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Now is the Time to Go to the Movies!

February 24th, 2010

OK, folks. If you love movies, this is YOUR time.

The Academy awards are only a week and a half away. And everyone in Hollywood is looking for your business. Sure, you may not be a voting Academy member (and ballots are due in just a few days, so most Academy members have probably already voted), but even still, your dollars speak loud and clear to the studios, who are planning post-Oscar marketing campaigns to tout their winners – and their ‘underappreciated gems.’

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg: lots of films that went to video after their initial runs have returned to the cinema for that ‘special’ treatment afforded to Oscar hopefuls, like this year’s probable multiple Oscar winner, Kathryn Bigelow’s searing “The Hurt Locker,” as well as Tarantino’s revisionist WWII drama “Inglourious Basterds” and even arthouse fare like “The Young Victoria.” It’s part of a calculated investment by the movie powers-that-be to keep you in the theaters during this period, the traditional doldrums, which starts right after the first of the year (when Academy Award consideration changes over to the next season). That’s why you see lots of movie fodder simply sloughed off in the depths of winter, when kids are stuck inside or in school.

But there are gems, too. Conventional Hollywood wisdom suggests that it’s suicide to release a picture in February, but seasoned Hollywood vet and eminence grise Garry Marshall just scored the best February opening weekend ever, opening his “Valentine’s Day” to an astounding $70 million. Even if the film was unevenly reviewed, it did record business – and then its box office dropped off 73% in the following week. As it turns out, you CAN buy an opening weekend, you just can’t keep up with the payments… unless you’re “Avatar,” of course, which has earned $2.4 billion so far and shows little sign of stopping anytime soon.

So if your taste in films includes Oscar hopefuls, arthouse indies, or just plain popcorn movies, now is the time to go to the movies!

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