Sequels, prequels and remakes will probably rule the coming year at the box office. But moviegoers will have lots of options in 2013.
For lovers of comedy, Sandra Bullock returns to her funny roots this spring with "The Heat," co-starring Melissa McCarthy of "Bridesmaids." And Will Ferrell will reprise his San Diego newsman shtick with "Anchorman: The Legend Continues" in December.
Special effects fans can look forward to "Oblivion" in April, with Tom Cruise. But the biggest buzz surrounds Guillermo del Toro’s science-fiction blowout called "Pacific Rim" in July.
And for those who appreciate costume dramas, you probably will be stoked about the May release of "The Great Gatsby," starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
We’ve rounded up 20 movies that are high on most critical radars, as well as movies with Austin ties and films geared toward families. This isn’t a comprehensive list, and many more big movies will be coming in 2013. But this is intended to serve as a guide to what we think might be the best.
As always, studios sometimes change release dates, so watch austin360.com for updates.
20 TO WATCH
Feb. 8, "Side Effects": This thriller has promise, simply because of a good director, Steven Soderbergh, and a good cast — Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum. Also aboard: screenwriter Scott Z. Burns ("The Informant!" and "The Bourne Ultimatum"). The script centers on a young woman who experiments with prescription drugs, and the trailer has a "Fatal Attraction" vibe.
March 1, "Stoker": Horror director Park Chan-wook ("Oldboy") takes a look at an odd family headed by a mentally unstable mother (Nicole Kidman), an impressionable daughter (Mia Wasikowska) and a suspicious uncle (Matthew Goode). Park has a knack for creepiness, and, as "To Die For" proved, Kidman knows how to be "abnormal."
March 15, "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone": Steve Carell stars as a once-prominent Vegas-style magician who needs to get his mojo back. Steve Buscemi is his former partner. Jim Carrey plays the up-and-coming challenger. This could be very funny — or creepy. It will have its world premiere at the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival.
March 29, "The Place Beyond the Pines": A motorcycle racer (Ryan Gosling) turns to crime to support his wife (Eva Mendes) and new child, but an ambitious cop (Bradley Cooper) is hot on the trail. Director Derek Cianfrance has worked with Gosling before, on "Blue Valentine."
April 5, "The Heat": Director Paul Feig, who had a surprise hit with 2011’s "Bridesmaids," stays on his comedic course by pairing Austin favorite Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy as two incompatible law enforcement partners who are searching for a drug lord.
April 12, "Oblivion": Director Joseph Kosinski needs a hit after "Tron: Legacy." Maybe he’ll get it with this science-fiction thriller, which opens first on IMAX screens and then expands a week later to regular theaters. Tom Cruise stars as a drone repairmen who discovers some unsettling truths, 50 years after the desolation of Earth by an alien attack.
May 3, "Iron Man 3": Director and screenwriter Shane Black, who’s a regular at the Austin Film Festival, teams with Robert Downey Jr., Guy Pearce and Gwyneth Paltrow in this tale of the superhero’s battle with the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley).
May 10, "The Great Gatsby": The 1974 version of this F. Scott Fitzgerald tale starred Robert Redford at the height of his fame. But it didn’t fare as well as expected at the box office, and it got only two Oscars — for costume design and score. This time, Australian director Baz Luhrmann takes the reins, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan as the stars. But it’s still a gamble for Luhrmann, whose last big-budget movie was "Australia," a flop.
May 17, "Star Trek Into Darkness": Chris Pine returns as Captain Kirk, and he’ll battle intergalactic-sized villainy, as personified by British actor Benedict Cumberbatch.
June 14, "Man of Steel": Henry Cavill plays Superman in this new look at a classic superhero. Zack Snyder ("300") directs, and Amy Adams does the Lois Lane thing. Michael Shannon also offers a dastardly interpretation of General Zod.
June 21, "World War Z": If you like zombie movies, then this one’s for you — in a big way. Brad Pitt tries to save the world from a zombie virus and make it back to his daughters. Marc Foster ("Quantum of Solace") directs.
July 3, "The Lone Ranger": It’s not at all clear how this movie is going to work out, but quirky Johnny Depp takes on the unlikely role of Tonto, while Armie Hammer is the Lone Ranger. Gore Verbinski directs.
July 12, "Pacific Rim": Earthlings serve as the pilots of giant robots that are used to fend off an alien invasion. As with all Guillermo del Toro movies, the visuals look spectacular. This could be summer’s biggest hit.
