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Sequels not too ‘Scary’

Dimension polishing gameplan on third installment

Despite some missteps this summer, the industry is not giving up on sequels just yet.

Bolstered by the box office success of “Spy Kids 3-D,” which has taken $71.3 million and looks primed to pass the receipts of “Spy Kids 2,” Dimension Films has high hopes for the latest in its horror movie spoof series, “Scary Movie 3.”

“We’re looking at the sequel business and think it’s a great business,” Dimension co-chair Bob Weinstein told Daily Variety. “What you have to do is bring something new to the table.”

He added, “I’m predicting that we’ll surpass ‘Scary Movie 2,’ ” which in summer 2001 took in $71.3 million.

Several factors are fueling Weinstein’s optimism: a large co-promotional push with Coors Brewing, a PG-13 rating that will broaden the franchise’s audience and a more mainstream sensibility from helmer David Zucker, veteran of “Airplane!” and the “Naked Gun” series.

Going for the kids

The previous two “Scary Movies” were rated R. Of the decision to go for a PG-13 for this one, Weinstein said, “We are going after the 12-49 demographic. We’re going to get the ‘Austin Powers’ crowd.”

Weinstein added Dimension’s tracking data is strong, with 65% awareness of “Scary Movie 3.”

“Scary Movie 3” will mark the first major effort between the studio and Coors after they inked a marketing pact last year.

“Scary” will open on Oct. 24 to take advantage of Coors’ annual Halloween marketing push, including TV spots during NFL games, in-store promotions and a radio campaign. Also opening that weekend are Warner’s Halle Berry thriller “Gothika,” Sony’s animated “Lil’ Pimp” and Paramount’s refugee drama “Beyond Borders,” starring Angelina Jolie.

Miramax’s “Duplex,” the Danny DeVito-directed comedy starring Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore, had been previously skedded to open on that date. But with the “Scary” move, “Duplex” now will unspool on Oct. 3, “Scary’s” former date.

$10 mil in beer money

Coors will spend $10 million on “Scary” promos, Weinstein said. Dimension has budgeted $30 million of its own, and Weinstein said the company is close to bringing on another marketing partner, bringing the total marketing budget to $50 million.

The TV spots will be a variation on Coors’ successful “Love Song” campaign, with new lyrics that play up the “Coors Twins” appearance in “Scary Movie 3.” Coors is also the official beer sponsor of the NFL, guaranteeing heavy play of the spot during football games once the season gets under way.

“Scary Movie 3” will follow the format of the previous editions, parodying genre flicks such as “The Ring,” “The Others” and “Signs,” as well as pics such as “The Matrix Reloaded” and “8 Mile.”

The first two “Scary Movie” pics, which grossed a combined $278 million, were directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans; they starred and were scripted by his brothers Shawn and Marlon. Late last year, Revolution signed a two-pic deal with the sibling team, one of which is planned as a sci-fi spoof flick.

Widening auds

In Dimension’s first Wayans-less “Scary Movie,” Zucker has cast actors in an attempt to broaden pic’s appeal beyond the Wayans’ core urban audience. Actors such as Charlie Sheen, Leslie Nielsen, Jenny McCarthy and Pamela Anderson will appear alongside hip-hop favorites Queen Latifah, Ja Rule, Method Man and Redman.

Dimension already is developing “Scary Movie 4.” Despite previous reports that the next episode would go into production directly after “Scary Movie 3” wrapped in Vancouver this summer, Weinstein said a script for the fourth installment is being finalized and he hopes to start production early next year.