters months.
 
In recent years, the "summer" season has been getting earlier and earlier, it feels, with huge movies (generally superhero ones) coming out the first week of May, so basically the entirety of May-July is the true blockbuster season, with December also being a huge time. I do like the idea of spreading things out, though, as we have seen with March and April releases.

Captain America 2 is an April release, I believe, and Thor 2 and Catching Fire both come out in November. John Carter, which was supposed to be a huge blockbuster, came out in March, I believe, so they're definitely trying to spread it out. I think at least 3 of the Harry Potter films were November releases.

I'm not sure if we'll ever see huge blockbusters in January-February, but I could see March-July being the spring/summer blockbuster period, then Aug-Sept getting upper-mid level releases, October being franchise horror films, and Nov-Dec being blockbuster season 2.0, with a heavy focus on family-friendly stuff.

I know about Thor 2 and Catching Fire being fall releases, and they're filling that void Harry Potter and Twilight did for November. As well as counter-programming the animated films that come out during that period.

As for October, it may be the time for horror franchises... but it has done well for non-horror films too. Argo, RED, Puss in Boots and Taken 2 did very well for themselves in that month. So there's room for more than horror in October.
 
No. For starters, in January and February you run the risk of losing a huge chunk of the movie going public to winter storms. Studios also don't want blockbusters eating into the gross of their Oscar contenders.

Late August and September is prime moving season with school and college starting up. A lot of people are just flat out too busy around that time of year to spend much time in the theater no matter what is playing.

I do think that March and April could be utilized more than they have been, although that has been changing somewhat in recent years. But some months are going to flatout have a smaller audience base to draw from.
 
I know about Thor 2 and Catching Fire being fall releases, and they're filling that void Harry Potter and Twilight did for November. As well as counter-programming the animated films that come out during that period.

As for October, it may be the time for horror franchises... but it has done well for non-horror films too. Argo, RED, Puss in Boots and Taken 2 did very well for themselves in that month. So there's room for more than horror in October.

You make good points here. For some reason, I was thinking Taken 2 was a later summer (August/September release) and just assumed Argo was a December awards-season release. I forgot all about Twilight killing it in November.
 
No. For starters, in January and February you run the risk of losing a huge chunk of the movie going public to winter storms. Studios also don't want blockbusters eating into the gross of their Oscar contenders.

That didn't stop folks from going to Identity Thief (February 8), Taken (January 31), and Paul Blart Mall Cop (January 16). Heck, the Star Wars re-release made an estimated $239M ($138M without inflation), and that came out Super Bowl weekend 1997.

As for late August and September... the weekday grosses would drop off due to folks going back to school, but folks will turn out for a new release on the weekend if it looks good enough. It's more of the studios deferring to dump their trash movies rather than taking a chance on something.

September used to be a big movie month back in the 1980s. Crocodile Dundee came out late September, and it made a ton of money... $174M then (which is $366M with inflation). Same for Fatal Attraction.
 
Depends on the film. More niche audience blockbusters seem to do very well in March, while blockbusters in general are starting to reach back toward late April.

However, summer and holiday months both offer something spring months, late winter and early autumn do not: no school.

Most of these films are targeted to teenagers and children. The key demographics are almost always under 25. They are not in school in the summer or during holiday seasons. That means they have a lot of money to spend on cheap diversions (movies) and the most free-time they'll have all year to do it.

That is why those will remain the major months.
 
I'm not sure. A so-called "blockbuster season" is definitely marketable and considering younger audiences who are out of school with more chances to be marketed towards are still the key demographic, I don't think it will ever quite work out if you spread it.

I do think certain movies could be moved. After Avengers, I thought it was smart to put Thor in November and Cap in March. Less competition with an almost automatic draw.
 
As a writer, I would absolutely LOVE to have the full calendar open, that would be amazingly awesome. HOWEVER, I'm unsure of the business side. so I can only say creatively, the idea excites me but I'm unsure of anything beyond that.
 
I do not think this would necessitate more blockbusters. Financially studios can only spend so much. It would perhaps only mean a less cluttered summer.

However, creatively, this is a good thing. Studios spend too much on their blockbusters now. The thought of that being the only type of film to invest in for year round grosses is a scary thought. One I would like to avoid.
 
I think they are trending towards spreading out the blockbuster season and I think they should.
 
