The sweltering heat is still in the air and the rain is staying away, refusing to cool down the earth. Shorts and t-shirts are still the normal attire, and the music from the ice cream truck still rings up and down the streets from time to time. The swimming pools are packed to the brim on the hottest days, and the smell of steak and chicken cooking on the barbeques wafts in the air. But the sun is starting to set earlier and earlier. No longer does it stay up past 9 o’clock. Slowly but surely, the sun will continue to go down until the evening will be nothing but darkness. The summer sun is starting to creep away, and soon the season will begin to change.
It’s the end of August, and the cinemas are starting to look like it too. The blockbuster films like “Iron Man 3” and “Man of Steel” have come and gone, and films that never would have been released a few months before are rolling out because of the lack of competition. There are a few promising titles, like “The World’s End,” “You’re Next,” and “The Butler,” but films like “The Mortal Instruments” and “We’re the Millers” are usually the type of quality films released during this time (if you can’t tell, those films aren’t supposed to be that good).
Why does Hollywood always seem to have a cutoff point with their big movies in the summer? It’s true that Hollywood releases more blockbuster films later on, but history has always shown that the least monetary and lesser quality films come out at the end of the summer. Why is that? Mostly because of one big thing: School.
According to the Motion Picture Association of America, in 2012 the 18-24 demographic was 21% of all moviegoers, and the 12-17 demographic was 15% of all moviegoers. That is a big chunk of the market, and a huge majority of those people will be going back to school. There won’t be as many patrons during the day because their attendees will not be available.
Going back to school doesn’t only affect the educational system; it affects almost everything. Families can’t go out to see a movie together during the weekday anymore. Amusement parks which attract a wide variety of families usually close up during the week as well because of a lack of interest.
So why would Hollywood release their A-plus material when the rest of society if focused on getting back to school and work? They wouldn’t. That’s why the weaker films will show up during this time of the year. There was less investment put into most of the films being put out at this time, and a smaller opening-week yield like $10 million won’t really affect the film’s chances of making a profit.
So while the scholars go back to school, the rest of society gets to basically avoid the cinemas because of the lack of quality. It’s a business, after all, but that doesn’t mean you have to like it.