The lines between Hollywood’s seasonal calendar are getting more blurred every year as summer blockbuster season starts earlier and earlier.
The heavy-hitter titles, which include the anxiously anticipated “Iron Man 3” and “Star Trek Into Darkness,” won’t arrive until May. But we’ve still got some interesting offerings before then that may boost box office returns after a lackluster winter.
Here’s what’s in store for the next couple of months (release dates are subject to change):
“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” – The Joes return for this third outing, which finds them not only fighting their mortal enemy Cobra but also having to deal with threats that could jeopardize their operation. Channing Tatum joins the muscleheads again, along with Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis – an action fan’s dream team.
“The Host” – “Twilight” saga author Stephenie Meyer ditches vampires for aliens here, known as “hosts,” who take over the bodies of humans and erase their memories. But one girl (Saoirse Ronan) defies being caught and discovers romance along the way. If the “Twilight” films are any indication, expect much lovey-doveyness.
“Tyler Perry’s Temptation” – Prolific (almost too much so) director Tyler Perry (the “Madea” comedies) brings us a serious love story for a change, following a married marriage counselor who gets involved in an increasingly obsessive affair.
“Evil Dead” – Hard-core fans of the original cult classic were in an uproar when this remake was announced. Then they found out that original director Sam Raimi (“Oz the Great and Powerful”) was producing, along with original star Bruce Campbell, and they were a little more interested. Instead of a group of college kids heading to a remote cabin, this time it’s a group of high schoolers. But they still find the “Book of the Dead” that unleashes very evil things – like talk of a sequel.
“Jurassic Park in 3-D” – The fourth “Jurassic” installment doesn’t come out until 2014, but the original gets milked for all it’s worth, er , gets the 3-D treatment. It’s set in a theme park that suffers a major power breakdown, allowing its dinosaur inhabitants to run amok looking for human snacks. I caught a sneak preview of the 3-D version at the Warren IMAX theater, and it looks amazing.
“Oblivion” – Tom Cruise goes the sci-fi route as a veteran soldier assigned to extract Earth’s remaining resources and begins to question what he knows about his mission and himself. This is directed by Joseph Kosinski (“TRON: Legacy”) and written by William Monahan, who won an Oscar for “The Departed,” so it could be more than standard sci-fi.
“42” – This is the life story of Jackie Robinson and his history-making signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers under the guidance of team executive Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford). Interesting choice of casting, going with relative unknown Chadwick Boseman in the lead role. This could be his calling card.
“Scary Movie 5” – More parodies, even less interest. People, if you don’t stop going to these, they’re just going to make more.
“The Lords of Salem” – Rocker-turned-director Rob Zombie returns with this horror tale following a radio DJ (Sheri Moon Zombie) who is sent a box containing a record that triggers flashbacks of her town’s violent past. Rob Zombie certainly has his followers, though some still dismiss him as a hack. This could boost his cred (if it’s good).
“Pain & Gain” – This action comedy follows a trio of bodybuilders in Florida who get caught up in an extortion ring and a kidnapping scheme that goes wrong. Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson star, while Michael Bay (the “Transformers”) directs, so expect lots of things to be blown up for no apparent reason.
“The Big Wedding” – Comedy starring Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton as a long-divorced couple who are temporarily forced to fake being married again for the benefit of their son’s upcoming wedding. It’s a pretty hefty cast (that also includes Susan Sarandon, Topher Grace and Katherine Heigl) for what looks like a fluffy, somewhat routine rom-com.
“Iron Man 3” – Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) takes on a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), endangering his relationship with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). Shane Black takes over the directing reins of the franchise from Jon Favreau, who left after the limp “Iron Man 2.”
“The Great Gatsby” – Baz Luhrmann (“Moulin Rouge”) lends his dazzling visual style to the classic tale following Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), a Midwesterner now living on Long Island who finds himself fascinated by the mysterious past and lavish lifestyle of his neighbor Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). The film was originally slated for release last Christmas but was pulled at the last minute – hopefully all the kinks are worked out.
“Star trek Into Darkness” – Director J.J. Abrams finally delivers the sequel to his very fun “Star Trek” reboot, this time with the crew of the Enterprise battling an unstoppable force from within their own organization. The original cast returns: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana and Anton Yelchin. Can we expect a William Shatner cameo (a la Leonard Nimoy’s in the first film)? Probably not, but that would be fun.
“Fast & Furious 6” – Really? Six? Fans keep flocking to these films, so I’m sure there’s already a seventh installment in the works. Here, Agent Hobbs (Paul Walker) enlists the aid of Dom (Vin Diesel) and team to help bring a rival gang to justice.
“The Hangover Part III” – We need a third “Hangover” movie just about as much as we need real hangovers. But “Part II” (which was basically just a remake of the first film) earned more than $581 million worldwide, so “Part III” was inevitable. This time there’s no wedding or bachelor party, but the gang hits the road for more highjinks – and apparently more booze.