I always love the Fall, not for the changing leaves, not for the weather, and not for the chance to show off my sweater collection. I love the Fall because it's the best movie season of the year. The months from September to December is when all the distributors bring out their smart, adult, critically favored, award season films. The summer is left to the kids and the action blockbusters, but over the next few months is when all the Oscar contenders will be released. UP IN THE AIR, WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS, THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR PARNASSUS are just a very few of the smart, cool, quality looking pictures that I'm looking forward to seeing over the next few weeks.
I have always assumed, and I believe it's conventional wisdom in the industry, that these kinds of films come out at the tail end of the year in order to remain in voters minds come Oscar ballot time, which is immediately in the new year. The thinking is that any film that comes out in the early part of the year will be forgotten and overlooked compared to the more recent offering, regardless of it's artistic merit. Aside from it being a sad commentary on the shortness of our memories I'm wondering if this is entirley true. I'm taking a leap here and turning to the educted readers of MR for their feedback, but I wonder if like the proven business observation that when a second carpet shop opens beside the first it's competition, when a third opens it becomes the carpet district and is good for all of them. Is there something about a grouping of similarly aimed films coming out all at once, even from competing distributors, that increases the box office for all as opposed to having them spread out evenly throughout the year? I know I'm drawing a parellel between geography and the calendar, and perhaps that's a classic apples and orange mix, but I can't help but wonder if creating a film 'season' is not conferring a benefit to all the films that are released in this period.