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2013 movie preview: On the horizon The year ahead will bring new heroes and old friends

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, at 11:42 p.m.
  • Updated Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, at 12:15 a.m.

Hope you haven’t gotten your fill of comic book heroes, twists on fairy tales or sequels — because there’s lots more on deck for 2013.

Here’s a look at some of the more anticipated films coming this year (release dates subject to change):

Winter

•  “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” — Jeremy Renner (“The Avengers”) and Gemma Arterton (“Prince of Persia”) star in this dark spin on the fairy tale as siblings Hansel and Gretel, who become, well, witch hunters. (Jan. 25)

Buzz: The recent twists on well-known lore (“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Killer”) have had mixed results, but this has the advantage of kicking off several fairy tale “re-envisionings” of the year.

•  “Warm Bodies” — A zombie (Nicholas Hoult, “X-Men: First Class”) falls in loves with the girlfriend of one of his victims, causing an uproar in the world of the undead. What are they gonna do? Kill him? (Feb. 1)

Buzz: The zombie genre is as hot as ever, and this looks like it could be a fresh take — but will we buy a zombie romance?

•  “A Good Day to Die Hard” — John McClane (Bruce Willis) is back in this fifth installment in the “Die Hard” series. This time he is sent to Russia to help out his seemingly wayward son, Jack, only to discover that Jack is a CIA operative working undercover. (Feb. 15)

Buzz: When I first saw the posters on the Internet, I thought this was a joke, but it’s real, all right. Injecting McClain’s son into the mix could add fresh energy, though.

•  “Beautiful Creatures” — Another popular young-adult book series gets the big-screen treatment with several planned films. In this first installment, we’re introduced to Ethan, who longs to escape his small Southern town. He meets a mysterious new girl, Lena, and together they uncover dark secrets about their families, their history and their town. (Feb. 13)

Buzz: This may not have the gargantuan built-in audience of the “Harry Potter” or “Twilight” films, but it will certainly attract its fair share of loyal fans — something backing studio Warner Bros. is banking on.

Spring

•  “Jack the Giant Slayer” — Another fairy tale re-telling, in which the long-standing peace between men and giants is threatened, as a young farmer (Nicholas Hoult) leads an expedition into the giants’ kingdom to rescue a kidnapped princess. (March 1)

Buzz: Hoult is in two high-profile early-year releases, but this film was also bumped from a summer 2012 release for unknown reasons, although having Bryan Singer (“X-Men”) as director shows promise.

•  “Oz the Great and Powerful” — Another re-envisioning of the Oz tale, but this time as a prequel to “The Wizard of Oz,” following a stage magician (James Franco) who is hurled into a fantasy world and must use his wits to combat three witches. (March 8)

Buzz: The visuals look amazing, and it’ll be interesting to see what flair director Sam Raimi (“Spider-Man”) brings to the story.

•  “Carrie” — New version of Stephen King’s horror novel about a girl (Chloe Grace Moretz, “Kick-ass,” “Let Me In”) with telekinetic powers who gets revenge on her bullying schoolmates when she is pushed too far. (March 15)

Buzz: I’m generally not a fan of remakes, but it’s rumored this new version is truer to King’s novel than Brian DePalma’s film that made Sissy Spacek a star. And the casting is inspired — Moretz is one of the best young actors today, and Julianne Moore should chew up the scenery nicely as Carrie’s crazy-pants mother.

•  “The Heat” — An uptight FBI special agent (Sandra Bullock) is paired with a testy Boston cop (Melissa McCarthy) to take down a ruthless drug lord, but neither woman has ever had a partner — or a friend, for that matter. (April 5)

Buzz: Many are welcoming Bullock’s return to comedy, and this should be a funny pairing. It’s also director Paul Feig’s follow-up to the monster hit “Bridesmaids” — hopefully he stays on a roll.

•  “Oblivion” — Tom Cruise stars in this sci-fi futuristic tale as one of the few remaining drone repairmen assigned to Earth who discovers a crashed spacecraft with contents that put the fate of mankind in his hands. That’s a little scary, because Cruise’s hands don’t look that big.

Buzz: This is director Joseph Kosinski’s follow-up to “TRON: Legacy,” so it should be visually spectacular, at least.

Summer season

•  “Iron Man 3” — Tony Stark uses his ingenuity to fight those who destroyed his private world and soon goes up against his most powerful enemy yet: the Mandarin. (May 3)

Buzz: I thought “Iron Man 2” was a bit of a letdown, but the franchise has switched directors (Jon Favreau is out, and Shane Black is in), so maybe that will breathe new life into the series.

