This week is historically proven to be cursed for new blockbusters - here are some of the worst offenders
Looking back over the last two decades, this has NEVER been a good week to release a new movie.
There used to be certain rules about releasing blockbusters.
If you wanted them to make loads of money, you released them in the summer.
If you wanted them to get loads of Oscar attention, you released them in the winter.
Seemed simple enough, until Titanic was released in December and went on to make all of the money and win all of the Oscars. Ditto for Avatar, Harry Potter, and the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, all making serious Christmas-time bank.
Meanwhile, some heavy Oscar-magnets like Boyhood, Get Out and even Mad Max: Fury Road have proved that all bets are off when it comes to deciding the best time for a cinema release in order to get the most awards.
However, even as every other tried-and-tested rule crumbles, one seems to remain steadfast:
Big blockbusters released in mid-May invariably end up being some of the worst of that summer, if not some of the worst blockbusters of all time.
Don't believe us? Then travel back in time with us, to this exact week, two decades ago...
TWENTY YEARS AGO - 20 MAY 1998 - GODZILLA
Initially released as a big, ballsy take on Jurassic Park: The Lost World - the first teaser featured the giant lizard's foot stomping through the roof of a museum and crushing the skeleton of a T-Rex, and that teaser was shown in front of screenings of The Lost World! - it ended up becoming the benchmark for everything that can go wrong in a blockbuster when the people involved are a little bit too unbearably smug.
Clip via BreadCrustCouncil
The writer/producer/director team of Independence Day took the formula that worked there, and tried to apply the same thing here. Smart guy knows something bad is happening, nobody believes him until it is too late, small versions of the big bad thing attacks, big explosions save the day.
Except... Matthew Broderick is no Jeff Goldblum as the nerdy day-saver. Jean Reno is no Will Smith as the charming army guy. And can you even remember the name of the actress who played the plucky reporter / love interest? We're betting you can't, because we couldn't. (Her name is Maria Pitillo, and she hasn't been in a movie since 2000.)
The director would go on to have a on-again-off-again relationship with success, with the highs of The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 matched equally by the failures of 10,000 B.C. and Independence Day: Resurgence.
FIFTEEN YEARS AGO - 21 MAY 2003 - THE MATRIX RELOADED
After the still-amazing-ness of the first movie, everyone was VERY excited about the sequel. And then we got to see the sequel. What was the point that you knew it had all gone to shit? The Zion orgy intercut with Neo and Trinity getting their bone on? The first video-game fight with Agent Smith that somehow looks like it has worse special effects than the first Matrix movie, despite that one coming out FOUR YEARS earlier? Or did you somehow make it all the way to the end, only for the Sci-Fi KFC Colonel to bore you to death with the world's most syllable heavy sentences?
"It is interesting reading your reactions. Your five predecessors were by design based on a similar predication, a contingent affirmation that was meant to create a profound attachment to the rest of your species, facilitating the function of the one. While the others experienced this in a very general way, your experience is far more specific. Vis-a-vis, love."
Clip via 1RiotKing
What? No. Stop!
Still, it had that amazing car-chase scene, and it is still WAY better than The Matrix Revolutions...
TEN YEARS AGO - 22 MAY 2008 - INDIANA JONES & THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL
After what was arguably a perfect trilogy (don't @ me, people have grown to love Temple Of Doom over time), it felt like this franchise had been correctly allowed to gather dust and die with dignity. However, Harrison Ford hadn't had a box office hit in a while: Air Force One in 1997, then What Lies Beneath in 2000, then a string of expensive duds.
So clearly some favours were called in, as was Shia LaBeouf, swinging monkeys, nuked fridges, and aliens from the fourth dimension.
Clip via Movieclips
Despite not being very good it has a shockingly high score of 77% on Rotten Tomatoes, and despite everyone claiming to hate it, it still made over $785 million at the box office.
There is no accounting for taste, which is why Indiana Jones 5 is due for release some time in 2019. (Quite possibly the middle of May...)
FIVE YEARS AGO - 24 MAY 2013 - THE HANGOVER PART III
The Hangover made $467 million. The Hangover Part II made $587 million. So of course they had to make a third one, because that is an INSANE amount of money for comedies to be making.
From the get-go, though, there were problems. Firstly, the second one wasn't great, primarily because it was just smugly repeating the same jokes from the first movie, except slightly louder. (What does that remind us of...?)
So where could they go from there? Well... they ended up making the threequel to the hugely successful comedy into something that could barely be considered a comedy, and almost came out the other end as an incredibly dark and depressing drama.
Clip via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Fans were already sceptical after the less-than-impressive first sequel, and when they got their eyes on this one, they reacted appropriately, by simply not going: The Hangover Part III made just $362 million at the box office, and a Rotten Tomatoes score of just 21%, almost exactly one quarter the score the first movie made.
SO WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR 2018 AND THE FUTURE?
Well, potentially nothing. Solo is the big release this week, released in cinemas on 24 May, but despite the huge background noise in the movie eventually making it to the big screen, it does currently have 71% on Rotten Tomatoes, and because it is a Star Wars movie, it is all but guaranteed to make a ton of money.
The rule of this particular week being a guaranteed dud doesn't seem hard and fast - this week in May 2017 saw the release of the deplorable Tom Cruise action vehicle The Mummy, 2016 brought the already forgotten about, Megan Fox-starring TMNT sequel, whereas 2015 brought the surprise hit San Andreas - but 2019 is a different story, as that week will see the release of John Wick: Chapter 3, as well as the new live-action, big-budget take on Aladdin.
Watch this space...