Midsummer: Are our popcorn boxes half full or half empty?
BY DENNIS KING
Having passed the half-way point of summer’s big-bucks movie season, film fans must now be asking themselves: Is the popcorn box half full or half empty?
Traditionally, Hollywood studios frontload the lucrative summer season with the hottest attractions in May, June and early July (the better to wring longer, profitable runs from blockbusters during vacation and school’s-out time).
So, late July and the dog days of August aren’t usually as packed with big tent-pole movies each and every weekend.
A quick look at release calendars for the remaining weeks through Labor Day seems to bear that out.
With box-office under performers like “Sex and the City 2,” “Prince of Persia,” “Robin Hood” and “Knight and Day” still hanging on to screens, with big-foot profit makers like “Toy Story 3” and “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” still selling tickets, and with intriguing adult fare like “Inception” creating a buzz among moviegoers, the summer seems far from over.
But peer deeper into the bottom of the popcorn box and it looks like just a few fully blossomed kernels and a lot of grannies are left to be consumed.
This weekend promises a little “Salt” to spice up the multiplex fare, and the much hyped Angelina Jolie spy thriller from reliable director Phillip Noyce (“Clear and Present Danger,” “Patriot Games”) certainly qualifies as a big-deal summer release.
But beyond that, weekend release rosters just seem to get thinner and weedier.
The last weekend in July hosts a less-than-explosive trio of wide releases – the social farce, “Dinner for Schmucks” (a remake of Frenchman Francis Veber’s “The Dinner Game”), the silly, petcentric sequel “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore” and the mystical baseball romance “Charlie St. Cloud” – with either very specialized or very limited appeal.
The same can be said for the entire month of August, with few releases that truly qualify as “events.”
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