If you have been paying attention to entertainment news lately, you are probably aware that the 50 Shades of Grey movie is coming out this week, in conjunction with Valentine’s Day. It seems like every year, cheesy romantic comedies are released on or around the same time as the holiday. In 2012, it was The Vow; in 2013, it was Safe Haven, and last year it was Endless Love. Just five years ago, the movie Valentine’s Day, featuring a celebrity-packed cast was released. This year, the film is a bit darker than previous years, but it is still expected to be a hit.
What effects will the release of a hyper sexualized movie like 50 Shades of Grey have for the holiday that it has not had in past years? Many people, especially older generations, blame media and Hollywood for the younger generations distorted views of romance and relationships. 50 Shades of Grey features a masochistic relationship, and by releasing the film on a day that traditionally centers around love and the giving and receiving of gifts, it brings a different light to Hollywood’s views on love and romance. According to the theory of Media Ecology by Marshall McLuhan, media profoundly influences society, and has an effect on human perception and understanding. If this is the case, then the release of 50 Shades of Grey could have an impact on how moviegoers perceive and understand Valentine’s Day, and relationships in general.
This isn’t the first example of the content of the movie not matching the traditional themes of the holiday. Christmas Day is an example of big movies hitting theaters on a holiday. However, the movies released on Christmas Day are often action movies, which are seemingly unrelated to the holiday. Is there an advantage to releasing a movie on a holiday? Perhaps it’s easier to create advertisements around memorable dates. Maybe these holidays are a time that people expect to spend time with their families and loved ones, and seeing a movie together is the perfect way to do that. Either way, it seems that the trend of advertising high-profile movies around a holiday is here to stay. Do you think this helps increase profits? Let us know in the comments!
-Mallory Brayman, Kelli Hall, Morgan McCleaf
Great point about the movies released on Christmas not necessarily keeping in theme with the Christmas spirit. I wonder if Valentine’s Day is a bit different because I doubt a movie detached from romantic love would choose to open on a holiday centered around affection. Perhaps isn’t important how love it is portrayed, but that a romantic relationship is the central theme. Valentine’s Day guarantees more couples will be out and looking to spend money. 50 Shades is very different from the average romantic comedy which might appeal more to men, and sell more tickets. (Sex still sells). That being said, the media controversy surrounding 50 Shades of Grey and the representation of a healthy relationship is extremely interesting and could be another post all together!
I had never thought about how Christmas movies, do not seem to follow the theme of the holiday, but it is very true. I wonder if Christmas is such a broad holiday and many people have different traditions, it is harder to cover all that. Valentines is just romantic like actions and not much more. 50 Shades of Grey is interesting time of “romantic” love, but sex does sell always! I think it being released around Valentines, just increased the sales of the tickets. I think this point made is very interesting without the controversy of the movie.
I think movies aren’t as worried about their them fitting the holiday because it makes them more subjective and able to attract an audience outside of who i celebrating christmas, easter, halloween, etc. It seems there are less and less people who go through decorating their houses and having “traditional” christmases so maybe people don’t want to be overwhelmed by the idea of christmas spirit. The holidays are one of the few times of year that everybody is off work, home from school, and not as busy. It is a great opportunity for the family to get together and go see a movie, this is why I think it is a great idea to release movies near a popular holiday season because you know people are sitting at home and are less busy. Valentines day is in it’s own category seeing how many people spend ridiculous amounts of money because of the syncretism.
I definitely think that the date you release a movie matters. Usually on holidays, loved ones get together and they wanna spend time together and do activities and a lot of Americans like going to the movies. That being said, I don’t believe you can release just any old movie around the time of a major holiday. I think the movie needs to be something already popular with America (based off a book..amazing cast..etc). It’s a smart business plan to release those popular movies, though. In my opinion you’d make a lot more money releasing it on a holiday than a random day in the year.