By Michael Lynderey
April 12, 2010
While most film fans are now eagerly anticipating the near-momentary beginning of summer 2010, I've already moved on and onto next year's light show (this particular box office analyst likes to think in the long-term - you know, in centuries, not years or decades). And indeed, as we speak, summer 2011 is bulking up its game. At the moment, it looks like a veritable rogues' gallery of over-sequelization, what with plump release dates given to Pirates of the Caribbean 4, The Hangover 2, Mission: Impossible 4, Kung Fu Panda 2, Cars 2, The Fast and the Furious 5, Transformers 3, Spy Kids 4, and Harry Potter 8 (the Harry Potter films are easily the worst offenders in memory in terms of producing unnecessary sequels). "4" seems to be the most recurring figure here, and indeed, we're way beyond the pale of that infamous summer of threequels (2007) and onto a whole other digit altogether. As for Cars 2... can we get that Thelma & Louise ending this time, please?
I hate to sound like a nattering nabob of negativism, so I won't be remiss in pointing out that there's some new stuff on the horizon in summer '11, too, with the most prominent newbies easily being the three big superhero films. The Green Lantern (Ryan Reynolds) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) have already been filming for some time, but it's Captain America that's really shifting into gear now. As basically everybody already knows, Chris Evans will play the title role, with Hugo Weaving hopefully less deadpan than usual as the antagonist, The Red Skull, and Sebastian Stan cast as the unflatteringly-named Bucky. All three titles have potential, and it's hard to peg just quite which one will come out on top. Fairly late in the summer (July 29), there's also Jon Favreau's Cowboys & Aliens (yup, it's about exactly what you think it's about), which has just nabbed Harrison Ford to co-star along with the already-cast Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde.
Oh, and speaking of sequels, the last two-week period had the usual jaw-dropping batch of follow-up announcements, ones that I, dedicated public servant that I am, must report to the masses (there's also a just-announced Baywatch film adaptation coming, about 72 years too late, but that's off-topic). To make things simpler, I have divided the usual listing of sequel and reboot news into two separate sections: titles that I consider to be good ideas with some potential, and ones that I am prone to look at with suspicion, at least for the moment. Observe:
Reboots and sequels I don't mind so much
- Fright Night - Anton Yelchin has now been selected to play Charley Brewster in this new version of the vampire-next-door tale. I'm morally opposed to remaking the 1980s, that is true, but even I have to admit that's a pretty darn good casting choice, right there.
- Paranormal Activity 2 (scheduled for October 22, 2010) - Well, listen. When you have your low-budget horror film gross over $100 million, you're basically morally obligated to make a sequel. That's the way it's always been done in the horror genre, and here it goes again, and frankly who can blame them? Kip Williams, helmer of indie dramas The Door in the Floor and The Adventures of Sebastian Cole, has now been selected to direct, and it ought to be interesting to see how they fashion a follow-up to something as spontaneous as the first film (and they've only got six months or so to do it in, too).