Holiday movie glut tries to satisfy studio appetites
By Paul Vercammen
Web posted at: 8:25 a.m. EST (1325 GMT)
In this story:
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks, John Travolta, Meg Ryan, Robin Williams and a chatty pig: It must be time again for the annual holiday movie glut.
Moviegoers in the United States and Canada spent almost $280 million at the box office during Christmas week alone last year, according to Exhibitor Relations, a box office research company.
And U.S.-based movie studios on average have done about 17 percent of their annual business during the holiday season, from around Thanksgiving through New Year's Day, according to the company.
Studios naturally want a piece of that financial action. Then, consider that Oscar season is just around the corner.
The combination amounts to a kind of Hollywood twist on Darwin.
In this version of natural selection, the goal is to generate big audiences, and fast. Otherwise, the species is headed for extinction in theaters -- and into the afterlife on video shelves.
Consider the potential just on Christmas Day, when a cluster of big-star, big-budget movies debuts, including:
Simple math might suggest there are simply not enough moviegoers to make all of the holiday releases a hit.
What's more, the Christmas Day movies must contend with holdovers also timed to snare a share of seasonal spending. They include:
The late year movie-mania isn't just about money. It's also about a date: December 31, the release deadline for eligibility for next year's Academy Awards.
Some of the movies hoping to survive the great holiday shakeout may also legitimately dream of some award-season recognition.
The year-end deadline also inspires the release of a number of relatively small-budget movies in which people talk in English accents, wear lace and/or battle physical or emotional hardships.
This year's big-dreams brigade includes:
In one of the ironies of seasonal abundance, the sex and drugs of "Hurlyburly" will likely show up in at least some of the same cineplexes as peppy bugs, talking pork and other children's fare.
The crowded holiday marketplace reserves plenty of screens for freely spending youngsters on vacation. Several movies are calling their names, including:
We'll stop there, though your local movie listings may go on longer. Suffice it to say, the next several weeks will bring a gigantic hodgepodge of children's movies, Oscar hopefuls and blockbuster wannabes.
But it may take moviegoers through Valentine's Day to catch up on sleepers and find the hidden jewels overlooked during the end-of-year holiday hype.
Back to the top
© 2000 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.