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Here Comes Summer
by Christopher Stone

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Here Comes Summer
At A Movie Ev'ry Night

Here Comes Summer
With My Gal Who's Really Out of Sight!

Here Comes Summer
Watching spills and thrills galore

Here Comes Summer
Angie, Brad, Julia, Cruise, They're No Bore

May the sun never set on my
Big box office summer

Thank you, Dave Clark Five, wherever you are.

Ready or not, Match-Flickers, here comes summer! Even before our next spring column is published, box office summer will have launched with the May 4 North American debut of SPIDERMAN 3, in some circles simply known as 3, almost certain to be one of the year's biggest blockbusters. On May 18, the Wednesday after our next pillar is posted, SHREK THE THIRD comes to town. The box office's favorite ogre is bound to generate giant grosses in this three-peat.

I can't speak for you, but I'm ready for a great big dose of summer box office spills and thrills. I'm itching to be dazzled. I love deep, meaningful movies, too, but, after months of award-caliber releases and reissues, and a less than inspiring spring season, I'm ready for summer's fun and frivolity. It's time to escape the heat, and grim world happenings, in an air-conditioned multiplex or screening room.

This year, my affinity for summer's escapist fare seems greater than usual. Perhaps it's because of our ongoing involvement
Bruce Willis will LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD trying

Bruce Willis will LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD trying
in the lost war in Iraq. Or, perhaps it's because of the news coming out of places like Virginia Tech and Afghanistan. Whatever the reasons, here comes early summer, and I'm ready for it.

How about you?

Like other Match-Flickers, I'm eager to see SPIDEY, SHREK, PIRATES, POTTER, and whatever other blockbusters may come. But there are other, less heralded summer releases that, for one reason or another, have captivated my interest.

Here are some of them:

RATATOUILLE (June 29): GREASE was the word. RATATOUILLE (rat.a.too.ee) is a mouthful. It will also be a summer monster hit if Disney Pixar gets its wish upon a (rodent) star. The studio that made Mickey Mouse a worldwide phenomenon is hoping you'll make their neophyte big screen rat (Remy) a big cheese this summer. In this whimsical tale, a rat living in a Paris restaurant, and voiced by Brad Garrett, aspires to be a world-class chef. Peter O'Toole and Janeane Garofolo are also among the celebrity voices.

EVENING (June 15): Regardless of story content, I can't resist an opportunity to see several of the screen's most compelling personalities in the same movie. That's why I've got to see this drama that gives us Meryl Streep, Vanessa Redgrave, Natasha Richardson, Toni Collette, and Patrick Wilson all in one film. EVENING has chick flick written
CHUCK and LARRY straight, but gay married

CHUCK and LARRY straight, but gay married
all over it, but it is also enscribed as a "performance potpourri of excellence."

LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD (June 27): I devoured the first DIE HARD movies and popcorn with equal gusto. I eagerly await the return of Bruce Willis in his franchise role of John McClane. But fasten your seat-belts, Match-Flickers. When McClane is in the driver's seat, it's always a bumpy ride.

THE SIMPSONS MOVIE (July 27): If a rat who aspires to culinary fame isn't your cup of animated tea, then you may want to buy tickets to the big-screen version of the tube's perennial cartoon hit. In his movie, Homer Simpson attempts to save the world from a catastrophe that he created himself.

And now for something completely different. I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY (7-20): gives us Adam Sandler , Kevin James, and Jennifer Biel in a Comedy of Errors about two totally straight dudes who marry one another. Where Adam Sandler comically leads, hilarity follows. Biel is enough eye candy to get any straight guy to his nearest multiplex box office.

EVAN ALMIGHTY (June 22): may show whether or not Steve Carell's 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN was a one-hit wonder, or whether Carell really has the box office legs and the chops to sustain a long-term career. Morgan Freeman reprises the role of the Almighty that he created divinely for BRUCE ALMIGHTY.

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The Business of Show
Every other Friday

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.

Other Columns
Other columns by Christopher Stone:

The Cautionary Box-Office

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up. Part Two

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up, Part 1

Quality Is Independent

Oh, the Horror!

All Columns

Christopher Stone
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.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Christopher Stone by clicking here.

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