It's that time of year (again!) for the biggest blockbusters and lazy day remedies to hit the big screen. It's the 2013 Summer Movie Season. Iron Man 3 has topped internationally with over $600 million worldwide this weekend as the season officially begins and it's guaranteed to be a big one! Studios count on this time to bring in a killer sum of money, while audiences expect to be wowed and blown away, whether it's by melodramatic pieces or unbelievable popcorn flair. Here's a look at every movie you need to have on your radar for the next 4 months!
Iron Man 3
Directed by: Shane Black
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce, Don Cheadle
Tony Stark is back for more sarcastic one-liners and crazy Marvel thrills. This Iron Man installment looks to delve into some more dramatic areas as the newest threat to civilization is something even he isn't sure he can handle. Shane Black takes the directing reins this time, which could prove to be worth the wait between movies. Already a box office success around the world, Iron Man 3 is the perfect start to the blockbuster season.
Directed by: Ariel Vromen
Starring: Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, James Franco
Based on the true story of Richard Kuklinski, a hitman who's arrest in 1986 opens doors to his past and his profession that even his wife and daughters knew nothing about. Shannon is the star here and leads every frame of the film to its staggering end. Another small movie that may grow some legs over time.
Other May 3 Releases: Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's, Something In the Air, What Maisie Knew, Kiss of the Damned
The Great Gatsby
Directed by: Baz Luhrmann
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton
Easily one of the most anticipated movies of the year, The Great Gatsby was supposed to release last December, but was pushed to May. Where that's usually a bad sign, this movie still seems promising, given its famous origins, its stellar cast, and the fact that it's opening the Cannes Film Festival. Luhrmann always entertains, even when the material is lackluster (hello, Australia), so The Great Gatsby will definitely be full of style!
Directed by: Tina Gordon Chism
Starring: Kerry Washington, Craig Robinson, David Alan Grier, S. Epatha Merkerson
Though Tyler Perry isn't directing here, his name still shows up on the poster. The producer Perry is leaving the directing to Chism, making her directorial debut. The ATL writer has assembled a pretty current cast including TV's Scandal star Kerry Washington and the hilarious Craig Robinson, who's finishing off his run on The Office this month. Robinson looks to be the one who can save this from being a run-of-the-mill Perry product.
Directed by: Nicolas Lopez
Starring: Eli Roth, Andrea Osvart, Ariel Levy, Nicolas Martinez
A massive earthquake hits Chile, where a group of tourists are enjoying a night in an underground club. As Mother Nature takes over, the group must fight to make it back to the surface. This would normally sound like a throwaway horror flick, but Roth's attachment as star, plus writer and producer, could keep things interesting. Plus, Selena Gomez has a cameo.
Star Trek Into Darkness
Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto
The long-awaited sequel to Star Trek, the hugely successful reboot of the famed sci-fi series, looks to go even further than the first. With a stellar cast lined up, Abrams has released some incredible trailers to build momentum. While Abrams famously keeps things secret, the addition of Cumberbatch should be enough to get audiences in chairs.
Directed by: Noah Baumbach
Starring: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver, Michael Zegen
Baumbach's repertoire includes a crazy selection of interesting pieces of film. Frances Ha looks to join that list of films, like The Squid and the Whale and Margot at the Wedding, as a slice of life film with an intriguing twist. The story follows a troubled woman who can't quite seem to find her niche in, of all places, New York City. Gerwig has been on the forefront of a breakthrough for a while, so maybe this will help inch her into stardom.
Fast & Furious 6
Directed by: Justin Lin
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez
Assembling some of the original members, FF6 looks to push the franchise into further greatness. Last year's Fast Five was a significant boost to the projects and this sixth installment has already generated enough buzz to guarantee a big box office. It seems pointless to talk about the plot because, in all honesty, the main reason to see these films is the hot bodies and sexy cars, with thrills to boost.
Directed by: Todd Phillips
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, John Goodman
After The Hangover II's somewhat disappointing storyline, Phillips has guaranteed a fresh new approach for this final installment in the trilogy. The original will probably always be remembered as one of the comedy greats, so it's a lot of pressure for number three. With no wedding or bachelor party to get in the way, it seems like the story must be full of some crazy side stories (don't even get me started on the giraffe scene from the trailer). While II was uninspired, there's something endearing about these characters, so III will still be worth the visit.
