When the Earth decided to disrupt everyone’s schedules by not ending as promised on December 21 last year, film studios had to hurriedly fish their 2013 calendars out of the bin.
While this means that we’ll be actually getting to catch a bit more of Smaug in the second Hobbit, it does also mean we’ll have to endure Bruce Willis squeezing into a vest once more and Vin Diesel driving a car really quite fast again.
Here are the titles likely to dominate the box offices.
Yet more Lycra
Superheroes? In films? Yes, it’s true. And arguably the most anticipated film of the year is the biggest of them all. Man of Steel (June) sees Henry Cavill don the iconic red trousers as Superman, with Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as ma and pa Kent and Amy Adams as Lois Lane. Directed by Zack Snyder (300) and a script from The Dark Knight co-writer David Goyer, it’s set to be pretty massive when it lands.
Then there’s Iron Man 3 (May), this time with Guy Pearce as an evil geneticist (in a lab coat, no doubt) as the creator of a virus spreading through nanotechnology and the Hong Kong star Andy Lau adding some international punches (hello, huge Chinese cinema market!).
Thor: The Dark World (July) completes a trio that, combined, are likely to make more money that most countries’ GDPs. Assuming it’s not as bad as the last outing from the nail clipper-lacking one, The Wolverine (July) could also be worth a shot, and while it’s likely to be the less serious of the bunch, if it’s anything like the first, Kick-Ass 2 (July) should be ace.
Back for more
It’s not only superheroes who get sequels. If you’ve seen the 12-minute-long trailer, you should have noticed J J Abrams’s Star Trek into Darkness (May) looks pretty epic, with Benedict Cumberbatch as the main villain and Spock getting up to all sorts of logical mayhem in a volcano.
At 57, you might have thought Bruce Willis would have settled into light-hearted family dramas. A Good Day to Die Hard (February) does involve John McClane’s estranged son, but predictably the drama entails a prison escape, a rogue Russian leader and the assassination of a US president.
If you like that sort of thing, Fast Six (May) sees Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson and Michelle Rodriguez pull some more serious expressions while in cars going above the speed limit, this time in the UK.
And finally, at the end of the year comes The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (December). If you’ve only just caught the visual treat that was the first, which gave just a sneak peek of the all-important dragon, you’ll be counting down those 11 months.
There are a couple of high-profile returns in comedy land, too, with Ron Burgundy leading the pack in Anchorman: the Legend Continues (December) almost a decade since the lovably sexist news anchor first unleashed a thousand catchphrases.
The Hangover 3 (May) sees the usual suspects reunite for more uncouth, dialogue-light high jinks, while Pixar’s prequel Monsters University (June 21), seemingly a lifetime in production, takes Mike and Sulley back to their fratboy youths.
Also in funnyland comes The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (March), in which Steve Carell does his best Siegfried and Roy impressions as a big-haired Las Vegas magician taking on the street performer Jim Carrey (last seen being genuinely amusing some time ago).
On the remake
Did you love Sam Raimi’s low-budget 1981 frightfest The Evil Dead? Well, you’re set to (probably) hate The Evil Dead (April), featuring neither Raimi’s distinctive camerawork nor Bruce Campbell’s blood-curdling screams from the original. There’s more hope for Oldboy (October), loosely based on the 2003 South Korean thriller, given that Spike Lee is at the helm.
Perhaps most impressive for 2013 are the number of big-budget mega-production films without any franchise connections. Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim (July) has had people licking their lips since it was first announced, with giant robots, giant beasts and giant budgets battling it out in homage to Japanese monster films.
Elysium (March) sees Neill Blomkamp carry on District 9’s class warfare to the future, with Matt Damon as an ex-con on a mission to bring equality to an overpopulated future Earth and a luxurious space station where all the rich people live.
Brad Pitt battles a zombie apocalypse in World War Z (June), while in Oz: The Great and Powerful, James Franco goes back to the wizard’s roots as a Kansas-based magician who sets up shop in the land of yellow brick roads.
Johnny Depp looking daft
Ah yes, that’ll be The Lone Ranger (May), with Armie Hammer doing the “Hi-yo Silver”ing as the masked ex-Texas ranger and Depp heavy in face paint as his Indian warrior companion Tonto. Given that it’s got the same writers, director, producer and star as Pirates of the Caribbean, you can pretty much guess the rest.