08 April 2011

War of the Months: April

Well, it's the second Friday in April so that of course means that it's time once again for War of the Months, our year-long look at the biggest, best and loudest movies of each month of the Human Year. This is Springtime now baby, and let me tell you, April is a crazy month. Do you know how many deaths and catastrophes have occurred in April? We've got the birth (20 April 1889) and death (30 April 1945) of Hitler, the Columbine Massacre, the suicide of Kurt Cobain, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and President Abraham Lincoln, the beginning of the Rwandan Genocide, the sinking of the Titanic, Chernobyl and the first shots of both the American Revolution at Lexington and the American Civil War at Fort Sumter. Most of this can be seen on this neat quiz here. With all this crazy shit going on, who has time to go the movies?!

Well, no one.

April: Month of Eggs

They're at it again...again!
For a really long time April was this absolutely terrible month for cinema. It was the calm before the Summer Storm and no studio wanted to blow its load in April. Especially you know, with all this tragedy the best they often put out was White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf (1994) and 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain (1998). Ouch. This trend actually continued for the most part unabated until studios started grabbing at a longer Summer Release schedule and started plopping films that may have failed otherwise in the Sun Months as a bit of a warm-up during April. April is sort of like March in this way but it's way spottier, generally has more comedies and when films do well nowadays they're not really moved around in order to capture lightning in a bottle twice.

Lately there has been some big hits like Fast & Furious (2009) and Clash of the Titties (2010) but typically it's a terrible month for quality movies. Well, these are also terrible movies but at least they have some studio support and could potentially be tentpole films. Whereas January and February have traditionally been these dump months for terrible films and March loves the Halfbuster, April has all these really random movies that don't really have a place any other time in the year. Take 1997 for instance where we saw the release of Anaconda, Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion and Volcano. Yep. It's all sort-of good films that aren't absolutely terrible but are pretty awful.

April Bank: Growing Dinero

Truly changing the future of 3-D

Basically all of the Top 10 April Weekend Releases have been in the past two years. There are some exceptions (At one point, The Scorpion King [2002] had the record for the Highest April Box Office Ever. Ouch) but generally this is because April has evolved into this Summer Warm-Up rather than Random Month. The studios have grown more purpose in the past few years in their release schedule, which is really handy while writing this blog.

Anyway, the aforementioned Fast & Furious is April's reigning champ with a $70,950,500 opening weekend. You can check out the rest of the list here, none of which are surprising. There are some comedies like #3 Anger Management (2003) and #4 Scary Movie 4 (2006) as well as edgier flicks like #7 A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) and #10 Sin City (2005) as well as the Random-As-Fuck films #8 Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009) and #9 Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too? (2010). Really besides Fast & Furious and Clash of the Titties, April is an atrocious month, its average opening in the Top 10 is above only September and January.

The best April Box Office Ever was 2010 on the heels of a string of high profile films like Clash of the Titties, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Date Night and Kick-Ass. 2009 was similar with but 2008 was dismal. As you can see, it's one of the worst on record. In terms of our derby April is the worst yet - that 2010 gave a respectable $752,592,389 but April's average is far lower and 2008's dip below $500 million is pathetic.

Best Movies Ever Released in April

For all its Box Office Atrocities April actually has some decent flicks, mostly cult comedies, some just personal favourites. I'm not sure whether or not to rank Shaun of the Dead (2004) which was released in the UK in April but September in the US and likewise Harry Brown (2009) which was released in November in the UK and April in the US. AND toss in Exit Through the Gift Shop which had a US release in April and March in the UK. Let's just say all these movies are great and move on. Also take in how many great flicks 2004 had:

#10: The Girl Next Door - 04/09/2004
#9: Kill Bill Vol. 2 - 04/16/2004
#8: Hellboy - 04/02/2004
#7: A Mighty Wind - 04/16/2003
#6: American Psycho - 04/14/2000
#5: Observe and Report - 04/10/2009
#4: Friday - 04/25/1995
#3: Forgetting Sarah Marshall - 04/18/2008
#2: Adventureland - 04/03/2009
#1: Mean Girls - 04/30/2004

Honourable mentions around to Josie and the Pussycats (2001), Bad Boys (1995), Hot Fuzz (2007), and Field of Dreams (1989). Other significant films from the month include Grindhouse (2007), Identity (2003), and United 93 (2006). Among the cult comedies I mentioned include Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay  (2008), Stick It (2006), Malibu's Most Wanted (2003), National Lampoon's Van Wilder (2002), The Sweetest Thing (2002) Joe Dirt (2001) and PCU (1994). Also I wanted to point out two films from my childhood, The Sandlot (1993) and Beethoven (1992). Yeah, with that big doggie. Woof.

So that's April. Pretty shitty. Next up is May...which will be ridiculous. Go mourn some anniversary.

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