Here's a list of what appear to be, at this moment, the best merchandising opportunities among 2001 movie releases (see 'The Swami Looks at Movies...').  All release dates are subject to change.  This list concentrates on the major announced releases, and in no way purports to be all-inclusive. Let's hope these dogs can hunt!


SPY KIDS    March 30th -- Major McDonalds promotion.  Directed by Robert Rodriguez


POKEMON 3   April 11th -- The Pokemon iceberg is melting fast, but it was such a big one, there's still something left!


THE MUMMY RETURNS   May11 -- The real beginning of the summer movie season and the first big merchandising opportunity with comics from Chaos, cards from Inkworks, and toys from Jakks Pacific.


SHREK   May 18th -- Computer animated potential blockbuster from Dreamworks with a huge promotional campaign and a full line of action figures and plush from McFarlane toys.


ATLANTIS   June 15th -- The major animated release of the summer from Disney.  Mattel has a full lineup of toys.Dark Horse has the comic adaptation.


TOMB RAIDER   June 15th -- With cards from Inkworks, comics from Image and toys from Playmates, TR provides plenty of sales opportunities.


A.I.   June 29th -- Should be a science fiction hit, but licensing opportunities could be limited.


KISS OF THE DRAGON   July 6 -- Luc Besson and Jet Li, nuff said.  Jet Li items could really take off, if this film makes a mark at the box office.


FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRIT WITHIN   July13 -- Palisades Marketing has some great new FF items.


JURASSIC PARK 3   July 18th -- Said to be tougher and more ferocious that previous films in the series.  Hasbro has an extensive toy line based on the film.


PLANET OF THE APES   July 27 -- Topps has the card license and Dark Horse has comics, while Applause and Hasbro will make POTA toy heaven.


OSMOSIS JONES   August 3 -- Could be the sleeper animation hit of the summer, or a bomb.


JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK   August 10 -- Graphitti has new figures and Image is publishing a comic adaptation.


HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE   November 16 -- There should be more than enough HP merchandise around if the film is a hit.


MONSTERS, INC.   November 21 -- This computer-animated film from Disney/Pixar has great potential.


THE TIME MACHINE   December 14 -- Remake of the science fiction classic.


LORD OF THE RINGS: FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS   December 19 -- This could be the big one, thanks to a savvy, longterm internet marketing campaign whipping up a horde of dedicated fans.  Topps will produce cards and Sideshow toys is preparing an innovative LOTR toy line. Toy Biz has the major toy license.


FROM HELL   No Date Set Yet -- This could be a very important movie and might allow retailers to move many copies of  the original Alan Moore/Eddie Campbell graphic novel.