• Image about Evan Baxter
While a few sequels have already kicked off the summer blockbuster season in style (Shrek the Third, Spider-Man 3, Ocean’s Thirteen), there are plenty more where they came from. The following quartet are set to hit theaters in the next month. Which one will come out on top?

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Starring: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis
The DownLow Lowdown: I’ll confess, I didn’t see the first one in the theater. I didn’t see it on DVD either. But when it finally landed on one of the 15 or so HBO channels, well, I couldn’t pass it up. Guess what! It wasn’t as bad as I had feared. But it also wasn’t that great. The point of that story? I’ll watch just about anything on HBO (read: The Day after Tomorrow, The Dukes of Hazzard). So I can’t say that I’m looking forward to the second installment. In this crowded summer market, I’m not sure how many others will be either.
Odds: 20–1


Evan Almighty
Starring: Steve Carell, Lauren Graham, Morgan Freeman
The DownLow Lowdown: This Jim Carrey–less follow-up to Bruce Almighty finds Carell’s Evan Baxter giving up his newscasting gig for a political career in Washington, D.C. Since he also happens to be married to the lovely and sassy character played by Graham, he’s in the proverbial catbird seat. Until, of course, God (Freeman) shows up and gives Evan another job:
  • Image about Evan Baxter
building an ark and rounding up all the animals, two by two. Yes, like Noah. Bruce Almighty made a nice pile of cash, and Carell is certainly on a hot streak (The Office, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Little Miss Sunshine), so go ahead and put this down for $100 million-plus.
Odds: 3–1


Live Free or Die Hard
Starring: Bruce Willis, Justin Long, Maggie Q
The DownLow Lowdown: Late last night, I found myself watching Willis’s early-’90s action dud The Last Boy Scout (yes, on HBO — how did you know?) and wondering why his career didn’t completely flame out around that time, since he made a string of widely derided by-the-numbers smash-’em-up flicks. Then I remembered how awesome the Die Hard trilogy was and stopped caring. Was there a need for a fourth film? Probably not. Do I care what it’s about? Not really. (For the record, it’s about cyberterrorism or something, which makes sense, I guess, given that Justin “Mac” Long costars.) Am I super fired up to go see it? Oh yes. But who will join me?
Odds: 6–1


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson
The DownLow Lowdown: What? You’re one of the five people who didn’t read the book? Everyone who hasn’t died yet is back, and there’s a bunch of business involving magic, Muggles, and so on. Oh, and relative unknown David Yates directs. That you might not have known.
Odds: Vegas has taken it off the board.