My kids will probably tell you I’m a huge nerd. I will prove them right by what I’m about to say next. I sat down this week and mapped out every Father’s Day weekend wide movie release from 1990 to 2023. Just for fun. And what I found was pretty interesting in regards to how studios try to squeeze our Father’s Day cash out of us.
The approach varies throughout but more often than not you’ll see a “Dad” movie paired with a “kid” movie. For instance, 1990 saw the Father’s Day weekend releases of Dick Tracy (Dad movie) and Milo and Otis (kid movie). This weekend was kind of a banger however as it also saw the release of Gremlins (Everyone). 1994 saw the release of Jack Nicholson’s Wolf (Dad movie) and albeit earlier in the week, The Lion King. 1998 was Mulan and The X-Files. 2000 was Titan AE, Fantasia 2000 and Shaft. 2002 was Scooby Doo, Windtalkers and The Bourne Identity. 2003 was Rugrats Go Wild and Hollywood Homicide. It becomes a rarer trend as we get closer to the present. I find this hilarious because they are basically banking on the fact that either the Dad is going to be allowed to choose the movie or he’s taking the kids to the movie they wanted to see. And yeah, some Dads just want to watch The Lion King because it rules.
Superhero movies are another staple of Father’s Day releases. Specifically DC and even more specifically Batman. Father’s Day weekend has been the release date for 1989’s Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, Batman Begins AND let’s be honest: The Flash may as well be a Batman release as well. Other DC releases seen on Father’s Day don’t usually fare well and include Jonah Hex, Green Lantern and Man of Steel. Marvel only has two and neither of them fared well either with one being Fantastic Four and the other being The Incredible Hulk.
To be honest, I see a lot of movies listed on this date that I’m pretty sure I remember being noteworthy blockbuster busts. Specifically in the later 2000’s; it doesn’t seem like studios really knew how to handle the weekend. From 2008 to present movies like The Flash, Men In Black 3, Tag, Rock of Ages, That’s My Boy, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Year One and The Happening stand out as movies that I don’t remember doing well. 2020 and 2021 were Covid years but drive-ins had the smart marketing sense to show Dad classics Jaws and Jurassic Park.
Some great films have released Father’s Day weekend all in all. I’d rank my personal top 10 in the following order:
10- Last Action Hero
9- Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
7- The Lion King
6- Batman Returns
4- Batman Begins
3- Man of Steel
2- The Bourne Identity
1- The Cable Guy
Wow. That list is going to trigger some folks but if you don’t like it then all I can say is it’s Father’s Day. You aren’t legally allowed to be mad at me today. So eat a dick.