Three sequels are attempting to re-ignite audience enthusiasm this summer after long lay-offs or major cast changes.

Universal's comedy Evan Almighty arrives in the US on June 22 with Tom Shadyac back as director but Steve Carell starring in place of Bruce Almighty lead Jim Carrey.

Carell had a hit in summer 2005 with The 40-Year-Old Virgin ($109.4m domestic, $67.9m international) and has since become better known through the hit US version of UK TV sitcom The Office. It remains to be seen, though, whether he has the star power to help Evan match Bruce's $484.5m worldwide take.

'Bruce Almighty wasn't sold as a Jim Carrey vehicle,' says David Kosse, president of Universal Pictures International. 'It was sold on the concept of what it's like to be God for a week, whereas this is based on the concept of a modern-day Noah in Washington DC. So it is based on the concept, not the star.'

'It's something people are considering as really fresh'
Fox's Live Free Or Die Hard (titled Die Hard 4 or 4.0 for international markets) has Bruce Willis returning in a franchise that was always big internationally but has not been active since 1995's Die Hard With A Vengeance ($100m domestic, $261.2m international).

Opening in the US on June 29 and soon thereafter in 10 of the top 15 international markets, the film 'may be a sequel but I think it's something people are considering as really fresh', says Fox International co-president Paul Hanneman.

New Line's action comedy Rush Hour 3 re-teams stars Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan and director Brett Ratner, six years after the franchise's second entry (which made $226.2m domestically and $121.2m internationally). The film opens in the US on August 10 and in August or September in most international territories.

New Line International president Camela Galano says the first two films' strength on video has kept the franchise in movie-goers' minds and she hopes the new Paris setting will boost European business.