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Film

Summer reunion

Fiona, Donkey, Harry, Hermione, Peter Parker, Catwoman, Guinevere . . . you know the characters. Here come their new movies.

By STEVE PERSALL
Published May 20, 2004

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Imitation is the sincerest form of creativity in Hollywood. It's no surprise that this summer's slate of films is loaded with sequels, remakes, spinoffs and movie stars doing the same thing that made them celebrities.

Moviegoers get what they pay for then they get it again.

Nobody can blame Columbia Pictures for trying to duplicate the phenomenal success of Spider-Man - the fifth highest grosser of all time with $403-million - or Warner Bros. for trotting out another Harry Potter flick after two blockbusters. The public demands more Shrek, and ending the world, as in The Day After Tomorrow, is a summer movie tradition unto itself.

Maybe it's time for another take on The Stepford Wives in a more gender-equal era. Perhaps moviegoers haven't tired of clanging swords and will crown King Arthur with box office success. I'm still not convinced remaking Around the World in 80 Days is a good idea in this supersonic culture, or that Catwoman will be half as much fun without Batman around.

Situations like those make the summer movie season fun for industry watchers - sometimes more fun than the movies themselves, as studios scramble and spin to make the most of whatever they have.

Here, then, is our annual look at the movies you'll be tired of hearing about before summertime ends. Don't stop me if you've heard all this before.

[Last modified May 19, 2004, 11:55:05]


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