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Your Fresh Match-Flick Summer Starts Right Now
by Christopher Stone

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Will Bad Boy Downey maintain his IRON grip on the box office?

Will Bad Boy Downey maintain his IRON grip on the box office?
In truth, your Fresh Match-Flick Summer began last Friday with the Hot Rod Red Hot $100.7 million North American opening weekend of IRON MAN. Starring Hollywood Bad Boy, Robert Downey Jr., IRON MAN proved that even a second tier Marvel Comics Superhero, played by a middle-aged actor with a troubled past and an Oscar nomination in his rear-view mirror, can create blockbuster box office numbers.

IRON MAN will have box office legs, but May is still young, and the superhero must battle a number of potential blockbusters to hang onto his summer head-start at the multiplex.

Nipping at Tony Stark's (IRON MAN's) heels this weekend is the high-octane SPEED RACER, the live-action, big-screen version of the popular anime TV series. Directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski, the cinematic siblings who gave us THE MATRIX trilogy, SPEED RACER stars Emile Hirsch in the title role, with
Can Caspian rid Narnia of a despot and win Match-Flickers' hearts?

Can Caspian rid Narnia of a despot and win Match-Flickers' hearts?
racy Christina Ricci as Trixie, Speed's girlfriend-sidekick. John Goodman is along for the ride as Pops Racer, and the star power continues with Oscar-winner Susan Sarandon, and LOST heartthrob, Matthew Fox. It will be interesting to see if SPEED RACER prevails, or if Downey maintains his iron-grip on the box office.

For the first time in memory, mine, at least, May has blockbuster after blockbuster, following one another as closely as tracer bullets. SPEED RACER will have just completed his first lap when....

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN debuts on thousands of screens on Friday, May 16. This lush budget sequel to 2005's highly successful THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARLOCK, stars 26-year-old newbie, Ben Barnes, as PRINCE CASPIAN. In their second Match-Flick outing, the Pevensie Bunch return to Narnia, one year later in Earth time, but 1300 years later
Do Match-Flickers have a need for SPEED?

Do Match-Flickers have a need for SPEED?
in C.S. Lewis's Magic Kingdom. A despot is in power, and comely, kindly Prince Caspian is leading a revolution.

On Tuesday, May 22, Harrison Ford dons Indiana Jones's signature fedora and bravado for a whole new generation of Match-Flickers. That's the day for the long-awaited box office arrival of Spielberg and Lucas's INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL. It's been 27 years since we were first introduced to Harrison Ford's franchise film crusader Indiana Jones, and it's been a way-too-long 19 years since the 65-year-old actor played Indy (in INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE). Many Match-Flickers weren't even born when Ford first limned Indy, or even when he last wore Jones's trademark fedora. However, many younger Match-Flickers became Indy fans watching the DVDs with family and friends. CRYSTAL SKULL is this summer's most highly anticipated
Bite the Chick Flick Bullet: Take your Girl to SEX AND THE CITY

Bite the Chick Flick Bullet: Take your Girl to SEX AND THE CITY
blockbuster, and, when all is seen and done, Hollywood fully expects Indy's last adventure with Ford in the title role to be the biggest box office grosser of 2008.

Indy's best girl in RAIDERS, Marion Ravenwood, is back, and 56-year-old Karen Allen, looking none-the-worse for the 27 years, reprises the role. For a younger generation, 21-year-old Shia LaBeouf , has been added as Indy's youthful sidekick (and son?). Expect box-office records to fall this Memorial Day Weekend.

In addition to May's Parade of wannabe blockbusters, there are many other releases worth seeing. After you've seen IRON, SPEED, PRINCE CASPIAN, and Indy, why not also check out WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS, NOISE, MISTER LONELY, or HOW THE GARCIA GIRLS SPENT THEIR SUMMER?

And guys, bite the Chick Flick Bullet, and take your Best Girl to SEX AND THE CITY. She'll make it worth your while after the show.

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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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