From comic book films to literary adaptations, 2012 looks very promising.
The Dark Knight Rises
We’re just as curious to see how Christopher Nolan rounds out his trilogy of Batman films — he insists this is the final chapter — as we are to see if The Dark Knight Rises can come close to matching the $1 billion that 2008’s The Dark Knight pulled in worldwide. Christian Bale is back as Batman, along with Michael Caine as Alfred and Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon, and for this go round they’re joined by newcomers Tom Hardy (as Bane) and Catwoman Anne Hathaway. Due in July.
The Amazing Spider-Man
Exactly 10 years after Tobey Maguire first crawled up his first wall, the web-slinger saga is starting over, this time with Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) suiting up as Spider-Man and director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) behind the camera. The new version promises to be darker and grittier than the last run, but with Spider-Man 3 just five years behind it, will audiences be interested in the franchise reboot? Due in July.
After great turns in their own films in 2011, Captain America (Chris Evans) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) join up with Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) for the ensemble flick Marvel Studios has been building to since Samuel L. Jackson popped up after the credits of 2008’s Iron Man. And while the first trailer might just look like an ad for Iron Man 3, having director Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) at the helm is keeping hopes high. Due in May.
The Hunger Games and Twilight finale
With the Twilight saga wrapping up at the end of 2012, all eyes are on Lionsgate’s adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ bestselling teen dystopia to fill the void. There are three books in the Hunger Games series, but if the first movie is a hit, don’t be surprised if the latter chapters start getting split up into multiple films. Jennifer Lawrence stars. Due in March.
Pixar seemed to take 2011 off with Cars 2 — while it would’ve been fine for most animation studios, it wasn’t quite up to Pixar standards — but the company behind Toy Story and Up looks to return to form with their latest, the Scotland-set Brave. The film is about a feisty lass (Kelly Macdonald) looking to slay dragons and undue a curse to save her people. Due in June.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and World War Z
In the first, due in June, the secret vampire-slaying past of America’s 16th president is revealed. But blood-suckers aren’t the only ghouls getting a workout. Based on the bestselling book by Max (son of Mel) Brooks, World War Z features Brad Pitt and Lost star Matthew Fox facing the aftermath of a worldwide zombie apocalypse. Fun for the whole family at holiday time! Due in December.
While he’s gone off to make all sorts of different types of films — most of them starring Russell Crowe — Ridley Scott is still revered for his pair of sci-fi masterpieces, Alien and Blade Runner. With Prometheus, he returns to the genre with a big, spooky space flick that ties in somehow to the Alien franchise — just don’t call it a prequel. And if that’s not enough to get you excited, how about a cast including Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron and Idris Elba? Due in June.
After a few financial hiccups on the studio side, James Bond fans rejoiced when the latest 007 adventure — and Daniel Craig’s third as the British super-spy — went into production a few weeks ago. We’re particularly excited to see what director Sam Mendes does with the revitalized franchise. Due in October.