Steven Rea: So, summer movies? With all the sequels, the 2s and 3s, it's not just deja vu, it's deja vu-doo. Do you think that there's a danger that with so many "event" pics, some of them are going to get lost? Or worse, that audiences won't be able to find anything else?
Carrie Rickey: Some pharmaceutical company could make big bucks by developing a cure to sequelitis. Spider-Man 3. Shrek the Third. Harry Potter the Fifth. Ocean's Thirteen. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. The only big movies (known in the biz as "tentpoles") that I'm looking forward to are The Simpsons Movie and Hairspray. Yes, I worry that the tentpoles will cast their long shadow on quality smaller films such as Becoming Jane, and Knocked Up.
SR: When I was looking through the schedule of summer films, I kept searching for the potential "sleeper," the surprise, knockout, original, where-did-this-come-from? hit. And darned if I can see one. Of course, if it's a true sleeper, no one will see it coming. Hopefully, there's a Sixth Sense lurking out there . . .
CR: What I really appreciate about the Spidey franchise is that Sam Raimi cast it with actors rather than pretty faces who could do the stunts. That said, Spidey 3 is not up to the prior two but nowhere as godawful as X-Men 3. I would love to find a sleeper, but the thing about sleepers is that they are surprises and the programming this summer seems to guarantee against surprise.
SR: I agree about Spidey 3 - overstuffed and chaotic, and the special effects never really evolved much from Spidey 1. The swinging-through-the- skyscraper-canyons still looks like a video game.
Mike: Could Spider-Man 3 break Pirates' opening record? [$136 million]
SR: The box-office record thing will be interesting. One weekend's opening will likely blow away the next. Although I'm not a big John Waters fan, Hairspray does seem like one of the few titles coming this summer that's not a focus-grouped, by-committee, pre-packaged deal. Could be fun.
Samantha: With all the sequels in the main theaters, will the smaller movies like Hairspray have a place to show?
CR: Hairspray is getting a big marketing push from the studio, so I don't think it will get lost. John Travolta in drag has a certain fascination for many viewers. To answer Mike's question about Spidey spinning a web around Pirates' box-office record: Quite likely, as every boy I know (there are about a dozen under 10 on my street alone) has begged me to tell their Mom and Dad that it's OK if they see Spidey. I think it's too intense for kids under 10, but these movies are being marketed to them.
CR: While I think that The Godfather: Part II is better than the original and that Aliens might be better than the first in that series and that The Bourne Supremacy was almost as good as Bourne Identity and that the third Harry Potter was exponentially better than the first two, usually the rule with franchises is that the longer they go, the less involving they are: Consider The Matrix and X-Men.
Mike: I think 28 Weeks Later. . . will be a sleeper hit. Hostel II may be a hit.
SR: I'm hoping that all the ugliness at Virginia Tech will put a damper on Hostel II and the whole slew of hardcore slasher/scare pics out there. The fetishizing of violence and gore in some of these films is a real problem. As for sequels, Carrie's right: It's rare that a follow-up surpasses the original, although I actually liked Spidey 2 more than the first.
CR: Come to think of it, so did I. As for 28 Weeks Later. . . both Steven and I have seen it and it's excellent, although I don't know how a sequel to a sleeper qualifies as a sleeper - thinking about it makes me (yawn) sleepy. So, everyone, what else are you looking forward to? I have high hopes for Knocked Up, by Judd Apatow who directed The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
SR: And I have high hopes for Bourne - Greengrass is a great director, and I'm a sucker for spy pics. Of the smaller, indie pics, I'm looking forward to Paris, je t'aime, the omnibus with installments from the Coen Brothers and a cast of Euros and Yanks. . ., Talk to Me, with Don Cheadle as the D.C. DJ "Petey" Greene, and Jindabyne, an Australian adaptation of a disturbing, creepy Raymond Carver short story.