The Reason Why So Many Movies Open on Christmas Day

dolgachov/iStock via Getty Images
dolgachov/iStock via Getty Images

When Paramount decided to release the Bob Hope and Bing Crosby comedy Road to Rio in theaters on December 25, 1947, studio executives were slightly concerned. Would moviegoers consider the premiere of a film on Christmas Day to be in poor taste? Would it be offensive to some?

They shouldn’t have worried. The film was a hit, making an impressive $4.5 million, and Hollywood has made Christmas Day (or near-Christmas Day) releases a major part of their financial strategy ever since. The reason? While Christmas is a sacrosanct holiday for many, the closing of businesses creates a vacuum. Few stores are open and diversions are hard to come by, making a trip to the movies one of the only ways families can congregate somewhere other than home during a holiday break. Some theaters report business picks up after 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. in the afternoons, when presents have been unwrapped and people with free time are in search of something to do.

Because of time off from work and school, movies also have a chance to achieve “legs,” or the ability to stretch their success over a longer period. While big-budget films are often deemed a success or failure based largely on their opening weekend box office tallies, a smaller film, like 2007’s P.S. I Love You, can open small and still come out ahead. That particular film made just $6.5 million during its opening weekend, but wound up with $53.7 million through January.

This year, several films will debut on December 25, including the fact-based docudrama Just Mercy, the Will Smith animated comedy Spies in Disguise, the World War I drama 1917, and Greta Gerwig's adaptation of Little Women. If past box office trends hold, it could be a very profitable season for studios. Of the five biggest box office hits of all time—1997’s Titanic, 2009’s Avatar, 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, and 2019’s Avengers: Endgame—all but the Avengers films were late-season holiday releases.

While there’s lots of family fare, studios also look to the season to highlight movies that might be in awards contention. From 1986 to 2005, half of all the Best Picture winners at the Academy Awards were released on or after December 15. When the Oscars were moved up a month from March to February, studios moved award hopefuls back. Now, prestige pictures arrive in theaters in October and November, too.

Of course, whether a movie can enjoy a financial windfall during Christmas depends a lot on what part of the world you’re in. While a Christmas run works in America, China tends to fill theaters during the Chinese New Year in late January or February. The French line up over Labor Day weekend. Russia prefers New Year’s Day. For the Japanese, the April and early May Golden Week holiday is a prime theater window. But in all territories, the motive is largely the same: People want something to do with—or a way to briefly get away from—family.

Wayfair’s Fourth of July Clearance Sale Takes Up to 60 Percent Off Grills and Outdoor Furniture


This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.

Outdoor Furniture

Brisbane bench from Wayfair

- Jericho 9-Foot Market Umbrella $92 (Save 15 percent)
- Woodstock Patio Chairs (Set of Two) $310 (Save 54 percent)
- Brisbane Wooden Storage Bench $243 (Save 62 percent)
- Kordell Nine-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions $1800 (Save 27 percent)
- Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group $1860 (Save 56 percent)
- Collingswood Three-Piece Seating Group with Cushions $410 (Save 33 percent)

Grills and Accessories

Dyna-Glo electric smoker.

- Spirit® II E-310 Gas Grill $479 (Save 17 percent)
- Portable Three-Burner Propane Gas Grill $104 (Save 20 percent)
- Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker $224 (Save 25 percent)
- Cuisinart Grilling Tool Set $38 (Save 5 percent)

Outdoor games

American flag cornhole game.

- American Flag Cornhole Board $57 (Save 19 percent)
- Giant Four in a Row Game $30 (Save 6 percent)
- Giant Jenga Game $119 (Save 30 percent)

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The Reason Apple Doesn’t Include a Calculator With the iPad

The Apple iPad.
The Apple iPad.

Portable computing got a major upgrade in 2010 when Apple launched its iPad, a handheld touchscreen display that could run apps, play video, and destroy productivity with games like Fruit Ninja. For all its versatility, however, no version of the iPad—including the Pro, Mini, or Air—has ever shipped with what has become a standard feature in operating systems: a calculator.

While there’s been no firm explanation from Apple as to why this is, back in 2016 a Reddit post from someone claiming to be an ex-employee of the company offered a possible reason. According to user Tangoshukudai, early iPad prototypes ported over Apple’s conventional iOS calculator, which was stretched to fit the iPad’s screen. As development continued, no one paid much attention to the distorted image of the calculator until it was too late. When the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs finally noticed it, he demanded it be removed.

Ever since, according to Tangoshukudai, no one at Apple has bothered with programming a calculator to fit the iPad’s dimensions. The most recent operating system, iPadOS 14, has not announced a native calculator.

Does that mean iPad users can never crunch numbers? Not exactly. Users can download a third-party app, or they can access a stealth calculator that first appeared with Apple’s iPadOS 9. Swipe down on the home screen to get to the Spotlight search screen. By entering equations into the search bar, the iPad will recognize that some math is needed and provide an answer. You can also use it as a currency and unit converter. Having an Apple calculator readily accessible onscreen, however, will apparently have to wait.

[h/t Cult of Mac]