This summer is likely to be a box office record breaker, thanks mostly to an assortment of sequels from astronomically successful film franchises and then some. It’s not cool to talk about sequels in a favorable light, but I have to admit that I’m intrigued by an unusual number of them.
Part of that may be that so many of the sequels are part threes or higher. Part threes can turn a fresh series sour, to be sure, but part two is where the biggest risk is. Part two is where you really find out if a sequel is just in it for the money, or if there really is a viable franchise in there. Usually you can tell if a series is going to work when you see the second film. That’s what separates the Empires Striking Back from the Red, White, and Blondes. If the second film is better than the first, you’ve got something strong. If it’s not as good but almost as good, you’re probably still in the game for one or two more. Shifts in filmmakers are usually bad. If you keep the same creative team with you, your chances improve.
Well, this summer seems to have a lot of threes, plus a noteworthy five, that mostly all keep the same creative forces on both sides of the camera. (Soderbergh and the huge cast are sticking with Ocean’s, Raimi and Maguire re-unite for Spider-Man, etc.)
Maybe I’m just generally optimistic about forthcoming films, but I’m looking forward to most of these.
Which ones are you anticipating? Which ones do you predict will crash and burn?
May 4 - Spider-Man 3
May 18 - Shrek the Third
May 25 - Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
June 8 - Ocean’s Thirteen
July 4 - Live Free or Die Hard
July 13 - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
August 3 - The Bourne Ultimatum
August 10 - Rush Hour 3
I really, really hope they get Harry Potter right. The last two movies were even better than the first two (just as the books were), but the fifth movie is being done by a director who just doesn’t have the track record the others have had, and that concerns me.