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C'mon Hollywood: Spread out your Oscar fare!

02.12.2013

If you’re anything like me, then you find it exceedingly difficult to catch every single movie you want to see in theaters, especially during the Fall/Winter Oscar season. As the actual ceremony approaches, I often find that I’m still way behind on catching all the contenders, which can be a little infuriating. And the thing is, it’s not about the Oscars at all, because I could give a f*ck about Hollywood rewarding itself. My only true concern is catching what is considered to be the crème de la crème of movies. The problem is that Hollywood is in such a rat race to win awards that they choke their best contenders down our throats all at once, rather than spreading them out throughout the year, giving everyone an ample opportunity to catch them all.

Let’s think about what we are typically bombarded with throughout the year, which has become a predictable cycle of films timed like the seasons of the year. From January through March we’re hit with the dumping ground; Hollywood clears its catacombs of rotten corpses and fetid crap, leaving a barren wasteland of movies that once clung to life, but died a slow death and sit, stripped of hope and filled with celluloid despair. Basically, all the garbage they don’t know what to do with is saddled up with fingers crossed that maybe one of them will make a few nickels to rub together. And we’re expected to take that gamble, because, well, what else are you going to see?

April through August the summer movie season starts to trickle in, slowly, then building to a crescendo of big-budget, big-name vehicles of CGI spectacle; capes, spaceships, fast cars, big muscles, gigantic creatures, and pouty-lipped damsels in distress, all delivering the popcorn-munching extravaganza that is the summer movie season. We all love it, pine for it, and mark our calendars by it. It’s the season that revolves around all others. Yet, even for all it’s grand marvels, only a few ever escape as something memorable, while the others usually act as passing distractions, like a travelling carnival show, easily forgotten.

As August dies a slow death, we are ushered into one of the most worthless months at the box office, September; a holding pattern for the Oscar season fare, which hits in October and rolls all the way through December, with many catching up in wider releases in January. One would think that four months is ample time to catch them all, right? Not a chance, especially when they save up to release the biggest and brightest right smack dab in the middle of Christmas, many of them rushed there in limited screenings just to make the Oscar grade. For anyone that doesn’t have any combination of a job, family, obligations, and a decent amount of scratch to cover the trips, this is a non-issue. When I was 19 I fit that category nicely. But, you’re only 19 once and times change, and every aspect of your life with it.

The point, dear readers, is that this is bullshit. Now, you could easily just call me a “whambulance” and call it a day, but I think many of you will agree. The box office has settled into a “seasonal” box office, and has been this way for a long time. Hollywood following weather patterns, holiday patterns, and spending patterns; it makes sense, right? It’s easy to see why January is slow, as most of us have drained our bank accounts to put presents under trees or the like. But, I think that there’s plenty of space left in most of our wallets to catch one or two good movies during that month. After all, we’re just playing catch up by then, anyway, as the award season pics are finally being released where you don’t have to belong to an academy or critics’ venue to see them. The same can be said for February, March, September, and every other gap that usually houses crap. For those of us that take movie watching at a level much higher than your average viewer, this is an important issue. No one likes the wait. It’s painful and often insulting. Worst of all? It’s unnecessary.

What is to stop Hollywood from releasing some of their better fare during these “off” months? Rather than saving them to win statues, why not put them out to reap some box office and fill an otherwise dead month with something worth seeing? And the argument that “Academy voters” may forget about films released early on is bogus, as the majority of them get screeners. And even with that in their court, many have confessed to never seeing most of the films up for an award. How bogus is that?

Personally, I’m fed up with getting shouldered with dried up dogshit in these “off” months for the sake of Oscar season (or any “season” for that matter). It not only keeps me from seeing great films year round, but also makes my trips to the box office during that time a sad affair. As a movie geek and aficionado of film, it’s a clog in the pipe of the movie-going experience and one of many reasons box office is suffering (next to rude patrons and overpriced/low-quality concessions). It’s a very simple solution. Hollywood needs to slow its roll and give us an even spread of choices. There’s no predicting the box office; absolutely no science to back it up. So, take some risks. There’s no reason we can’t swap an ARGO for THE LAST STAND in January or any number of combinations out there. Give the audience a chance to see the goods year-round, rather than cramming for them all at once like homework.

