For, Friday, April 26, 2019

EDITOR’S NOTE: Memorial Day is the official kickoff for summer vacations and family activities, and for many years it was the traditional day that summer blockbusters began playing around the country. But in true Hollywood style, the opening dates of major summer movies began creeping toward pre-Memorial Day dates; early May, late April, early April. This year, one could argue that ‘Captain Marvel’ kicked off the summer movie season on March 8, followed two weeks later by ‘Us,’ and two weeks after that by ‘Shazam!’ But officially, by Hollywood standards anyway, I guess it’s today, because ‘Avengers: Endgame' will clearly be the movie to beat at the box office. Despite Memorial Day 2019 being a month away! While pondering all of this silliness I came across a story I wrote on the subject that was published in the Deseret News on May 10, 1991 — 28 years ago! — under the headline, ‘Big Summer Flicks: Theaters ready to roll ’em and reap with summer films.’

Summer comes earlier every year, Hollywood Blockbuster Time.

Not content to begin the summer movie sweepstakes on Memorial Day weekend, major movie studios have been kicking off the season in mid-May for the past few years.

This time, however, it’s early May — very early May.

The action sequel “FX2: The Deadly Art of Illusion,” which is thought to be a possible hit that should play through the early summer months, opens Friday, May 10, along with the celestial sex-change comedy “Switch,” which has been playing in the larger urban centers for a couple of weeks.


Next Friday, May 17, Madonna’s concert-documentary film, “Truth or Dare,” will begin what is expected to be a long run into the summer.

Then, on Memorial Day weekend, we’ll get a slew of potential hits, officially ushering in what is each year’s most profitable moviegoing period.

Of course, if you talk to people representing the studios, all summer films are potential blockbusters. But experience tells us that many of those scheduled are bound to bomb — some more explosively than others.

The movies to beat this season are “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” starring Kevin Costner, which opens June 14, and “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” with Arnold Schwarzenegger back as a deadly cyborg on July 3.

In the case of “Terminator 2,” the anticipation factor has as much to do with its built-in audience as the presence of Schwarzenegger. Fans of the first film know that writer-director James Cameron has yet to let down sci-fi/action fans, having proved his stuff with “The Terminator,” “Aliens” and “The Abyss.”


But “Robin Hood” looks hot because, in addition to capitalizing on Costner’s presence, the studio has cleverly raised audience awareness with a thrilling preview trailer that has been playing in theaters for the past couple of months — and which makes the movie look like “Raiders of Sherwood Forest.”

Which movies will sneak out of the pack to challenge “Robin Hood” and “Terminator 2”?

Who knows?

But there will probably be another “Ghost” this year.

EDITOR’S ENDNOTE: The mention of ‘Ghost,’ the romantic fantasy thriller with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, refers to that film having been a surprise hit that came out of nowhere the previous summer. ‘F/X 2’ dropped its subtitle and did prove to be a modest success, and ‘Terminator 2’ and ‘Robin Hood’ were, as predicted, monster blockbusters. After the last paragraph above, there followed a list of more than 70 other films that were scheduled to open throughout the summer of ’91, of which a few hits are still fondly remembered, chiefly ‘What About Bob?’ with Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss; ‘Backdraft,’ directed by Ron Howard and starring Kurt Russell and Robert De Niro; ‘Thelma & Louise,’ filmed in Utah and starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon; and Billy Crystal’s modern-day western comedy ‘City Slickers.’