It used to be that Memorial Day was the opening weekend of summer movie season. After months of crap that couldn’t get a winter tentpole release date, it was the weekend that the good movies came out to play again. Which meant that some of the biggest films of summer’s past would open on that weekend, and rake in a hell of a haul. But over the past couple of years, Memorial Day has started to lose its teeth, and there’s a couple good reasons why this has happened. Here now are three crucial reasons that Memorial Day is no longer the end all / know all opening weekend of summer movie season.

Marvel Has Cornered The Market For The Month
Going as far back as Spider-Man 3 in 2007, Marvel movies have tended to make the first weekend in May their home base of operations. The big reason for that decision was, of course, the fact that the first Saturday of May tends to be Free Comic Book Day, which gives the weekend a feeling of brand synergy at work. Though in some select cases, like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the competition gets the jump on them and takes that weekend – which means that an even earlier release date is required. So by time Memorial Day rolls around, the most anticipated film of the earlier days of summer has already opened and made bank, leaving crumbs in its wake.

Multiple Top Tier Titles Open On That Weekend
Even though there are still some big ticket options that release on Memorial Day weekend, there’s usually more than one title that’s trying to take the top slot of that weekend. For instance, this year saw X-Men: Apocalypse and Alice Through The Looking Glass competing for the holiday weekend audience. Now one of those films on its own could have easily taken a decent four day haul, leading to a healthy start to what would naturally turn into a slippery slope of diminishing returns. Unfortunately, with the weekend being as crowded as it was, both films fell short of their past franchise’s glory. All because everyone is trying to catch up or cash in with Marvel’s lead, leading to a dog pile of top to mid-tier content for the rest of the month.

Zootopia
The Off Season Is Getting More Competitive
Of course, the biggest reason for Memorial Day losing steam as a box office juggernaut is because of the simple fact that the drought of good material between the end of awards season and the beginning of summer movie season is not as severe as it was in the past. In the first half of 2016, Deadpool, Zootopia, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and even The Jungle Book all made impressive showings that are still being felt to this day. All of those films were released between February and April, the months that movies usually went to die quiet deaths in the past. Not so anymore, as the surplus of marketable films being released throughout the course of a year now have to get competitive and seek out prime off-season release dates to make their worth.

It’s a combination of these three factors that has made the Memorial Day movie market all the more difficult to crack. Gone are the days of a movie like Mission: Impossible, The Lost World: Jurassic World, or even Godzilla making record breaking news during the May holiday weekend, only to sit back the rest of the summer and collect their well-earned gains. The competition, both on and before that weekend, is so great that by time Memorial Day is here, the gears are already greased and everything is in motion. Unless you have a big ticket, no questions asked hit that can overcome all other factors in play, it’s probably a good bet not to bank on the prestige this weekend no longer holds.

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