Summer 2010 movies are soooooo last week

The rumors had been swirling, but now it’s official — Matthew Vaughn will direct X-Men: First Class.

so who's going to be in body paint this time around?

so who's going to be in body paint this time around?

That’s not the surprising part since it’s already been discussed around these parts. The shocker is the release date on June 3, 2011 — 13 months from now. Huh. So a big-budget, CGI-heavy studio tentpole with no cast, that just signed a director and presumably only has a working script is going to film and be theater-ready in a year?

That’s bad news for a franchise that critically has gotten worse with age (even though personally, I liked Last Stand and Wolverine). And of all the dates, why would Fox want to open it on June 3 to go head-head-to-head with the Kung Fu Panda sequel? Normally summer dates are all about counter-programming. It’s OK to open two big summer movies on the same weekend if they appeal to two completely different genre audiences — like Prince of Persia and Sex and the City 2 both opening this Memorial Day — but X-Men and Panda audiences aren’t that different. The 12-year-olds who liked the Pablo Sandoval story in 2008 will be 15 in 2011 and more drawn to X-Men — but why make them choose and take the risk they won’t pick your movie? The summer 2011 movie season is pretty crowded as it is, but August is somewhat open. Wouldn’t be surprised if one of these moves.

Speaking of summer 2011, in my summer movie preview in the Record on Sunday, my predictions for the biggest box office hits of that 2011 season had to be cut for space. In case you’re curious this is what I had ready to go (all release dates are 2011):

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, which will be the last Harry Potter movie (release date: July 15)

2. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (May 20)

3. Transformers 3 (July 1)

4. Cars 2 (June 24)

5. Captain America (July 22)

6. The Hangover 2 (May 26)

7. Thor (May 6)

8. Green Lantern (June 17)

9. Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom (June 3)

10. Mission: Impossible IV (May 27)

Off the top of my head, I’d put First Class at 7, knock everything below that down a peg and kick MI IV off the chart. I just don’t think it will have enough appeal, and I think X-Men now is going to take away its second-week box office. Pirates, Transformers 3 and Captain America haven’t started filming yet either, as far as I know, so maybe First Class isn’t too far off schedule.

At least Transformers 3 has started adding to its cast. In one of the funniest quotes you’ll see in a cast announcement, studio people say the role Patrick Dempsey has signed on for as Megan Fox’s boss is “significant to the plot.” For a second, I thought I was reading The Onion but the next line wasn’t, “Then the producer thinks about what he just said, realizes how silly it sounds and promptly fires himself.” Unless Dempsey’s portion of the plot is to be the one to finally get Megan Fox nekked on screen, then there isn’t any portion of any plot for Tranny 3 that is important in any way.

Any other big-ticket movie that will be released in summer 2011 likely would already be in production, but there might be room for a straggler or two especially since August is so wide open. But Die Hard 5 doesn’t look to be on that list of late-summer 2011 entries even if the script might be written within a month or so. Bruce Willis’ schedule seems to be booked solid for the rest of the year, so unless some stuff can get moved around, it probably wouldn’t be filmed for another year. That makes it a good bet for the also crowded 2012 summer. Looks like we’ll need a fifth verse of this song (very naughty words, beware, I can’t embed it for that reason):

Hey, look! It’s a 2011 movie not scheduled for the summer! Breaking Dawn, the final installment of the Twilight Saga, is on the books for Nov. 18, 2011, going up against Happy Feet 2. More horrible counter-programming! The kids who loved Happy Feet in 2006 at 10 will then be 15 and dying to fit in with all their friends and older girls who know all the Twilight books by heart and have their Team Edward shirts framed above their hope chests. One of these release dates will be moving within the next six months, bet on it.

extra half-hour ... no extra answers

extra half-hour ... no extra answers

Just in case you didn’t think you weren’t getting enough Lost on the night of its finale (May 23) with a two-hour retrospective at 7, the two-hour finale at 9 and the rebroadcast of the show’s pilot the night before, ABC is saying there will be an extra half-hour of Lost in the finale. A cynical warning to fans: This is dangerous. With an extra half-hour, fans are probably thinking, “Now they have to give us answers!” when it’s just ABC saying to the producers, “We have more advertisers than we thought we would for the finale all willing to cough up $10 million. Can you give us an extra 22 minutes of show? We’ll buy you a new Porsche!” About 30 minutes of extraneous footage is cut out every week of every hour-long show, and Lost is no different. So now instead of cutting 30 minutes, they’re only cutting eight. This does not mean in any way that you’ll be assured of getting more answers to questions you’ve had for five years. REPEAT: You will not be getting any extra answers just because it’s an extra half-hour long. You’ve been warned.


pottsville bound?

