As we bid farewell to 2012 – a pretty darn good one as far as genre films go – the new year has already produced its first hit. Texas Chainsaw 3D has become a surprise success, and while it’s certainly no one’s idea of immortal cinema, it bodes well for the upcoming twelve months. Naturally, original material is short supply. Sequels and adaptations dominate our current pop culture environment, and that doesn’t look to change anytime soon. But here and there, a few signs of the new and the different still peak their heads out. As usual, we won’t have the first idea where they’re coming form until the land right at our feet.
In the meantime, here’s a look at what’s coming at the movie theater in 2013. Release dates and titles are subject to change at the whims of our corporate overlords.
January kicked off with the unexpected success of Texas Chainsaw 3D, and the indie efforts All Superheroes Must Die and Crawlspace (all January 4). January 11th sees another quick spate of early-year fare, including the horror parody A Haunted House and the more straight-up horror offering Storage 24. Warners’ action flick Gangster Squad opens on the same day, while Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty opens in wide release. Guillermo del Toro headlines the week of the 18th with another horror film: Mama, produced by del Toro and directed by newcomer Andres Muschietti. He’ll be joined by Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Last Stand – his first starring vehicle since he became governor – as well as Russell Crowe and Colin Farrell in the political thriller Broken City. The last weekend of the month sees Jeremy Renner return to the big screen, along with Bond girl Gemma Arterton and former X-Man Famke Janssen, in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. Magnet Pictures releases the indie sci-fi flick John Dies at the End on the same day, while everyone and their mother appears in the comedy mash-up Movie 43 on the 25th as well. This being January, we offer no guarantees that any of these will be good.
For those into special events, the RiffTrax boys are presenting a live performance of their epic Manos: The Hands of Fate. It airs in theaters across the country on January 24.
February beings with a unique romance: Warm Bodies (Feb. 1), detailing the true love between a nice girl and a flesh-eating zombie. Sylvester Stallone aims to provide some competition that weekend with Bullet to the Head, as do Al Pacino, Alan Arkin and Christopher Walken in Stand-Up Guys. Those desperate for horror can pony up to The Haunting in Connecticut 2 on the 1st, which I’m sure won’t suck donkey balls in any way. Things quiet down on the genre front on the 8th, which sees only Jet Li’s The Sorcerer and the White Snake and an IMAX re-release of Top Gun. We’re going to need the break, because some serious hitters arrive the week of Valentine’s Day. A Good Day to Die Hard lands on Feb. 14, along with the Twilight-esque Beautiful Creatures on the 13th. That handles movies for guys and movies for girls; for the kids, the animated Escape from Planet Earth opens on the 14th as well. The month concludes with The Snitch, starring Dwayne Johnson, and the sci-fi horror flick Dark Skies. Both open on the 22nd.
With summer crowded, as always, some of the studio’s other blockbusters start fighting for space in March. Among them is the long-delayed G.I. Joe: Retaliation (March 29), Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Killer (March 1) and Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful (March 8). Stephanie Meyer haters should brace themselves for The Host on March 29, while Steve Carrell’s The Incredible Burt Wonderstone lands on March 15. Against those behemoths, Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace hope to make a dent with Dead Man Down on March 8, and The Last Exorcism Part II more or less holds down the horror front on March 1. Animation fans should look for the caveman adventure The Croods, starring the voices of Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds and Emma Stone, on March 22.
We take a deep breath before plunging into summer, starting slowly with the release of Jurassic Park in 3D on April 5. The rest of the month features a number of horror movies, specifically the Evil Dead remake (April 12), The Lords of Salem (April 26), and the horror sequel Scary Movie 5 (April 12). Tom Cruise headlines Oblivion on the 12th, while Harrison Ford gives us the story of Jackie Robinson in 42 that same date. Michael Bay helps close out April with Pain and Gain on the 26th.
Marvel Comics hopes to continue its dominating performance from last summer, starting with Iron Man 3 on the 3rd. That marks the official beginning of the blockbuster season, with big titles following every week. Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby arrives on the 10th, Star Trek: Into Darkness on the 17th, and The Hangover 3 and The Fast and the Furious 6 on Memorial Day weekend. The thrillers The Purge (May 31) and Black Rock (May 17th) hope to collect some scraps.
