Movie Maniac

Summer movie preview: More superheroes on the way

Summertime at the box office is off to a big start with the gargantuan success of “The Avengers,” kicking off a slate of movies thicker than Black Widow’s Russian accent.

There are more superheroes on the way — Batman and Spider-Man are waiting in the wings to kick some box-office booty. And, as usual, the requisite sequels and reboots are headed our way, too.

Here’s a look at what’s in store for the next few months (release dates are subject to change).


“Chernobyl Diaries” — Horror tale about a group of young “extreme tourists” who become stranded at the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster and discover strange things inside.

“Men in Black 3” — Will Smith returns as Agent J, who travels back in time to save the life of his partner, Agent K, played as a young man by James Brolin, doing his best Tommy Lee Jones impersonation. Filming started before there was even a finished script (yikes), so look for lots of Smith’s ad libs.

June 1

“Moonrise Kingdom” — Wonderfully quirky director Wes Anderson returns with this film set in 1965, following the search for a pair of preteen runaways (Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward). Along for the ride are Anderson stalwarts Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman, as well as Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Edward Norton.

“Snow White and the Huntsman” — The second (and decidedly darker) Snow White-inspired film this year stars Kristen Stewart (the “Twilight” films) as Snow White and Chris Hemsworth (“Thor,” “The Avengers”) as the huntsman ordered by an evil queen (Charlize Theron) to kill her — but who becomes her protector instead.

“Piranha 3DD” — If you couldn’t tell by the pun of the bra size in the title, this is a campy, intentionally cheesy franchise, and its third outing has the perennially hungry fishies invading a newly opened water park. Fresh meat!

June 8

“Prometheus” — Director Ridley Scott’s thriller (which is rumored to be a prequel to “Alien”) has Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender starring as explorers who discover something evil in space, where no one can you hear you scream.

“Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” — The zoo animals are still trying to get back to New York City but accidentally end up in Europe, where they discover a traveling circus.

June 15

“Rock of Ages” — Musical/comedy following a small-town girl and big-city boy who meet on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles while pursuing their Hollywood dreams. Their rock ’n’ roll romance is told through the songs of Def Leppard, Joan Jett, Journey, Foreigner, Pat Benatar and other ’80s bands. The cast includes Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin and Paul Giamatti — in a musical!

“That’s My Boy” — Comedy with Adam Sandler as a man who fathered a son at age 13. Andy Samberg stars as said son, who shows up for an unannounced visit. Hilarity ensues, hopefully — Sandler owes us big time after “Jack and Jill.”

June 22

“Brave” — Pixar’s animated entry this year follows a princess who defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, she must rely on her bravery and archery skills to undo a beastly curse.

“Abraham Lincoln: Bounty Hunter” — Yes, that Abraham Lincoln (played by newcomer Benjamin Walker), who discovers vampires are planning to take over the United States. So he vows to eliminate them. That would certainly get him re-elected.

“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” — Aren’t we all? As an asteroid nears Earth, a man (Steve Carell) finds himself alone after his wife leaves in a panic. So he decides to take a road trip to reunite with his high school sweetheart.

June 29

“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” — This sequel finds the Joes battling Cobra spy Zartan. Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis and Channing Tatum star.

“Magic Mike” — Speaking of Channing Tatum, this is loosely based on his real-life experiences as a male stripper, following an upstart dancer (Alex Pettyfer, “I Am Number Four”) who is taken under the wing of a more experienced colleague (Tatum). Surprisingly, this is directed by Oscar winner Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic,” “Contagion”). Hope the G.I. Joe fans don’t get confused and go to this movie by mistake.

“Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection” — Another installment in Perry’s series has a Wall Street investment banker wanted by the mob relocating to his Aunt Madea’s Southern home.

July 6

“The Amazing Spider-Man” — Reboot of the superhero franchise with Marc Webb (“500 Days of Summer”) directing, following nerdy Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield, “The Social Network”) who turns into Spider-Man after being bitten by a weird arachnid.

“Savages” — Director Oliver Stone (“Platoon,” “Wall Street,” “Natural Born Killers”) returns with this story of two pot growers (Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch) who face off against the Mexican drug cartel that kidnapped their shared girlfriend. Shared? Ah, hippies.

July 13

“Ice Age: Continental Drift” — This fourth outing has Manny the mammoth (voice of Ray Romano) and friends embarking on another adventure after their continent is set adrift.

“Ted” — Comedy about a man (Mark Wahlberg) whose teddy bear comes to life as the result of a childhood wish. Co-written and directed by Seth McFarlane (TV’s “Family Guy”), so expect some crude comedy.

July 20

“The Dark Knight Rises” — The last installment in director Christopher Nolan’s dark Batman trilogy picks up eight years after incidents in “The Dark Knight,” as Batman (Christian Bale) battles two new villains: Bane (Tom Hardy) and Catwoman (Anne Hathaway).

July 27

“The Watch” — Comedy with Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill starring as suburban dads who form a neighborhood watch group to get time away from their families, only to discover a plot to destroy Earth. Didn’t see that coming.

“Step Up: Revolution” — This fourth entry in the dancing film franchise finds Emily (Kathryn McCormick) in Miami with aspirations to become a professional dancer. But romance and tension await, as always.

Aug. 3

“The Bourne Legacy” — Matt Damon is out, and Jeremy Renner (“The Avengers”) is in as a new CIA operative who does, uh, spy stuff.

“Total Recall” — Remake of the Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi actioner with Colin Farrell starring as a factory worker who discovers that his memories have been implanted and that he may be a spy.

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” — The third film based on the books finds the protagonist trying to find something fun to do over the summer.

Aug. 10

“The Campaign” — Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis star in this comedy as two rival North Carolina politicians with presidential aspirations.

“Hope Springs” — Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones star in this romantic comedy as a couple married for 30 years who attend an intense counseling weekend to decide the fate of their marriage.

“Sparkle” — Remake of a 1976 musical melodrama set in the 1960s, where three sisters form a girl group and soon become Motown sensations. This is the late Whitney Houston’s final screen performance, and it was apparently a labor of love (she was also executive producer).

Aug. 17

“ParaNorman” — Animated comedy following a misunderstood boy who can speak with the dead.

“The Expendables 2” — It’s a veritable action-star reunion, as Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris and Jet Li team up in this sequel that probably has plot, but who cares? Just blow stuff up!

“The Odd Life of Timothy Green” — Based on the best-selling book, starring Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton as a childless couple who bury a box in their backyard that contains all of their wishes for the perfect child. Soon, one shows up on their doorstep, but he’s not all that he appears.

Aug. 24

“Premium Rush” — Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon star in this actioner about a New York City bike messenger who picks up an envelope that attracts the interest of a corrupt cop, who pursues the cyclist throughout the city.

“The Apparition” — A couple is haunted by a supernatural presence that is unleashed during a college experiment.

Aug. 31

“Lawless” — Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Guy Pearce star in this crime drama set in Depression-era Virginia, where a bootlegging gang is threatened by authorities who want a cut of their profits.

“The Possession” — Horror-thriller about a young girl who buys an antique box at a yard sale, unaware that a malicious ancient spirit lives inside it. That’s why I only buy retail.

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