Pirates, Superman and Tom Cruise Lead Summer Movie Blitz

ByABC News via logo
April 20, 2006, 5:34 PM

April 21, 2006 — -- Hollywood has had a real dilemma these past few years. The industry takes in so much money during the summer, it couldn't figure out how to make any more. But leave it to can-do studio execs to come up with an innovative solution. They simply made summer longer.

God didn't intend the summer to start until June 21. Hollywood starts summer on the first weekend in May. So many big movies are almost here. I'm going to show you a billion dollars worth.

In the coming weeks, we'll see "Mission: Impossible III" (May 5), "Poseidon" (May 12), "The Da Vinci Code" (May 19), "X-Men: The Last Stand" (May 26). They'll be followed by "Superman Returns" (June 30), "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" (July 7) and "Miami Vice" (July 28).

The average budget for these summer blockbusters is $160 million, according to The Wall Street Journal and the Internet Movie Data Base. And what do we get for the money? Four sequels, two remakes and one best-selling book. Not an original idea in the bunch. Hey, what do want for a billion dollars?

The summer's best marketing ploy is the remake of "The Omen," which opens June 6 -- or should I say, "6-6-06."

The summer's best counter-programming is "The Devil Wears Prada," set for release the same weekend as "Superman Returns." The assumption: No one in America wants to see both movies. Superman doesn't wear Prada. Otherwise, he'd have a big P on his chest.

Kevin Spacey plays the new Man of Steel's arch nemesis, Lex Luthor. The Hollywood buzz: Spacey's hair is better than Tom Hanks' hair in "The Da Vinci Code."

And, no, Keith Richards doesn't show up in "Pirates of the Caribbean 2," even though Johnny Depp said he fashioned his buccaneer after the flamboyant rocker. They must've run out of eyeliner.

And the saddest news of summer for me. Michelle Pfeiffer plays the older woman in "I Could Never Be Your Woman," set to open in July. It broke my heart to read that.

Hollywood's having a good spring with bad movies, and big-budget summer movies are something Hollywood really does know how to do well. I think these films are going to make money.

Here's a prediction for top 10 summer movies: "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" -- picked by Premiere magazine to be this summer's biggest blockbuster -- will bring in more than $300 million. It'll be followed by "Superman Returns," Mission: Impossible III" and "X-Men 3," Poseidon, Miami Vice and an animated feature, "Over the Hedge."

And two films look like winners to me: "Click," in which Adam Sandler gets a remote control that allows him to rewind his life; and the animated feature "Cars." People who've seen it rave about it. Paul Newman plays a 1951 Hudson Hornet and he raves about it.

One summer movie I'm really looking to see has a four-word title. Those four words sold the movie, sold the star, Samuel L. Jackson, and they sold me. The four words: "Snakes On a Plane," wiggling into theaters on Aug. 18.