after earth ugly poster

WILL SMITH IS NOT INVINCIBLE

You can't blame Will Smith for thinking that he can turn anything into a worthwhile enterprise through sheer force of will - this is a guy who has worked his way up from being just another late-80s rapper to a one man music, film and TV empire on charm, smarts and raw determination. If anyone was capable of turning a metaphor for helping their kid become a movie star into a functional science fiction epic, it's going to be him...

In which case, apparently no one can do that, because After Earth was an embarrassingly bad movie even if you were already expecting that given the presence of director M. Night Shyamalan.

SUMMER ISN'T WHAT IT USED TO BE

But perhaps the biggest lesson of Summer 2013 could end up being that the notion of the unique Summer Movie Season might be on the way out in and of itself. The whole enterprise is premised on a business model wherein American families and teenagers are the "golden" demographics and have the most time and money to spend in the Summer months, but lately the crowded schedule has moved more and more conventionally Summer-style movies to the Spring and Fall - where they've been making money.

Case in point: All of Marvel Studio's Avengers-related features have made their bows in or adjacent to Summer. This year, Iron Man 3 had its traditional warm-weather debut, but Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier will open in November and April, respectively, hoping to take advantage of not having a slew of other big action films to contend against (and keep the Avengers brand spread-out and fresh in audience's minds since the next installment, Guardians of The Galaxy, won't feature any of the familiar characters.)

But there are bigger things at play here: Traditionally, films have debuted around the world at different times to maximize seasonal profits from multiple territories, but piracy is making that model untenable - eventually, movies are going to have to start opening at the same time worldwide, and given the ever-increasing boxoffice prospects in China and other territories it's probably not going to be only the U.S. timetable under consideration. It's very plausible that we face a future where we won't have specific seasons for specific types of moviegoing, for good or ill.

Bob Chipman is a film critic and independent filmmaker. If you've heard of him before, you have officially been spending way too much time on the internet. Recently, he wrote a book.

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