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‘X2’ Sets Summer of Sequels Off to Strong Start
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – It’s not too fast; it’s ‘2 Fast’! It’s not dumber; it’s ‘dumberer!’ And after ‘X2’ struck box office gold, a summer of movie sequels that once looked semi-slow on Thursday appeared headed for blockbusterdom.
Yes, blockbusterdom. It’s a word — in Hollywood.
By now movie fans know that comic book thriller ‘X2: X-Men United’ debuted to $85.9 million in U.S. ticket sales last weekend, which was the fourth best three-day debut ever after ‘Spider-Man’ and the first two ‘Harry Potter’ movies.’
Still to come are a multitude of other sequels starting with ‘Matrix: Reloaded’ on May 15, ‘Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines’ and ‘Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life’ in July, and even some original big-action, special-effects thrillers like ‘The Hulk’ in June.
The followups don’t stop with action, either. Comedy ‘Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde’ hits screens for July 2 and ‘American Pie’ followup ‘American Wedding’ has sparks flying in August. For kids, there’s ‘Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over’ on July 25.
While sequels are less-risky because they come with built-in audiences, fans sometimes find them boring. Because of that, box office pundits think Summer 2003 may lag 2002. After all, there is no ‘Spider-Man’ spinning a magic web.
‘Ah, they say that every summer,’ said actress Michelle Pfeiffer, dismissing the idea with a flick of her wrist. She is the voice of goddess Eris in July’s animated film, ‘Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas.’
Dreamworks studio head Jeffrey Katzenberg, sitting in with Pfeiffer, agreed. ‘I can’t wait to see ‘Matrix’ … I hear ‘Italian Job’ is fantastic. The ‘Finding Nemo’ people say it’s really good. And ‘Sinbad’, whew,’ he said, sweeping his palm across the horizon as if to say ‘Sinbad’ is flat out the best.
Of course, he is the film’s producer, but give him credit for pumping up his rivals, too.
‘The Matrix Reloaded’ hits theaters next week with all the flying special effects and martial arts fighting of 1999’s ‘The Matrix,’ but this version is biggerer, louderer, longerer and badderer — those being Hollywood words.
Keanu Reeves returns as Neo, or The One, who was pulled from a computerized world by humans rebelling against the machines that made the simulated society of ‘The Matrix.’ In the first, Neo learns what being a leader means; in the second, he re-explores his humanity to decide the fate of humankind.
‘A lot of the second one is about the man inside the cape and behind the dark glasses,’ Reeves told Reuters.
Also making computerized waves will be Disney/Pixar’s May 30 animated film ‘Finding Nemo,’ about a father fish who loses his son fishing and goes on an undersea quest to find him. Parents should expect laughs in the manner of other Disney/Pixar films like ‘Monsters, Inc.’
‘Italian Job, a heist film with Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron debuting May 30, is winning a lot of early buzz. ‘Down with Love’ on May 16, with Ewan McGregor and Renee Zellweger, is earning points for recreating 1960’s sex comedies.
June is flanked by two sequel thrillers, street racing film ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’ on June 6 and action adventure ‘Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle’ on June 27.
In between, comes comic book movie ‘The Hulk’ on June 20. It stars Eric Bana as scientist Bruce Banner whose experiments transform him into an overgrown green man with a bad temper. It is directed by Ang Lee, ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,’ so with the action, expect a good story.
For laughs, ‘When Harry Met Lloyd: Dumb and Dumberer’ reaches theaters on June 13, absent the two stars that made 1994’s ‘Dumb and Dumber’ a hit, Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey.
At a recent event for his May 23 movie, ‘Bruce Almighty,’ in which Carrey returns to comedy as a man with God-like power, Carrey said he hadn’t seen ‘Dumb and Dumberer’ but wished the new dolts, Eric Christian Olsen and Derek Richardson, well.
‘I get a lot of people coming up to me thinking I’m in it,’ Carrey said, adding that he didn’t want people to be misled.
There are other comedies, dramas, romances and adventures for July and August being buzzed about, such as horse-racing film ‘Seabiscuit’ (July 25) and romance ‘Gigli’ with real-life lovers Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez (Aug. 1).
Indie movies on the must-see lists include Sundance Film Festival documentary winner ‘Capturing the Friedmans’ on May 30 and Toronto festival favorite ‘Whale Rider,’ June 6.