Summer Movie Season 2012: Ten Anticipated Films

After an unusually strong spring season (thank you, Hunger Games!), May is finally upon on us, and this Friday The Avengers kicks of the 2012 summer movie season with what is sure to be a huge opening weekend. Ever since Steven Spielberg released Jaws in June of 1975, the summer season has become a staple in the film industry for its big budgeted films with visual spectacles and enthralling, escapist stories. From Inception to Harry PotterSpider-ManPirates of the Caribbean, and more, summer has become the go to season for blockbusters that are just as fun as they are smart and engaging.

This year is certainly no exception as a handful of superhero and animated sequels aim to make their mark at the summer box office with huge grosses. However, from Oliver Stone’s Savagesto Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator, Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, and other films likeMen in Black 3 and Battleship, many titles this summer seem like prospective blockbusters as opposed to surefire hits. Nonetheless, the few guaranteed blockbusters slated to hit theatres over the next four months (Avengers, Dark Knight Rises) are shaping up to be some of the highest grossing and record breaking films of all time. How will this summer rack up against past ones? Only time will tell, but without further ado, here are my top 10 most anticipated films of the summer movie season:


10. Ruby Sparks (July 25)– Ever since Little Miss Sunshine rode a wave of summer buzz all the way to the Oscars in March of the next year, summer has become a welcoming season for prospective indie hits – and guess what? The directors behind Sunshine – Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris – are back this summer with another original indie. While I almost chose Woody Allen’s latest To Rome With Love for my 10th slot, I couldn’t help but feel that Allen always underwhelms when he deals with large, star-studded casts in multiple vignettes (You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger anyone?). Between two directors who have already proved that they know how to mesh comedy and drama, a cast that features indie hero Paul Dano and Annette Benning (a personal favorite of mine), and a story that sounds creative and daring (Dano creates a character for a novel who comes to life), Sparks is one little film I can’t wait to see this summer


9. Snow White and the Huntsman (June 1)– After Julia Roberts candy coated and cheeky Mirror, Mirror bombed this past March, the eyes of the fairy tale world turn to the second Snow White film of the year, a big, CGI epic that seems more Lord of the Ringsthan Brothers Grimm. While I’m certainly not a big fan of Kirsten Stewart, I’m a huge lover of the beautiful Charlize Theron, and in all the trailers thus far Theron has proved to be a devilish and wicked treat as the evil Queen hell-bent on consuming Snow White’s heart. In a summer full of sequels, Huntsman could be a rare breathe of fresh air and the trailers have certainly made the film seem visually stunning. This is one fairy tale I’m very interested in seeing how it plays out on the big screen come June


8. The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3) – In a summer season chock full of superhero films that are poised to become mega-blockbusters, The Amazing Spider-Man is probably the biggest risk since it reboots the superhero franchise back to its origins. While Batman Begins did the same thing in the summer of 2005, the new Spider-Man arrives in theatres targeting the same audience who still are very familiar with Sam Raimi’s trilogy starring Toby McGuire and Kirsten Dunst. Since Raimi’s last turn with the webbed-slinger, the atrocious Spider-Man 3, left a bad taste in fans’ mouths, it’s anyone’s guess as to how the new reboot plays, but with stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone leading a supporting cast that includes Dennis Leary, Sally Field, Rhys Ifans, and Martin Sheen, Amazing Spider-Man definitely has the potential to restore audiences’ love for the red and blue web slinger.


7. Ted (July 13) – Though I’m sure people certainly exist out there, I’ve never really heard anyone ever utter the words, “I hate Family Guy!”  Even my dad loves Peter, Lois, Stevie, Meg, and the rest of the gang! I mention this because the love for Family Guy already proves that comedic mastermind Seth MacFarlane not only has a following but that he also knows how to bring on the raunchy, R-rated funniness. This summer, MacFarlane steps behind the camera for his first feature film, and if the red-band trailer is any indication, it looks like Ted will be a gut-busting good time. Starring Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, the film is about a vulgar, immature stuffed animal bear who can talk (voiced by MacFarlane) and who gets in the way of the romance between his owner (Wahlberg) and his owner’s new love (Kunis). I’m not a huge fan of talking inanimate objects/animals, but if anyone can pull it off it’s MacFarlane, just look at Brian on Family Guy!


6. Brave (June 22) – Ok, so Cars 2 was a bomb and a rare misstep for the animated gods at Pixar, but if the lusciously gorgeous trailers for their latest film Brave are any indication, this could be an impeccable return to form for the animated powerhouse. While the Scottish accents and setting may not work in the film’s favor, leave it to Pixar to craft an engaging story of a feisty, archery loving princess who decides to create her own destiny after years of being told what to do by her Royal Parents. While plot details have been scarce, I trust Pixar completely with anything they do (yes, even after Cars 2), and in a year where female power is at a peak (Katniss Everdeen, anyone?), a young, spirited female animated heroine could be just the thing to return Pixar to animation glory.

