Season brings superhero sequels, novel adaptations to box office
Now comes that time of year where our patience through every slow, winter box-office season and spring teasers will pay off. Sure, it’s the usual line-up: superhero films, prequels, sequels and loud science fiction films. Still, it’s a summer of films so greatly anticipated that you have to be living under a rock not to have heard of them.
Iron Man 3 (May 3)
Arguably the most anticipated film, “Iron Man 3” looks to kick the summer off with a bang. Taking over the reins behind the Iron Man franchise is director Shane Black, who collaborated with Robert Downey Jr. when he directed “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” This may work in the movie’s favor as the second sequel will no doubt present a more vulnerable side to Tony Stark. “Iron Man 3” will feature a returning main cast with the addition of Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin, a terrorist looking to take down the billionaire superhero.
The Great Gatsby (May 10)
Leonardo DiCaprio rejoins his “Romeo Juliet” collaborator Baz Luhrmann for this 3-D, visually opulent take on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel about class, excess and the American character. Joining him in the cast are Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton.
Epic (May 24)
Beating Disney/Pixar and Dreamworks to the front of the animation line this summer is 20th Century Fox and its “Ice Age” frontman Chris Wedge. Loosely adapted from James Joyce’s novel “The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs,” “Epic” tells the story of a teenage girl who shrinks down into the world of tiny guardians of the forest. The movie will feature a large list of voice talents like Amanda Seyfried, Christoph Waltz, Beyonce Knowles, Pitbull and even Steven Tyler.
Man of Steel (June 14)
Director Zack Synder has always been about the effects and not so much the story. Let’s see if he employs the same tactic for his next film starring American’s favorite superhero. Ignoring all the other Superman movies, “Man of Steel” will muster a brand new origin story with today’s special effects.
Monsters University (June 21)
It just wouldn’t be summer anymore a Pixar film, would it? But instead of an original film or a sequel, the animation company dishes out a prequel to “Monsters Inc,” where audiences will get a look at how Sulley (John Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal) met.
World War Z (June 21)
America just can’t seem to get enough zombie entertainment. Now, the “Walking Dead” crowd will have their wish granted with a Hollywood blockbuster about fighting zombies. Based on Max Brooks’s popular novel, “World War Z” stars Brad Pitt as a United Nations worker trying to protect his family from a worldwide zombie pandemic. This is one that people have been anticipating since the Super Bowl ad.
Pacific Rim (July 12)
Leave it to visionary director Guillermo del Toro (“Hellboy,” “Pan’s Labyrinth”) to present a movie featuring giant robots fighting equally gigantic monsters (looks like he beat Michael Bay to the punch). With the feel of a real-life anime, “Pacific Rim,” the first film that del Toro has directed in five years, follows a group of soldier-controlled robots battling against a race of alien monsters that rise from the ocean. Del Toro has yet to deliver a monster hit, but there’s always a first time for everything.
R.I.P.D (July 19)
If you need a brief description of the plot to Ryan Reynolds’s latest comedy, just think of “Men in Black” with undead criminals substituting for aliens. And instead of a grumpy Tommy Lee Jones, we get Jeff Bridges imitating a comedic Rooster Cogburn. Reynolds plays Nick, a police officer who’s murdered on duty and becomes part of an afterlife police force that hunts down criminal ghosts.
The Wolverine (July 26)
Hugh Jackman has plenty going for him. He’s a Tony-winning former Broadway star, a Golden-Globe winning actor and one of the biggest action stars alive. He’s like an older Australian version of Justin Timberlake; he can do it all. Once again, he’s returning to a role most familiar to himself and to fans: Wolverine.
300: Rise of an Empire (Aug. 2)
Were you really expecting Hollywood to not make a sequel about the most-watched film during a guys’ get-together? A follow-up to the 2006 Zack Snyder film “300,” “Rise of An Empire” will take place at about the same time as its predecessor, with Greek general Thermistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) leading his common-man troops to fight the Persian army at sea. The overall David-vs.-Goliath theme may still be present, but the change in scenery from land to sea may allow for a new dynamic.
Elysium (Aug. 9)
Neill Blomkamp made his mark with the visionary science-fiction parable “District.” Now, he looks to be making another statement about extreme social warfare with his sophomore effort, “Elysium.” The story takes place in a future where Earth has become a wasteland inhabited by the lower class, while the upper class reside in space. Matt Damon stars as a soldier armed with exoskeleton technology who looks to storm the wealthy colony, seeking treatment for his terminal condition.