Directed by: Chris Wedge
Voiced by: Amanda Seyfried, Beyonce Knowles, Josh Hutcherson, Colin Farrell
Originally, Epic looked like some sort of FernGully renaissance (which had every 90's kid excited), but the newer trailers make it look a little more along the lines of a trying-too-hard animated comedy. While I don't want to be too quick to judge the movie, its traces began as an adaptation of the book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs, but it looks like it's taken quite a few liberties. The voice cast isn't too much to boast about but, with no other family films out, it'll make some money.
Other May 24 Release: Before Midnight
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Will Smith, Jaden Smith, Isabelle Fuhrman, Sophie Okonedo
It's interesting that Shyamalan's name has been absent from most of the marketing. It seems that after his string of poor films since The Village, studios aren't quite sure what to make of the The Sixth Sense director. Will Smith's star power, plus that fact that he's starring with his son, should be enough to catapult this into summer blockbuster status. With the trend of post-apocalyptic films being release lately, it'll be interesting to see where this tale of survival on the now-uninhabited planet Earth can go.
Directed by: Louis Leterrier
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine, Isla Fisher
The premise is intriguing: a group of magicians are hunted by the FBI after they seemingly heist a bank during a Vegas magic show. With a respectable cast, including a few Oscar favorites, the movie is setting itself up to be either a sleeper hit or a critical disappointment. I'm hoping for the former, as the trailer's promise is a movie unlike any other out right now.
Directed by: James DeMonaco
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Adelaide Kane, Max Burkholder, Edwin Hodge
Another original premise comes in DeMonaco's The Purge, a thriller about a mythical America that holds a special night once a year to allow anyone to commit any crime they'd like, with no penalty. When one family let sin a stranger, their worst nightmares become realized. With a pretty-unfamiliar cast, The Purge could pull a Paranormal Activity and be a huge success. The story alone is worth some thought. After watching the trailer I couldn't stop wondering what it would be like if it were true.
Other May 31 Releases: The Kings of Summer, The East
Directed by: Shawn Levy
Starring: Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Rose Byrne, John Goodman
Can we give John Goodman an Oscar, yet? He shows up in everything and he's always a scene-stealer. This comedy pairs Vaughn and Wilson again after their massive comedy hit Wedding Crashers. Following two salesmen who lose their jobs and decide to go after a competitive Google internship. While Wedding Crashers was a surprise success, Vaughn seems to have lost some of his star power over the years. It'll be interesting to see if he's able to warrant another hit.
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Starring: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Fran Kranz, Jillian Morgese
After the huge success of The Avengers, Whedon took some time to himself to direct this small adaptation of Shakespeare's classic. Made in secret during Avengers production, the film was an outlet for Whedon. Already a festival success, it'll be interesting to see if Whedon can bring a large audience without all of the special effects of The Avengers.
Man of Steel
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Starring: Henry Cavill, Michael Shannon, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, Diane Lane
It's been 7 years since the last time Superman made it to the big screen, in Bryan Singer's disappointing Superman Returns, and this version looks to have taken some notes from Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. It makes sense, since the mind-bending director is executive producing this dark look at Superman's beginning. Early screenings have been positive, with Shannon getting a lot of good remarks.
Directed by: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Starring: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, and Others...
A tongue-in-cheek comedy set at a party at Franco's house with a ton of celebrities as the apocalypse begins, This Is the End will hopefully be the comedy of the summer. But, as Rogen's past has proven, sometimes what looks to be funny can end up being an overproduced bore. Hopefully the best scenes aren't just the ones in the trailers.
Directed by: Sofia Coppola
Starring: Emma Watson, Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Taissa Farmiga
After premiering out of competition at Cannes, The Bling Ring is poised to pull a Spring Breakers-esque edgy teen flick. Based on the real life escapades of the group of teens responsible for breaking into countless celebrities, the film looks to be Coppola's biggest box office film since Lost in Translation. Watson seems to be really stretching her legs into bigger and respected roles after the end to Harry Potter. With this and last year's The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Watson is a young A-lister to watch.
