Why Aren’t There Many Thanksgiving Movies?

Sure, Thanksgiving shows up in movies. Think Spider-Man (the good one) and Rocky/Rocky II. 

But we rarely get movies about Thanksgiving. Not like we do Christmas, at least.

Of course, you can argue that we don’t get that many movies about Halloween, either. Just horror movies meant to be watched in time for Halloween.

But wait, what about movies that are meant to be watched for Thanksgiving? Besides movies that are ironically called Hunger Games?

Granted, you could watch The Crucible and pretend the Puritans are Pilgrims, but that won’t really scratch the Thanksgiving itch (at all actually).

thanksgiving movies

So what gives?

It’s pretty simple. The main culprit comes down to timing. If a studio decided to make a “Thanksgiving” holiday movie, they’d obviously have to release it in November. October is too early and already dominated by Halloween, and once Thanksgiving is over and December starts, your movie is cooked (figuratively and literally).

That gives the movie a little less than four weeks to make its money back. You know, during one of the most pivotal months of Oscar season. They also have to compete with the early Christmas movies releasing in the middle of November because they’re facing the same time constraints (they only have until New Year’s to make it count).

Studios also have to contend with the NFL, College Football, the NBA and the Macy’s Day Parade. Who has the time and energy to leave the house after their food coma to see a movie about a meal they just ate? And with Black Friday literally around the corner?

thanksgiving movies

Most people just want to nap. Or watch shows about Thanksgiving on TV.

It’s no big mystery, really. Independence Day, New Year’s and even Valentine’s Day all stray from an onslaught of yearly theme movies for these same reasons. And honestly, we’re probably better off that way.

To be fair, movies still come out about love and romance around Valentine’s Day, similarly to how horror movies and thrillers come out for Halloween. Why not Thanksgiving?

Most people associate Thanksgiving with old-fashioned family togetherness, and it’s typically lumped in with Christmas, which purports the same. So which November movies get us prepared for being thankful?

thanksgiving movies

Surprisingly, they actually tend to be the more serious Oscar contenders. The ones that show stories that are so depressing, we have no choice but to be thankful we’re not those characters. 

This year’s example is Foxcatcher, starring Steve Carrell and Channing Tatum. It’s a movie with so many tragic characters, I’ll be catching a flight home to my family before the credits finish rolling.

And that, everyone, is how you utilize a holiday.

9 thoughts on “Why Aren’t There Many Thanksgiving Movies?

  1. Dear Jesus this is perfect.

  2. that image of Wednesday Addams will be in my nightmares tonight THANKS

  3. I was about to say that there actually a bunch of Thanksgiving movies. It’s just they don’t get made consistently and for the reasons you mentioned. Back in the old days, almost everyone went to the movies weekly, so a few weeks in the theater was all the time a movie needed to make its money. Nowadays, it takes spandex to pull something like that off.

    • Agreed. Wasn’t Planes Trains and Automobiles during Thanksgiving?

  4. Yes, timing is everything and the poor turkey was run over by a sleigh before November even arrived.

  5. Wasn’t there one directed by Jodie Foster… Home for The Holidays?
    I’m not too familiar with Thanksgiving, being way out on the other side of the world, but from what I gather on tv shows and clips from movies, it’s usually when some people want to get out of the house or begrudgingly get together and there’s lots of family drama… But what do I know…

  6. You know, I’m glad there aren’t a bunch of Thanksgiving movies. First, the plots would be lame because, unlike Christmas, there isn’t really a lesson that the main character has to learn.
    I used to be greedy and mean, but the spirit of Christmas has changed my heart! Merry Christmas!
    I used to take stuff for granted, but the spirit of Thanksgiving has taught me to be thankful. Happy Thanksgiving!
    And second, Thanksgiving is my least favorite holiday. The last thing I want to do on Thanksgiving is watch a lame Thanksgiving movie that has no plot.
    Happy holidays.

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