But Tristan, who is 13, is part of a generation with a complicated love-hate relationship with marketing. "I have to look at that billboard every day going to school, and I don't appreciate it," he said. "I've had enough."
This year's Posse, ages 13 and 14, say they often go to a theater to be with friends, the social interaction being more important than what movie they see. Their choices are influenced by word of mouth, trailers or articles about the movie (though stories in Teen Vogue, unhappily, seem to have more influence than ones in this newspaper).
This is a generation that is instinctively wary of marketing hype. They are also well schooled in the art of deceptive salesmanship. "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer," a trailer largely made up of one long action-packed chase sequence, prompted a round of scornful hoots. "It really only showed one scene from the movie," said Ryan Ines, 14. "Why make a trailer if you're just going to show one scene, unless that's all you got?"
They were quick to notice that many of the trailers were full of quick edits and an insistent rock or techno score. After watching "Live Free or Die Hard," Tristan said: "Every trailer is like that. It has a beat or a flash of light or the screen goes dark for a second. Everything happens on the beat of the music."
With the comedies, everyone seemed to come forewarned: "It looks pretty funny," Simona Zappas, 14, said of the trailer for "Knocked Up." "But it could have all the good jokes in the trailer."
Although Hollywood continues to put great stake in the value of movie stars, these kids are more excited about such newcomers as Andy Samberg, who stars in the comedy "Hot Rod" this summer. Although Samberg is best known for "Lazy Sunday," a "Saturday Night Live" sketch that became a Web sensation, the kids rarely watch "SNL" — they're fans of Samberg from his Thelonelyisland.com comedy website. They have also, surprisingly, lost interest in Adam Sandler, once the reigning teen comedy prince. They also sneered at Nicolas Cage for being in too many awful movies and were skeptical of Brad Pitt.
As Ryan put it: "He's in the tabloids so much that it's hard to think of him as an actor anymore."
On the other hand, the boys remain fans of the Jessica babes (Alba and Biel), even though they gave low scores to the movies they appear in this summer. The older stars they liked best were Matt Damon and Don Cheadle, whom they respected for making good career choices. Everyone liked Steve Carell, even though they were lukewarm about his new film, "Evan Almighty."
The studios may be raking in millions by rolling out sequel after sequel, but if there was one common denominator about the kids' likes and dislikes, it would be the value they put on originality. The four trailers that earned the highest scores this year were from original scripts (see accompanying chart), while among the lowest scoring films — notably "Rush Hour 3" and "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" — were sequels to franchises the kids felt had overstayed their welcome.
Nobody minced words, especially when it came to bad dialogue masquerading as good taglines. After watching the "Fantastic Four" trailer, Adam Voron, 14, grumbled: "If that catchphrase 'I just bought this tux' is supposed to be cool, they're really in trouble."
Here are highlights from a very spirited discussion:
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"
Ryan: "I know I'm going to have to see it, but I don't think I'm going to like it. It really looks repetitive. But I guess I have to go."
Adam: "It just looks horrible, so over the top, with one fight scene after another. I give it one point, mostly because Chow Yun-Fat is in it."
Simona: "We're just tired of the whole series. It feels unnecessary. They just want our money."
"Live Free or Die Hard"
Tristan: "This is the exact kind of movie 'Hot Fuzz' makes fun of. There were so many scenes that were so farfetched. I mean, you can't kill a helicopter with a car."