Tahlequah Daily Press

April 9, 2014

Summer means blockbuster films, DVD releases

By SEAN ROWLEY
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Warmer weather in the coming months means people will spend more time outdoors, but not all their time.

The summer blockbuster is now a staple of American culture, and every major motion picture studio tries to release at least one film that turns a monstrous profit.

The term “summer blockbuster” entered the entertainment lexicon in the late 1970s.

Many call “Star Wars” from 1977 the first summer blockbuster, but others argue “Jaws” fit the description in 1975.

Today, the term can be pejorative, describing a CGI-fest employing young flavor-of-the-year actors in unchallenging roles. The 18 films that have grossed $1 billion usually have a budget of at least $200 million, are sequels, are sci-fi/fantasy and feature comic book heroes. The Disney film “Frozen” has earned $1 billion and is still in theaters.

But the belief that summer blockbusters stink is undeserved. In a typical summer, most box office hits receive at least mild critical praise. Bad films bomb. People don’t want to blow through $100 taking the family to a dreadful movie.

There are many films coming out this summer which are highly anticipated by movie-goers. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” “Godzilla” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” are generating buzz.

On Facebook, Jenny Senters Conner wrote, “How to Train Your Dragon 2 comes out in June! My family loved the first one, so hearing about the sequel is exciting.”

A second fallacy about blockbusters is that studios only release them in the summer.

It is now standard practice to produce films intended to draw massive receipts year-round.

Such efforts are evident in the excitement generated around Blu-ray and DVD releases. Some movie buffs look forward to summer releases of films that were in theaters 3-6 months ago.

Shannon Grimes said he wanted to buy, “The LEGO Movie. Everything is awesome.” The Lego Movie was released nationwide on Feb. 7.

“Captain America and Divergent should do really well,” said Shane Perry, manager at Reasor’s Video. “A lot of people are asking about God’s Not Dead, which I think is the big surprise among recent releases. It earned more than $8 million while being shown in just 780 theaters.”

While several titles are anticipated this summer, Perry said release dates often change.

“‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’ was scheduled for a May release, but they pushed it to June,” he said. “‘Robocop’ is schedule for June. It didn’t do too well at the box office, so I expect it to stay in June. But a film might do well overseas, which might cause the studios to push the release to a later date. Release dates are switched around on us all the time.”

Perry encouraged customers to find out when their favorite films will be released on  DVD.

“We can include copies in our orders that they can purchase,” he said. “We just need some advance notice before we order - about two weeks before the release.”

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

To see a list of summer films that are expected to hae success at the box office, go to www.tahlequahTDP.com.

srowley@tahlequahdailypress.com