What's Next

By Michael Lynderey

May 10, 2010

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The big news out of the last two weeks was expected enough: Batman, Volume 2, Part 3 will indeed be made, and then dropped into our midst on July 20, 2012. This creates a fairly amazing scheduling diagram, wherein Star Trek 2 (due for June 29, 2012), the Spider-Man reboot (due July 3, 2012), and the latest Batman film will all be released within a month of each other. That means big, scary box office. Now, for a pop quiz: of these three films, can you name the one that isn't a reboot?

Answer: None of the above.

Well, at least us non-reboot people have the Battleship movie to look forward to.


Now, before I say what I'm about to say, let's make one thing clear: I have nothing against Star Trek, Batman, or Spider-Man. Quite the opposite, actually. But the problem with all these reboots, and others like them, is that they are unnaturally extending the lifespan of the past at the expense of the future. Batman, Spider-Man, and Star Trek are pop culture hallmarks native to the 20th century. Their creation came during that era of American innovation and exceptionalism that has defined the lifetime of anyone reading this today. Obviously, regardless of their somewhat dated origins, these three franchises still have quite a lot of capital left in them, and we will see the value of that capital demonstrated with their opening weekends two summers from now. Nolan's third go at Batman will be critically adored, Star Trek will no doubt prove another entertaining adventure, and I suspect that the young actor playing Spider-Man will earn his right to play him again and again, maybe even long past Tobey Maguire's 45th birthday. There's no question that these reboots are and will be profitable, oftentimes much more so than the original properties they're re-doing (Star Trek exemplifies this). But this is profit in the short-term. Reboots and remakes are not and can not be long-term solutions. We need to come up with the Star Trek, Batman, and Spider-Man of the 21st century. We need to look to the future, not the past, or risk lapsing into cultural stagnation.

Now that we've dispensed with the serious stuff, though, we can safely get back to our regularly scheduled programming: free-standing tidbits about sequels - delivered in a more casual, less foreboding way than above. Last time, I mentioned dourly that there weren't enough sequel and reboot announcements lately for me to complain about. This past week, on the other hand, has given me no such problem. More to the point, it's becoming more and more apparent that the summer of 2012 is already on studios' minds (although we still have some summer 2011 loose ends to wrap up - casting for Fast Five among them). So let's see what's on the slab:

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