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Studios strategize for Oscars

The Oscar statue is seen at the entrance of the Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, Calif.

As you consider your weekend plans, allow us to suggest dinner and a movie.

It is Oscar season, after all. And by most accounts, a pretty good Oscar season at that. Which makes it a good season for the studios that make those movies, says Wesley Morris, film critic at Grantland.

But it's not all luck. Studios are making fewer films and they're getting strategic about when they release them. Those last few months of autumn? Yep, that's when they're releasing the prestigious films that'll win them an Oscar (they hope).

And that's why you'll see a movie like "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" during the first month of the year. Morris says "they wait until what is conventionally known as the 'January dumping ground'" to unload films that -- shall we say, aren't quite Oscar-caliber. Meanwhile, big blockbuster films are released in the summer.

Morris says,"We're basically looking at a pretty predictable releasing pattern for all the seasons unless some really brave studio executive decides to shake things up by doing something interesting every once in a while, to keep audiences on their toes." But he says the odds are pretty low.

And you won't have to worry about the movie business going away any time soon. Both big screens and little screens are now owned by a very small handful of the same companies."Whatever money they're not making at the movies, they are certainly making in TV."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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