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The PopMatters Summer Movie Preview

In past years, Hollywood purposely counter programmed these renowned Cineplex dog days, trying to offset the perception that cinematic scraps were all the studios had to offer. Today: August films, including The Bourne Ultimatum.

Stay tuned each day through Friday as we preview the coming summer films month by month.

The ape is back. That's right, that sizable simian known as the Summer Blockbuster movie season is ready to make its way, Kong like, across the vast pop culture landscape. Back in the days before such massive motion picture monkey business, in the halcyon days when two or maybe three films total felt like legitimate contenders for the typical sun and fun hyperbole, audiences could catch their breath, noting that said unavoidable 800lb gorillas were few and far between. But over the last couple of years, studios have stopped playing fair, and instead have decided to overwhelm us with weekly doses of mass marketed choices. That's right, every Friday between 4 May and 31 August there will be at least one inescapable big budget extravaganza making its way onto multiple screens at your local Cineplex, demanding your attention, and dollars.

It's really quite astounding when you think about it. May 2007 alone will see the return of three major franchise films, with two promising to bring their terrific trilogies to an epic, earth-shattering end. June will see the arrival of four more, while July and August offer up a pair each. In fact, with nearly 10 guaranteed moneymakers in the commercial queue, over the next 16 weeks Hollywood could have one of the biggest popcorn picture paydays ever. Sure, the budgets have ballooned astronomically, making such a windfall seem insignificant, but with a half dozen films poised to bring in $300 million or more, these cash machine chimps should enjoy one helluva championship season. And don't worry if you forget one or two -- Madison Avenue will make you well aware of their already overwhelming presence.

Of course, for every Alpha male entry, the chest-pounding movie destined to dominate the leisure time arena and business bottom line week in and week out, there are ancillary choices. Call them 'Simian Sidekicks' or 'Outsider Primates' -- ready to relieve some of the "Sold Out" stress that comes with summer. In fact, many of these off titles promise more art and invention in their cinematic stance than their higher profile brethren. So no matter if you choose the 800lb gorilla sitting smack dab in the middle of the room, letting these blockbuster brutes overpower you with the sheer size of their status, or you make an effort to seek out and enjoy some of the beast's creative kinfolk, it's clear that industry evolution is redefining the Summer Movie season. For most, it's just survival of the fittest. For others, it's a question of entertainment extinction.

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