ZAMM.COM: Summer Sequels

 
By Martin Grove, ZAMM.com




Summer sequels: With a dozen sequels on deck this summer, Hollywood's clearly banking on moviegoers' appetite for the familiar.

It's an approach that's worked well in past summers and given what's in the pipeline, it seems likely to deliver the goods once more.

Even some of this summer's original films have a familiar ring to them thanks to their casting and genres. A case in point is this weekend's opening of the PG-13 sci-fi action thriller  Edge of Tomorrow  at about 3,300 theatres.



Edge director Doug Liman's well known for big scale/big star action thrillers like The Bourne Identity starring Matt Damon and Franka Potente and Mr. & Mrs. Smith starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Edge, an original, stars Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt and Bill Paxton. If any Hollywood star is identified with summer moviegoing, it's got to be Cruise. He's been a summer movie icon going back to his break-out film Risky Business in August 1983.

Since then, Cruise's summer releases have included Top Gun (1986), Cocktail (1988), Days of Thunder (1990), The Firm (1993), Mission: Impossible (1996), Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Mission: Impossible II (2000), Minority Report (2002), Collateral (2004), War of the Worlds (2005), Mission: Impossible III (2006), Knight & Day (2010), Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011) and Rock of Ages (2012).

Of those 14 titles, only two--Mission: Impossible II and III--were sequels. So Edge is actually more in line with what Cruise has been known for over the years. In an original like Edge, Cruise brings a feeling of familiarity that fits very well with summer moviegoing. Plus, because Edge is a sci-fi action thriller and that genre's so closely identified with summer moviegoing, there's an additional sense of the familiar.

In any case, this summer's crowded with the real thing when it comes to sequels. We've already seen two sequels do powerhouse business since summer's unofficial start May 2 with Marvel's 3D fantasy action adventure The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Directed by Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man), it stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Jamie Foxx. Spidey kicked off with $91.6 million and after five weeks, its cume is $192.7 million. Memorial Day weekend saw Marvel Entertainment's fantasy action adventure X-Men: Days of Future Past arrive to $110.6 million. Last weekend, it did $32.6 million for three days, ranking second to Disney's $70 million launch of Maleficent. Days' cume through last weekend is $162.1 million.

Directed by Bryan Singer (X-Men, X-Men 2), Days stars Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and Hugh Jackman.

June 13 begins a double-sequel weekend with two 3D episodes--one targeted to families while the other's aimed at young adults.

The 3D animated How to Train Your Dragon 2 stars the voices of Jay Baruchel, Kristen Wiig and America Ferrara and is directed by Dean DeBlois (How to Train Your Dragon).

In Dragon 2, it has been five years since Hiccup and Toothless united the island of Berk's dragons and vikings. But when they discover a secret ice cave filled with hundreds of wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, they're suddenly in a battle to protect the peace.

The original How to Train Your Dragon opened Mar. 26, 2010 to $43.7 million and grossed $217.6 million domestically. The series already has a third episode set to open June 17, 2016.

June 13's other sequel, Columbia, the R-rated action crime comedy 22 Jump Street, is directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who directed the original episode, the 2012 hit 21 Jump Street. 22 stars Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill and Ice Cube, all of whom starred in the original.

21, which opened Mar. 16, 2012 to $36.3 million, did $138.4 million domestically.

In 22, officers Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) have already gotten through high school twice and now run into big changes going deep undercover at a local college. Then Jenko meets a kindred spirit on the football team and Schmidt infiltrates the bohemian art major scene, prompting them to question their partnership to see if they can have a mature relationship.

The PG-13 comedy Think Like a Man Too is the only sequel opening June 20. Directed by Tim Story, it stars Kevin Hart, Gabrielle Union and Wendi McLendon-Covey. Story directed the 2012 original Think Like a Man, which starred Hart and Union.

Think opened Apr. 20, 2012to $33.6 million and grossed $91.5 million in domestic theatres.

The sequel revolves around four women trying to get their guys to do what they want, but not getting results until they discover a Steve Harvey self-help book with relationships advice. That does the trick, but then the guys find out they're being manipulated.

June 27 is the launch pad for one of the summer's highest profile sequels--the 3D sci-fi action adventure Transformers: Age of Extinction. Its director, Michael Bay, directed the series' first three episodes. Starring are Mark Whalberg, Nicola Peltz and Jack Reynor.

