Studios use August as dumping ground

The Baltimore Sun

I realize these are the dog days of August. But really, couldn't the major studios release at least one good film in the waning days of summer? Conventional wisdom is that studios put out their blockbusters in the summer, their Oscar bait in the fall and winter. Which leaves the end of August, around the time the kids head back to school, as some sort of movie purgatory. All the potential blockbusters have already been released, and everybody knows that it's a sin to release a potential Oscar contender before Labor Day.

So what are we left with? The Nanny Diaries? Mr. Bean's Holiday? Illegal Tender? September Dawn? If it weren't for Rocket Science, an independent film that's been sitting on the shelf most of the year, and Samuel L. Jackson's performance in Resurrecting the Champ (the only bright spot in an otherwise forgettable film), this week would be a total bust. Pretty remarkable, given that seven films are being released. (That includes Jet Li in War, which wasn't screened for critics).

One good film out of seven? That's not much of a batting average, even for Hollywood. Temperatures are supposed to head back into the 90s next week, so wouldn't it be nice if the movie studios gave us an excuse to spend time in a nice, air-conditioned theater?

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