May, June, July, November and December tend to be the months with the most and best movie releases of the year. But which particular months were the best ever? Join us as we count the top ten.
June 2022 marked the 40th anniversary of what I would consider the biggest month in movie release history. You’ll have to scroll down to the bottom of this article to see exactly what I’m talking about, but to mark the occasion I thought it would be a good idea to know which calendar months had the biggest releases of all time. Below, I’ve put together a list of my top ten picks.
Naturally, most of them are from the summer months or November/December. That makes a lot of sense considering the typical release schedule for movies. The summer months tend to see big budget movie releases hoping to become blockbusters by taking advantage of families not in school/work. Same with December and November, when kids tend to miss school, but these months also see the release of Oscar-promising movies trying to get out as late as possible so they stay in the mind. voters when they vote at the beginning of the following year.
To qualify for this list, a month is considered a calendar month (June 1 to June 30), not any series of 30 or 31 consecutive days. Those months had to have at least four notable films released theatrically (wide or limited release). To rank the months, I looked at the impact of these movies. Months with Oscar-winning films may be ranked higher, and special attention was given to films that had a significant impact on pop culture and/or became fan favorites.
- November 2012
Three favorites for best picture at the Oscars, a film that gave Denzel Washington his sixth Oscar nomination and a 3D animated blockbuster. Oh yes, and the conclusion to the pop culture dominating Twilight saga. It’s been a standout month in movies, just lacking movies with more widespread appeal.
Wreck-It Ralph (November 1)
Flight (2 November)
Lincoln (November 9)
Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (November 14)
Silver Linings Playbook (November 16)
Life of Pi (November 21)
- November 1976
Rocky and Network are among the most iconic films of the 1970s. Rocky is considered the best sports film ever made. Carrie started the career of the legendary Brian De Palma AND made the writer Stephen King very popular. Assault on Compound 13 is a cult hit, but perhaps not as beloved as director John Carpenter’s later releases. All in all, a solid month that just lacks notable releases.
Carrie (3 November)
Assault on Ward 13 (November 5)
Network (November 14)
Rocky (November 21)
- December 2017
This month, there were arguably FIVE movies that had a legitimate shot at winning Best Picture. It featured films from legendary directors Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro and Paul Thomas Anderson. It featured the most controversial Star Wars movie to date, and overall, plenty of movies full of fantastic acting performances.
The Shape of Water (December 1)
The Disaster Artist (December 1)
Me, Tonya (December 8)
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Last Jedi (December 13)
The Post (December 22)
Molly’s Game (December 22)
Ghost Thread (December 25)
- December 2000
This month featured at least three, if not four, films that would be best picture favorites. It featured the film that put Guy Ritchie on the map and one of Disney’s last classic animated films. Castaway caused a stir upon its release and remains a classic film steeped in pop culture. Miss Conviviality may not be as fondly remembered, but was nonetheless a hit too. Overall, this month has seen good variety.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (December 8)
Snatched (December 8)
Chocolate (December 15)
The Emperor’s New Rhythm (December 15)
Cast Away (December 22)
Miss Conviviality (December 22)
O brother, where are you? (December 22)
Traffic (December 27)
- November 1992
This month featured three of the most important films of the 90s. Aladdin marked the return of Disney animation magic for the 1990s, Malcolm X was an announced biography of Spike Lee, and The bodyguard became one of the biggest pop culture (and musical crossover) films of the decade. Bram Stoker’s Dracula was a weird but entertaining turn from Francis Ford Cappola, and The crying game was a critically acclaimed drama. Sure, home alone 2 wasn’t the biggest movie, but it was popular and remains a classic Christmas movie.
Aladdin (November 11)
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (November 13)
Malcolm X (November 18)
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (November 20)
The Bodyguard (November 25)
The Crying Game (November 25)
- December 1978
The deer hunter is considered one of the best films of the 1970s, and Superman is one of the most iconic blockbusters of the decade. Invasion of the Body Thieves is a classic movie that was ahead of its time in blending sci-fi and horror. In all directions but in bulk and Navarone Strength 10 may not be as iconic, but are still standout releases that have been popular with audiences.
Navarone Force 10 (December 8)
The Deer Hunter (December 8)
Superman (December 15)
In every way but in bulk (December 20)
Invasion of the Body Thieves (December 22)
- October 2014
Looking back, 2014 was an amazing year for dramas. So spectacular, in fact, that there was so much hopeful material for the Oscars that much of it spilled over into October (rather than the usual November-December split). This month turned out to be the best and featured the release of the Best Picture award birdmananother nominee for Best Picture (Whiplash), and two films that probably should have been nominated (Diablo, Fury). missing girl was a strong David Fincher outing, though not as revered as his other work. But there is also the output of John Wick, which began an obsession with hard-hitting, streamlined but stunt-laden action movies. Finally, the film had two well-received family animated films in the book of life and Big Hero 6. The only thing missing this month was a well-received big-budget blockbuster!
Gone Girl (October 3)
Whiplash (October 10)
Birdman (October 17)
The Book of Life (October 17)
Fury (October 17)
John Wick (October 24)
Big Hero 6 (October 26)
Diablo (October 31)
- December 2001
Where to start with this one? So many iconic movies, but maybe not on the level of the top-ranked months on this list. Let’s start with Soderberg Ocean’s Eleven, which was both a huge hit and a who’s-who among movie stars of the early 2000s. Then you have the film that put Wes Anderson on the map and a gripping drama directed by Cameron’s Tom Cruise Crowe. Then, the beginning of one of the most important cinematic events of the decade; The Lord of the Rings trilogy by Peter Jackson. Then, a slew of Oscar-nominated and award-winning films that mostly hold up today, and finally Ridley Scott’s gripping action flick that essentially launched the cinema subgenre after 9/11. Phew.
Ocean’s Eleven (December 7)
The Royal Tenenbaums (December 14)
Vanilla Sky (December 14)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings (December 19)
A Beautiful Spirit (December 21)
Gosford Park (December 26)
Monster’s Ball (December 26)
Black Hawk Down (December 28)
- june 1984
Three of the most popular and iconic 80s movies released this month: Gremlins, ghost huntersand The Karate Kid. While the other two notable releases this month are memorable, they don’t really matter in my mind. With three films that would become cult hits released in the same month (two on the same day!), June 1984 was a landmark month for the industry.
Once Upon a Time in America (June 1)
Star Trek III (June 1)
Ghostbusters (June 8)
Gremlins (June 8)
The Karate Kid (June 22)
- june 1982
Let’s set the stage to see how crazy this month has been. First you have Fighting spirit, a horror film produced by Spielberg and directed by horror specialist Tobe Hooper. It was well received and became a classic of the genre. Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan was not only the film that saved Star Trek, but remains the best outing from one of the industry’s longest-running franchises. AND the extra terrestrial not only established Spielberg as a successful maestro with highly positive critical appraisal and the year’s biggest box office gross, but set the tone for a more spectacle-oriented approach than Hollywood would use for the 1980s. blade runner was a flop upon release, but has since become a cult classic and is considered by many to be the best sci-fi movie ever made. Finally, we have The thingwhich not only ranks among the best remakes ever made, but has also become a cult hit and much-loved by fans of the sci-fi and horror genres.
Poltergeist (June 2)
Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan (June 4)
ET The Extra Terrestrial (June 11)
Blade Runner (June 25)
The Thing (June 25)