''Lost World,'' ''The Mask II,'' and more are heading to theaters


Never let it be said that Hollywood left a dead horse unbeaten. The studios have been busier than ever churning out sequels, from the obvious (the fourth Bat caper, starring George Clooney, will start filming later this summer) to the not so obvious (a second act to 1987’s Dirty Dancing is now in the works). Here’s a look at other follow-ups headed our way.

Film: Alien: Resurrection
E.T.A.: Spring 1997
Plot: Sigourney Weaver returns as Ripley — actually, a clone of Ripley — and joins forces with an android (Winona Ryder) to once again battle everyone’s favorite face-hugging, chest-bursting, acid-bleeding beastie.
What’s New? French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who’s directing his first English-language film with this fourth Alien episode.
Why a sequel? According to Tom Sherak, senior executive VP at Fox, although Alien 3 wasn’t a major hit (earning only $55 million), it opened huge ($23 million) compared with Alien‘s $10 million. The audience might still be there if the new film delivers.

Film: The Crow: City of Angels
E.T.A.: August 1996
Plot: The Crow returns from the dead again, and this time he falls in love.
What’s New? Vincent Perez (Queen Margot) takes on the role of the moribund superhero originated by the ill-fated Brandon Lee.
Why a Sequel? Lee’s untimely death on the set gave The Crow a cult cachet and created ”a greater hunger for [the sequel] than we’d expected,” says Mark Gill, head of marketing at Miramax.

Film: John Carpenter’s Escape from L.A.
E.T.A.: Summer 1996
Plot: After the Big One, Los Angeles becomes an island to which freethinkers are exiled, and it’s there that Kurt Russell’s snarling Snake Plissken goes to find the President’s daughter.
What’s New? State-of-the-art visual effects that weren’t possible when Escape From New York was made in 1981.
Why a Sequel?: Everyone loves to trash L.A.

Film: The Lost World (a.k.a. Jurassic Park 2)
E.T.A.: Summer 1997
Plot: Mathematician Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), a survivor of the first Jurassic, returns to face another jungle island filled with lots of new dinosaurs.
What’s New? Practically nothing. Don’t fix what ain’t broke — and given the first film’s $912 million worldwide box office take, Steven Spielberg’s dinos are far from broken.
Why a Sequel? Besides the obvious reason, Spielberg needs to finish Lost World for Universal before devoting all his energies to his new studio, DreamWorks.

Film: The Mask II
E.T.A.: Christmas 1997
Plot: The magical mask turns up in Paris, and Jim Carrey and crew — Cameron Diaz, Peter Riegert, and Milo the dog — venture abroad to recover it.