She's cute, she's spunky and she was the star of her own TV show, but even Hilary Duff's "Lizzie McGuire" doesn't stand a chance against Wolverine's Adamantium claws and the assured box-office might of this week's "X2: X-Men United."
"The Lizzie McGuire Movie" is the only film going into wide release against the hotly anticipated mutant sequel, which, according to Fox studio representatives, will have the largest ever global release, opening simultaneously in almost 100 markets. (Click for photos from "X2: X-Men United.")
"X2" reunites the cast from 2000's blockbuster "X-Men," which generated more than $300 million worldwide and kick-started a then dormant comic book film genre, while adding new mutants like Alan Cumming's ("Spy Kids") Nightcrawler, Kelly Hu's ("The Scorpion King") Lady Deathstrike and Aaron Stanford's ("Tadpole") Pyro.
The first flick introduced America to the mutant heroes and villains Marvel Comics fans had known and loved for decades. Director Bryan Singer recently expressed how happy he was going into the sequel with all of the back story out of the way.
"[The first film was] a lot of exposition, cutting my teeth in the genre, visual effects, finding the characters," said the 37-year-old filmmaker, whose first major film, "The Usual Suspects," handled a large ensemble with similar grace and style. "Once that was all sort of done the first time around, it's kind of almost a trailer or rehearsal for this movie. I was able to come to it with more humor, more scope and more action, and ultimately, I like to think, [make] a better film, but at the same time still maintaining that tone and being referential to the comic."
"X2" kicks off a summer movie season that will include several more sequels — "Bad Boys 2," "Terminator 3" and "Legally Blonde 2" among them — as well as the similarly comic-themed "Hulk." "The Matrix: Reloaded" will be next out of the gate on May 15.