Dustin Rowles looks at how studios learned to look beyond the summer release schedule:

They were releasing too many tentpoles in a short period of time, and they were cannibalizing each other. The studios adjusted. The box-office release schedule evolved. The summer season expanded. Months that used to be dumping grounds became profitable. Big budget films were finding unusual times to exploit audiences.

Gradually — and we’re still in the midst of this expansion — studios began to realize that Memorial Day through the first of August and the holiday season between Thanksgiving and Christmas were not the only times a a studio could release a $100 million film. They could also make money in January. And March.

Horace Deidu came to many of the same conclusions — with charts! — when he looked at movie release schedules. The summer pattern is still dominant, but an increasing number of titles have made $100+ outside of that window.

In fact, for 2011, the only months that didn’t have a $100+ title were January, September and November. And November was an oddball — it’s traditionally a big month.