And, no, nobody's picking on Green Lantern here. Well, nobody's only picking on Green Lantern here.
Consider these bummers of the Hollywood summer:
1. 3-D Anything and Everything: The sky-high ticket prices, the dimly lit screens, the crappy conversions, the oversaturated market—you name it, and moviegoers are done with it. Since the long-ago days of Avatar, 3-D flicks have gone from making most of their money from 3-D theaters to Johnny Depp's Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides making most of its money from 2-D theaters. Lotsa luck, Harry Potter. (One point of hope for the wizard: The new Transformers is actually doing great in 3-D.)
2. Superhero Movies: The truth is, a lot of people liked Thor and X-Men: First Class; the further truth is, Captain America looks promising. But then you get a flick like Green Lantern to remind you—and the voice of cartoon Superman—that transporting the DC and Marvel universes in their entirety to the big screen isn't nearly as cool as your 9-year-old self thought it would be. "All these superhero movies seem exactly the same to me," Tim Daly told our Marc Malkin.
3. Karma's on Vacation: Disappointed in The Hangover Part II? Left feeling cheated—or like you've seen a rerun? Tough. The sequel's grossed in excess of one half-billion dollars worldwide, yes, more than the original. (And if you thought you'd wriggle out of taking the rugrat to see Cars 2 because the reviews were lousy, think again.)
4. More Flicks Aren't Like Bridesmaids: Let's see, a movie that's not a sequel, not a superhero movie and not a 3-D movie. This summer, that leaves a precious few, and probably explains why Bridesmaids, Super 8 and Bad Teacher have all done better than expected at the box office.
5. No Star Trek 2! As much as Super 8 has been loved, and as much as J.J. Abrams no doubt had to get his Steven Spielberg movie out of his head, and onto a screen, the throwback sci-fi movie is a big reason why Chris Pine's Captain Kirk hasn't taken a victory lap yet for 2009's success. Call it the ultimate letdown: Hollywood makes a movie that you want to see sequelized, and then it doesn't make it.