We're seeing some big movies get away with March/April because of spring break season, I think. Shifting weather helps as well. It may take a long while, though, for them to really push the "start" earlier than the first Friday in May. September/October has always worked for the quieter movies that can still surprise with a little edge-of-the-seat action and genuine entertainment (ie: The Prestige), as well as quality writing/direction/acting.
 
Late October and early August usually have quite a few big budget things they probably just couldn't squeeze into the later schedule.
 
Late August is a dumping ground for movies that can't hang with the big boys.
 
However, summer and holiday months both offer something spring months, late winter and early autumn do not: no school.

Just because kids are in school doesn't mean they and their families can't come out during the weekends (you're right about the weekday grosses being depleted during those periods). Yet it didn't stop films like Alice in Wonderland, The Hunger Games and Clash of the Titans from being big box office hits.

And I'm not saying studios should make 7-9 big budget films, but spread out their several big titles. Put 1-2 titles in the summer time, 1-2 in the fall holiday threshold, and put a reliable franchise title in an off-period month to really clean up. If a franchise is big enough, it can certainly make money in a slower month like March or April.

Just look at the Fast & Furious franchise. The last two movies opened in April, and seriously cleaned up.
 
The only reason March and April are even used for big movies is the fact that they have Spring Break and Easter Break. Kids are out of school for at least a weekend. That's why it's usually action movies targeted towards teens are released then. Janurary and Feburary are usually the trash months. Studios jump their bad movies into these months because people don't see movies as much ten. Sure Star Wars and Taken are exceptions but the studio didn't believe Star Wars would be good and I bet no one would have pegged an action movie starring the guy from Schindler's List would be a hit. Besides for each of those movies there is a Bullet to the Head, The Last Stand, Parker, Movie 43, Broken City, A Haunted House, Texas Chainsaw, Mama, Warm Bodies, Dark Skies, Snitch and that's only from this year. We're not going to see big changes any time soon.
 
The only reason March and April are even used for big movies is the fact that they have Spring Break and Easter Break. Kids are out of school for at least a weekend. That's why it's usually action movies targeted towards teens are released then. Janurary and Feburary are usually the trash months. Studios jump their bad movies into these months because people don't see movies as much ten. Sure Star Wars and Taken are exceptions but the studio didn't believe Star Wars would be good and I bet no one would have pegged an action movie starring the guy from Schindler's List would be a hit.

I'm referring to the 1997 re-release of Star Wars... it wasn't tarnished by three subpar prequels by then. The first release of SW was Memorial Day weekend 1977.

And with the massive success of Taken, Fox did a wise thing by releasing the sequel in another off-period month. It was good counter-programming for the scary movies that usually pop up in October.
 
I'm not sure. A so-called "blockbuster season" is definitely marketable and considering younger audiences who are out of school with more chances to be marketed towards are still the key demographic, I don't think it will ever quite work out if you spread it.

True, but studios keep booking those prime spots years in advance. Occasionally production on one or two will lag or fall through, enabling the rivals to shift dates around and such.

What I'm referring to, primarily, are the franchise movies studios tend to slot in summer or November/December. Those are more lucrative, yes, but if they're big enough they can make money in slower months due to brand recognition. True, they're crippled by kids not being in school during most weekdays, but they'll turn out on the weekends.

A strong slate of films in March 2012 -- anchored by The Lorax, 21 Jump Street and The Hunger Games -- raked in the money. All three could've been summer releases, and they did just fine as spring movies. While spring break and Easter holidays did play a role, it was the appeal that brought folks out in the first place.
 
If anything weekend numbers wouldn't experience sudden drops from week to week. Good blockbuster films with little competition would be able to make decent coin. There's nothing wrong with a film slowly building it's box office, everything is about the opening weekend. The problem is there's this artificial period that's been created and over the years it's become increasingly crowded to the point of absurdity.
 
If anything weekend numbers wouldn't experience sudden drops from week to week. Good blockbuster films with little competition would be able to make decent coin. There's nothing wrong with a film slowly building it's box office, everything is about the opening weekend. The problem is there's this artificial period that's been created and over the years it's become increasingly crowded to the point of absurdity.

At least Disney and WB saw opportunity and started releasing big profile movies in March. It's done well for the titles that were appealing and able to secure an audience.

And yes, I agree that the movies wouldn't be hit with severe drops with each progressive weekend (unless the movie was bad or came right before a big film's release).
 

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