Sequel-Laden Summer

Posted in Side Topics at 3:09 pm by Sam

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.


  1. Sam (405) said,

    January 26, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    I have good timing. A teaser for Live Free or Die Hard came out yesterday:


    It looks gleefully over-the-top, which is about right for that series.

    Some of the others have already had early trailers:

    Harry Potter 5, which looks about as bad as Harry Potter 4 looked with the first couple trailers: http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/wb/harrypotterandtheorderofthephoenix/

    Shrek the Third: http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/paramount/shrekthethird/

    Spider-Man 3: http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/sony_pictures/spider-man_3/

  2. Grishny (156) said,

    January 26, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    I’m looking forward to most of these movies, with the exception of Ocean’s Thirteen and the new Die Hard.

    Don’t get me wrong. I liked the first Die Hard, when I finally saw it a couple years ago. But I have yet to see any of the sequels, so I can’t really summon much enthusiasm for yet another.

    And I suppose I’m not really telling the truth about Harry Potter either. I’ve only seen the first movie, so my enthusiasm is really more for the series in general (I’m up-to-date on the books), and I suppose that someday I’ll get around to watching the other films.

  3. siochembio (82) said,

    January 26, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    I’m one of the dozen or so people who has never seen Spiderman 2, so I’m not really super excited about Spiderman 3. The trailers look good and stuff, it’s just not my bag.

    I am… hm, how to say this… curious about Pirates 3. I adore the first one. The second one… well, the less said the better, but perhaps a strong ending will redeem a sloppy sequel.

    Movies like Ocean’s 13 and Shrek 3 I’ll probably rent, but won’t feel the compunction to see in theaters.

    I’m super stoked about Order of the Phoenix; I think the teaser trailer looks great. My die-hard Harry Potter fangirlness will go crazy in anticipation. Yes, I’ll be the goober at the local theater’s midnight premiere dressed in my Hogwarts uniform. Yup, that’s me.

    Of course, we have yet to see when the seventh book will come out. I do think my brain shall explode then.

  4. Rifty (64) said,

    January 27, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    Pirates 3 will be like Matrix 3 (before we all knew how Matrix 3 ended)- if it’s a good ending that makes sense (as much as it can in this parituclar universe), and everything’s cool, then it’ll be huge. If it craps out like M3 did, it’ll sink the whole series.

    I’m not a big fan of Orlando “Look I’m a Block of Wood” Bloom anyway, and for my two cents, the first Pirates movie was BOH-REENG, so I can take it or leave it. I’ll probably go see it, just cause I like Barbossa.

    Spiderman will be huge.

    Ocean’s 13 will be mediocre, because people will remember Ocean’s 12, and while I didn’t have a problem with the non-heist elements of the film (I loved the dialogue- which is a big thing with me), I did have a problem with the Julia playing Tess playing Julia thing. I’m not a big fan of breaking the fourth wall in movies, unless it’s really HORRIBLY obvious (I’m thinking specifically of the moment in Jay and Silent Bob when Banky asks who in their right mind would go to see a movie about Jay and Silent Bob, and then him and the other guy (Affleck) turn and spike the camera (we will, for now, ignore the “This never happened to the other fellow” incident from “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”)), so that was a total turn off for me.

    Shrek 3 will kick butt because people are stupid and want to see a movie about a big green farting guy. Maybe that’s a little cynical. Some of the gags are pretty funny, but some of them are just that- gags.

    HP 5 will open huge, and die off quickly. You just cant’ take an 800 page book and condense it into one movie. You can’t. Not without losing some of the audience.

    I saw the first Die Hard when I was about 14, and I didn’t much like it (way too much swearing in my personal opinion) but I have to admit that the car crash stunt in the trailer looked pretty cool (yes, I know it was CG and not an actual stunt, but STILL).

    Rush Hour 3- weakest on the list. I don’t much care for Chris Tucker. Jackie Chan, eh. I like the Shanghai Movies, but that’s probably because of Owen Wilson, who’s one of my favorite actors.

    I can’t comment on the Bourne Ultimatum, having not seen any of the movies, or read any of the books. And I don’t really like Matt Damon much.


