The strange habits of Hollywood when it comes to the release of holiday films was brought to my attention by some readers of both this column and the “Tower Heist” review.
I was initially going to wait until December to talk about this, but since Hollywood isn’t going to wait, I shouldn’t either. Besides, the movie reviewers here at The Globe will undoubtedly be writing about these releases at some point in the near future.
In Hollywood, there are two major seasons in which film companies can mine for their box office gold in earnest with the highest chances of success. These two seasons are the summer season and the holiday season.
During these two time periods, companies target the largest demographic, the American movie-going family. If you recall, entries in some of the largest franchises have been released either in the summer or during the holidays. The most notable examples of this are the “Lord of the Rings” and “Harry Potter” franchises.
As you may have noticed throughout the years, waiting until December (or at least until after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade) was apparently difficult for the companies that sought to make some serious cash off of the holiday season, so one after another began airing their yuletides earlier and earlier. It’s now to the point that they don’t even wait for Halloween to pass anymore, but I digress.
This has become the pattern of Hollywood companies, which now release their high budget Christmas-themed films the week before Thanksgiving instead of the week after or even the week of the holiday.
There are many of us, myself included, who find this practice deplorable, if not at least annoying. However, the industry isn’t swayed by the voices of the masses, but rather by the dollars that proceed to burn holes into our wallets. While many of us wait until the appropriate time to see these films, which by that point have been pushed into discount theaters, there are just as many people who go to see them on opening day. This tells the film companies to continue with the practice because they can make more money. The trailer for the upcoming “Arthur Christmas” was released during the summer if that’s any indication.
I mentioned earlier how this trend isn’t only applicable to the holiday season. Recall how most of the horror films made this year didn’t come out in October, but instead were released in late August and throughout September. Kind of strange, don’t you think?
Let me play devil’s advocate for a minute. These trends may be frustrating and purely motivated by greed, but it pains me to say that they aren’t entirely illogical. I’m not endorsing the practice by any means, but the fact that it persists means that in some capacity, it works. The only recommendation that I can give is that you speak to industry in the only language it seems to understand: the language of money. To paraphrase a saying relayed to me by a professor here at the college, when you pay to see a bad movie, you’re telling Hollywood to make more of them.
To continue letting readers have a say in what I write, if you have any questions about the film industry, the filmmaking process, or the history of both, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who knows, your question may be answered next time on The Weekly Reel.