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Summer Theatrical Slate Full of Safe Bets

27 Apr, 2001 By: Kurt Indvik

With threats of looming writers and actors strikes, Hollywood has gone back to basics. The summer of 2001 is filled with sequels — like The Mummy Returns, Jurassic Park III, Rush Hour 2 — and tried-and-true historical dramas, like Pearl Harbor.

Aside from practicing the do-what-works mode of moviemaking, Hollywood also is employing some of today’s hottest stars to ramp up box office totals in the hottest movie season of the year.

Oscar-winner AngelinaJolie appears in two much-awaited films: Original Sin and Tomb Raider.

There’s Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge and Jennifer Lopez in Angel Eyes.

And what would a summer season be without an animated treat to tantalize both young and old alike? DreamWorks comes to the plate thisyear, with the computer-animated, star-studded Shrek.

Read on for a roundup of this summer’s smorgasbord.

May 4: The summer season starts early this year with the debut of TheMummy Returns, starring the original The Mummy cast, including BrendanFraser and Rachel Weisz, and a few new faces, like pro-wrestler "The Rock," as the much-talked-about Scorpion King.

May 11: A Knight’s Tale, about a young squire who impersonates a knight and becomes somewhat of a celebrity, is rumored to make star Heath Ledger (The Patriot) a huge Aussie import here in the States. Some of the jousting scenes are set to classic rock tunes, like Queen’s “We Will Rock You.”

May 18: The weekend before Memorial Day (with the grand-slam debut of Pearl Harbor slated) is jam-packed with three top-runners: Angel Eyes,Moulin Rouge and Shrek.

Having proved she can master dramas through work in The Cell and Out ofSight, Jennifer Lopez tries her hand again at a dramatic role in AngelEyes, in which a mystery man saves the life of a police officer (Lopez)and they get tangled into a love triangle.

Regardless of its postponement(it was slated to debut last Christmas), Moulin Rouge has gotten loads of publicity — and not just from the reported injuries suffered by Kidman, nor the breakup of her marriage.

Rounding out the batting order this weekend is the fairy-tale Shrek,with the voices of Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Mike Myers and John Lithgow.

May 25: The much-touted Pearl Harbor from Touchstone debuts thisMemorial Day weekend. We’ve not only got an all-star cast — Ben Affleck, Cuba Gooding Jr., Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale — but we’ve also got the dynamic duo (with hits like Armageddon and The Rock) Jerry Bruckheimer producing and Michael Bay directing.

June 1: Those who didn’t get enough of Colleen Haskell (the “SouthPacific Darling” in “Survivor”) can now catch her sans-the immunity idolin Rob Schneider’s new flick, The Animal. Danny De Vito, John Leguizamo and Martin Lawrence team up to play a rich man and a couple of thugs (respectively) in What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

June 8: This weekend includes the star-packed Evolution, with DavidDuchovny. It details the chaos after a meteor hits Earth and releases anorganism hell-bent on dominating the world. Other openings include Swordfish, with Hugh Jackman (X-Men) and John Travolta; The Anniversary Party, with Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming; and The Man WhoCried, with Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Cate Blanchett and John Turturro. The latter is about four strangers who find their livesintertwined in pre-WWII Paris.

June 15: Here’s the weekend thousands upon thousands of video gameplayers and Angelina Jolie fans alike have been waiting for for months. This is the weekend Lara Croft (Jolie) kicks some butt in Tomb Raider, based on the game. Atlantis, another animated spectacle from the Mouse House, is also opening this weekend, featuring the voices of Michael J. Fox and James Garner.

June 22: Eddie Murphy reprises his role talking to the animals in Dr.Dolittle 2. For those movie watchers with more of a need for speed, there’s The Fast and the Furious, with Vin Diesel (Pitch Black), PaulWalker and Michelle Rodriguez. The film, inspired by the classic RebelWithout A Cause, follows drag racing street gangs.

June 29: This weekend features the much-anticipated arrival of StevenSpielberg’s newest project, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, starring Haley Joel Osmont.

4th of July weekend: This weekend touts horror-spoof sequel ScaryMovie 2 and the family movie Cats & Dogs, about the war between familypets of different species, featuring voice talent from Alec Baldwin and Susan Sarandon.

July 11: America’s Sweethearts, Julia Roberts’ latest, in which sheplays a secretary to Catherine Zeta Jones’ superstar character, opens.

July 13: The futuristic Rollerball, starring Chris Klein (American Pie), LL Cool J and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, opens.

July 18: Jurassic Park III debuts with dino-veterans Sam Neill and Laura Dern. Also starring are William H. Macy and Tea Leoni.

July 27: Planet of the Apes, another larger-than-life animal flick, isslated.

Aug. 3: Warner Bros.’ new animated adventure, Osmosis Jones opens. Rush Hour 2 also opens, starring the original cast of Jackie Chan and ChrisTucker.

Aug. 10: Universal will serve up another slice of “Pie” with AmericanPie II, reuniting much of the original cast.

Aug. 17: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz’s World War II period drama-romance, opens.

Aug. 27: Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas heat up the screen in thelove story Original Sin.

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