•  “The Great Gatsby” — Baz Luhrmann (“Moulin Rouge”) directs this adaptation of the classic novel following Nick Carraway, a Midwesterner now living on Long Island who finds himself fascinated by the mysterious past and lavish lifestyle of his neighbor, Jay Gatsby. Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan star. (May 10)

Buzz: Warning sign : The film was pulled from its original Christmas 2012 release.

• Star Trek Into Darkness” — Director J.J. Abrams returns with this sequel following the crew of the Enterprise facing off against an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization. (May 17)

Buzz: After the commercial and critical success of Abrams’ first “Star Trek” outing, this is probably one of the most anticipated sequels of the year.

•  “After Earth” — Will Smith and his son, Jaden, star in this sci-fi actioner as a father and son who crash-land and explore a planet that was evacuated by humans 1,000 years earlier. (June 7)

Buzz: M. Night Shyamalan is directing, and his track record hasn’t exactly been great lately.

•  “Man of Steel” — Zack Snyder (“300”) directs this reboot of the Superman legend, following an alien infant who is raised on Earth and grows up with superhuman abilities. (June 14)

Buzz: This is probably the most hyped film of the year, but it’ll be tough to follow-up 2012’s superhero success of “The Avengers,” “The Dark Knight Rises” and “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

•  “Monsters University” — A look at the relationship between Mike and Sulley during their days at the University of Fear — when they weren’t necessarily the best of friends. (June 21)

Buzz: Probably the biggest animated release of the year.

•  “World War Z” — A U.N. employee (Brad Pitt) races against time as he travels the world trying to stop the outbreak of a deadly zombie pandemic. (June 21)

Buzz: Hardcore fans of the Max Brooks novel have been blogging about this since it was announced that the film would be made, though many consider it unfilmmable.

•  “White House Down” — A Secret Service agent (Channing Tatum) is tasked with saving the life of the President (Jamie Foxx) after the White House is overtaken by a paramilitary group. (June 28)

Buzz: Certainly has star power; could be Tatum’s big movie of the year as he continues his hot streak.

•  “The Lone Ranger” — Johnny Depp stars as Tonto, who recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid (Armie Hammer), a man of the law, into a legend of justice.

Buzz: Depp’s controversial casting (and wardrobe) aside, it’ll be interesting to see how director Gore Verbinski’s (“Pirates of the Caribbean”) usually overblown instincts befit a Western. (July 3)

•  “Pacific Rim” — When aliens attack Earth, giant robots piloted by humans are deployed to fight off the menace.

Buzz: This is the newest film from director Guillermo del Toro (“Hellboy,” “Pan’s Labyrinth”), so he has a bit of a fanboy audience built-in; with him on board it should be visually stunning.

•  “Elysium” — Set in the year 2159, where the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth, a man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds. Matt Damon and Jodie Foster star. (Aug. 9)

Buzz: This is Neill Blomkamp’s follow-up to “District 9,” so let’s hope he doesn’t go the sophomore-slump route.

Fall

•  “Gravity” — Astronauts attempt to return to Earth after debris crashes into their space shuttle, leaving them drifting in space. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star. (Oct. 18)

Buzz: I’m particularly intrigued because of director Alfonso Cuaron, who helmed “Children of Men” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”

•  “The World’s End” — Five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from 20 years earlier unwittingly become humankind’s only hope for survival. (Oct. 25)

Buzz: Director Edgar Wright again teams with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (after “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz”) for this last outing in their “Blood and Ice Cream” trilogy. Fans of the previous films will flock to this.

Holiday season

•  “Thor: The Dark World”— Taking place after the events of “The Avengers,” Thor battles an ancient race of elves led by the vengeful Malekith, who threatens to plunge the universe back into darkness. (Nov. 8)

Buzz: The first of the Marvel superheroes to come fresh off of “Avengers” will no doubt cash in on the recent popularity. “Game of Thrones” director Alan Taylor is an interesting choice that could lend some gravitas.

•  “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” — Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) has returned home safe after winning the 74th annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a “Victor’s Tour” of the districts. (Nov. 22)

Buzz: There’s a new director this time around, so we’ll see if the films get darker (as they should), or still skirt the line by not fully embracing their harrowing premise.

•  “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” — The Dwarves, Bilbo and Gandalf have successfully escaped the misty mountains, but Bilbo has gained the one ring. They all continue their journey to get their gold back from the dragon Smaug. (Dec. 13)

Buzz: Sure to be precious.

Reach Rod Pocowatchit at rpocowatchit@wichitaeagle.com.

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