ATTACK OF THE CLONES
Look out, movie fans, it’s “Wars” at the box office this year.
Hollywood hopes to have its biggest-grossing year ever in 2005 with the final installment in the “Star Wars” franchise ó “Star Wars: Episode III ó Revenge of the Sith” ó leading the pack.
“Everybody is looking at it as the year’s biggest surefire blockbuster,” said Gitesh Pandya, editor of boxofficeguru.com, which tracks ticket sales.
“It’s the final ‘Star Wars’ movie, so even people who didn’t like the last two will come out for this one. And it’s the closest to the original ‘Star Wars,’ the one that everybody loved.”
If that holds true, the sixth film in the famed sci-fi series could top 1999’s “Star Wars: Episode I ó The Phantom Menace,” which is the fifth top-grossing film of all time with $924.5 million worldwide.
In addition, the excitement generated by George Lucas’ last hurrah, to be released May 19, could spur film fans to go to the movies more often this summer, analysts believe.
And there plenty of high-profile sci-fi, action and superhero flicks to fill theater seats, leading off with “Batman Begins,” Warner Bros.’ big-budget bid in June to revive the Cape Crusader’s box-office magic.
“The ‘Batman’ franchise was run into the ground in 1997 when Arnold Schwarzenegger played Mr. Freeze,” Pandya told The Post, referring to “Batman and Robin,” which starred George Clooney.
“This new one [starring Christian Bale] will be a darker film. A lot of comic-book fans are really looking forward to it.”
In fact, sequels and remakes more than ever will play a huge part of the year’s box-office bravado as Hollywood plays it ultra-safe, relying on “comfort” movies and characters film fans are familiar with.
They include Steven Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds” with Tom Cruise; Tim Burton’s “Willy Wonka” remake, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”; “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”; and a remake of “The Bad News Bears.”
There’s also “The Producers,” with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick; “King Kong” from “Lord of the Rings” whiz Peter Jackson; “Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo”; “Saw 2”; “The Amityville Horror”; and “The Longest Yard.”
“The Pink Panther” will get an update, courtesy of Steve Martin, who reprises Peter Sellers’ bumbling Inspector Clouseau.
Even Paris Hilton is involved in a remake ó she’s one of the stars of “House of Wax,” an update of the 1953 Vincent Price shocker.
“It’s going to be more of the same,” said Brandon Grey, president of boxofficemojo.com, which keeps tabs on the movie biz. “Lots of remakes ó especially horror remakes ó family films, computer animated films.”
Nor have the studios grown tired of revamping old TV favorites.
Nicole Kidman gets her shot as nose-twitching Samantha Stevens in “Bewitched”; Jessica Simpson will wiggle around at Daisy Duke in “The Dukes of Hazzard”; and Cedric the Entertainer and Mike Epps will try to do Jackie Gleason and Art Carney proud in “The Honeymooners.”
ATTACK OF THE CLONES