Photo: (Paramount) Thanks for sending the pic Sara
Sunday Morning Herald, Australia
There’s a slew of new movies coming, but barely enough screens to show them written by David Dale
May 15, 2004
A titan fit
May 15, 2004
If King Arthur got into a fight with Harry Potter, whose side would Merlin be on? What if invulnerable Achilles tackled immortal Van Helsing (aim for the heel, Gabriel)? Could Spiderman still swing if Manhattan was under ice? Should Nicole Kidman obey the three laws of robotics?
If Shrek is naughty, does he deserve the Punisher?
These scenarios are about to be played out in the multiplexes of Australia, because it’s Blockbuster Overload season again. Between now and August, hardly a week will pass without the arrival of a big-budget, special effects action adventure or comedy. And while they’re savaging each other at the box office, the real victims will be the smaller – but not lesser – films that simply can’t find cinema space.
If there are 1900 screens available across the nation for showing movies on any given weekend, and the distributors insist on showing every blockbuster on more than 300 screens, something’s gotta give.
Van Helsing and Troy have already arrived. The week after next brings The Day After Tomorrow, in which the villain is climate change. (The ads show the Opera House battered by waves, but, on the bright side, that means Blues Point Tower will sink too.)
Then comes The Punisher, a comic book hero seeking revenge on John Travolta. He squeaks in just ahead of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Will they leave any screens for Shrek 2? They’d better, because next Spiderman 2 swings by, followed by King Arthur (with Keira Knightley playing Guinevere as Xena Warrior Princess).
More princesses hit town a few days later, in the form of The Stepford Wives, with Nicole Kidman and Bette Midler as lovely machines whose limbs can turn into domestic appliances. Then on July 22, Will Smith in I, Robot plays a human detective investigating a murder apparently committed by an android programmed not to harm humans.
Among these whales and sharks, we should pray for the survival of minnows such as the animated black comedy The Triplets of Belleville, Robert Altman’s The Company, William H. Macy’s new vehicle The Cooler, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers played by Geoffrey Rush. But we may have to travel a long way to find a cinema that can show them.
Now to next year’s biggest blockbuster and this column’s new contest. Ron Howard has agreed to direct The Da Vinci Code, but no cast has been announced. Author Dan Brown wants Harrison Ford for the hero. This column wants Mel Gibson in the role, because he’s passionately committed to historical accuracy in religious entertainment.
But don’t limit yourself by such preconceptions. Send your nominations and explanations for who should play the major characters (including Ms Grail herself) to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll find prizes for the cutest casting as well as the closest to Ron Howard’s final selection. You can be satirical, if you insist.
The coming blockbusters
1 Day After Tomorrow (May 27)
2 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (June 10)
3 Shrek 2 (June 17)
4 Spiderman 2 (July 1)
5 The Stepford Wives (July 15)