The Guide to Summer Blockbusters
From franchise films to indie pics, THR analyzes the showdowns of the season.
If hollywood is right, it's going to be a huge summer at the box office -- big enough to reverse a prolonged downturn that has year-to-date revenue running 20 percent behind 2010. No one can remember a stronger summer lineup, or better mix of product, from sequels to such proven franchises as Pirates of the Caribbean and Transformers to original event pics including Super 8 and Cowboys & Aliens. Three comic book heroes make their big-screen debuts with Thor, Green Lantern and Captain America: The First Avenger, while Peter Chernin and Fox relaunch a franchise with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, an origins story. Many are 3D titles, upping their earning potential. On the family side, summer offerings include Kung Fu Panda 2 and Cars 2, followed by franchise hopeful The Smurfs. Jim Carrey returns to the family genre with Mr. Popper's Penguins, based on the beloved children's book, and summer closes with the relaunch of the Spy Kids franchise. On the comedy side, there's enormous potential -- and fierce competition. The R-rated lineup includes The Hangover Part II; the Cameron Diaz-Justin Timberlake pairing in Bad Teacher; and Friends With Benefits, starring Mila Kunis and Timberlake. Tamer summer comedies include the Kevin James vehicle Zookeeper and the Steve Carell-Ryan Gosling starrer Crazy, Stupid, Love. Echoing a sentiment shared by many, DreamWorks Animation's Jeffrey Katzenberg says, "I believe 2011 will be a bigger year than 2010 after this summer."
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