Blockbuster pop quiz

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Tom Cruise still likes that old time (
’80s) rock and roll in Rock of Ages, opening on June 15. (Warner Bros.)

Like so much Christmas crap in the drugstore on the day after Halloween, the summer movie season comes on too early and too strong. As if the best cure for impulse-buyer’s remorse is another sales blitz. Well, maybe it is, if you’re O.K. with The Avengers and Dark Shadows and half a dozen other “summer movies” having been in theaters for months by the time the season officially arrives. And so this summer movie preview takes the form of a pop quiz. A tiredly familiar yet still self-congratulating format —but also a mercifully gentle segue (it’s multiple choice) into sustained respite from actual mental labor.

1. Using the Franchise Repopulation Profitability Theorem, calculate the percentage change of projected box office revenue for each casting decision below.
A) Colin Farrell in a role once played by Arnold Schwarzenegger (Total Recall, August 3)
B) Andrew Garfield in a role thrice played by Tobey Maguire (The Amazing Spider-Man, June 30)
C) Jeremy Renner in a role similar to one thrice played by Matt Damon (The Bourne Legacy, August 3)
D) Jesse Eisenberg in every role played by Woody Allen (To Rome With Love, June 22)
ANSWER: Whatever. Yeah, there’s no such theorem. Leave the math to the studio bean counters.

2. Just what is Ridley Scott’s Prometheus (June 8), anyway?
A) A science-fiction film starring Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Noomi Rapace, and Charlize Theron, which has something to do with Scott’s other film, Alien, but is not officially a prequel thereto.
B) A fictional movie adaptation of America’s No.1 bestselling pregnancy guide.
C) The demigod who gave us fire, for which he was punished by having his liver eaten by an eagle and then becoming the property of 20th Century Fox.
D) Actually just another really elaborate commercial for some new Apple product.
ANSWER: A.

3. Which of the following scenarios describes the plot of Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane’s feature directorial debut, Ted (July 13)?
A) A popular annual conference devoted to “ideas worth spreading” is seized by double entendres, each revealed through a dynamic cutaway.
B) A biopic about the late senator Edward Kennedy that’s also a drinking game, whose dialogue prompts include, most frequently, the word “Chappaquiddick.”
C) Mark Wahlberg plays a man whose relationship with his girlfriend, played by Mila Kunis, is jeopardized by his relationship with a talking Teddy bear, voiced by MacFarlane.
D) Two old pals—played by Ted Danson and Ted Nugent, both in blackface—go on a cross-country road trip to reconnect with each other and themselves.
ANSWER: C.

4. What do Chernobyl Diaries (May 25), a thriller in which comely young tourists find trouble at the former site of a nuclear disaster, and Rock of Ages (June 15), a juke-box musical set in the heyday of glam metal and starring Tom Cruise, have in common?
A) Both somehow required three screenwriters.
B) Both are needless and likely tasteless reminders of the horrors of the 1980s.
C) Both celebrate the power of the human spirit.
D) A and B.
ANSWER: D.

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