Joel Siegel Movie Reviews

ByABC News
May 15, 2003, 12:03 PM

May 2 -- Kids are out of school, every day is Saturday night that's why summer is movie's biggest season. Studios generate almost half their income in summer. But after a bad winter and early spring, Hollywood is worried.

Action films aren't doing well. Weekend grosses are dropping for the first time in years. But they are so smart in Hollywood. Here's what they did: They didn't make the movies better, they made summer longer.

In fact summer starts today, with the opening of X-Men 2: X-Men United.

And what can we expect? A lot of familiar faces: 18 of this summer's biggest movies are based on comic books, TV shows or video games. One, Pirates of the Caribbean, was an amusement park ride.

Familiar faces are back in action. Harrison Ford returns in Hollywood Homicide; so does Sean Connery, in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Sly Stallone is the villain in Spy Kids 3-D. And Arnold's back in Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines.

If you've been there before, you'll be there again. At least 11 big-time summer movies are sequels.

Arnolds Bigger Than Ever (Financially Speaking)Here's a quick course in Hollywood economics. The Terminator, in 1984, cost $6.8 million. Arnold's salary was an estimated $250,000. The film a great film, by the way grossed $38.4 million.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day, in 1991, cost $100 million and Arnold got bumped to $15 million. That film grossed $500 million around the world.

Now, Terminator 3 was budgeted at $170 million and Arnold's salary is $30 million.

It's been eight years since the original Bad Boys, the film that made stars of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Now, both have become $20 million actors. Bad Boys 2 cost so much they couldn't afford cue cards.

The summer's most anticipated action-adventure film has to be Matrix Reloaded, which opens in two weeks, and I can't wait. And if you think mid-May is early for summer, guess again. In Hollywood, summer starts today.

X-Pect SequelsX2 is truth in advertising. It's twice as much fun as the original, based on the comic book about a group of mutant humans, all with different superpowers.