  5. Sam (405) said,

    January 28, 2007 at 10:46 am

    HP 4 was nearly as long a book and made a wonderful movie, nearly the best in the series so far, and the second-highest moneymaker so far. Why would HP 5 run up against problems 4 did not?

    HP 5, while longer, also has huge sections that are superfluous to the main story, and should be much easier to condense than 4, which is a lot more tightly plotted. Now, the box office *may* drop off quick, but because it’s opening in a crowded summer (as HP 3 did) instead of Thanksgiving, where movies of this sort tend to have more room to breathe.

  6. Rifty (64) said,

    January 28, 2007 at 5:09 pm

    Was it really the second highest grossing HP movie?

    That’s a surprise to me. I was basing all that off of circumstantial evidence, mostly. See, I’m an independant contractor with a cleaning service (it’s not as glamourous a job as it sounds) and we clean movie theaters. When HP 4 came out, it was busy in there for a couple of weeks, and then died out.

    I can usually tell how good a movie is doing from the amount of trash that’s left in the theater auditorium when I go in to clean it. HP 4 started out strong (lots of trash) but died out quickly (a little trash, and it was moved into a small house) within a couple of weeks.

    Compared to, like, Pirates 2, which was horribly trashed, and stayed in a big house for almost 6 weeks, I thought that HP 4 didn’t do that well.

    So, okay. Huh. Also, I didn’t much like HP 5. The first half was Harry being all angsty, and emo, and that got old really quickly, and the big climax featuring The Death That Made J.K. Rowling Cry? Didn’t care. Mostly because of the presentation of the character. They never made them a particularly likeable character. Especially in this book, so when they died, I was like, eh. Whatever.

    But this isn’t All Movie Talk Plus A Little Bit Of Books Too, so I’ll just shut up about that.


  7. Ellmyruh (20) said,

    January 28, 2007 at 6:09 pm

    I am so looking forward to Spider-Man 3. And I have hopes for Bourne, though I have to say that the movies are only good if you don’t compare them to the books. Then again, that’s probably true of most book-to-screen cases. Hmmm, sounds like that could be two interesting and challenging Top 6 themes: best and worst movies adapted from a book.

  8. Aaron (35) said,

    January 28, 2007 at 6:38 pm

    There was already a Top 6 about movies that are more definitive than their original sources, which probably has a very large overlap with best book adaptations. Worst movie lists are always fun though.

  9. Ellmyruh (20) said,

    January 28, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    Oh, oops. I even commented in that thread, too. Never mind me.

  10. Ferrick (140) said,

    January 29, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    Short stories nearly always translate better to the screen.

    As for Bourne, I read the first one and really liked the movie. I haven’t read the second one and I hated the movie version. I just thought it was pointless. I also knew that they left out entire plotlines that I knew were key to the book. Since I still need to read that one, I will find out if that is true or not. I will still go to see the third one. I doubt it can be as bad as #2.

    Worst book to movie adaptation I have seen: Clear and Present Danger. I don’t know how anyone who hadn’t read the book could figure it out and they kill off major characters who are in later books and completely change the personalities of other major characters. Maybe that’s why they didn’t make any more Jack Ryan movies after that one (They set Sum of All Fears before CaPD).

  11. Ferrick (140) said,

    January 30, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    And to tack on and directly address Sam’s post:

    May 4 - Spider-Man 3–Yes, definitely

    May 18 - Shrek the Third–Not in the slightest. These movies don’t hold up well. I don’t remember if I even saw the second one.

    May 25 - Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End–I didn’t feel the need to see the second one in the theatre so I’m not waiting eagerly for this one.

    June 8 - Ocean’s Thirteen–If it is even half as fun as the first one, I will like it. I hope they learned from Twelve. I want to see it.

    July 4 - Live Free or Die Hard–YIPPEE KI YAY, MISTER FALCON!

    July 13 - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix–Without a doubt, I’ll see this in the theatre. Director changes haven’t hurt this series so far so I’m hoping it is a good trend.

    August 3 - The Bourne Ultimatum–I’ll see it because I like the franchise even though the second one was dumb.

    August 10 - Rush Hour 3–Little to no interest. Correction, just no interest.

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