Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Can Original Movies Find Audiences during the Summer Film Season?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Can Original Movies Find Audiences during the Summer Film Season?

Article excerpt

The summer movie season is here and with it comes films that are labeled with Hollywood's various terms for a continuation of a story - sequels, reboots, remakes.

Some of the most high-profile of this fare includes "Captain America: Civil War," a new "Ghostbusters" film, an "Independence Day" sequel, and a new "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie.

But also on the scene are some films that are coming out in wide release and are based on original ideas. Unlike independent movies, which come out in limited release and are often based on original stories, these films come from new ideas but head to the multiplex to stand alongside such properties like the BFG as Tarzan.

Some of these movies include "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping," a comedy film starring Andy Samberg, which is now in theaters and the longevity of which at the box office remains to be seen; "Central Intelligence," another comedy which stars Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson and which will be released on June 17; and "The Shallows," a movie about a woman trying to escape a shark which stars Blake Lively. It will be released June 29.

Can movies that don't come as part of a recognizable franchise or ongoing story find audiences during the high-pressure summer film season?

Thomas Schatz, author and media professor at The University of Texas at Austin, says it's a difficult environment. It can be done, however. One sequel that is arriving this summer is "Now You See Me 2," which stars Mark Ruffalo, Lizzy Caplan, Jesse Eisenberg, and Daniel Radcliffe and is a continuation of the story first told in the original 2013 movie. The first movie, which came out in May of that year as part of the blockbuster season, was based on an original story, yet attracted enough moviegoers to become a hit.

"Let's hope there's at least one quirky breakout movie [like that] in any capacity [this summer]," Professor Schatz says of "Now." He notes that the horror movie "The Conjuring," which came out the same summer as "Now" and was based only on the life story of its protagonists, also became a hit. …

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