Now that "The Avengers," "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "The Dark Knight Rises" have all hit theaters, studios are already starting to market their biggest films of next summer. Here's a look at the list of the big-budget releases expected to put up blockbuster-level numbers.
"Iron Man 3," (Disney) May 3:
Just like "The Avengers" this summer, Disney is leading off next summer's release schedule with "Iron Man 3," with Robert Downey Jr. returning to the role of Tony Stark for the fourth overall time. "Iron Man 2" put up big numbers when it hit theaters in 2010, though expectations were actually a bit higher than the $623 million it brought in worldwide. Shane Black, best known for writing "Lethal Weapon," also steps in as the writer/director to shake up a franchise that could get stale in the wrong hands. With "The Avengers" hitting huge this summer, fans should be ready to come out to see another adventure involving "Iron Man."
"Monsters University," (Disney/Pixar) June 21:
Even with mostly positive reviews and good domestic numbers, Pixar's 2012 release, "Brave," has struggled to live up to artistic and commercial expectations; a month after its release, "Brave" has yet to cross even $300 million worldwide, though its upcoming release in the U.K. and China should help its overall numbers. Following the mild success of "Brave," though, Pixar has a clear winner on its hands with "Monsters University," a follow-up to the enormously successful "Monsters Inc." from 2001. Though it's a long shot that "Monsters University" can cross $1 billion worldwide like "Toy Story 3" did, it has a clear built-in audience that could make it the second biggest hit in Pixar's history.
"Untitled Star Trek Sequel," (Paramount), May 17:
Even if director J.J. Abrams hasn't settled on a title yet, this is nearly a lock to be a major hit. "Star Trek" was one of the most well-received action releases of 2009 and Abrams has since added to his clout by making the successful "Super 8," leading to what will be one of the most anticipated movies of next summer. Now that "Star Trek" is cool again, the sequel might even have enough of an audience to finish as the top grossing action movie of summer 2013.
"Man of Steel," (Warner Brothers) June 14:
With Warner Brothers ostensibly ending their incredibly successful "Batman" franchise (for now), "Man of Steel" hopes to return Superman to popularity following the disappointing "Superman Returns." After spending $270 million on production alone for "Superman Returns," Warner Brothers has scaled back a little bit and brought "300" director Zack Snyder on board to give the franchise a fresh start. Newcomer Henry Cavill, best known for a recurring role on Showtime's "The Tudors," is an interesting fit as the new Superman and Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Amy Adams and Diane Lane also headline one of the best casts of the summer.
"The Lone Ranger," (Disney) July 3:
The last time that director Gore Verbinski got together with Johnny Depp to start a franchise, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" ended up being nothing short of a smash hit. With a built-in audience at least somewhat familiar with the source material, "The Lone Ranger" should be able to cross over to all generations, making it the perfect fit for a release the day before the Fourth of July.
"The Hangover III" (Warner Brothers), May 24:
It's curious to see how well "The Hangover III" does with audiences after the incredible following of the first two. Thanks to the enormous buzz of the original, "The Hangover II" managed to survive a very bad critical consensus to finish as the top R-rated release of 2011, with $254 million domestically and nearly $600 million worldwide. "The Hangover III" is almost guaranteed to be an overall worldwide hit, though it's unlikely that it will regain the popularity the franchise had at the beginning.
"Fast and Furious 6," (Universal), May 24:
One of the most resilient action franchises over the last decade has been "The Fast and the Furious." With Vin Diesel back for the past two releases, the franchise reached its high point with the unbelievable numbers of "Fast Five," which brought in a shocking $626 million worldwide in 2011 despite a difficult April release time. Now back in summer, there's no reason to think that "Fast and Furious 6" won't put up some more big numbers for Universal, though competing with the "Star Trek" sequel at the end of May won't be easy.
"Pacific Rim," (Warner Brothers), July 12:
Director Guillermo Del Toro ("Pan's Labyrinth," "Hellboy") backed out of directing "The Hobbit" to focus on other projects, and "Pacific Rim" was one of the biggest reasons. "Pacific Rim" gives audiences a new take on the alien invasion theme and was one of the most buzzed about movies at this year's Comic Con, which should give it enough hype to find its action-seeking demographic. While most of the summer release schedule is loaded with sequels and franchise reboots, "Pacific Rim" promises to be the most unique big-budget release of the season and has a very high ceiling.
by RTT Staff Writer
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