Putting the scare in summer movies
June 30, 1998
NEW YORK (CNN) -- As summer heats up, moviemakers are looking to make big profits with a mix of blockbuster extravaganza and old-fashioned thrills.
James B. Meigs, editor in chief of "Premiere" magazine, says there's a method to summer movie madness.
"If you want to get viewers, put your movie out when people are going to the movies; that's the summertime. In the fall, you have maybe fewer distractions for a serious movie, but you have fewer movie-goers too," Meigs says.
Each season traditionally offers a genre-friendly environment for films to open, with summer being the time of year for blockbuster openings and December offering feel-good fare.
Last December, however, the makers of "Scream" and "Scream 2" turned things around.
"Releasing 'Scream' over Christmas certainly gave the kids ... something to see," Meigs explained, adding that movie executives are figuring out their audiences need a mix of the old and new.
He said executives think baby-boomer kids "are going to want to see something besides 'The Truman show' (this summer) and I think bringing out a Halloween sequel in the summer makes a lot of sense for that reason."
In fact, summer spookfests are popping up all over in hopes of competing with the mass demand for teen appeal. From high schoolers exhibiting some "Disturbing Behavior" and vampires rooming the night in "Blade," there's no end to the horror movie spin-offs.
"What we're really seeing this summer is the continuing rise of the attempt to do successful counter-programming, not just by bringing out a horror movie or some of these other sort of lower budget film against a big blockbuster film, but also a lot of independent films are coming out for the summer," Meigs says, pointing to "High Art," "Smoke Signals" and "Hav Plenty."
Whether it's a small love story or a mad man with an ax, there are big scares going into this summer's blockbusters.
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