The summer movie season has arrived! Woo hooo!!

“Mission” set to kick box office into high gear
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – “Mission: Impossible III,” the third installment of Paramount’s highest-grossing franchise, will get an early start to the weekend by opening across North America at midnight Thursday.
The Tom Cruise thriller will be in an ultrawide 4,054 theaters, and it goes without saying that it will be the top-grossing film this weekend.
There has been much speculation as to how “M:I-3” will do at the box office because of Cruise’s recent unconventional public displays, and also because it is the third film in the franchise. On the other hand, the influx of fresh ideas from a new director (J.J. Abrams), the addition of Oscar-winner Philip Seymour Hoffman as the villain and a six-year wait since the second installment plays to the film’s advantage.
The first “Mission” film opened almost 10 years ago, during Memorial Day weekend 1996, and grossed $56.8 million in four days (Friday to Monday) from 3,012 venues. At the time, it was the biggest four-day opening weekend in history, and that debut was softened somewhat by Tuesday previews and a Wednesday bow. The first “Mission” went on to a domestic take of $180.9 million.
Fast-forward to Memorial Day weekend 2000, when the second film debuted with a stellar four-day gross of $70.8 million from 3,653 theaters. At the time, the opening was the second-biggest for a Memorial Day weekend behind Universal’s “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” ($90.2 million). “M:I-2” grossed $215.4 million by the time it left North American theaters.
Abrams, who fills the shoes of Brian De Palma and John Woo, got the largely based on his work on “Alias,” which he created, and on his being a fan of the “Mission: Impossible” television series. The director has said that he and his co-writers wanted to instill more emotion, humor and character development into the franchise.
Fresh off his best actor Oscar win for “Capote,” Hoffman is making his first appearance in an action film, playing an icy villain intent on disrupting Hunt’s attempt to live a more normal life. Michelle Monaghan plays Hunt’s love interest, and Ving Rhames reprises his role as the resident technophile. As on the previous two “Mission” films, Cruise and business partner Paula Wagner handled producing responsibilities.
Two other films opening in wide release this weekend are direct counterprogramming moves aimed at specific audiences and are tracking to finish in the top five.
New Line Cinema’s “Hoot,” based on the book by Carl Hiaasen, will be in 3,018 theaters. The PG-rated family comedy was written by Wil Shriner, who also makes his feature directorial debut.
Freestyle Releasing’s “An American Haunting” will be going out in 1,679 locations and marks the widest release since the indie distributor’s inception in January 2005. The PG-13 film, written and directed by Courtney Solomon, is aimed at horror fans and stars Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek.