As amazing as 2012 was in terms of movies, 2013 is shaping up to be even bigger! With sequels to some of last year's most epic films to original films that will certainly hold their own, the first post-apocalyptic year is looking incredible for film! Check these titles out:
Gangster Squad -- January 11
After being delayed due to hardcore reshoots ordered after the Aurora Dark Knight Rises shooting last July, Gangster Squad will finally see the light of day. Set in 1940s Los Angeles, the movie features Sean Penn as notorious real-life gangster Mickey Cohen, and features Josh Brolin, Nick Nolte, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, and promises car chases and tommy gun fights. Pity it's getting a January release, seeing that it was primed for last year's award season. We'll see what happens.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters -- January 25
Originally scheduled for March 2 of last year, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters finally arrives on the big screen. Though the preview makes it look like a rip-off of 2004's box office disaster Van Helsing, Hansel and Gretel, starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as the titular characters, as well as Famke Janssen and Peter Stormare, is seeming more like an action comedy. After all, it is (bizarrely) produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, though neither star in the film.
Movie 43 -- January 25
Touting 12 directors, eight writers, and a slew of actors, including Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Gerard Butler, Emma Stone, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Richard Gere, Kristen Bell, Anna Farris, and Josh Duhamel (and that's not even a fraction of the cast), Movie 43 is a strange hybrid of intertwining short tales that promises to be the most twisted movie you'll see this year...or ever.
Warm Bodies -- February 1
The preview says Twilight for zombies, but Warm Bodies is far superior to what expectations may be. Starring Nicholas Hoult, Rob Corddry, John Malkovich, and Teresa Palmer, this surreal zombie romantic comedy is one you surely will not soon forget! [check out my review for it below]
Identity Theft -- February 8
Making hot-button issues into comedies is a mixed bag these days (last year's The Campaign, for instance), but Identity Theft seems to be on the right track for success. Starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy, directed by Horrible Bosses helmer Seth Gordon, and a decent release date, Universal could have another hit comedy on their hands.
Beautiful Creatures -- February 13
With the Twilight franchise ending last year, there's now a void to be filled for supernatural romance franchises. The best candidate seems like the novels by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, featuring the budding romance between a spellcaster (Alice Englert) and the dark, brooding young man she pines for (Alden Ehrenreich) as she tries to figure out if she will turn evil by the time she turns 16. With a prime Valentine's Day spot, it could love for moviegoers.
A Good Day to Die Hard -- February 14
Speaking of franchises coming to an end, A Good Day to Die Hard is long-rumored to be the final appearance of Bruce Willis's iconic John McClane, and he's going out with a bang! The first film to be shot and presented in IMAX, and the first to show McClane on foreign soil, promises to be a more-than-worthy successor to the previous four films.
Jack the Giant Slayer -- March 1
Another fairy tale re-imagining which had been pushed back to 2013, Jack the Giant Slayer, directed by Bryan Singer, features Nicholas Hoult as Jack, Ewan McGreggor as an arrogant soldier, and plenty of strange looking giants in 3D. Given the trailer reception currently, it could be an early Spring hit like The Lorax was last year.
Oz: The Great and Powerful -- March 8
With author Gregory Maguire's chronicles of Oz and his novel Wicked being adapted into a musical, possibly a movie in 2014, and a TV mini-series based solely on the book, it's safe to say L. Frank Baum's classic tale is getting more attention than ever. So Sam Raimi's Oz: The Great and Powerful couldn't be coming at a better time. With James Franco as the man who would be the Wizard, and the witches played by Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, and Mila Kunis, it seems like Disney will have another success akin to 2010's Alice in Wonderland.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone -- March 15
Steve Carell and Jim Carrey have made two hit movies together (Bruce Almighty and Horton Hears a Who), so it's fairly safe to say that The Incredible Burt Wonderstone will be a hit as well. Focusing on an aging magician (Carell) trying to get back into the limelight when a flashy street magician (Carrey) begins to steal the show, Wonderstone is one of two magic-themed movies that could hit it big.