July 26, "The Wolverine 3D": What’s a guy to do when he has all these steel blades sticking out of his fingers? Johnny Depp used them to create beauty in "Edward Scissorhands." But Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine has other ideas. He trains with a Japanese samurai.
Sept. 20, "Prisoners": The plot for this movie doesn’t sound very original: A father kidnaps a person whom he suspects had something to do with his daughter’s disappearance. Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal star. But the reason this one makes the cut is simple: Canadian director Denis Villenueve, who made one of 2010’s best movies, "Incendies."
Nov. 8, "Thor: The Dark World": Chris Hemsworth as Thor reunites with Natalie Portman as Jane Foster to battle a primeval race led by Christopher Eccleston as Malekith. Alan Taylor ("Game of Thrones") directs.
Nov. 22, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire": Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson return as Katniss and Peeta, and Katniss tries to keep the lid on stirrings of rebellion. But the Quarter Quell is coming. Oh-oh.
Dec. 13, "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug": Bilbo and the dwarfs continue their treacherous journey, this time focusing on Smaug, the Necromancer. It looks like Benedict Cumberbatch is well on his way to a creepy career. He’s Smaug.
Dec. 20, "Anchorman: The Legend Continues": San Diego newsman Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) returns with his "news team" intact. Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd and Steve Carell are bringing us the latest developments.
Dec. 25, "Jack Ryan": CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) uncovers some nasty doings by the Russians. Kenneth Branagh directs — and plays the villainous Viktor Cherevin.
Feb. 22, "Snitch": Austin director Ric Roman Waugh tries his hand at an action thriller starring Dwayne Johnson and Susan Sarandon.
Sept. 13, "Machete Kills": Robert Rodriguez follows up his controversial "Machete" with this sequel. Mel Gibson and Amber Heard join the cast, along with Danny Trejo and Jessica Alba. Charlie Sheen plays the president (ahem).
Oct. 4, "Sin City: A Dame to Die For": Frank Miller and Austin writer/director Robert Rodriguez team up to bring us another installment of the comic book adaptation. Mickey Rourke returns as Marv, while Jessica Alba plays Nancy Callahan.
Dec. 20, "Saving Mr. Banks": Texas director John Lee Hancock helms this tale of author P.L. Travers as she comes to Hollywood for the adaptation of her novel about Mary Poppins. Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks star.
Plus, release dates are still to be determined for:
"To the Wonder": Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Olga Kurylenko star in Austin director Terrence Malick’s tale of love in the Oklahoma countryside.
"Mud": Austin director Jeff Nichols premiered his feature about a convict on the run at the Cannes Film Festival last year. The drama, starring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon, is expected to be released this spring.
"The ABC’s of Death": Austin’s Drafthouse Films cooked up the idea for this horror flick directed by 26 different people, each exploring a way of death based on the letters of the alphabet.
Feb. 14, "Escape from Planet Earth": This animated tale focuses on an astronaut (voiced by Brendan Fraser) who responds to an emergency call from another planet and runs into big trouble. Jessica Alba, Sarah Jessica Parker and James Gandolfini are also in the voice cast.
March 8, "Oz the Great and Powerful": James Franco plays Oz, a stage magician who ends up in a fantasy world. While he’s there, he meets all sorts of people, including some enchantresses. Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz have supporting roles in this PG-rated film from Disney, based on the works of L. Frank Baum.
March 22, "The Croods": In this animated feature from DreamWorks and Fox, a prehistoric family goes on a road trip. Nicolas Cage and Ryan Reynolds lend their voices.
June 21, "Monsters University": When Mike and Sulley attended the University of Fear, they weren’t the best of friends. Pixar and Disney tell their story.
July 3, "Despicable Me 2": Steve Carell returns to voice Gru in this offbeat animated feature, with Kristen Wiig as Miss Hattie. The trailer involves an alien abduction.
July 19, "Turbo’: A garden snail thinks he might have a chance to win the Indy 500. The ultimate underdog gets the animated treatment.
Aug. 16, "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters": Logan Lerman returns as the son of Poseidon, who heads into the Sea of Monsters in search of the Golden Fleece. As Lerman proved in "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," he’s more than a teen idol.
Sept. 27, "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2": This family comedy’s title might end up being "Cloudy 2: Revenge of the Leftovers." Who knows? It’s still early. But food will surely fall from the sky.
Nov. 11, "Mr. Peabody & Sherman": Mr. Peabody is a smart dog. He’s a good dog, too. So he naturally helps Sherman after the time-travel machine is stolen.
Dec. 20, "Walking With Dinosaurs": The BBC miniseries gets the 3D feature film treatment, with a reported budget of $80 million.