Sidney Baldwin, Universal
Nathan Fillion stars as Capt. Malcolm Reynolds in the futuristic "Serenity." <BR>

First things first. Yes, I know. Technically, summer starts in June.

But for Hollywood, it begins a month earlier. Typically the summer movie "season" kicks off with a big release the first weekend in May. This year, it was the $300 million blockbuster "Iron Man."

Three months have passed since then. And some lessons in cinematic economics have already become painfully obvious. They include the observations that ...

Bad reviews can't necessarily sink a bad film.

The reviews for the latest M. Night Shyamalan movie, the R-rated science-fiction thriller "The Happening," practically dripped acid. Yet the film has still grossed more than $60 million.

If something works once, keep doing it. Again. And again. And again ...

Such as in the very-successful sequels to the "Batman," "Indiana Jones" and "Narnia" movies, as well as a third "Mummy" movie.

Speaking of "Tomb of the Dragon Emperor," it's practically a highlight reel from the summer's earlier movies, among them "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," "The Forbidden Kingdom" and most prominently, "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."

Just because Eddie Murphy and Mike Myers are in a movie, that doesn't mean it's going to be a hit.

Both alleged funnymen bombed with comedies — their latest movies were "Meet Dave" ($11 million) and "The Love Guru" ($31 million), respectively.

There's no underestimating the power of good reviews. And a good trailer!

The year's two biggest films so far, "Iron Man" and "The Dark Knight," both got overwhelmingly positively reviews from the nation's critics. And they had considerable pre-release "buzz" based on their exciting teasers and advertising.

You call them "chick flicks." I call them smart counterprogramming.

The "Sex and the City" movie spin-off made $150 million, more than the second "Chronicles of Narnia" film and landing it in the yearly top 10.

Meanwhile, the movie version of "Mamma Mia!" continues to climb the charts (it's currently sitting on $69 million). It seems to be flying under the radar. It did, after all, open the same weekend as "Dark Knight."


The Browncoats are coming! The Browncoats are coming! Fans of Joss Whedon's late, lamented science-fiction television series "Firefly" and 2005 movie spin-off "Serenity" will recognize that reference.

But for newcomers, "Browncoats" were the show's rebels, and the term is now used to describe fans of the show and the film.

A Utah "Browncoats" group is sponsoring "Can't Stop the Serenity," a charity event that features a screening of "Serenity." It will be held Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., at Brewvies Cinema Pub, 677 S. 200 West. (Brewvies is open to patrons 21 and older.)

Tickets for "Can't Stop the Serenity" are $15, $10 in advance. More information is available at the Web sites cantstoptheserenity.com and utahbrowncoats.angelfire.com.


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