The Croods -- March 22
Animation is usually big business, and Dreamworks' The Croods seems like it will do very well. Following a family of cavemen with all-star voices (including Ryan Reynolds, Nicholas Cage, Emma Stone, and Cloris Leachman) as they're forced from their home and into a world they've never seen before. Expectations are high, but the stakes are higher, seeing that Dreamworks' last film, Rise of the Guardians, performed particularly poorly this past holiday season.
The Host -- March 29
Stephanie Meyer's Twilight franchise may be over, but that won't stop her other book, The Host, from making some coin. Taking on aliens in this book, we find the heroine (Saoirse Ronan) finding the people around her being taking over by an alien race, and her attempts at resisting them. Last year, The Avengers and Men in Black 3 meant big business for aliens, where John Carter, Battleship, and Prometheus all under-performed, so it's a case of wait-and-see for this one.
Oblivion -- April 12 (IMAX exlusive, nationwide release April 19)
Once again, aliens are a mixed bag lately. However, Oblivion, based on the comics series by Joseph Kosinski (who is producing and directing) has an impressive cast (including Tom Cruise, Melissa Leo and Morgan Freeman), a lot of trailer plays in front of different movies, and the same sure-fire release technique that made Cruise's Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol a huge hit at the end of 2011, giving this film a huge bode of confidence.
Evil Dead -- April 12
While remakes are getting more and more frequent, how many remakes are orchestrated by the original's creator? Indeed, Sam Raimi, the man who originally gave us Evil Dead, is bringing it back. Raimi will serve as producer and writer, while first-time director Fede Alvarez takes the reigns as five new teens go into a remote cabin in the woods and unwittingly brings dormant demons back. With Raimi giving his seal of approval, it's hard to imagine this film will stray far from greatness.
Pain & Gain -- April 26
Love him or hate him, Michael Bay is a consistently profitable director. Pain & Gain, Bay's first post-Transformers 3 film, looks to be no exception. Based on an unbelievably true story, two body builders (Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson) hold a rich business man (Tony Shaloub) hostage, when the kidnapping and extortion plot goes horribly wrong. It could be a risk, seeing that it has the not-so-coveted release date before Iron Man 3, but word of mouth could carry it to success.
Iron Man 3 -- May 3
Summer 2013 starts with a bang with Iron Man 3, the much anticipated sequel in the franchise, and the start of Marvel's much-talked-about Phase Two. Robert Downey, Jr returns as Tony Stark, while director Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) takes the reigns from Jon Favreau to bring a darker tone to the franchise post-Avengers, bringing in Guy Pearce and Sir Ben Kingsley as the films villains, and sees the return of Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, and Favreau as Pepper Potts, Rhodey, and Happy Hogan respectively.
The Great Gatsby -- May 10
Some decisions to delay a film are wise. Much was the case with The Great Gatsby, starring Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Joel Edgerton, which was postponed from last year's already over-crowded December. The problem is that it's debuting the week after Iron Man 3 and the week before Star Trek Into Darkness, so grosses may come in lower than director Baz Luhrmann's last film Australia, which is sad, seeing that this film looks so amazing.
Star Trek Into Darkness -- May 17
Anyone who saw The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in IMAX 3D this past December will possibly have had the pleasure of seeing the 9-minute extended preview of this long-awaited sequel to J.J. Abrams' brilliant reboot of the series. Bringing back the same all-star cast, and adding the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch as the film's Hannibal Lechter-like villain John Harrison (not Khan, so stop spreading this false rumor) only means further success for the new franchise.
Epic -- May 24
Showing that the fine art of the animated film war is not lost, Fox's Blue Sky Studios releases Epic, based on William Joyce's The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs (thankfully they changed the title). With a voice of Amanda Seyfried, Christoph Waltz, Josh Hutcherson, Steven Tyler, and Colin Ferrell and a stunningly beautiful teaser trailer, the film could possibly be great counter-programming against...
