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When Did Summer Movie Season Start in Early May? [Archive] - DVD Talk Forum
 
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View Full Version : When Did Summer Movie Season Start in Early May?


Dr. DVD
04-27-12, 08:12 PM
I seem to recollect through most of my youth that the major summer releases would either start on Memorial Day or the Wednesday before. Now it seems the first weekend in May is when it begins. I am not certain, but I think the first blockbuster to start this trend was Twister back in the summer of 1996. It opened on May 10th, which also happened to coincide with a lot of colleges finishing finals. I remember meeting up with some old high school friends to watch it after we had finished our first year of college.

Is this when it started, or does it date back farther?

PenguinJoe
04-27-12, 08:17 PM
Summer movie season actually started in December of 2011 this year with Hugo, MI:4, Sherlock Holmes 2, Tintin, and Chipmunks 7 or whatever number it was.

Artman
04-27-12, 10:00 PM
I am not certain, but I think the first blockbuster to start this trend was Twister back in the summer of 1996.


First one I thought of, but some since then have made the first wknd the new standard. Same thing with the first wknd in August suddenly becoming viable with the release of Signs (Sixth Sense didn't open as big).

My Other Self
04-27-12, 10:09 PM
May has always been the start of summer movie season for me. May - end of July, with August usually reserved for the lesser ones.

Rockmjd23
04-27-12, 10:12 PM
Wait, John Carter didn't start off the summer blockbuster season this year? ;)

The Bus
04-28-12, 03:19 AM
<b>Iron Man</b> led the way with early releases recently, but you're right in saying <b>Twister</b> opened early. I remember leaving HS in the middle of the day after an AP test to see it.

It's only fair because studios don't want to get into the dilemma of having two big blockbusters on the same weekend, and most people won't see a movie a week after the other, so even back-to-back weekends are rare for four-quadrant films.

What I don't understand is why August is reserved for lesser films. This made a lot of sense back in the day when movies stayed in theaters for months, but not now when most films are out within the month. I wouldn't release a tentpole on Labor Day, but there's room in August, I think.

The Greengrass-helmed Bourne films seemed to do OK in late July/early August.

Jam Master Jay
04-28-12, 06:14 AM
I remember The Mummy in 99 and Gladiator in 2000 kicking off Summer with that first week of May release date but can't remember any other movies before those ones.

Geofferson
04-28-12, 03:33 PM
^ Those 2 first came to my mind as well.

PhantomStranger
04-28-12, 04:02 PM
What I don't understand is why August is reserved for lesser films. This made a lot of sense back in the day when movies stayed in theaters for months, but not now when most films are out within the month. I wouldn't release a tentpole on Labor Day, but there's room in August, I think.
Most of the East coast is on vacation in August. People on vacation are not watching movies for the most part.

My Other Self
04-28-12, 04:04 PM
Most of the East coast is on vacation in August. People on vacation are not watching movies for the most part.My thought was since the West Coast tends to start school the first week of August is that there's a lot of lost revenue. Kids in high school won't be going to the movies as much then.

Mr. Cinema
04-28-12, 07:45 PM
It'll be April eventually. Captain America 2 has a release date of April 4, 2014.

Based on the huge success of The Hunger Games, we may start seeing more blockbusters in March as well. The Matrix and 300 were also March releases that were big hits. Oz: The Great and Powerful has a March 8, 2013 release date.

Michael Corvin
04-28-12, 09:51 PM
I think the first blockbuster to start this trend was Twister back in the summer of 1996. It opened on May 10th, which also happened to coincide with a lot of colleges finishing finals.

I actually did a paper on this back in school around that time. I could have sworn it was something in 1994 or '95 but looking at those years, nothing is popping out at me. Twister might be it.

Pizza
04-28-12, 10:32 PM
Studios want to get a head start with their blockbusters. Things quickly get jammed up and more competitive by June.

Supermallet
04-28-12, 11:10 PM
It'll be April eventually. Captain America 2 has a release date of April 4, 2014.

Based on the huge success of The Hunger Games, we may start seeing more blockbusters in March as well. The Matrix and 300 were also March releases that were big hits. Oz: The Great and Powerful has a March 8, 2013 release date.

March has definitely been earmarked by studios for big releases now. WB especially thinks it's golden after they had the aforementioned hits in that month. But really, what determines a hit is if people want to see the movie. WB released Sucker Punch in March and it tanked because it sucked major donkey balls.

fumanstan
04-28-12, 11:35 PM
Most of the East coast is on vacation in August. People on vacation are not watching movies for the most part.

Do East Coasters all just pick August as their vacation month or something?

My Other Self
04-28-12, 11:40 PM
Do East Coasters all just pick August as their vacation month or something?I grew up on the East Coast and I don't know one person that went on vacation in August. Most friends, family, etc. went in July or during other parts of the year like Thanksgiving and Spring Break.

bluetoast
04-29-12, 12:01 AM
Yeah, I doubt the vacations play a factor, most of America is out of school in July, and that has some huge movies. It's not like everyone goes collectively at once, or stays in like it's the snowstorm of 2009.

Drexl
04-29-12, 12:20 AM
Die Hard with a Vengeance opened on May 19, 1995. That might have been the first one before Memorial Day weekend.

Crimson Tide opened a week earlier, but I don't know if I count that one.

Michael Corvin
04-29-12, 08:03 AM
Die Hard with a Vengeance opened on May 19, 1995.

But still past the halfway mark of the month. So not "early" May. :)

Dr. DVD
04-29-12, 08:37 AM
Actually, I think one might make an argument that Crimson Tide started it on May 12th of 1995. Two weeks before Memorial Day weekend. The next year was when Twister came about. Also, Top Gun opened on May 18th of 1986. However, I think it was limited and went nationwide on Memorial Day. FWIW, I seem to remember Jerry Bruckheimer saying that Top Gun never reached #1 on the weekly tickets sales report, it just managed to hang around for a while.

Troy Stiffler
04-29-12, 10:08 AM
Well, we now have Christmas starting in late October. Give the people what they want!

bluetoast
04-29-12, 10:48 AM
Which was kind of stupid because then you have Harold and Kumar practically out of theaters by mid December.

Shannon Nutt
04-29-12, 02:03 PM
Thanks to THE HUNGER GAMES, it may be March soon enough. Fine with me - I'd love to see "blockbusters" spread out more throughout the year. Seems silly anymore to have to wait until Summer and/or Christmas for a "big" movie.

Dr. DVD
04-29-12, 04:03 PM
Thanks to THE HUNGER GAMES, it may be March soon enough. Fine with me - I'd love to see "blockbusters" spread out more throughout the year. Seems silly anymore to have to wait until Summer and/or Christmas for a "big" movie.


I notice that movies that come out during the softer periods like March or October tend to become blockbusters by way of maintaining their popularity over a longer time due to less competition. The summer sees one coming out just about every week and Christmas tends to have them all playing simultaneously, which this past year led to a lot falling between the cracks.

Shannon Nutt
04-30-12, 02:49 PM
I notice that movies that come out during the softer periods like March or October tend to become blockbusters by way of maintaining their popularity over a longer time due to less competition. The summer sees one coming out just about every week and Christmas tends to have them all playing simultaneously, which this past year led to a lot falling between the cracks.

Yes...it's true that there's less competition. However, the main reason Hollywood releases their "tentpoles" in the summer and during the Holidays is because that's where they think they can maximize their profit. I'm not sure that's true anymore - it might be even LESS true, since - as you noted - there's usually another potential blockbuster coming the next week - if not the same day of release.