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Extra Tidbit: Well, let's hear it. Are you content with the way movies are scheduled or would you like to see better selections throughout the year rather than in "lump sum" amounts?
Source: JoBlo.com

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12:24AM on 03/20/2013
Early August always has the better well made movies. Almost like the summer blockbusters that have the artistry of a Oct/Nov/Dec movie. IE Drive, Looper. Also they're never going to completley spread out the Oscar fare becuase all the old farts of the Academy will forget anything that is released before August!
Early August always has the better well made movies. Almost like the summer blockbusters that have the artistry of a Oct/Nov/Dec movie. IE Drive, Looper. Also they're never going to completley spread out the Oscar fare becuase all the old farts of the Academy will forget anything that is released before August!
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12:06PM on 02/13/2013
I've recognized this for a while now, and hoping that it'll change, but it doesn't.
I've recognized this for a while now, and hoping that it'll change, but it doesn't.
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9:05AM on 02/13/2013
That calendar is pretty hilarious. I'm going to use it as a reference as to when to see films from now on :)
That calendar is pretty hilarious. I'm going to use it as a reference as to when to see films from now on :)
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4:32AM on 02/13/2013

It's simple

Oscar fare gets released at the end of the year in the US but in the rest of the year they might not come out until late March / early April. The Academy Awards are an advertisement for these movies.
Oscar fare gets released at the end of the year in the US but in the rest of the year they might not come out until late March / early April. The Academy Awards are an advertisement for these movies.
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+7
2:58AM on 02/13/2013
I almost completely agree with you in every way. The only thing I'm not with you on is the month of August. Early August usually has some big blockbusters....it's late August that has the crap.
I almost completely agree with you in every way. The only thing I'm not with you on is the month of August. Early August usually has some big blockbusters....it's late August that has the crap.
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7:10PM on 02/12/2013
I literally just wrote something very similar to this for school two days ago. It is bullshit that I get the summer and possibly some of the later part of the year to be a fan, but the rest of the year I have to sit and wait or go see something average just to to keep my spot in the theater warm. You hit a bulls-eye.
I literally just wrote something very similar to this for school two days ago. It is bullshit that I get the summer and possibly some of the later part of the year to be a fan, but the rest of the year I have to sit and wait or go see something average just to to keep my spot in the theater warm. You hit a bulls-eye.
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+3
3:02PM on 02/12/2013

On the Money

You're preaching to the choir and spot on with this one, brother. Even today I tromp off to something that excites me (not!) just to say I went to the movies this week. Pathetic.
You're preaching to the choir and spot on with this one, brother. Even today I tromp off to something that excites me (not!) just to say I went to the movies this week. Pathetic.
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+3
12:36PM on 02/12/2013
Silence of the Lambs was released in a February. Fargo was released in a January. I know those are exceptions but once in a while the Academy does remember early year films. Other then that, I mostly agree with the article.
Silence of the Lambs was released in a February. Fargo was released in a January. I know those are exceptions but once in a while the Academy does remember early year films. Other then that, I mostly agree with the article.
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12:22PM on 02/12/2013
I've become accustomed to the schedule enough that it's hard for me to imagine it otherwise. Except for those occasions when they decide to try something different. I think back to "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", which was released in February, and was still one of the best movies of 2004, even nabbing Best Screenplay. A more dark horse example was the January release of "In Bruges," which was my favorite movie of 2008, and did succeed in landing Colin Farrell a Golden Globe, even if
I've become accustomed to the schedule enough that it's hard for me to imagine it otherwise. Except for those occasions when they decide to try something different. I think back to "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", which was released in February, and was still one of the best movies of 2004, even nabbing Best Screenplay. A more dark horse example was the January release of "In Bruges," which was my favorite movie of 2008, and did succeed in landing Colin Farrell a Golden Globe, even if it got one solitary nomination for Original Screenplay.

I don't know that I'd argue for changing the Summer schedule up too much. Often there's a March release that tries to capture some of those same blockbuster dollars ("The Hunger Games", "John Carter," "Watchmen"), but summer and super heroes just kind of fit together (also alien invasions, dinosaurs, space operas, and the like). Where they go wrong is lining up big releases within a week of each other, or actually going head-to-head.