The Hangover Part III -- May 24
One of the highest grossing comedy franchises ever returns for its third and final installment. The Wolfpack (Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, and Ed Helms) returns to Las Vegas after the second installment took them to Bangkok, and sees the return of Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, Mike Epps, Heather Graham, and Mike Tyson, and sees Melissa McCarthy and John Goodman into the fray. With the first two films making a combined worldwide gross north of $1 billion, it's hard to imagine this film not succeeding.
Now You See Me -- June 7
Unlike The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Now You See Me is more along the lines of Christopher Nolan's vastly underrated The Prestige, a magic thriller. One of the year's truly original films, Now You See Me shows a detective (Mark Ruffalo) investigating a group of magicians who rob a bank -- on another continent -- during one of their shows. Also starring Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine, Now You See Me hopefully will be a sleeper hit at least.
Man of Steel -- June 14
Speaking of Christopher Nolan, he will be producing director Zack Snyder's reboot of the Superman franchise, that sees Henry Cavill as Superman himself, Russell Crowe as Jor-El, Kevin Costner as Clark Kent's father, and Michael Shannon as the infamous General Zod. With Nolan producing and Snyder helming, it's clear this film will eclipse Bryan Singer's Superman Returns.
This is the End -- June 14
It's odd how movies sometimes come in pairs, and, yet again, we see another pair of movies -- this time, apocalypse movies. This is the End, based on the outrageous short "Jay and Seth Vs. The Apocalypse", shows actors Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, and Jonah Hill all playing themselves as they face the impending apocalypse together. Seeing that we have two apocalyptic comedies this year, there's a chance that either (or both) of them will fare better than last year's apocalyptic comedy-drama Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.
Monsters University -- June 21
Though the 3D re-release of Monsters Inc was a complete bust, Pixar's prequel Monsters University could result in better business. The idea of seeing Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sully (John Goodman) in their college days seems like a fun idea. However, Pixar's last sequel, Cars 2, was the first from the hitmakers to not reach a domestic gross north of $200 million, so it may not bode well.
World War Z -- June 21
The year's second zombie movie, World War Z, is also based upon a book, and the adaptation features Brad Pitt fighting the undead in the zombie apocalypse, and being more of an action thriller than the romantic comedy Warm Bodies. After attempting to read the book, I'm praying the movie will be easier to digest. Luckily, the previews are already giving me hope.
Kick-Ass 2 -- June 28
After the first installment turned the superhero genre upside-down in 2009, Kick-Ass 2 returns four years later, bringing back Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, as well as adding Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars and Stripes, and Donald Faison as Dr. Gravity. The name of the film couldn't be more apt.
White House Down -- June 28
Though there hasn't really been an actioner solely revolving the President of the United States since 1997's Air Force One, White House Down sounds like an amazing film in the making, where Channing Tatum plays a Secret Service agent trying to protect the President (Jamie Foxx) when a paramilitary group takes over the White House. Also starring James Woods, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Richard Jenkins, White House Down begins the fireworks earlier.
Despicable Me 2 -- July 3
The first film turned into sleeper hit in 2010, even though the critics weren't as enamored with it as audiences were. So, of course there's going to be a sequel -- this time, focusing on aliens as the latest trailers seem to indicate. Steve Carell comes back as Gru, while Russell Brand and Miranda Cosgrove also make comebacks and Al Pacino comes in as Gru's latest nemesis. It's possible for another sleeper success, though, if last year proved anything, it's that an over-crowded year of great films can often leave the "sure bets" in the cold.
Lone Ranger -- July 3
The long-awaited adaptation of the radio serial and TV show The Lone Ranger finally comes to the big screen, with Armie Hammer playing the masked man of justice, while Johnny Depp portrays Tonto, the Lone Ranger's faithful sidekick. Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, and Barry Pepper star, while Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski serve as producer and director for Disney once again, almost ensuring this will be a hit.
