“Shrek 4” won the box office this weekend. It’s the third straight week that movie has reigned supreme, yet it feels like “Shrek” has dominated more by default than anything else. Deadline notes June film grosses are already lagging way behind last year, and it’s easy to see why, given the movies that have already come out. Thus far, the June release slate has felt like an August release slate, complete with expensive video game epics no one asked for (“Prince of Persia”), horrific family comedies based on comic strips (“Marmaduke”) and so much less.
So why is this? Why is Hollywood struggling right now, in June, their peak season? Well, we can blame three things. First, the movies. They’re crummy. Second, let’s also blame May. We all know that the summer movie season now unofficially begins in the first weekend of May now, as opposed to Memorial Day weekend. Ever since “Spiderman” grossed over $100 million during it’s opening weekend in early May at the beginning of the decade, May has now virtually stolen all of June’s thunder.
Now, you might think to yourself, “Well, just because they release cool movies in May doesn’t mean they can’t in June. Shouldn’t we be getting a whole extra month of cool summer movies now that May is in the mix?” And the answer to that question, of course, is NO. Hollywood can only exert so much effort, people. You can’t honestly expect them to give you quality movies YEAR ROUND, can you? All they have access to is a deep pool of acting and directing talent and billions of dollars in capital. YOU try making five great blockbusters a year with just that to work with.
Kidding aside, studios only have so much in the budget for one year. So anything they spend extra in May has gotta come from somewhere. And that’s how you end up with a Katherine Heigl/Ashton Kutcher vehicle released in June.
Next weekend’s big releases are the remakes of “The Karate Kid” and “The A-Team,” which means you get a full weekend of warmed-over 80’s leftovers. Ah, but there IS hope for you, young moviegoer. Go ahead and circle June 18th on your calendar. Yes, I know “Jonah Hex” comes out that day, and it looks putrid, but that’s the day “Toy Story 3” also arrives to reboot the summer season. A week later comes “Knight And Day” for the three people that still take Tom Cruise seriously as an actor, and then comes “Eclipse” a week later, if you’re into that Twilight stuff. Then July is here and we get “Inception” on the 16th, and all will be right with the world.
So do not despair, movie geeks of the universe. This summer may seem off to a sluggish start. But the blockbusters will be returning soon. And thank goodness for that.