'Mummy' Kicks Off Summer Season

Friday, February 9th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hollywood's busy summer season will kick off sooner than previously anticipated.

Universal Pictures has moved its big sequel ``The Mummy Returns'' to a May 4 release, a week earlier than its original date.

Nikki Rocco, Universal's head of distribution, said studio executives decided to release the movie a week earlier after viewing an early cut of the film.

``We've got the goods, and one more week of summer playing time will be a great bonus for us,'' Rocco said.

``The Mummy Returns'' reunites writer-director Stephen Sommers and stars Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz.

The summer season, when Hollywood rakes in about 40 percent of its revenue, traditionally started with big releases over Memorial Day weekend. Studios have been stretching the season the past few years with early May hits such as ``The Mummy'' in 1999 and ``Gladiator'' last year.

``Gladiator'' distributor DreamWorks is weighing in with its animated flick ``Shrek,'' featuring the voices of Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy, the weekend before Memorial Day. This year's big Memorial Day release is Disney's war epic ``Pearl Harbor.''