Pacific Rim -- July 12
Though Battleship was a flop in the alien invasion genre last year, Pacific Rim could be the ticket to success for the genre this year. Director Guillermo del Toro said the film will be a "beautiful poem to giant monsters". Need I really say more?
R.I.P.D. -- July 19
Based on the strange comic series Rest In Peace Department, R.I.P.D. is about a recently slain policeman who joins a secret force of the undead to track down the man who murdered him. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon, and Mary-Louise Parker, and directed by RED helmer Robert Schwentke, R.I.P.D. is certainly one of my most anticipated movies this year.
The Wolverine -- July 26
While Marvel Studios has been diligently working on the sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man and all the films making up Phase Two, working up to The Avengers sequel, they also quietly finished the long-awaited sequel to X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Directed by Kate and Leopold helmer James Mangold and seeing Hugh Jackman returning to the popular role, The Wolverine shows Logan's samurai training in Japan. With Jackman teasing a mystery X-Man cameo and a screenplay written by The Usual Suspects' writer Christopher McQuarrie, this will hopefully ease the complaints given by its fan-hated predecessor.
The Smurfs 2 -- July 31
With so many sequels this year, the saddest and most inevitable is probably The Smurfs 2. While director Raja Gosnell and stars Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, and the whole voice cast returns, Christina Ricci, Brendan Gleason, and J.B. Smooth are added to the fray as the Smurfs find a new set of problems in the form of the Naughties. Kids and hardcore fans will rejoice, though I doubt many others will.
RED 2 -- August 2
Speaking of sequels, RED 2 sees the return of Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker and Helen Mirren back to the killing game, while newcomers Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones join the madness. Though the plot is being kept fairly under wraps, it's safe to say that, like the first, will have comedy, car chases, and gunplay, giving action movie fans something to look forward to.
300: Rise of an Empire -- August 2
Whether you loved it or not, 300 was a solid hit in 2007, and fans of the film have been waiting a long time for another journey into Sparta. Though Zack Snyder will not be returning to the director's chair, he will remain as screenwriter and producer, while a brand new cast shows the rise of Sparta, well before the events of the first film, specifically showing the rise of Xerxes. While sequels can make great fodder for the Summer, prequels usually don't pan out well. And with the film not getting Snyder or Gerard Butler back, this film more than likely won't pan out at all.
Elysium -- August 9
Sci-fi seems huge this year, and Neill Blomkamp's long-overdue follow-up to 2009's brilliant District 9 fits in perfectly. Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, and Sharlto Copely star in this bizarre futuristic commentary on illegal immigration, which could land Blomkamp's film accolades similar to District 9.
Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters -- August 16
Usually sequels to box office failures don't happen. However, Rick Riordan's demigod hero Percy Jackson gets a second film after all with Sea of Monsters, that shows the valiant return of Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Jake Able, and Alexandra Daddario, while Nathan Fillion, Stanley Tucci, and Mark Hamill join the cast (Pierce Brosnan will not be returning). Though Chris Columbus will not be returning to direct, Thor Freudenthal takes up the reigns in hopes to make the second installment a little more like the book. Here's hoping.
Mortal Instruments: City of Bones -- August 23
In hopes to create a new franchise is this adaptation of the first installment of Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series. Clare's series is massive, including six main installments, three prequels, and three sequels, starting with City of Bones. Teen supernatural movies have been big business lately, and it won't be surprising if this series takes off. Once again, I'm praying it's better than the book, which I could not get through.
Insidious Chapter 2 -- August 30
Insidious, the brain child of Paranormal Acticity's Oren Peli and Saw's James Wan and Leigh Whannell, was a surprise hit, scaring the crap out of audiences and reinventing the haunted house wheel. Wan will return as director, Whannell as screenwriter, and Peli as producer, while the cast picks up where the first chapter left off. Expect some great pre-Halloween scares from this film.
