May is about here and with it comes the kickoff of the summer movie season, which looks like it will be far different than last summer, when May’s bombs and semi-bombs included “Kingdom of Heaven,” “Monster-in-Law,” and “Kicking and Screaming,” all landing with a box office thud that lasted all summer long.
It looks like the studios are making up for it this year, kicking off with “Mission: Impossible III” this weekend, followed by “Poseidon” on May 12, “The Da Vinci Code” on May 19, and “X-Men: The Last Stand” on May 26. I hope they’re good, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice that they’re certainly safe, at least for the studios. “M-I 3” and “X-Men” are sequels, “Poseidon” is a remake, and “Da Vinci” is the screen version of the book that’s been a best seller for what seems like a thousand weeks.
The trend will continue throughout the summer with sequels and remakes, including another Superman reincarnation in “Superman Returns,” another Johnny Depp turn in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” a modern version of “The Man Who Came to Dinner” called “You, Me and Dupree, ” a big-screen “Miami Vice,” and “Garfield’s A Tale of Two Kittens.”
In the business of movies, these are as much franchises as they are films, which is good for business and hopefully entertaining for us. But I don’t expect too much new to be said for the spiritual person looking to learn and reflect on life through art, as franchise films can’t really risk saying too much. That’s a shame, and I hope there’s room in the market for films which still try and say something. A franchise which did that would be even more welcome, at least by me.