summer movies

Why Is Labor Day Such a Terrible Weekend for Movies?

Guardians Easily Tops Weak Labor Day Releases” goes the headline over at Box Office Mojo, which is a bit redundant if you’re the kind of movie geek who gets weirdly hung up on release dates — as your film editor is — since it’s hard to remember a Labor Day that wasn’t filled with “weak” releases. It’s one of the true oddities of the business of summer movies; every year, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July (OK, maybe not the Fourth this year, but usually!) are staked out months, maybe years in advance for high-profile blockbuster hopefuls, and the starter pistol for the summer season comes earlier each year (Captain America: The Winter Soldier opened in April; Batman v Superman recently shuffled its opening date to March). So why, year after year, does the summer go out with a whimper instead of a bang? And with so much hand-wringing over the steep dip in revenues this season, shouldn’t the studios be looking to expand their weirdly collapsed summer? … Read More

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‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Gremlins’ at 30: A Requiem for the Special Effects-Heavy Comedy

We tend to think of the releases of iconic movies as standalone events, like the world came to a crashing halt so everyone could go stand in lines around the block for Star Wars or Jaws or Jurassic Park. But the movies are a business, and rare is the week that doesn’t see multiple releases, which can make for some interesting juxtapositions. (True story: the big movie on Star Wars opening weekend was supposed to be Smokey and the Bandit.) Most of the time, such competition falls into the realm of counter-programming, which was what made June 8, 1984 so peculiar: the two new wide releases of that day were both pitched towards the same general audience, the families-and-teens crowd that had become the bread and butter of the summer movie business. Both would open well — only separated by about a million bucks — and would end up the second- and fourth-highest-grossing movies of the year. More importantly, both would remain beloved pop culture classics, buoyed by a uniquely ambitious mixture of genres that is seldom attempted today. The films were Ghostbusters and Gremlins, and they both turned 30 years old yesterday. … Read More

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25 Summer 2014 Movies You Need to See

Though we’ve barely put away our parkas here in NYC, summer movie season is apparently underway, since there’s now a new Spider-Man movie playing on basically every vertical surface in the country. It could be argued that “summer movie season” began a month ago, when Captain America: The Winter Solder came out, because Hollywood is stuck in a PERPETUAL COMIC BOOK TENTPOLE BLOCKBUSTER SUMMER, but I digress. Let’s not fight it; here’s our look at 25 of this summer’s most promising releases, big and small. Plan your vacations… Read More

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Will November’s Diverse Blockbusters Kill Hollywood’s Teenage Boy Obsession?

It was a very big Thanksgiving weekend at the American box office. In its second weekend, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire brought in $109 million, beating the five-day Thanksgiving record set by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Meanwhile, Disney’s debuting Frozen did a bang-up $93 million in the same time frame, itself setting a record for the biggest Thanksgiving opening ever (a mantle it nabbed from Toy Story 2). Neither record comes as a surprise; these were big, widely marketed movies from a tentpole franchise and cinematic brand name, respectively. But they had something in common: both were films with female protagonists, and their massive grosses were driven by female moviegoers. “That’s box-office Girl Power,” notes The Wrap, and if the word choice is cringe inducing, the sentiment is spot-on. … Read More

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What Did Hollywood Learn From This Summer’s Box Office? The Wrong Thing, Probably

Headline from The New York Times magazine, September 3, 2013: “Hollywood’s Tanking Business Model.”

Headline from Box Office Mojo, September 3, 2013: “Summer 2013 Sets New Record with $4.76 Billion.”

Compare, contrast, discuss. … Read More

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Here’s Some Charts to Make You Sad About Movies

Hey there, reader! Feeling sad about how awful most of the big summer blockbuster movies have been? How about the… Read More

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Guess What: Hollywood’s ‘Bridesmaids’ Revolution Never Happened

Hey, remember back when Bridesmaids came out, and everybody was all, “It’s your social responsibility to support female-driven comedy,” and then it was a hit, so yay for funny ladies? And then The Hunger Games came out, and everybody was all, “It’s your social responsibility to support a female-driven blockbuster,” and then it was a hit, so yay for lady ass-kickers? Well, as it turns out, none of that mattered a lick, because according to a study released yesterday by the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, female representation in popular films is at its lowest level in five years. So thanks for nothing, Hollywood. … Read More

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Flavorwire’s Endearingly Exhaustive 2013 Summer Movie Preview

It’s the first weekend in May, so you know what that means: there’s a new Marvel movie in theaters, and the summer movie season has officially begun. It’s a tricky minefield to navigate, rife with sequels and reboots and sequels and adaptations and sequels, but Flavorwire is here to help: our summer movie guide takes you through the entire season, month by month, spotlighting the films that might be worth seeing (Might! Maybe! No promises!) and delicately averting your eyes from the certain dogs. Take a deep breath and put on your 3D glasses; here we… Read More

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