By Bill Wine
KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The calendar says that summer’s ahead of us, but Hollywood says that some of it is already behind us.
With May now officially part of the Dream Factory’s summer and quickly disappearing from our rear-view mirror, we’re already well into the big 2012 summer movie season.
And with The Avengers kicking up a fuss and setting box-office records, this could be one for the books.
So what do June, July, and August have in store for us as mainstream attractions compete for our warm-weather dollars?
Plenty! Here we go…
Snow White and the Huntsman — The year’s second big-screen take on the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tale (Mirror Mirror was the first) isn’t a comedy but a reimagined adventure drama, with Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen and Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth as the title characters.
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted — The third installment in the animated franchise features the voices of Ben Stiller as Alex the lion, Chris Rock as Marty the zebra, David Schwimmer as Melman the giraffe, and Jada Pinkett Smith as Gloria the hippo, stuck in Monaco — poor creatures — and still trying to make it back to their home base at the Central Park Zoo.
Prometheus — Ridley Scott, the director of the terrifying and unforgettable Alien, returns to the science-fiction-horror-thriller realm in a tale about a team of explorers — including the busy Charlize Theron (right), Michael Fassbender, and Noomi Rapace — traveling to the darkest corners of the universe.
Rock of Ages — The adaptation of the book and Off-Broadway musical about a rock-‘n’-roll romance between a small-town waitress and a big-city busboy in LA in 1987 features Tom Cruise, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Alec Baldwin.
That’s My Boy — Adam Sandler and “Saturday Night Live”‘s Andy Samberg play father and son in a comedy about a wild playboy who became a father at 13 when he impregnated his much older teacher, then suddenly turns up on the doorstep of his now-grown-up son.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter — Turns out the Great Emancipator wasn’t only our 16th president, and the Civil War was also about vampires. Who knew? This supernatural action-horror thriller is — surprise, surprise — not a comedy and comes to us before Steven Spielberg’s more historical Lincoln with Daniel Day-Lewis in December.
Brave — Kelly McDonald gives voice to the lead character, Merida, a skilled archer and the daughter of the king of Scotland, trying to prove her worth in a 3-D computer-animated fantasy adventure that marks the first fairy tale and first female protagonist from Pixar.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World — Steve Carell and Keira Knightley (right) headline this science fiction comedy about an American whose wife has left him who teams up with his longtime British neighbor to search for his childhood sweetheart, even as the world braces for a devastating asteroid crash.
To Rome With Love — The latest from writer-director Woody Allen features Alec Baldwin, Penelope Cruz, Ellen Page, Jesse Eisenberg, and Allen himself in a comedy about the adventures and predicaments of a group of characters in Italy. Translation: the script is a secret.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation –– The science fiction action thriller sequel to GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra — based on Hasbro’s GI Joe toy — stars Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis, and the returning and reprising Channing Tatum in a tale about the US government being manipulated into framing all the GI Joe operatives as traitors.
Magic Mike — Channing Tatum again, but this time he’s a male stripper — as is co-star Matthew McConaughey and supporters Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer, and Joe Manganiello — in a comedy from director Steven Soderbergh about a guy trying to find a more rewarding lifestyle.
People Like Us — Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde, Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mark Duplass, and Jon Favreau comprise the ensemble of a drama about a man responsible for delivering part of his deceased record-producer father’s fortune to a 30-year-old alcoholic half-sister he never knew existed and her troubled pre-teen son.
The Amazing Spider-Man –– Andrew Garfield of The Social Network takes on the title role as the franchise relaunches, with Emma Stone as his crush at school and a radioactive spider accidentally conveying on him supernatural powers. With great power comes great box office? Stay tuned.
The Magic of Belle Isle — Morgan Freeman stars as Monte Wildhorn, a famous wheelchair-bound novelist struggling with alcoholism who moves to a rural town, where he befriends a single mother (Virginia Madsen) and her three kids and rediscovers his passion for writing in a comedy-drama from director Rob Reiner.
Ice Age: Continental Drift — Manny, Fiego, and Sid — the wooly mammoth, saber-toothed tiger, and sloth voiced respectively by Ray Romano, Dennis Leary, and John Leguizamo — embark on their fourth animated comedy adventure when their continent is set adrift and they explore a whole new world using an iceberg as a means of transport.
Ted — Debuting writer, producer, and director Seth MacFarlane, creator of television’s animated “Family Guy,” provides the voice of the title character, a teddy bear who has come to life as the childhood wish of a Boston kid and remains his best friend when he grows up to be Mark Wahlberg. The comedy co-stars Mila Kunis.
Red Lights — Robert DeNiro and Sigourney Weaver (right) star in a Spanish-American thriller about rational academics, a psychologist and her assistant, whose study of paranormal activity and debunking of paranormal phenomena leads them to investigate a world-renown psychic.
The Dark Knight Rises — Christopher Nolan, director of the brilliant and underappreciated The Dark Knight as well as the dazzling Inception, completes his Batman trilogy with Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, and Tom Hardy joining returnees Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, and Morgan Freeman in Gotham City.
The Watch — Its title recently changed from Neighborhood Watch because of recent controversial current events, this comedy about aliens invading a sleepy sububan town stars Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill as ordinary guys in extraordinary circumstances.
The Bourne Legacy — Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner (right), playing Aaron Cross, another covert government-trained assassin, inherits the lead role from Matt Damon in the action thriller about an on-the-run CIA agent that picks up where 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum left off.
Total Recall — A remake of director Paul Verhoeven’s 1990 science fiction thriller that starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, this one features Colin Farrell as a factory worker who disocvers that his memories have been artficially implanted and that he is a freedom fighter battling a totalitarian regime.
2 Days in New York — Julie Delpy not only wrote and directed this comedy sequel to 2 Days in Paris, but stars as a French woman and single mother who lives in the Big Apple with her child and has a new American boyfriend, played by Chris Rock, when she’s visited by her father and sister, who bring her ex-boyfriend along.
The Campaign — Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis star in this political comedy as rival southerners competing in an election for a seat in Congress, each hoping to represent his small North Carolina district in the US House of Representatives. The supporting cast for director Jay Roach includes Dylan McDermott, Jason Sudeikis, Brian Cox, John Lithgow, and Dan Aykroyd.
Hope Springs –– Three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones co-star in this conjugal comedy as an Omaha couple married for over 30 years with two grown children who go through a weekend of therapy in an attempt to save their floundering union. The Devil Wears Prada director David Frankel is at the helm and Steve Carell plays their therapist.
The Expendables 2 — The sequel to the 2010 action thriller reunites old-school mercenaries Sylvester Stallone, Jason Staham, Jet Li, and Dolph Lundgren in a seemingly simple job. Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Chuck Norris also lend their screen icons to the all-star throwback epic.
ParaNorman — This 3-D stop-motion otherworldly animated feature from the studio responsible for the Academy Award-nominated Coraline centers on a Massachusetts outcast whose ability to talk to ghosts finally comes in handy when his small town comes under siege by zombies.
Sparkle — A remake of the 1976 musical film of the same name that takes place in Detroit during the 1950s Motown era and was inspired by The Supremes. It centers on three teenage sisters from Harlem who form a singing group with a cast that includes Jordin Sparks, Derek Luke, Mike Epps, and the late Whitney Houston.
Hit and Run –– Actor Dax Shepard, who also stars, wrote and directed this romantic action comedy about a former getaway driver who jeopardizes his witness protection plan identity when he helps his girlfreind get to LA with the authorities and his former gang in hot pursuit. Bradley Cooper and Kristen Bell co-star.
So, pass the popcorn and have at ’em!