I would probably be more eager to see movies more often if they spread the good ones (not just independents) out throughout the year. As it is, minus the catch-up I play up to and after the awards season, I've been waiting until summer to even go see theatrical movies. Last year I think the first movie I saw theatrically released in 2012 was "Moonrise Kingdom."
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12:16PM on 02/12/2013

In the immortal words of Red Letter Media

Fuck you! It's January!
Fuck you! It's January!
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12:07PM on 02/12/2013
I totally agree with this article. Look how many movies were delayed like Gi Joe & how movies Like Last Stand, Bullet to the Head & even a Die Hard movie are scheduled in January & February.Is it fair that the 2 former movies BOMBED when they starred the 2 biggest actions of our generation? To be honest I could care less about awards season & I may get many thumbs down but I thought 2012 was a very weak year for movies. I think if a movie like Lincoln were to win BP & Actor & director, then
I totally agree with this article. Look how many movies were delayed like Gi Joe & how movies Like Last Stand, Bullet to the Head & even a Die Hard movie are scheduled in January & February.Is it fair that the 2 former movies BOMBED when they starred the 2 biggest actions of our generation? To be honest I could care less about awards season & I may get many thumbs down but I thought 2012 was a very weak year for movies. I think if a movie like Lincoln were to win BP & Actor & director, then my argument is valid. I doubt it but I want Argo to win BP instead. Hollywood never listens anyway & thats part of the reason why I rarely go to the theatres any longer or maybe I am just showing my age.
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12:26PM on 02/12/2013
I'm with you on Argo. But while Sly and Arnold were the two biggest action stars of their generation, this is no longer their generation.
I'm with you on Argo. But while Sly and Arnold were the two biggest action stars of their generation, this is no longer their generation.
+8
12:05PM on 02/12/2013

Word

Occasionally January and April seem to get some of the gems (Oscar-bait or otherwise). Hell, we got The Grey last year in January.

Kick-Ass was a March release a couple years ago. Didn't 300 come out in March or April back in the mid-2000's?

Either way, there's an audience for good releases in those months. Are they all hits? No. But goddamn it give it a try.
Occasionally January and April seem to get some of the gems (Oscar-bait or otherwise). Hell, we got The Grey last year in January.

Kick-Ass was a March release a couple years ago. Didn't 300 come out in March or April back in the mid-2000's?

Either way, there's an audience for good releases in those months. Are they all hits? No. But goddamn it give it a try.
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10:55AM on 02/12/2013
Summer movies benefit from a summer context. Movie-goers know that summer movies are sometimes style over substance and that summer movies should not be compared to Oscar fare. Occasionally, a Saving Private Ryan or an Inception is fine. Perhaps, October should have some horror fare, nicht wahr? As for the rest of the year, movies should not have specific seasons. I wish too that the best pictures were not all released at the end of the year. Hollywood does not even have a great business model
Summer movies benefit from a summer context. Movie-goers know that summer movies are sometimes style over substance and that summer movies should not be compared to Oscar fare. Occasionally, a Saving Private Ryan or an Inception is fine. Perhaps, October should have some horror fare, nicht wahr? As for the rest of the year, movies should not have specific seasons. I wish too that the best pictures were not all released at the end of the year. Hollywood does not even have a great business model by such machinations. As you mention, a great movie prospers greatly when released amongst the January and February material. Everyone wants to see the good movie when nothing else is great at the cineplex. And, people want to have a variety of viewing experiences. I know that I do. Sometimes, a B-movie is great. Sometimes, an artistic achievement filled with A-listers is the perfect offering.
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10:44AM on 02/12/2013
I"m actually okay for movie showing schedule nowadays. In Summer, I can expect to see numerous action blockbusters and enjoy the summer. However, and this is just me, don't show Oscar movies in summer but spread them out throughout the year.
I"m actually okay for movie showing schedule nowadays. In Summer, I can expect to see numerous action blockbusters and enjoy the summer. However, and this is just me, don't show Oscar movies in summer but spread them out throughout the year.
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