There is something of a science to release dates. On top of knowing that there are certain times of the year when a big movie will do better or worse than other times, studios often pick dates because of past experiences.  For instance, Zack Snyder wants all of his pictures released on the same weekend for luck. Now we’ve got dates for Sacha Gervasi‘s Hithcock, and Baz Lurhmann‘s The Great Gatsby.

Hitchcock is coming out November 23. It stars Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren as the director and his wife, and recounts the shooting of Psycho. There are two reasons for this release date. One is that they think they’ve got an Oscar nomination or two they can get out of the film. November is one of the best times for that, and the film definitely speaks to prestige. And – as Hollywood just rewarded The Artist best picture – perhaps the Academy is still in a nostalgic mood. The other thing is that HBO’s Hitchcock movie The Girl comes out October 20, and perhaps they don’t want to be seen as hiding from that film. This also means we should see a trailer for the film in the next couple days.

The Great Gatsby, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire, comes out on May 10, and that’s on a weekend Warner Brothers has made their own. But – for the most part – it hasn’t worked well for them. Troy is probably the most successful of their second week of May films, but recently they’ve had films like Posideon, Speed Racer and Dark Shadows open there and tank. In fact, the most successful recent example of a film opening the second weekend and killing it is Star Trek, which wasn’t a WB picture.

What’s also telling about this date is that the film isn’t being held for a premiere at Cannes. Luhrmann’s Moulin Rogue opened at the festival and though Gatsby could play there it won’t have that opening send-off. The rumors have been that no one’s happy with the film, and this release date seems to confirm it. The other thing is that it will be fighting for 3D screens with big summer movies. This is a gamble, or – quite possibly – a dump.

Which of the two are you more excited for?