The franchise's last episode, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, opened June 29, 2011 to $97.9 million and did $352.4 million domestically.

The latest episode's about a group of powerbrokers and scientists trying to learn from past Transformer incursions, but who push technology's boundaries beyond their control. On top of which, an ancient, powerful Transformer menace has now set his sights on Earth.

July Fourth won't bring any sequels, but July 11 will offer moviegoers a legendary franchise's latest episode--the 3D sci-fi action thriller Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Directed by Matt Reeves (Let Me In), it stars Gary Oldman, Keri Russell and Andy Serkis.

In Dawn, the nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar (Serkis) is threatened by human survivors of a killer virus unleashed 10 years earlier. After a short-lived peace, both sides are ready to go to war to become Earth's dominant species.

The series' reboot, Planet of the Apes, opened July 27, 2001 to $68.5 million and did $180 million domestically.

July 18 will begin another double-sequel weekend, also with one title targeting families and the other going for young adults.

On the family front, there's the PG-rated 3D animated adventure comedy Planes: Fire & Rescue. Directed by Roberts Gannaway (Secret of the Wings), it stars the voices of Dana Cook, Julie Bowen and Corri English.

The original Planes took off Aug. 9, 2013 to $22.2 million and did $90.3 million domestically.

In the sequel, Dusty (Cook), a world-famous air racer, learns his engine's damaged and his racing career is over. He then turns to aerial firefighting, joining forces with the veteran fire and rescue helicopter Blade Ranger (Ed Harris) and his Smokejumpers team of all-terrain vehicles. Together, they battle a massive wildfire and Dusty learns what it takes to become a true hero.

Also arriving July 18 is the R- rated horror thriller The Purge: Anarchy, from The Purge writer-director James DeMonaco. Starring are Frank Grillo, Michael K. Williams and Zach Gilford.

Anarchy's producing team is no stranger to franchises--Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Purge), Sebastien K. Lemercier (The Purge, Assault on Precinct 13 ), Michael Bay (Transformers, The Purge), Brad Fuller (The Amityville Horror, Friday the 13th, The Purge) and Andrew Form (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, The Purge).

Anarchy's storyline follows dutiful citizens preparing for the country's annual 12 hours of anarchy during which all crimes are legal and all emergency services are suspended.

The fifth in the Step Up franchise steps into multiplexes July 25. The PG-13-rated 3D romantic musical drama Step Up: All In is from first time feature director Trish Sie and stars Alyson Stoner, Briana Evigan and Ryan Guzman.

The series' last chapter, Step Up Revolution, opened July 27, 2012 to $11.7 million and did $35.1 million domestically.

The new sequel spotlights previous episodes' all-stars, who come together in Las Vegas to compete for a victory that could define their futures.

Sequels will take a few weeks vacation after All In, but return Aug. 15 with the action thriller The Expendables 3. Directed by Patrick Hughes (Red Hill), its stars include Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Harrison Ford and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The series' last episode, The Expendables 2, opened Aug. 17, 2012 to $28.6 million and did $85 million domestically.

In the new sequel Barney (Stallone), Christmas (Statham) and the rest of the team come face-to-face with Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), who years earlier co-founded the Expendables with Barney. Stonebanks turned into a ruthless arms trader that Barney was forced to kill--or so he thought.

Now Stonebanks is trying to end The Expendables. Barney decides to fight old blood with new blood and brings in a new Expendables team whose members are younger, faster and more tech-savvy.

The summer's last sequel hits theatres Aug. 22 -- the action crime thriller Sin City: A Dame to Kill For from The Weinstein Company's Dimension Films label.

Directed by Frank Miller & Robert Rodriguez, who co-directed the original Sin City, it stars Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke and Rosario Dawson, all of whom were in the original.

The franchise's first episode opened Apr. 1, 2005 to $29.1 million and did $74.1 million domestically.

The new episode's four crime tales are adapted from Miller's comics. There's a tough guy looking for the killer of his beloved Goldie, a man who's sick of Sin City's corrupt law enforcement and takes the law into his own hands, a cop risking his life to protect a girl from a pedophile, and a hit man out to make some money.

Bottom line: While September typically ushers in original films, sequels won't disappear. The fall's first, Dolphin Tale 2swims into multiplexes Sept. 19.

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