Directed by: Dan Scanlon
Voiced by: John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi
The most anticipated animated film this year is the prequel to the Pixar classic Monsters Inc., Mike and Scully's college adventures are the blueprints for what looks to be a smash hit. The trailers alone evoke the familiar satire and hilarity of the first Monsters flick and deservedly so. With the recent disappointment of Cars 2, but the incredible success of Toy Story 3, Monsters University looks to give Pixar a 2 count on the sequel/prequel circuit.
Directed by: Marc Forster
Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, David Morse
With its very publicized production woes, World War Z looked like it'd become a loss before it was even finished filming. But, to Brad Pitt's avail, the flick is a stylized zombie film that may end up in the ranks of 28 Days Later as an original take on the ever-popular horror genre. In reality, though, it'll probably end up as other blockbuster apocalyptic fare like I Am Legend.
Directed by: Paul Feig
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Marlon Wayans, Tony Hale
Feig helmed one of the biggest success stories in comedy with the mega-hit Bridesmaids. He's looking to double up on that by using its breakout star, McCarthy, and America's Sweetheart Sandra Bullock. While the trailer looks a little too familiar to Bullock's other comedy hit, Miss Congeniality (minus the whole beauty pageant aspect), it looks funny enough to be a refreshing summer comedy and will undoubtedly bring in a big haul. Word of mouth will be key and test audiences are already singing its praises. Plus, there's already a sequel in the works.
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Richard Jenkins
Emmerich is great at destroying the White House. Here Tatum is the good guy, saving the day and protecting Foxx, as the President. While the premise seems a little too cheeky, the action promises to be the type that summer actioners are known for. And, Emmerich is a pro at those. His Independence Day will always be one of the biggest summer films of all time. The ladies will flock to see Tatum. The guys will flock to see the action and explosions. It's a win-win.
Other June 28 Releases: I'm So Excited and Byzantium
The Lone Ranger
Directed by: Gore Verbinski
Starring: Armie Hammer, Johnny Depp, William Fichtner, Tom Wilkinson
The 4th of July is, typically, the big kahuna of release dates. American families love going to the movies on holidays, and what better weekend than the one while everyone's on summer break! Depp is capitalizing on his family adventure film fame as the sidekick Tonto and up-and-coming Armie Hammer (who's been up-and-coming for a while) stars as the titular Lone Ranger. While the reboot looks very Verbinski-eque, it'll no doubt bring in some big dough for Disney and probably start a new franchise. This seems to be Depp's repertoire of late.
Directed by: Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud
Voiced by: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Ken Jeong, Benjamin Bratt
The other highly anticipated animated film, Despicable Me 2 expands on the story and characters we first met in the very surprising Despicable Me. With the addition of Wiig to the voice cast, the movie will hopefully be a refreshing sequel and will definitely be a box office giant. Bratt joins the cast late in the game after Al Pacino walked out at the last minute this week.
Also Releasing July 4: Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain and The Way, Way Back
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Charlie Day, Rinko Kikuchi
Del Toro has presented some pretty memorable characters and films in the past, so this has potential to be a pretty stellar sci-fi epic. However, the marketing looks like a cross between Prometheus and Transformers. I doubt we'd get something as subpar as the latter, so hopefully Pacific Rim will be a pleasant surprised.
Directed by: Dennis Dugan
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade
Arguably Sandler's last great effort (and the only one in recent memory) was Grown Ups, an outlandish physical comedy that was a huge hit when released. Starring a cast of comedy has-beens, the sequel is set to make a similar splash at the box office. While Sandler hasn't relied lately on quality content, at least there's no cross-dressing a la Jack & Jill.
Directed by: Dean Parisot
Starring: Bruce Willis, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich
Another sequel to another surprise first film, Red 2 follows a group of retired agents and operatives to save the world. The cast is impressive as in the first, with lots of top caliber acts. While the first was critically and commercially successful, hopefully the second will be just as original and not fall to the throngs of other sequels that missed out on the originality of their predecessors.
Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Mary-Louise Parker, Kevin Bacon
The director of the first Red film is pitting his next venture up against that film's sequel. R.I.P.D. has a promising cast of big name players and a premise that sounds perfect for the summer. But, with its Men in Black feel, R.I.P.D. could end up as a box office dud. With a big array of summer films this year, it'll be interesting to see if there's a place for this one.
Directed by: David Soren
Voiced by: Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Maya Rudolph, Samuel L. Jackson
Reynolds will be battling himself this weekend at the box office. But, his animated flick may be the one to come out on top. Studios always try to capitalize on the family audiences and it's the perfect time for animated film releases. Turbo may have enough charm to bring in a hefty crowd. The story seems original and fun enough to make even adults be interested.
Other July 19 Release: The Conjuring
Directed by: James Mangold
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen
Is it just me, or does it seem like they keep making the same movie over and over again? Didn't we already have a movie about Wolverine? Isn't it kind of repetitive? Well, in any case, those questions don't matter. X-men's fan base is so large that droves of fanboys will line the theater lobbies to see Jackman and his mutant claws fight. I have to admit, for all of the films made so far, Wolverine's badassness never goes out of style.
Directed by: Woody Allen
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard, Sally Hawkins
Allen is a funny director. He beats to his own drum, releasing a film almost once a year. It's interesting how even the release date isn't too risky for him. Whether his films are critical darlings or commercial bombs, Allen is an artist who loves his craft. The cast is a great conglomerate of talent and, as with recent Allen pics, the visuals are bound to be beautiful.
Directed by: Ryan Cooglar
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer, Kevin Durrand
The darling of this year's Sundance, Fruitvale Station is the little drama that could. Based on true events of a 22-year old man killed at the California train station, the star of the film is receiving the most buzz. Michael B. Jordan, of Friday Night Lights and Chronicle fame, is so effecting as the main character, Oscar Grant, according to critics. It's the star-making performance if there ever was one. Studio heads are hoping this one will make a similar ride to last year's Beasts of the Southern Wild, as the small indie with a huge following.
300: Rise of an Empire
Directed by: Noam Murro
Starring: Eva Green, Rodrigo Santoro, Sullivan Stapleton, Jack O'Connell
Unfortunately, the original's director, Zack Snyder, is handing over the reigns to Murro. Snyder's style is what made the first 300 the pop culture phenom it was (and turned Gerard Butler into a household name). Maybe Murro has something up his sleeve here. With no real star power to drive in the audiences, this sequel is banking on pure brand loyalty and I'm sure it'll get it. 300 is such an effective dude movie that there's no way a late summer release isn't going to prove successful. Let's just hope it's not too disappointing.
Directed by: Baltasar Kormakur
Starring: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton
Washington and Wahlberg need to be careful. They're both releasing movies that seem a little too familiar. Eventually we're going to forget which movie is which. Due to the star power in this vehicle, 300's sequel may lose some of its audience. Washington can always pull in a crowd. Wahlberg is getting pretty lucky with that, lately, too. The premise doesn't seem to special, so the biggest killer here will be poor word of mouth.
Directed by: James Ponsoldt
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Miles Teller, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kyle Chandler
A Sundance and festival hit, Woodley is the next thing as is clear with her turn in The Spectacular Now, an affecting teenage drama that is more substance than trash. Teller has been on the radar since Rabbit Hole and Woodley almost secured an Oscar nod for The Descendants. Small films sometimes take a while to build an audience. I'm figuring this one will fill the The Perks of Being a Wallflower space this year.
Other August 2 Release: Smurfs 2
Directed by: Neill Blomkamp
Starring: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley
Blomkamp worked magic to bring his directorial debut, District 9, to an Oscar Best Picture nod a few years ago. Now he's keeping with the sci-fi genre, but gathering an A-list cast. The film looks to be an even better addition to the sci-fi films list this year (and there are plenty of offerings in 2013). And, just like District 9, this action/adventure disguises a deeper meaning, a plot full of nods to class equality.
