They say that Christmas gets earlier every year. I’m probably too young to remember this correctly (maybe it’s an aspirational dream I’m confusing with memory), but back in the day they used to wait until after Halloween to start selling Christmas stuff. Now I hear Argos Christmas catalog advertisements and visit the Christmas section in Marks & Sparks in early October. But, seriously, the releasing of A Christmas Carol in early November takes the biscuit.
I can understand why they might not want to release it this December. It’s already overcrowded with films for all types. Along with traditional Oscar fare (and this year seems a good crop), you have the release of Avatar – aiming to be the bigegst movie of the year – and a whole rake of kiddie-centric features (evidently the grown-up kiddie films are on hold for the moment). I wouldn’t want to open my movie in the middle of that maelstrom, particularly if it was a retelling of tale everyone’s already heard.
Yet I can’t thing of a more Christmas-themed classical story than Charles Dickens’ iconic classic. Maybe Die Hard. Okay, not even Die Hard. But you get the idea. Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer might qualify, if they ever turned it into a jukebox Mamma-Mia-style Christmas musical. And the increasely inevitable remake of It’s a Wonderful life probably qualifies in advance. But, of the classical tales currently on the Hollywood adaptation calendar, A Christmas Carol is definitely high on that list.
I don’t want to see a Christmas movie at the start of November. I haven’t even started shopping yet. If I went, it would work me up into a panic. Halfway through I’ll worry that snow is already falling outside the cinema and the tree will be up by the time I get home. Okay, maybe I exaggerate, but Christmas-themed decorations – at least for me – serve as a reminder to get myself in gear and to start picking up presents. That’s a panic I can barely sustain for two weeks, let alone two weeks. It will throw my internal chronometre out of whack. And I like it in whack.
It’s be like releasing a gory Halloween slasher movie in the middle of March… okay, bad example. But you get the idea.
If Hollywood absolutely positively needs to release holiday-themed movies (and they can’t manufacture a “Thanksgiving action adventure romp” or something similar), I might humbly suggest that they at least try to gently transition us to help minimise holiday whiplash. Think The Nightmare Before Christmas. Something to ease us through the move from one season to another.
Part of me wonders how well the movie is going to do – I can’t believe that audiences are willing to jump into the Christmas spirit this early. Though maybe the flick represents some nice escapism from what will be a modest Christmas (compared to the excess of Christmas past) and the moral about the true meaning of Christmas will resonate with viewers. Or maybe Jim Carrey still has that box office magic.
I don’t know. But I really only have one thing to say on the matter.