Hollywood's Big Bets on Summer MoviesBy
Iron Man 2 has Hollywood picturing a record summer. The movie pulled in $128 million in its U.S. opening last weekend, beating the original film's $98.6 million debut. That fast start, plus higher ticket prices for 3-D movies, may push the industry past last summer's $4.25 billion, says Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com's box-office tracking unit.
THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE (SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT)
Women and girls made the first two Twilight movies over-the-top successes for producer Summit Entertainment. The studio, looking to lure more boys, hired horror director David Slade to add vampire-vs.-werewolf action and a darker tone.
IRON MAN 2 (MARVEL STUDIOS)
Robert Downey Jr.'s swaggering interpretation of the billionaire crime fighter helped the first movie reach beyond fans of the Marvel comic books. This time, Downey gets help from new co-star Mickey Rourke, who appears as the movie's chief villain, Whiplash.
SHREK FOREVER AFTER (DREAMWORKS)
DreamWorks Animation releases the fourth and final episode of films about a genial ogre. At least some of the Shrek cast of characters will live on, however. The studio is developing a spin-off, Puss in Boots, voiced by Antonio Banderas.
TOY STORY 3 (PIXAR)
Pixar launched a landslide of computer-animated movies when it released its first full-length feature in 1995. Walt Disney, now Pixar's owner, plans to revive the franchise with 3-D. Disney whetted appetites last year by re-releasing the original Toy Story in 3-D.
INCEPTION (WARNER BROS.)
Director Christopher Nolan proved with his The Dark Knight that he can please crowds and critics. Time Warner is betting he will do the same with Inception, a thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio about a firm that steals its customers' minds.