Directed by: Klay Hall
Voiced by: Val Kilmer, Cedric the Entertainer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus
While Monsters University looks to be another Pixar sequel/prequel success, Planes seems unnecessary. It's predecessor, Cars 2, was a dud, especially compared to its predecessor, Cars. This animated flick takes the concept of Cars and attaches it to another type of vehicle, planes. Imagine that. While the trailer isn't too bad, the idea seems a little reaching. The only positive is that the film was originally intended as a straight-to-video release until studio heads saw it and decided to give it a theatrical run. If they're willing to spend the extra money, maybe it'll be worth it.
Other August 9 Releases: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters and We're the Millers
Directed by: Jeff Wadlow
Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Jim Carrey, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
While the first Kick-Ass was a surprise superhero parody, full of pomp and sarcasm and great action, what made it work was that we'd never quite seen anything like that. Lionsgate, the studio behind the original, decided to pass on a sequel, allowing Universal to pick it up. With it being a big success when it was first released, it's interesting that the studio would allow it to leave. Sometimes sequels just aren't meant to be (hello, Hangover II). Eventually it looks like the studio is just harping on making a profit (hello, every Pirates of the Caribbean except for the first one).
Directed by: Maggie Carey
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Alia Shawkat, Bill Hader, Johnny Simmons
In the vein of recent successful high school comedies, The To Do List capitalizes on the awkward shift from high school to college and every teenager's fear that they aren't experienced enough in every aspect of life. For Plaza's character, the main aspect is her love life. Plaza has a unique style of comedy that may not be for every crowd, but hopefully this film will showcase her enough to get her out there. Every role I've seen her in has been a surprise. She should be the next big thing.
Directed by: David Lowery
Starring: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Ben Foster
A definite art house release, Ain't Them Bodies Saints was a big hit when it premiered at Sundance. While some critics were a little harsh in their reviews, Affleck's performance is one to watch as we get closer and closer to the awards season. A western in disguise as a drama, the film follows an outlaw on the run through the hills of Texas. It's an art house film if there ever was one.
Other August 16 Releases: Paranoia and Prince Avalanche
Directed by: Haraid Zwart
Starring: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Jemima West
Collins has been on the cusp of fame ever since her turn in The Blind Side, but she hasn't quite found her footing yet. Last year's Mirror, Mirror was supposed to be it, but that turned out to be a dud. This new franchise will either be a Hunger Games hit or a Beautiful Creatures loss. Depending on the numbers will determine if a series will be set up. It's hard to tell with the young adult book adaptations, however with the absence of Twilight this year, everyone will try to find its replacement.
Directed by: Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman
Friends meet up for an epic pub crawl, only to find out that they must save humanity. Another entry in the apocalypse genre this year, the biggest plus is that it's coming from the guys who brought us Shaun of the Dead, arguably the best addition to the zombie genre since 28 Days Later. There's no word on what exactly is intended to destroy earth, but you better believe it'll be perfect. These guys do comedy in such a unique way, it's hard not to enjoy it.
Other August 23 Releases: You're Next and The Grandmaster
Directed by: Morgan Spurlock
Starring: One Direction
Concert films have had a sort-of rennaissance of late. Everyone from Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, and Katy Perry, to the Glee kids have had a run at the box office. A few have been successful (Bieber and Perry) and some have been overshadowed (Jonas Bros.). One Direction's concert film may be arriving a little too far after their rise to fame, but it may also be their way of branching out. With Spurlock as the director, this could end up as a different type of concert doc. I'm not expecting U2, but still, it may be worth a watch.
Directed by: Courtney Solomon and Yaron Levy
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez, Jon Voight
Continuing on her quest to branch away from Disney, Gomez has another possible hit "older" film with this actiony adventure. Hawke plays the father/husband who is on a race to save his kidnapped wife, having to do anything a mysterious man tells him to do. Gomez plays the daughter stuck in the car with him. The premise is a little bland, but kidnap/ransom/psycho bad person films can still be edge-of-your-seat, even with a storyline we've heard before.
Other August 30 Releases: Closed Circuit and Random
While all release dates are subject to change, you can't argue that this summer has a great array of different types of films. Which ones are you most excited about? Which ones do you think will come out on top? Which ones do you think will be the biggest losses?