Sequels and crossovers and Gigli, oh my!
Despite summer 2003’s 4 percent lead over last summer’s earnings, the box office offered a smorgasbord of poor choices and lousy T-shirts.
Case in point: a Boston radio station gave away “I survived Gigli” T-shirts to anyone brave enough to sit through the Bennifer fiasco Gigli from beginning to end.
Sure hits tanked, long shots scored, and the unpredictability of it all made unsuspecting moviegoers easy prey.
With the overwhelming success of 2002’s Spiderman and the moderate popularity of Star Wars: Episode II, production studios wasted no time ordering more sequels with computer animated special effects and all-star casts.
Only two sequels fitted with recognizable casts and CGI special effects managed to make their studios $300 million richer:
Fox’s low expectation-turned box office over-achiever X2: X-Men United, and the thinkfest The Matrix Reloaded from Warner Bros.
Hard-core fans disliked the inaccuracy of the characters’ backgrounds in X2, and critics complained about the lack of a storyline and the cognitively-demanding dialogue scenes of Reloaded, but to date, both movies have managed to bring in a combined gross of $1 billion worldwide.
A third installment of the X-Men franchise is in the works, and The Matrix Revolutions flies into theaters Nov. 15.
Then there was the unlikely box office champ Freddy vs. Jason.
More funny than violent, the Freddy Krueger-Jason Voorhees crossover horror film managed to hold the number one spot at the box office two weeks in a row, a feat not accomplished since 2000 with the opening of Scream 3.
Disney ruled the summer box office with three movies:
Finding Nemo, the imaginative third effort from Pixar Animation Studios, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, the pirate movie that made pirate movies cool again, and the Jamie Lee Curtis comeback vehicle Freaky Friday.
Finding Nemo dominated during its Memorial Day weekend opening and managed to topple most of the competition for the entire summer, earning it recognition as the most successful Disney film ever.
Oscar winnings can’t be far behind.
Despite its notoriety, there is nothing else that can be said of the Ben Affleck-Jennifer Lopez blunder Gigli that newspapers, magazines and late night talk shows haven’t said already.
Thankfully, the movie-going public can now put the summer movie season behind and enjoy the beauty and dignity that is the fall movie season.
On the downside, the fall and winter movie seasons offer only seven months of rest until next summer, when Hollywood will unleash sequels like Shrek 2 (May 21st) and Spiderman II (July 2nd), continuing sagas such as Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (June 2nd) and Mad Max: Fury Road (July 23rd), and a crossover that could mimic the success of Freddy vs. Jason: the long-awaited Alien vs. Predator, which, thankfully, Sigourney Weaver has no part in.
Until then, educated Americans can invest their time and attention in more important things.
Marta Rusek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.