Editorial: What Is It About Summer Movies?...
Camp Void, our Summer Void series, is back in theatres for the first time since 2019 starting this Monday, and will run through the end of July. You can check out our full programming list and get tickets right here. Summer movie season holds a special place in most film fans' hearts, and in ode to that, Void Marketing Manager Eddie Gurrola spent some time examining why.
What is it about summer movie season that seems so magical, or has at least left such an indelible mark on me?
Without trying to sound dramatic, and without really consciously spending a whole lot of time on the topic, I could argue this is a question I’ve been spending my whole life trying to answer. And as we’re gearing up here at Cinematic Void to launch a brand new season of summer programming for this year’s Camp Void, our first in-theatres since 2019, it seems like now is the time to work through this mystery.
Maybe it’s simply a matter of the movies themselves that come out during the summer. It’s no secret that Hollywood tends/tended to pick the more fun, casual, and “popcorn” type flicks for the summer. But is that the whole story? Every summer of films really does feel like it’s part of its own class, which The AC so brilliantly highlighted with the 1982: The Summer of Movies series it put on last month. When you look at that class, it’s shocking to see how many classics that have stood the test of time were released in one three-month span. But is that all there is to it? How about the one-two combo of MARTIN LAWRENCE: RUNTELDAT (the theatrically-released concert movie) and Clint Eastwood’s BLOOD WORK, released a week after each other in August of 2002? Neither are classics, and neither necessarily needed to be released during the summer. But they still feel like summer movies to me. Hmm…
The Class of August 2002
Maybe it’s just the fact that the days are longer during the summer, and the weather is warmer. The combination of more time during the day and warmer nights makes us feel more active and relaxed, and that’s the secret sauce behind this wizardry. In 2021, my favorite summer-movie experience ended up being a late-night screening of STILLWATER, starring Matt Damon. I saw it on a weeknight at a mostly empty 9:30 PM screening, by myself. I don’t even know why I ended up there, but I’m glad I did. Why did I enjoy it so much? Because it made me feel like I was watching one of those “summer adult drama/thriller” movies that used to come out like THE CLIENT, THE GENERAL’S DAUGHTER, or early Damon-starrer COURAGE UNDER FIRE.
The "Adult Drama/Thriller" Summer Movie, revived last year (perhaps accidentally) with STILLWATER
Is it a sense of nostalgia from schooless seasons, or the active sense of freedom and vitality that comes from still being casually out and about at 10 PM on a weeknight, that’s working the wonders here? As a certified cinephile, it’s hard for me to look outside a filmic template to analyze film, but damnit, it looks like it’s necessary to get to the bottom of the magic here. What do we do during the summer, besides go to the movies? We go outside. (When we’re younger) we go to camp. We go to fairs, carnivals, and amusement parks. We hang out late at night with friends. We get stalked in the woods by creatures.
So maybe that’s why the movies that are honored to be released during the summer, whether it’s a “summer” summer movie like JAWS, or a bomb in disguise slotted into an August release (here’s looking at you, CAPTAIN CORELLI’S MANDOLIN), still feel like one big family, or one big sub-genre, regardless of what the movie actually is. It’s because we experienced them during the time of the year when we felt most alive. That must also be the reason why they're so damn special.
You’ll get to see a lot of movies set during the summer, or about summer things, this summer with us at Camp Void, starting this Monday. We hope you join us. With all of us back in the theatre together, you’re guaranteed to get that summer feeling.