Summer is in the rear-view mirror – at least, it is at the box office. The good news is that year-to-date 2006 is running five percent ahead of 2005. And summer has a 7 percent box-office leg up on last year. So much for the Gloomy Gus's who said the box office was in a can't-stop-it downward spiral.
Spidey 3, Villains 0
With $800 million in global ticket sales, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST is the summer's biggest winner, worldwide, as well as in the United States. Coming in a close second, globally, is THE DA VINCI CODE, with a block-busting $750 million.
This summer, Hollywood's bywords should have been: "Don't go near the water!" POSEIDON sank like a stone before Memorial Day. The LADY IN THE WATER was no Esther Williams. She promptly drowned opening weekend. And then there was Mel Gibson: He didn't fare too well on the coast highway adjacent to Malibu Beach.
Two hoped-for summer power houses that underperformed were MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3 and SUPERMAN RETURNS. Owen Wilson's PG-13-rated YOU, ME AND DUPREE came nowhere close to equaling the phenomenal success of his R-rated romp from last summer, WEDDING CRASHERS. I guess you could say, DUPREE wasn't as gross, therefore it didn't gross as much.
Everyone's choice for the summer's surprise hits are THE BREAK-UP ($165 million, worldwide). and THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA. I'm especially happy about PRADA'S $115 plus million gross because it is a smart, stylish motion picture, and because my
cousin, Peter Lombardi, was the Production Controller.
Depp Leads the Three-peat Summer Parade
I'm disappointed that THE ANT BULLY didn't bully bigger box office colonies - because the movie deserved more attention - and because my dear friend Tim Hatcher was a BULLY animator.
The ink hasn't even dried on the Summer of 2006, but thousands of American multiplex screens have already been booked for Cinema Summer of 2007.
For Match Flickers who'd like to see things new and original from Hollywood, next summer will be slim pickings. 2007 looks to be the Summer of The Threepeat, with Hollywood betting heavily on the old adage "Third time's the charm!"
Again, next year, Box Office Summer will arrive early. The Season kicks before Mother's Day, on May 4, with the wide release of the much anticipated SPIDER-MAN 3.
Maguire, Dunst, and Franco return for the three-peat, and they are joined by Spidey virgins Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace, and Bryce Dallas Howard.
The third time at bat, or at web, as the case may be, Spider-man has new super powers and a new black suit, but with new powers and threads come increased dangers and new nemises. Only the mentally challenged would bet against Spidey being up to the fresh super challenges.
Memorial Weekend brings PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 3: AT WORLD'S END. It promises more of the now-familiar chills and thrills that set box office records this summer.
In addition to SPIDER-MAN 3, the Summer of '07 also brings RUSH HOUR 3 and SHREK THE
THIRD. There will also be THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM, the third in the BOURNE franchise. And OCEAN'S 13 (June 8) is the third in the popular OCEAN'S series. Who'd have thunk that a mediocre 1960s' Rat Pack vehicle, OCEAN'S ELEVEN, would spawn one of the early 21st Century's hottest franchises?
Brad Pitt's a cool Daddy-o in Ocean's 13
Undoubtedly, discriminating Match Flickers will be interested in something more than a box office three-peat. One of your choices will be NANCY DREW: THE MYSTERY IN HOLLYWOOD HILLS. Starring Eric Roberts' daughter and Julia Roberts' niece, Emma Roberts, fiction's famous teenaged detective, played on television by DYNASTY'S Pamela Sue Martin, NANCY DREW gets the big-screen, lush budget treatment at last. In this Jerry Weintraub production, Nancy Drew and her father travel to Tinsel-town where Nancy accidentally uncovers evidence in the long unresolved death of a legendary movie star. NANCY DREW opens wide next August 10, going head-to-head with the debut of RUSH HOUR 3.
Another flick that's already receiving positive buzz is JOURNEY 3-D. This is yet one more remake of the Jules Verne story JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH. This time around, it's in 3-D. The July 20 release stars Brendan Fraser.
Althouth the Three-peat Summer of 2007 begins early, major Summer of '07 releases are scheduled through the weekend of next August 31. Just remember, if you don't believe "The third time's the charm," next summer, Global Warming, notwithstanding, could leave you cold.
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Does advertising, public taste, or overindulged stars determine a movie's box office fate? Christoper Stone explores what's going on behind the box office.
Christopher Stone is the author of the international best seller Re-Creating Your Self. With Mary Sheldon, he co-authored three highly successful hardcover books of guided meditations.|
He is a member of the Writers Guild of America, West.
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