In what promises to be another bonanza year at the box office, 2012 is filled with sequels and superheroes including the 23rd James Bond thriller, the Twilight Saga finale, the latest Batman, a new Spider-Man, and the first Hobbit.
Among the many highlights are films borrowing from books,
stage and the small screen, such as theater's Rock of Ages with Tom Cruise and the musical version of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway.
An adaptation of The Great Gatsby renovates the 1974 film from the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel with Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan, directed by Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge).
The latest installments of action-thriller franchises include Resident Evil 5, The Bourne Legacy (without Matt Damon), and Total Recall with Colin Farrell, not Schwarzenegger. Director Quentin Tarantino delivers an original idea with Django Unchained, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz and Sacha Baron Cohen.
The latest installments of franchises include reboots and prequels, covering genres from sci-fi to fairy tales and half of them in 3D. Here is the cream of the crop:
The Hunger Games
Release date: March 23 worldwide
What aims to be the new Twilight Saga, this dystopian tale of teens fighting for survival as a spectator sport is based on a popular young adult novel series. The sci-fi action story stars Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence (X-Men: First Class, Winter's Bone) and Josh Hutcherson (The Kids Are All Right, Journey to the Center of the Earth).
Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games
Wrath of the Titans in 3DRelease dates:
March 18 in Australia, March 22 in Russia and March 30 worldwide
Set amidst the Greek myths, this sequel to the epic hit of 2010 Clash of the Titans finds Sam Worthington reprising his role as Perseus, along with Ralph Fiennes as Hades and Liam Neeson as Zeus, on another quest in the underworld.
The Avengers in 3D
Release dates: April 25-27 in France, the UK and other markets, May 1-4 worldwide
Marvel's superhero team The Avengers bands together to save the world from extraterrestrial invaders. Starring Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Mark Ruffalo as The Incredible Hulk, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Samuel L. Jackson as the head of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Release dates: May 8 in France, then worldwide on May 11
Tim Burton's gothic horror tale stars Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Chloe Grace Moretz, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Lee and Alice Cooper in a redo of the American television soap opera from the 1960s about the life of vampires, monsters, witches, werewolves and ghosts.
Men In Black 3 in 3D
Release dates: debuts on May 20 in Australia, and opens worldwide May 23-25
Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith return as Agents K and J in the threequel of this sci-fi comedy. It's been a decade since the last installment also directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. Costarring Josh Brolin (True Grit) as a young K and Emma Thompson as O.
Snow White and the Huntsman
Release dates: May 30-June 1
With Twilight's Kristen Stewart as Snow White, Chris Hemsworth (Thor) as the Huntsman and Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen. This version of the Grimm fairy tale is an action drama in which the hunted and hunter join forces. Not to be confused with the March release of Mirror Mirror, a fantasy comedy version of Snow White.
Release dates: May 30-June 1 in the UK, France and other markets, June 7-9 worldwide
Ridley Scott's latest sci-fi horror thriller stars Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace and Guy Pearce as a team of explorers who must do battle to save planet earth, circa 2090, traveling to the darkest part of the universe. Originally a prequel to Aliens.
The Amazing Spider-Man in 3D
Release dates: May 30 in Japan, rolling out worldwide July 3-6
This reboot of the successful DC Comics superhero franchise stars Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) as a teenage Peter Parker juggling human problems with super-human crises. Emma Stone costars as Gwen Stacy and Rhys Ifans is villain The Lizard.
The Dark Knight Rises
Release dates: July 18-20 in North America and Europe, July 25-27 worldwide
Christian Bale reprises his role for the last time as Batman/Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan's third and probably last Batman film. Costarring Inception's Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, and more.
Release dates: October 24-27 in France, the UK and select markets, October 31-November 2 in Europe and Asia, November 9 in North America
James Bond is back with Daniel Craig reprising his role as 007, with his loyalty to M tested as MI6 comes under attack and he tracks down the threat. Directed by Sam Mendes (Revolutionary Road) and costarring Javier Bardem, Judi Dench and Ralph Fiennes.
Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2
Release dates: November 14-16 worldwide
The finale to the romantic vampire phenomena brings The Twilight Saga to its conclusion. Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner as the love triangle, this second part of the last novel in the bestselling series by Stephenie Meyer resolves the threats to an immortal happily ever after.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 3D
Release dates: December 12-14 worldwide
Peter Jackson's first of two epics about Bilbo Baggins's journey to the Lonely Mountain with a band of dwarves to reclaim their treasures from the dragon Smaug. Stars Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving and Luke Evans (Robin Hood, Clash of the Titans).
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