The X Factor

The summer of big effects movies gets an early start with Friday’s release of Twentieth Century Fox’s X2: X-Men United. Director Bryan Singer’s action-packed follow-up promises way more eye-popping visuals than the first, with Cinesite, Rhythm & Hues, Frantic Films, Kleiser-Walczak, Grant McCune Design and FXSmith all contributing to the movie magic. Fox also aims to top the original’s $300 million worldwide take by rolling the sequel out in an unprecedented 93 territories simultaneously. But will more X and more FX be enough to claim the summer from the advancing horde of comic book-inspired contenders?

It’s a bad summer to be a super villain, considering the impressive number of superheroes suiting up to patrol the local cineplexes. In addition to another does of Marvel’s mutant X-Men, moviegoers can look forward to the big-screen bebut of Marvel’s mean, green colossus of rage known as The Hulk (Universal), the graphic novel-based The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Twentieth Century Fox), the return of Lara Croft in Tomb Raider 2 (Paramount) and a third helping of bite-sized super snoops in Spy Kids 3D: Game Over (Dimension Films). Need we even mention the forthcoming heavy-metal assault from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and The Matrix Reloaded?

Pundits predict Reloaded will lead the pack in the box office bonanza. Still, the film is a yet unknown quantity while X2 has already premiered to rave reviews from fans. This weekend should prove whether or not the next X has the X factor that audiences find irresistible.

See the June issue of Animation Magazine for our inside look at the effects work in X2: X-Men United and our cover story on The Hulk.