Have the words “Pottsville” and “summer home” ever sounded so good together? We could go for the cheap laughs here with something about how much Jay-Z loves Yuengling, or how Beyonce’s weight, umm, fluctuations are due to Mrs. T’s pierogies, but that would be lazy. I took Route 61 on the way back from Reading a couple weeks ago — a drive I like a good deal, for some reason — and there just isn’t much going on there between interstates 78 and 81. If Jay-Z and Beyonce are moving to that region, they’re doing it for one reason — to get the eff away from the world. Now that people know about it, looky-loos will be camped out at the place every waking moment if they do move in, ensuring they’ll never get to leave their new pad. Local fans already are saying how great it would be if they had babies! Hip-hop’s power couple essentially will be prisoners in their own home and I doubt those kids will fit in at Nativity BVM sitting next to Coal Cracker Joe. So once they decide they don’t want to live there, get on the ball, Pocono Realtors! There are enough estates around here they can move to. Just try and keep the secret a little better, huh?

she needs more lines

she needs more lines

I promised last week I would start Tweeting my favorite lines from the previous night’s TV, and the first one is up. Brittany from Glee last night, during Mr. Schu’s interrogation of who started The Glist: “I don’t know how to turn on a computer.” This somehow beat out her earlier revelation that she made out with the janitor, Mr. Kidney. I love Brittany. I don’t care for cheerleaders, but I love Brittany. Ryan Murphy must have some deep-seeded hatred for cheerleaders for writing them in Glee as the complete and utter dumb-bimbo stereotypes. In Nip/Tuck, Kate Mara as Matt’s one-time cheerleader girlfriend Vanessa was a somewhat crazed, identity-starved lesbian. She didn’t have to be a cheerleader, it added exactly zero to the character. But it seemed like a big, fat middle finger to all the crazy cheerleaders Murphy may have known. Now the cheerleaders and their coach on Glee are the villains and the morons. Quinn had no redeemable characteristics and no extra dimensions until she was kicked out of the Cheerios. If I was a cheerleader, I’d be boycotting Glee. Anyway, I’ll remind people about the line of the night for a while here, but soon it’s just going to go up without mention. If that’s something that interests you, you’d best follow PopRox at Twitter.

Sometimes I wonder about the headlines on the AP stories on the Pocono Record’s website. We don’t make them, that’s how they come over. Here’s one up today: “Seinfeld actress is tickled by Walk of Fame typo.” Apparently they didn’t hyphenate her name and spelled “Louis” as “Luis.” Ba ha ha. There’s no video to go along with it, but here’s part of her quote in the story: “Right when you think you’ve made it, you get knocked down. It’s an ideal metaphor for how this business works.” That’s tickled? Sheesh. She must be like the Hulk — you wouldn’t like her when she’s angry.

I’ve neglected to follow this whole Bret Michaels ordeal — and when I say “neglected” it’s just a nice word for “don’t give a turd” — but he’s out of the hospital now for whatever was ailing him. Great! He can get back to man-whoring himself all over VH1. What a bad stretch for VH1 reality TV. The Bret Michaels illness, the murder plot that ended not just Megan Wants a Millionaire but two seasons of I Love Money and the fact that neither Flavor Flav or Tiffany Pollard is anywhere to be found — you would think all of that would torpedo the network. But like any good TV network, it adapted and has succeeded. Luckily, none of the new shows seem to appeal to my wife so I’ve been given a reprieve from VH1 reality shows, at least until the Stallionaires come back. FYI, Michaels postponed his show at Crocodile Rock on May 15.

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