This past weekend, three new movies came out in wide release: Sinister 2, American Ultra and Hitman: Agent 47. All of them, on balance, got poor reviews. All of them made less money than expected, which wasn’t even all that much money in the first place.
Readers: WELCOME TO HELL.
Around this time of year is when major studio releases begin to—to use proper entertainment journo parlance—suck balls. It happened gradually this year, withFantastic Four, the most meh of the summer’s superhero movies, farting its way into theaters two weeks ago, followed a week later by Straight Outta Compton, which actually made more money than expected. A lot more. Think Hollywood will wise up and start putting out movies with more diverse casts, if only from a Machiavellian sense of practicality? Nah. Me neither.
Anyway. The reason late August-through-September sucks is that summer’s over and the kids are back in school, but studios’ major awards season boners don’t start really popping until October, which is when the more “prestige”-y movies start to come out. Between October and December, if you listen very, very carefully, you can the riotous clanking sound of Harvey Weinstein humping the mailbox of every Academy member in the greater LA area.
Hollywood’s love of hardware is why January sucks, too—the previous year’s period of Oscar eligibility is up, but no one will remember January movies when it comes time to nominate for this year, and in general audiences are still catching up on Christmas releases anyway.
September and January—and, to a lesser extent, February and March—are notorious for being dumping grounds, months where studios release shit that they know won’t do well, but the movie’s in the can and they have to put it out sometime, so whatever. (See: Dragon Blade, September 4th). That “rule” has started to change, as studios have gradually begun to spread out their more promising releases beyond the summer and award season blocks.