There are several calendar dates throughout the year where studios rush to release all their big tentpole films in an attempt to maximize on the number of people who will see them, and each date corresponds with a major U.S. holiday – Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Christmas.
Films released during Memorial Day and 4th of July usually open on the exact dates of those holidays, while films being released for the Christmas season begin showing up in theaters anywhere from ten to fifteen days before December 25th.
Some of these films are highly anticipated and draw in millions of viewers, generating obscenely large box office numbers (think Avatar), while other films only have moderate expectations. Then there are the failures - the films so bad, so ridiculously inept, that one wonders how they ever got the green light and funding to begin with.
We've gone back ten years to look at every film released within the Christmas Movie Season, and we've sorted those films as if they were presents under our Christmas tree: Awesome Gifts, Practical Gifts, Stocking Stuffers and Lumps of Coal.
Just so you know where we are coming from, here’s an explanation of each type of"gift" in our list:
Awesome Gifts – The movies in this category are like those gifts we’ve all wanted so bad that we lied to our friends when we didn’t get it, just so that we would still look cool. It’s the equivalent of finding a Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii or 46” plasma TV nestled gently under the decorated Douglas fir.
Practical Gifts – The movies in this category are like those gifts we get from grandparents and those strange aunts who pinch our cheeks – stuff like socks, undershirts and underwear. These aren’t necessarily bad gifts - we use and enjoy them - but just like the movies in this category, we weren’t looking forward to getting them, but ended up liking them regardless.
Stocking Stuffers – The movies in this category are like extra little surprises we weren’t expecting to find on Christmas Day. They are good enough to enjoy throughout the day and possible a short time after, but soon we forget all about them and they end up in a pile of used presents for years to come.
Lumps of Coal – The movies in this category are so bad that they make you feel like you did something wrong all year long to end up on Santa’s naughty list. Just like a lump of coal sits there adding nothing of value to your gift pile, so to do these movies – they’re utterly worthless.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (12/22/00)
Cast Away (12/22/00)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (12/22/00)
Lump of Coal
Dude, Where’s My Car? (12/15/00)
Lord of the Ring: Fellowship of the Ring (12/19/01)
The Royal Tenenbaums (12/14/01)
Lump of Coal
Not Another Teen Movie (12/14/01)
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (12/18/02)
Star Trek: Nemesis (12/13/02)
Lump of Coal
The Hot Chick (12/13/02)