The winter months can be a risky time for movie releases. It's a period when a date change of just a few weeks can mean the difference between a packed screening and a theater where every audience member gets their own individual row. Don't believe us? The average total domestic box office gross for December releases over the past ten years is over $1.1 billion, whereas for January it's just $385 million.
This pattern is both reflected and influenced by the fact that studios tend to release their most important movies and biggest investments during more traditionally profitable months. For example, upcoming December releases include The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, whereas in January 2014 we'll be getting movies like I, Frankenstein and buddy cop comedy Ride Along.
One movie that has already been shuffled from 2013 into 2014 is George Clooney's World War II drama The Monuments Men, which was originally set for release in December but has since been delayed. Thanks to Sony's latest round-up of release date changes, we can now confirm that that the new release date for The Monuments Men is February 7th, where it will be cuddling up alongside The LEGO Movie. Also originally set for a February 7th release was RoboCop, the upcoming reboot starring Joel Kinnaman as the futuristic lawman, but that's now been moved back just five days to February 12th.
Meanwhile, David O. Russell's American Hustle just can't wait to get out of the gate, and has moved forward from its original December 25th release date to December 13th. Any changes that mean we'll get to see this title sooner are absolutely welcome; it's set in a world of 1970s con artists and features a stellar cast that includes Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner. Based on the most recent trailer, it might be worth watching for the haircuts and fashion alone.
Finally, spy thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit has been moved back from a Christmas Day release to the somewhat more remote and wintry date of January 17th, when it will also be getting an IMAX release. This means that it will be riding along with Ride Along, as well as animated family movie The Nut Job and found-footage horror Devil's Due. Despite the fact that January does tend to be a bit of a dismal month for movies, the one point this scores in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit's favor is that instead of jostling up against competition like Anchorman 2 and 47 Ronin it's now among the biggest releases of the otherwise sparse first month of 2014.
How radically do you think these changes are going to affect the box office results for these movies? Tell us in the comments which of these four - if any - you're planning to see this winter.
To recap, American Hustle is out first on December 13th, 2013, followed by Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit on January 17th, 2014, The Monuments Men on February 7th and RoboCop on February 12th.