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Anticipating the New Films of 2013 - Can the New Year Match the Last?

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By Chris Kavan - 01/05/13 at 07:29 PM CT

There is no doubt that for me at least, 2012 is one of the strongest years for film that has come along in a long time. From big-budget blockbusters to dramatic Oscar contenders to indie hits - it seems that everything came together. While there are surely disappointments to be found, I would say that I've enjoyed far more movies this year than I would have through - and even some of the weaker entries were still good enough to get a higher ranking from me.

A quick look at the 2012 domestic box office reveals why 2012 was the highest-grossing year on record. Sequels that lived up to predecessors, great original films and strong animated showings all helped boost the box office to these record numbers. So, does 2013 stand a chance to live up to these lofty numbers? Here is my pick for the films that will certainly try to reach that goat:

The Superhero Smorgasbord

After some huge hits in 2012, it's looking like 2013 is going to try to match the success with some heavy hitters of its own. Leading to charge has to be Zack Snyder's Man of Steel (June 14), which, from what I've seen, looks to be adding a little Dark Knight edginess to the boyscout Superman franchise. Will it work? Snyder has both impressed (300, Dawn of the Dead) and disappointed (Sucker Punch, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole) so this is kind of a toss up for me. But seeing as how disappointed I was in Superman Returns, this has got to be better? Right?

Besides Man of Steel, there are plenty of other heroes to attend to. Marvel has Iron Man 3 (May 3) and Thor: The Dark World (Nov. 08) as part of their Phase 2 rollout. While I doubt either will reach the success of The Avengers, both should still rake in a hefty chunk of change.

It doesn't stop there, oh no. You also have The Wolverine (July 26) and Kick-Ass 2 (June 28) - the latter of which probably won't make a lot of cash, but the first Kick-Ass was so much fun, I hope they capture that spirit again.

Franchise Favorites Return

This one has everything: Action in A Good Day to Die Hard (Feb. 14), Fast Six (May 24) and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (Oct. 04); Comedy with Anchorman: The Legend Continues (Dec. 20) and The Hangover III (May 24) and Family in the form of The Smurfs 2 (July 31) and Despicable Me 2 (July 3).

However, there are three films that are sure to be huge hits in the franchise department:

Star Trek Into Darkness (May 17) - It has been four years since J.J. Abrams successful reboot of the beloved sci-fi franchise hit theaters. Now the wait is over as we finally see what (and who) the crew is up against. There is a lot of mystery behind this, as somehow they have kept he identity of Benedict Cumberbatch's villain under wraps (though Khan is still the front-runner according to IMDB). The film got widespread attention after terminally ill fan Daniel Craft was granted an early screening. Craft just passed away, and it was a great act to grant him a final wish (I would be the exact same way with Star Wars). I think this is going to be one of the biggest films of the year.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Nov. 22) - Although I think the film lost something with the departure of director Gary Ross, the sequel should still see huge returns, seeing as how Hunger Games was the 3rd-highest grossing film of 2012. Jennifer Lawrence is riding a wave of popularity, and Katniss is still as appealing as ever. I'm kind of hoping they take more chances with this one, but it should be a monster no matter how it turns out.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Dec. 13) - Although The Hobbit may have been a slight disappointment compared to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Peter Jackson is still a fantasy wunderkind. He knows Middle Earth like the back of his hand, and can still craft an amazing world on screen. I just hope he utilizes a better hand when it comes to editing - if there is one thing that would have made The Hobbit better, it would be a few more cuts to whittle it down just a bit. I know I'll still be (nearly) first in line when it comes to this second entry - and I bet I'll have a nice crowd behind me.

Young Adult Bliss

There aren't movies I'll necessarily seek out, but they will play to their audiences (i.e., people who enjoy Twilight... probably) and will do well to come anywhere near the success of that series. If you're feeling Stephanie Meyers withdraw - don't fret, The Host (March 29) is also based on her work. While I have my doubts, at least it secured the talents of Saoirse Ronan, in my opinion one of the most talented young actresses in Hollywood alongside Lawrence.

