few days ago I posted a snarky piece about Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix
moving its release up two whole days wherein I posited that it was merely a
harbinger of things to come as summer films are increasingly under pressure to
use gimmicks to squeeze every last dollar in their opening frame. Nobody wants
to be the behemoth that can’t break records, and since there are probably
vagrants who head into public libraries on Sunday afternoons to log on to Boxofficemojo to get the
weekend estimates way ahead of everyone else at the shelter, opening gross
appearance is everything – even to
regular Joes. Sad, but true.

Michael Bay’s Transformers was
scheduled at a seemingly perfect date – The Fourth of July. That it was a
Wednesday this year seemed to suggest it was destiny for the bombastic
filmmaker to enchant American audiences in search of a summer blockbuster that
truly satisfied after lots of nice tries in the month of May. Then suddenly, the
film officially jumped up a day to open on Tuesday, July 3, thereby scooping my
joke about Spidey 4 doing the same in 2011 (Also, for those offended by my
“black people talking to the screen/Wednesday opening” joke in that article, I’m
sorry……that you don’t have a sense of humor. The fuck you think this is? MSNBC?).
So, “Transfans” who preemptively took the day off now have to eat even more
time off from work. But before you get to rescheduling your vacation days, get
this: Now comes word that special showings of the film to the public actually
start Monday, July 2.

far, the only word is that these are night showings, so we don’t know if we’re
talking the standard midnight flavor, the 10PM model, or even the newfangled
8PM joints (The most likely of the three). Hell, Michael Bay’s a trailblazer…why not have theaters synced to
start their projectors at dusk? It seems that whatever silly ideas you have for
when films can come out will probably become reality soon enough. The traditional
wisdom not so long ago was that films set the release dates for these
blockbusters in stone years in advance to secure a non-competitive summer
weekend and to maximize “synergy” between the film, the marketing department,
and all of the related BS like videogames, toothpaste, and what have you. You
get all the ducks in a row, and then you make the money. Now, opening massive
seems to trump all, and we’re moving to a point where release dates are mere
suggestions rather than proclamations. It’s a shame as I think the immovable
start date is part of what makes an event film…well, an event. I can understand
wanting to squeeze every last drop out of an opening, but might I suggest you
start with trimming these bloated nigh 3-hour “extravaganzas” masquerading as
coherent sequels? An extra showing a day keeps the disappointed beancounters away.