31 October 2011

War of the Months: October

Welcome once again folks to War of the Months, NMW's year-long assessment of the best and brightest movies that have been released each month. As the wind is blowing, leaves falling and little unloved bastard children go door to door soliciting candy while the final hours of October tick away, we take a look at this 10th month of Ghouls and Goblins.

October: Terrortown Month

October is generally an awful month at the movies. After all, there are a lot of other distractions like Football Games, school and Halloween to think about. There isn't a whole lot of reason to go to the movies. That said, there are some really quality films that have emerged from this month, but typically they're niche enough to avoid any serious box office bank.

October Dinero: Ghost in the Closet

There isn't a whole lot here. October has the second worse aggregate box office of the year, only beaten in futility by September. The greatest October ever was 2009 on the backs of such dynamos as Couple Retreat, Where the Wild Things Are, Zombieland and Michael Jackson's This is It. There was also the sleeper Paranormal Activity that really beefed up the bank of this month.

Since then October has really been saved by Paranormal Activity. The most recent sequel grossed $52,568,183 for the biggest October weekend ever. Other great weekends in this horrible month are taken by Jackass 3-D (2010), Scary Movie 3 (2003) and Shark Tale (2004). Ouch. There are plenty of other Horror Movies, of course, such as Paranormal Activity 2 (2010), The Grudge (2004), Red Dragon (2002) and High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008). These flicks are obviously only intended for the brave of heart.

Before Paranormal Activity secured October it was really pushed on the back of the Saw franchise, and before that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003 and 1974 versions actually), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) and stretching back further you've got all the Halloween movies, but curiously no Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street has ever been an October release. Needless to say, when a month banks on Horror, it's not going to be breaking many records. Horror is profitable for studios because they're cheap to produce and the best tend to be culturally iconic (leading to a lifetime of merchandising) but the money isn't going to be made in theaters.

October Quality Control: Somehow Excellent

With all this said, there is actually many great October Films out there. It's really right on the eve of Oscar Season and so there's easildy a few that slip in there among the all-time greats.

#10: Reservoir Dogs - 10/23/1992
#9: Leaving Las Vegas - 10/27/1995
#8: Fight Club - 10/15/1999
#7: Glengarry Glen Ross - 10/02/1992
#6: Training Day - 10/05/2001
#5: The Prestige - 10/20/2006
#4: The Terminator - 10/26/1984
#3: The Social Network - 10/01/2010
#2: The Departed - 10/06/2006
#1: Pulp Fiction -10/14/1994

Other notable films released this month include Good Night and Good Luck (2005), Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003) (Quentin cleans up this month), Mystic River (2003), Meet the Parents (2000), American History X (1998) and even First Blood (1982). It's also interesting to point out that Clerks (1994) was released within weeks of Pulp Fiction and Kevin Smith owns October with Mallrats (1995) as well.

This is also an insane month for cult hits, including Zombieland (2009), Across the Universe (2007), Primer (2004), Donnie Darko (2001), Being John Malkovich (1999) and Boogie Nights (1997). Finally this month is home to two Trey Parker creations, Team America: World Police (2004) and Orgazmo (1998) as well as three of my all-time personal favourite films, My Name is Bruce (2008), Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005) and Jackass: The Movie (2002). Yep. Like I said, October isn't going to get a lot of money at the box office, but there are a ton of good movies that have come out of this month, most that no one has ever really heard of - exactly what cripples its dinero.


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