June usually sees the release of some god-awful comedy, but with The Hangover scaring competition away, it’s up to heavier fare to fill the docket. DC releases what increasingly feels like a make-or-break project for them: Man of Steel, opening on June 14. The week before sees the release of M. Night Shyamalan’s After Earth, the comedy The Internship starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, and Joss Whedon’s version of Much Ado About Nothing. Disney follows with Monsters University on June 21st, while Brad Pitt tries to stop the zombie apocalypse in the hotly anticipated World War Z the same day. The month ends with Sony Pictures’ thriller White House Down and the comic book sequel Kick Ass 2, both on the 28th.
Universal and Disney square off on July 4th weekend: the former with Despicable Me 2 and the latter with Gore Verbinski’s reboot of The Lone Ranger. That hideous Adam Sandler vehicle we dread every summer lands on July 12 – Grown Ups 2 – and will hopefully get crushed by Guillermo del Toro’s giant monster mash Pacific Rim. Warners follows with a haunted house story, The Conjuring, on July 19, the same day which sees the release of Fox Animation’s Turbo and Universal’s comic book adaptation RIPD. Hugh Jackman closes the big summer releases with The Wolverine, sending everyone’s favorite Canucklehead to Japan. It opens on July 26th. (Okay, The Smurfs 2 technically follows it on July 31, but I refused to dignify such a steaming turd with a “big summer release” label.)
The dog days usually see a lot of down-and-dirty genre films hoping to mop up the rest of the box office before the kids go back to school. The month starts with a pair of sequels: 300: Rise of an Empire and RED 2, both on August 2. Disney doubles down on their disappointing Cars franchise with Planes on the 9th, sharing a release date with the sci-fi film Elysium (directed by District 9 helmer Neil Blomkamp) and the comedy We’re the Millers. The 16th ushers in the Percy Jackson sequel Sea of Monsters and the action thriller 2 Guns starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg. Lionsgate gives us the shocker You’re Next on August 23rd, competing with The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones from Screen Gems. The end of the month sees another spate of thrillers and horror movies: Closed Circuit on the 28th, Insidious 2 on the 30th and Satanic on the 30th.
The first month of fall is traditionally a dead zone for movies, with summer blockbusters all done and Oscar contenders still waiting in the wings. That may explain why Hollywood has chosen to shovel out a passel of older movies in 3D format: The Little Mermaid on September 13th, Attack of the Clones on September 20th and Revenge of the Sith on October 4th (not quite September, but what are ya gonna do?). Lionsgate’s I, Frankenstein also opens on the 13th, followed by the Justin Timberlake thriller Runner Runner, the Stallone-Schwarzenegger mash-up The Tomb and Cloudy Meatballs 2: Revenge of the Leftovers, all on September 27th.
They’re officially promising to release Sin City 2 on October 4th, but at this stage I’ll believe it when I see it. If they don’t, we’ll have to content ourselves with the Harrison Ford/Gary Oldman thriller Paranoia, also opening on the 4th. After that, of course, the month belongs to the horror movies: Haunt and The Devil’s Rapture on October 11th, the Carrie remake on October 18th, and Paranormal Activity 5 on the 25th. Those interested in different fare can check out the remake of Oldboy on the 11th, Luc Besson’s Malavita on the 25th, and the adventure The World’s End on the 25th.
As Oscar season begins, Turkey Month is seeing an unusually large contingent of blockbusters. The 1st of the month sees two intriguing releases: the animated Mr. Peabody and Sherman, and the adaption of Ender’s Game.The God of Thunder returns in Thor: The Dark World on the 8th, and the Hunger Games saga rolls on with Catching Fire on the 22nd. Disney’s animated feature Frozen angles for the family market on the 27th, bringing the month to a close.
December’s a ways off and dates may shift dramatically in 11 months, but a few heavy hitters have already staked their claim. The Desolation of Smaug continues the Hobbit cycle (hopefully with improved results) on December 13th, while Christmas Day is slated for both the Jack Ryan reboot and Keanu Reeves’ ambitious version of The 47 Ronin. Between them, we’re left with the Michael Douglas/Morgan Freeman film Vegas and Will Ferrell staying classy in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, both on the 20th.
That’s where things stand this first week of January. As always, we’ll try to keep you filled in about date changes and additions as the year goes on!