Riddick -- September 6
Any non-Fast and the Furious Vin Diesel fans left? If there are, here's the third live-action installment of David Twohy's franchise that includes Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick, the latter coming in just one year shy of a decade ago. Twohy said there were to be five total films planned, but I'm guessing it's all relative to how well this film goes...which isn't looking good thus far.
Prisoners -- September 20
A kidnapping drama about a man who abducts the guy he believes is behind the disappearance of his young daughter and her friend, which stars Hugh Jackman, Terrance Howard, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Melissa Leo, among others. What's not to love?
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For -- October 4
Speaking of long-overdue sequels, the first Sin City was almost a decade ago, and has kept fans and critics in suspense, wondering if this would ever come. Now, the question remains: will it be worth the wait? Once again directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez, and seeing many of the original cast members return, it could very well fit the bill.
Carrie -- October 18
Remakes are a dime a dozen lately, but Carrie seems to be very well timed when the nation is still reasonably focused on bullying. Stephen King's timeless tale of a young woman with telekinetic powers bullied to the breaking point looks amazing with Chloe Grace Moretz as the titular character and Julianne Moore as her crazy-as-hell mother, which could become as popular as the 1976 original.
Paranormal Activity 5 -- October 25
Though the fourth installment's grosses were close to half of the first and third films' grosses, it was still extremely profitable, which means one thing: sequel. Hence, Paranormal Activity 5! Expectedly, it will be more "found footage" scares on a shoestring budget. What is less predictable is where the filmmakers will go with this, seeing that the last installment seemed pretty much wrapped up. But, producer Oren Peli has surprised us thus far, so we'll see.
The World's End -- October 25
The second apocalypse film this year, The World's End, comes from the minds of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, the geniuses behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Though probably not as bombastic as This is the End, World's End will be more satirical, and a hell of a lot funnier. What else should we expect from this duo?
Ender's Game -- November 1
Orson Scott Card's best-selling novel gets the big-screen treatment finally! With Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, and Ben Kingsley star, while uber producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci serve as producers, and action veteran Gavin Hood will write and direct. With a great November release date and word of mouth behind it already, it could be a solid hit.
Thor: The Dark World -- November 8
Marvel's second film in Phase Two takes us to each of the Nine Realms with our favorite god of thunder. Bringing Chris Hemsworth back as Thor, as well as Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, and the rest of the cast, while welcoming Christopher Eccelston as the film's villain, and Zachary Levi, who replaces Joshua Dallas as Fandral.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire -- November 22
What many dismissed as the next Twilight, The Hunger Games domestically out-grossed every installment of Stephanie Meyer's saga, appealing to both men and women while maintaining that teen fiction didn't have to be vapid. Catching Fire has been gaining momentum since the first installment's adaptation, and promises to be bigger than imagined. While Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, and the rest of the cast returns, director Francis Lawrence takes over as director, and will maintain the position for the remaining three movies.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug -- December 13
Though An Unexpected Journey has been a slow starter, it's still an international hit, and started off the planned trilogy of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings prequel properly. Peter Jackson's second installment will certainly bring more of the eye-popping wonderment, while reuniting Martin Freeman with his Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch, who will voice the dragon Smaug.
Last Vegas -- December 20
While Todd Phillips' The Hangover trilogy is coming to an end, Last Vegas brings a similar comedic structure, revolving around a group of friends throwing a bachelor party in Sin City that goes remarkably too far. The cast? Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline! You know this movie will be brilliant!
Jack Ryan -- December 25
While Tom Clancy's character hasn't seen the big screen since 2002's The Sum of All Fears, Jack Ryan sees Chris Pine as the titular character, and Kenneth Branagh starring and directing the action thriller. Perhaps not the first thing that comes to mind when you think Christmas, but it's still bound to reboot the franchise.