5. Moonrise Kingdom (May 25) – Like Ruby Sparks, Moonrise Kingdom is yet another independent film looking to capitalize on the counterprogramming success that indie films often see during the summer months when all anyone talks about are blockbusters. If a cast that includes Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, and Tilda Swinton wasn’t enough, the film is also the return of director Wes Anderson, the wry, indie auteur behind the brilliant Rushmore and Fantastic Mr. Fox. If you’re one of Wes Anderson’s many followers like I am, I know you probably can’t wait for this latest outing, which tells the sweet story of a pair of young lovers who run away from their New England town, prompting a community wide search to find them. If Kingdom is as deliciously wry and visually offbeat as any of Anderson’s previous works, than it probably will be the perfect film to escape the many blockbusters of the summer with.

4. The Bourne Legacy (August 3) – Like The Amazing Spider-Man, The Bourne Legacy is also a huge gamble this summer in that it’s being released to the same audience who propelled the original Bourne trilogy with Matt Damon to lofty box office heights. While Damon is sitting out this round, the film is less of a reboot and more of an original story that takes place in the same time and universe as the Damon-starring Bourne films. The first trailer got me a lot more excited for this latest outing that I thought I would be, and with Joan Allen, Albert Finney, and David Strathairn reprising their roles and Jeremy Renner stepping in as the spy lead, the film seems to be a solid continuation of one my favorite espionage, action-packed franchises.

3. The Avengers (May 4) – Having already grossed over $200 million overseas in its first week, The Avengers is already racking in the money at superhero speeds, and with reports that the film is tracking better than The Dark Knight, the first film of the summer movie season has the potential to knock Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 down a slot and become the film with the highest grossing opening weekend of all time. While I loved the originalIron Man, I have never been a huge fan of the Marvel film universe; while Thor, The Incredible Hulk, and Captain America were solid, entertaining films, none of them really engaged me as much as I would have hoped and none of them left me craving to see their titular superheroes on the screen again. In the hands of director Joss Whedon, however,The Avengers is shaping up to be the perfect summer movie – a reunion of past blockbusters that’s smart, visually stunning, and out right entertaining as hell. Reviews thus far have been stellar, and if The Avengers can capture the snappy humor and energetic action that made Iron Man a hit and super size it to fit all its mighty heroes, this could very well be the film of the summer.


2. Prometheus (June 8) – While many continue to speculate if the film is a prequel, reboot, spinoff, or sequel to Alien, all I know is that Ridley Scott is returning to the genre that made him famous (Alien, Blade Runner) and that alone is enough to get me super excited for Prometheus. With a cast that includes Noomi Rapace (the original Girl With The Dragon Tattoo who seems to be taking on the Ripley role), Michael Fassbender, and Charlize Theron (two times the Theron this summer!), and trailers that have slowly rolled out the plot in spectacular fashion, Prometheus is shaping up to be the Inception of the summer, a (mostly) original piece of entertainment that’s part thrilling, part horrifying, and all out entertaining. Bring it on!


1. The Dark Knight Rises (July 20) – Just when I thought Prometheus was slowly becoming the movie of the summer, Warner Brothers released the final theatrical trailer toTDKR the other day and guess what? It looks simply incredible – I honestly had goose bumps after watching it for the first time! Out of all my movie going experiences, I still remember seeing The Dark Knight on opening night in a jam packed theatre; for me, the film was more than a movie, it was a flat out expierence between the audience and the incredibly fleshed out characters on screen, and if Christopher Nolan can capture that same cinematic magic in his final outing with the Batman franchise than this will 100% be the film of the summer and quite possibly the year. From returning faces like Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Cane, and Gary Oldman, to new cast members played by Joseph Gordon Levitt, Marion Cotillard, and Anne Hathaway (who flat out kills it in the latest trailer as the “adaptable” Selena Kyle/Catwoman), Nolan has assembled a real dream team of an ensemble in a film that looks to carry on the crime-ridden and politically rich nature of The Dark Knight. If there’s one thing that’s certain this summer, it’s that I will be at the theatres opening night for TDKR and honestly, the world will probably be too.


So there you have it, my 10 most anticipated films of the 2012 summer movie season – agree with my picks? Any film you would move up or down? Any film that you can’t believe I’m not anticipating? Sound off below!

Article by Zach Sharf

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