What's driving this is something annoying in the abstract but an absolute plague in the summer: brand identification. The marketplace is so crowded with entertainment choices -- an infinite number of them if you factor in the Internet -- that any brand ID gives a product a leg up in the competition. Early sitcoms are a particularly rich lode to be mined, because they double-dip -- they catch the nostalgic memories of aging baby boomers even as they sparkle anew for a new generation of preteen movie consumers. Hmmm, but there are no movies this summer that fit that mold ("Nancy Drew," with Emma Roberts on June 15, comes closest), which suggests that trend may be over, maybe because the baby boomers are too feeble to go to the movies by themselves anymore, or maybe because so many of them have been so bad ("Bewitched," "Dukes of Hazzard," "The Brady Bunch," "The Flintstones" or even the multiple failures of "Tarzan"). But the brand-name thing is still a summer tipoff. I count 13 brand-ID'd movies coming out in the next few months, ranging from the fourth go-round of the "Die Hard" franchise ("Live Free or Die Hard," June 27) to live-action variants of toys that already became cartoons ("Transformers," July 4; there goes the weekend!) to the inevitable Harry Potter reappearance (" . . . and the Order of the Phoenix," July 13, in which Harry is presented the town key to Phoenix, Ariz., and goes to a really nice spa) to the aforementioned musical "Hairspray," to the final degradation, Rob Zombie's take on "Halloween" Aug. 31. And if you get all mixed up remembering if this is Two or 2 or Too or Deux or even (subscript 2, someone else figure out please) or did you miss Three and fall asleep in Seven, or did you read that book or the one just like it or have you played that game or not, imagine how bad it feels if . . .

— movie sequels  

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