HOLLYWOOD - Seems like yesterday that everybody was going around proclaiming the end of movie-going as we knew it.
Week after week, attendance was dropping off
from over the previous year and that once-prized demographic known as
the young adult male was all but disappearing off the ticket-buying
Turns out it was nothing a U.S. Memorial Day weekend couldn't fix.
By the time the smoke cleared, the record books
were being rewritten to the tune of some $280 million collected over the
Friday-to-Monday period, blowing away the $255 million spent in
And it's not just in North America that business
is once again booming -- Hollywood's overseas numbers are even more
impressive, with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides leading the
To date the fourth film in the franchise has
collected a global booty (love the sound of that) that has just topped
the $650 million mark.
With their own tide turning, the studios down
here are in such a state of euphoria that they're suddenly sounding
confident about closing that lingering double-digit drop in 2011
business by the summer's end.
Of course, this being Hollywood, we suspected
the rebound means we haven't seen the last of Cap'n Jack and the Wolf
Pack -- and guess what?
Although Johnny Depp has not yet signed on, Disney has a script in place for the fifth Pirates excursion.
Should Depp give the thumbs up, it's a done
deal, but he's already got a shipload of commitments in his sights,
including remakes of The Thin Man (with On Stranger Tides director Rob
Marshall), Dark Shadows (with Tim Burton) and The Lone Ranger, in which
he'd play Tonto.
As for a Hangover Part III, although Warner
Bros. hasn't officially given the green light, director Todd Phillips
confirms he's already got a third one in mind, but has not yet settled
on a locale.
We hear Amsterdam is high among the places being floated, but how about a Canadian destination for a change?
St. John's could sure show them a good time. Heck, even Cornwall could offer the Wolf Pack an experience they'd never forget.
But we digress. Getting back to the spectre of a
Summer '11 redux -- with Fast Five getting the season off to a
promising start (over half a billion dollars worldwide and still
counting), it should come as no surprise that a sixth installment with
the same leads is in the works for a 2013 release.
And, yes, Chris Hemsworth will be coming back
for more Thor (the first one has nabbed a mighty $411 million to date)
-- and not just for his reprise in next year's The Avengers.
If all this sequel stuff is getting a bit dispiriting, at least we can all take some comfort in one thing:
There aren't any Katherine Heigl titles among them. So far.