There’s a problem with going to the cinema in October. There’s nothing good showing. This is because we’ve hit the Halloween lull. September, or at least early September has the summer blockbusters that just weren’t big enough to actually make it into summer. November to Christmas has a lot of winter classics, as in films to watch because no one likes the cold and the rain, (although perhaps this is just a British thing. I’m sure this isn’t the case in America.) So you get the feeling that, in mid October, nothing good is going to come out.
For instance, Final Destination 5, which should really be in October due to its connection to death and the supernatural, was properly released UK wide back in late August. Perhaps the spectacle of the film has become so wondrous that it needed to be seen in summer, but far more likely is that the franchise has moved so away from any kind of emotion even remotely related to fear and no one can justify showing it in October anymore. Fair enough, but then you get Apollo 18 and Fright Night both released in September. Realistically, shouldn’t all of these films be released in October either on or the week preceding Halloween? Even if you’re expecting all audiences to be out partying while dressed as a sexy Joker or a zombie nurse, releasing the film the week before would still attract the right kind of audience. People like to get in the mood for an occasion before it arrives. A month seems excessive.
One might argue however, that pushing all these movies into October would just move the lull earlier into the year, like a huge cut to black after the summer months. I’d disagree because there are film which would probably benefit from coming out in September; those films with a blockbuster premise but just won’t draw a crowd against the big names like Harry Potter and Transformers. Films such as Johnny English Reborn, The Three Musketeers, Footloose or Real Steel could all have gotten much better publicity in September rather than October. I realise most of these films just came out within the last week and I’m currently complaining about the lack of good films. That is precisely the point however, these films aren’t good. They’re decent or alright. In a word, for the modern society, ‘meh’.
The problem is that even decent films could probably generate some interest if you show them at an appropriate time. Transformers feature duelling robots, as does Real Steel. Transformers was released in late August, so Real Steel could have picked up some interest from anyone coming out of Transformers and thinking that they liked the robot action genre. As it is, I’m fairly sure Real Steel is only going to bring in a bit of profit from children who are always excited about robots. The same applies to The Three Musketeers or Footloose. Pirates of the Caribbean came out quite early this year, since I expected it to get a more summery release rather than the late spring release that it did get. Releasing The Three Musketeers in early September could have picked up any of the lingering Jack Sparrow fans as well as any children looking for one more day out before school began. Footloose should have got a summer release based solely on the fact that dancing is more of a summer activity. I mean you can dance all year around, but it seems like it’d do well closer to summer.
So, I think a little bit of reshuffling of the film release schedule could possibly increase profits for a few film genres. Of course, if all you’re concerned about is awards, then you’re more likely to just throw a film when you can to make sure you’re in the running. Not to mention that other factors also enter into how well a film is received in cinemas. For instance, Scott Pilgrim verses the World was a great film but lacked any significant promotion, so when it came to watching it in the cinema, it only had about 12 people watching. On opening night, I should add. So, I’m not going to blame the time of the year completely for lack of interest in certain films. There are other factors to consider.
Not that any of those films interested me or I’d have been in the cinema this weekend. Instead, I’m opting to wait, because there are a lot of good films on their way. First of all is Tintin, which I expect to be amazing. Hopefully it can live up to that hype. November has a few interesting films, although I’m not sure if I’ll have the time to actually go see any of them. In Time features Justin Timberlake as an action hero in a setting where time is a currency. Imagine, if you can, Doctor Who meets Robin Hood; an eccentric hero that steals time and gives it to the poor and the needy. Justin Timberlake seems like a strange choice as an action hero though. There’s also the release of Wuthering Heights. Jane Eyre was released in September. Perhaps we’ll see The Tenant of Wildfell Hall in January?
December has the most exciting line up. The list includes Happy Feet 2, Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows and the English adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I imagine there’s a debate already about whether the adaptation will be met with the same acclaim that has been showered upon the Swedish version. I’m fairly certain that will do nothing to deter crowds however, and in fact may actually increase viewership due to the pure desire to compare the two films. So maybe I just won’t be in the cinema very much until December, although that’s not really down to choice. If the cinemas and the film companies want my money, they’re going to have to start filling up the middling months between summer and Christmas with some genuinely good films.