summer movies

Is This Really a “Summer Movie Season for Women”?

If Hollywood had its way, it’d just be summer all damn year around — which is why one of the most anticipated franchise movies of the season opened on April 4, and why Vulture is doing a big “summer movie preview” this week, when it was literally snowing in their home base of New York City like a week and a half ago. Anyway, said preview includes a rather hopeful look at “a Summer Movie Season for Women,” showcasing a handful of movies made with, for, and even (in a couple of cases) by women. Is this finally the Bridesmaids revolution we were promised, um, four years ago? … Read More

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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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