In the fallow period between “summer blockbusters” and “winter Oscar contenders” are the two periods of spring’s “maybe, with the right ad campaign, we can turn a profit on this dog” and autumn’s “well, it’s time for the horror flicks to come out”.
But then I started to wonder… has it always been this way? Surely there was a period where Hollywood didn’t know what it was doing and would release big movies in February and Oscar movies in July… Has autumn *ALWAYS* been the splat season?
So I got me to Wikipedia.
The first five Halloween movies were released in October… and look at those dates! The first two were released the weekend *BEFORE* Halloween. The next two were released to give an additional weekend before Halloween. (Note to self: if ever writing about the phenomenon of “when did (non-Christmas holiday) turn from being something that you’d look forward to for a week into something that you were aware of for a whole freaking month?”, use Hollywood film marketing as an example.) Only the slightest bit more of restraint with Halloween V at the beginning of October but, after that, the deluge. September, August… give the kids months to enjoy the splat film in the theater.
Nightmare on Elm Street does something somewhat similar in that the first two movies came out in November but, get this, Nightmare III came out in February before returning to form by doing the August/September/October thing. (Huh. The Nightmare reboot that was seen as a disappointment came out in April… maybe that had something to do with it being disappointing?)
So then I looked at Friday the 13th movies and saw something that surprised me. These were overwhelmingly spring movies. Part III was originally released in August but re-released a few short months later in May, bringing it in line with its brethren where the first five movies were all March, April, or May. (I’m guessing that the studios didn’t have a whole lot of faith in them… as evidenced by the rest of the Friday the 13th movies’ release dates just being thrown haphazardly at the calendar.)
By the time we get to the Saws, though, we’re fully in “well disciplined” mode. The earliest one was released on October 23rd, the latest one released on October 29th.
As for this autumn, it looks like we’ve got IT coming out to be part of the festivities of this year’s Grand Guignol along with a smattering of Annabelles and Chuckys to run with our “creepy doll” nightmares and, looky there, the weekend before Halloween has “Jigsaw”, the latest in the Saw franchise, coming out.
And I look back on Friday the 13th’s release schedule and ask “what were they thinking?”
So… what are you reading and/or watching?