Seasonal changes in the genres of box office releases

Over the course of the calendar year, the proportions of movies released that fall under each genre vary.

One of the most significant factors influencing the genre of films in each month is school holidays. Film studios aim to take advantage of the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays by releasing light-hearted family-friendly films to which parents can take their children. These typically fall under the genres of action & adventure, comedy and animation. The summer holidays in particular see a rise in the proportion of film falling under the comedy and action & adventure genres, with over 15% of films released in July and August falling under the comedy genre, and action & adventure making up over 10% of film released over May, June and July. Animation films, on the other hand, make a surge in March, with the beginning of the Easter holidays, and in November, marking Thanksgiving and the beginning of the Christmas commercial drive.

To complement this variation in feel-good films, more serious films falling under the crime & thriller and drama categories typically make up a smaller proportion of releases during these periods. Drama films, in particular, experience a significant jump between the peak of the summer holidays in July to the start of the school year in September, with the proportion of films doubling from 7% to 14%. Crime & thriller films similarly grow from 2% in June to 5% in September. Interestingly, dramas also take a large proportion in December with 16%; this is perhaps due to the cut-off date for Oscar nomination eligibility coinciding with the end of the calendar year.

Other key trends include a growth in the proportion of romantic comedies around Valentines Day in February, and horror films around Halloween in October.

A similar set of trends are seen when looking at the proportion of box office takings in each month by genre: the feel-good genres display a noticeable growth in the holiday periods, particularly cummer and Christmas. This view also accentuates the discrepancy in takings between action & adventure films and those of other genres; at their peak in May, action & adventure films account for over a third of box office takings. This is largely due to the recent trend of releasing big-budget superhero films at this time of the year.