Actually, the backward sliding of blockbuster season would have been of some benefit to me and my boyfriend twelve years ago. We got together on this day in that year, but we didn’t have a first date for another month or two. The first movie we saw together was Bringing Down the House, the best of the dismal movie selection at the time. Since I’m pretty sure that date coincided with the Pagan festival of Beltane, looking at the calendar for the year shows that people having their first date that weekend this year can go see Age of Ultron. Which is a lot better.
Every year, for our anniversary, my boyfriend and I celebrate by trying to find something to do. Last year, we were fortunate in that one of the theatres in our area was screening The Wind Rises, and that was nice. We could have seen Muppets Most Wanted last year, too, so there was actually a choice. This year? Since my boyfriend doesn’t like Rear Window for reasons, we’ve got nothing. And it’s raining, so we can’t even go to Tumwater Falls or something. A combination of Hollywood and our own climate have let us down.
It’s a challenge. It’s a challenge every year. And it’s a challenge because of the cycle of the movie year. He and I happened to start our relationship during Bad Movie Season. This is the time of year when Hollywood mostly releases dregs that it doesn’t expect to do very well. There are excellent reasons for the cycle of the year, but it’s still kind of a drag for us.
Interestingly, perhaps, I think of Bad Movie Season as beginning the movie year. “This probably won’t do very well; throw it on the screens in February” seems to happen a lot. Yes, I admit that Silence of the Lambs was a March release; that was a fluke. Most late winter/early spring releases are so dire that I can’t even think of an example off the top of my head. Look around you, though.
With May comes Blockbuster Season, and this makes sense. People are starting to go to the movies more often. It’s starting to get hot, and people have been programmed since the ’30s to go to the movies for air conditioning. Around here, a lot of people still don’t have any at home, too. So when it gets hot, we go watch big, dumb movies full of explosions. We can’t think anyway, and now, we don’t have to!
As the summer wears on, people seem to want to take advantage of the sunny weather while they can, as they are becoming aware that it won’t last. Also, kids are starting to go back to school earlier and earlier, it seems to me, and why waste a ton of money on movies that are going to play to empty theatres all through the weekday? So August and into September seem to be Failed Blockbuster Season, the movies that the studio doesn’t have a lot of hope for. Guardians of the Galaxy was a surprise; I believe that the studio didn’t expect it to do well, and they were basically hoping for teenagers who didn’t know what else to do with their afternoons. It’s just, you know, it was good and people liked it. But when a movie I’m looking forward to gets pushed into August, I get suspicious.
September begins Prestige Movie Season. Or Oscar-Bait, if you prefer. It trickles at first, and by November, especially in major markets, it’s a flood. Some of these movies are also pretty bad, too, but you always have a choice of good ones. For a wide range of tastes, even.
Family movies? Mostly summer and Christmas releases, for the two times of year when they figure families go out to the movies. Especially when kids aren’t in school.
So yeah, my advice to those starting new relationships, based on twelve years with my boyfriend? Wait a couple of months. There’ll be things to watch in May.