You also have the zombie romance Warm Bodies (Feb. 1), another popular YA series-turned movie in Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (Aug. 23) along with Beautiful Creatures (Feb. 13).

However, one film based on a book for young adults is on my list: Ender's Game (Nov. 1). I am an absolute fan of the novel by Orson Scott Card and have waited years as rumors have floated around about the film being made. Now it's here and I hope to God they don't screw this one up. The cast looks great and I know the story is good - I just hope they don't take any huge liberties with things. It's hard to say how this will play with general audiences, but I'm looking forward to this one.

Original Film and Oscar Contenders

Once you get passed the remakes, sequels and reboots, you have some standout originals - some of which are likely to be up for awards. Of course you have your big-budget popcorn films as well.

On the special effects side of things Pacific Rim (July 12) looks to give Guillermo del Toro a whole new sandbox to play in as giant robots battle huge monsters. It just looks like a whole lot of fun and I have hopes that del Toro won't turn this into a Transformers clone.

You also have daring sci-fi in the form of After Earth (June 7) (with Will Smith and his son Jaden), Gravity (Oct. 18) - Alfonso Cuarón always makes interesting films and should be another hit with George Clooney and Sandra Bullock on board and Elysium (Aug. 9), from District 9 director Neill Blomkamp, who has also lined up an impressive cast (led by Matt Damon and Jodie Foster) which explores a futuristic version of the fight between have and have-nots.

Comedy is also going to get a boost of originality. I have to say the premise of This is the End (June 14) looks hilarious. A bunch of Hollywood stars attending a party at Jame's Franco's house deal with the apocalypse. What about that doesn't sound like it's going to be fun? Plus, you have a completely stellar cast (I'm guessing some of whom are only going to be cameos) playing "themselves" from Emma Watson to Rihanna with comedic talents from the likes of Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Seth Rogen and Jason Segel along for the ride.

Speaking of the end, The World's End (Oct. 25) caps off the so-called Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (the first two being Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) and, if the previous two films are any indication, this should be a rocking good time as well. Other comedies that could be hits include the pairing of Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy in Identity Thief (Feb. 8) and the return of Jim Carrey in the magician-themed comedy The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (March 15).

Other big name original films include Oz: The Great and Powerful (March 8), The Lone Ranger (July 3) and Oblivion (April 19). But what about films I see as having the best chance at getting awards?

I would say things are going to be led by The Monuments Men (Dec. 18) - George Clooney directs and stars in this film about a group of art historians, museum curators and the like coming together to stop the Nazis from destroying priceless works of art during WWII.

There is also Terrence Malick's new film, To the Wonder (April 12) and while I was not so impressed by Tree of Life, critics seem to love the guy, so most likely this will factor in to the awards season.

It's looked like A Place Beyond the Pines (March 29 - limited) could succeed where Drive failed - as Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper continue to enjoy success. Plus, the trailer makes things look very interesting in this drama that crosses generations.

After being pushed back from 2012 - Baz Luhrmann The Great Gatsby (May 10) should also make some waves thanks to a great cast (Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan amongst others) and a stylish take on the classic story.

The Rest

Horror - Could be a mixed bag. There is the delayed released of World War Z (June 21) which, despite now looking not so much like the amazingly awesome novel, is still about zombies, so it has to be somewhat good, right? You also have The Evil Dead (April 12) and Carrie (March 15) remakes - either of which have the possibility of being great or terrible.

Speaking of remakes, Spike Lee's Oldboy (Oct. 11) could also either be a hit or miss, but I have such great love of the original, he's really going to have to do something special to impress me on this one.

I also thing that Machete Kills (TBA) will find a limited audience, but the original was such great grindhouse fun, I'll have to check this one out just to see how terrible the cameos are going to be.

Any films I missed? What are the films you're looking at in 2013 to be the main attractions? I want to know, because you all know I'm going to be along for the ride, so I may as well have some people there with me.

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Naveen

Wrote on 01/08/13 at 01:56 AM CT

Great article, but you forgot Monsters University! It should be huge, and I hope it turns out as great as it looks so far.

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