Intelligent films all at end of year

The Gripe

The Buzz

October 06, 2006|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,Sun Movie Critic

Martin Scorsese's The Departed opens today. Next week, we get Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland. The week after that, The Queen with Helen Mirren opens.

Finally, the good stuff.

But was it really necessary that we wait so long? Couldn't studios release good, intelligent, adult-oriented movies throughout the year, rather than cramming them into the last third?

Hollywood's pattern has been repeated over and over recently: With few exceptions, the first third of the year is for movies the studios have little faith in, the second third for big-budget potential blockbusters that are heavy on action, the final third for the more cerebral films that are likely to get Oscar consideration.

Would it be too much to ask that the different types of films be spread out more evenly? Aren't audiences as interested in compelling cinema in February as in November? Who made it a rule that summer must be reserved for high-octane fare? Who decided that summer audiences don't want to think? And do Oscar voters really have such short memories that, come January, they can't recall any movies that opened before September?

Such segmentation doesn't seem like a good thing, for the industry or for its customers. Movie audiences, regardless of their demographics or their preferences, deserve something to see throughout the year, not for just a portion of it.

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