Episode III of Star Wars won’t hit theaters until May 2005, but that won’t stop the millions of Americans who rely on the movies to make their summers more enjoyable. This summer’s box office season promises movies for every taste, from Van Helsing to The Exorcist prequel and everything in between.
On the sequels and prequels front, there are eight movies to choose from. For the kids, there’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third installment of the magical Harry Potter series, and Shrek 2, the computer-animated sequel which features the voices of John Cleese and Julie Andrews as Princess Fiona’s parents.
For comic book fans, there’s Spider-Man 2 and Alien vs. Predator. While Spider-Man 2 picks up where the first Spider-Man left off, Alien vs. Predator marks the first time the creatures made famous in the Sigourney Weaver Alien saga encounter the creatures made famous by the Arnold Schwarzenegger’s bloodfest that was Predator. Although the Alien vs. Predator comic book series has gone on to generate enormous profits, the financial success of the film version has yet to be seen.
As for prequels, Warner Bros. will release The Exorcist: The Beginning in August. This time around, Father Merrin is a missionary in post-World War II Africa, where he crosses paths with the demon Pazuzu for the first time. The latest installment in The Exorcist franchise comes only after an intense production, where both the original director and leading actor were dismissed early on. Hopefully the efforts of their replacements will pay off when the film opens on Aug. 20.
Sequels and prequels aside, there are still plenty of literary adaptations and cinematic remakes being released into theaters this summer. On Labor Day weekend, comic book-based Van Helsing slays its way into the box office. Boasting a roster of history’s greatest monsters and plenty of visually stunning special effects, the latest film from The Mummy director Stephen Sommers promises a big opening weekend, if not big summer earnings.
Speaking of big-budget movies that rely on larger than life special effects, the summer box office will unleash a slew of action-packed motion pictures with big-name stars. There’s The Day After Tomorrow, the latest apocalyptic film from Independence Day director Roland Emmerich, which sees the end of humanity come at the hands of a second ice age. Then there’s Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, the Jude Law-Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle set in New York City during1939. Giant robots threaten the survival of mankind and it’s up to one cocky pilot (played by Law) to save the world.
Yet nothing compares to the media publicity and hype surrounding Troy, which promises to be this summer’s biggest movie. The Wolfgang Petersen-directed Troy, starring Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom, chronicles the bloody 10-year war between the Trojans and the Greeks as written by the poet Homer. The stunning visual effects and the handsome stars are sure to lure all kinds of audiences to this film.
Summer 2004, with its unbearable heat and unlimited swimsuit trends, is on its way. Be sure to relax, soak up the sun and above all, approach the summer movie box office with an informed state of mind.
Marta Rusek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org