Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Attention spans > seasonal appropriateness

A person in one of my film discussion groups on Facebook noted today that the February 23rd DVD release date for The Good Dinosaur seemed to serve as a particularly swift response to its underperformance at the box office. As you might imagine, the discussion that followed revealed that a three-month journey to video was pretty typical these days.

That led to the larger discussion of delays that violated that ever-shrinking three-month window, and I brought up Christmas movies. Last time I noted it, Christmas movies were still taking more like ten months to arrive on video, the thinking being that you want to have your big video unveiling at a time when people are actually thinking about watching Christmas movies.

That, too, seems to have changed.

I gave as my example the fact that I expected The Night Before not to release on DVD and BluRay until late October or early November. I had to provide an addendum to that comment when a quick internet search revealed March 1st as the date for its video/digital release.

It's a depressing concession to a reality we have willingly acknowledged elsewhere in our lives: Any particular phenomenon's window is extremely short-lived, and if you don't capitalize on that window, it will just disappear into the ephemera along with everything else we pause on for a moment before discarding.

Not that The Night Before is worthy of gaining a solid foothold in our cultural legacy. It was a disappointment. And even though some people in my audience were laughing, I don't see them collectively conferring the movie a new-classic status. Movies like Elf only come along infrequently. Elf was 13 years ago, and we're still waiting for something else like it to really captivate our hearts.

But I sort of liked the past scarcity of the Christmas movie. If you missed it one Christmas, you had to wait until the next one -- at least upon its initial release. It was like egg nog in that way.

Given what else I know about our society, I'm kind of surprised you can't actually get egg nog year round. Sure, it would make it less special, but what do its manufacturers care? If it meets a craving, people will buy it. And if that craving were being satisfied by something else, you'd think egg nog purveyors would take note and take corrective action.

I don't really have a point, I guess. If I sound disappointed by what I've learned today, it's probably a small case of devil's advocacy. More than anything it's just interesting to note that the thinking has changed on this topic. I don't usually follow these types of things, but I'll try to make a note of how The Night Before sells on video (physical and digital) when it releases on a date when most people symbolically start to think about spring -- which is actually the first day of autumn in Australia. (They change their seasons on the first of the month in the southern hemisphere -- Lord knows why.) More likely, I'll forget to do that.

More than anything, I just wanted to get a new post up so that Zac Efron and Robert DeNiro would not continue to greet the visitors to my blog.

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