Brad Pitt is also out to save the world, but only because it's infested by zombies. The producer and star of "World War Z" (based on Max Brooks' book) plays a former U.N. staffer caught up in a zombie pandemic. Pitt has said the film offered up a couple of challenges, and not just how to fight the undead: "How do we keep the global, dynamic scope of the book, and how do we originate a genre that's been done quite often and really, really well?" One of the solutions is to show the pandemic as it unfolds instead of merely documenting the aftermath.
June 28: "White House Down," "Byzantium"
Channing Tatum also plays the hero, but on a smaller scale. In "White House Down," he plays a man who has just interviewed for his dream job with the Secret Service and is on-site when terrorists storm the White House. He may not have gotten the job officially, but he in effect does it anyway by protecting the president (Jamie Foxx). Expect lots of explosions.
For a female-action alternative to most of June's fare, Neil Jordan ("Interview with the Vampire") has another story of the undead on the way called "Byzantium." Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan play a mother-daughter vampire duo who've broken a cardinal bloodsucking rule of no females allowed. "It's a feminist movie," Arterton said. "Traditionally men, not always, are sexualized as vampires, not women. Women are the ones who are usually victimized."
July 5: "The Way, Way Back"
Sam Rockwell stars in the latest film from writing team Jim Rash and Nat Faxon ("The Descendants") as the owner of the Water Wizz water park who takes an awkward teenage boy under his wing. They head out on vacation with his mom (Toni Collette) and her boyfriend (Steve Carell). "It's inspired by real-life happenings," Rash said, "but it's heavier on the funny side than 'The Descendants,' even if both are dysfunctional family comedies." It won audiences over at Sundance.
July 12: "Pacific Rim"
Guillermo del Toro knows his monsters, and in "Pacific Rim," he brings to life his biggest ones yet: kaiju (Japanese for giant monsters). The film also features giant robots controlled by soldiers battling the race of alien beasts who rise from the ocean. There's a stellar cast as well (Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, Idris Elba, Charlie Day and Rinko Kikuchi), but really, the selling point here is monsters vs. robots, right?
July 19: "The Girl Most Likely"
Kristen Wiig has her first post-"Bridesmaids" starring role in "The Girl Most Likely." Her character pretends to commit suicide to get a guy's attention, but the move backfires and lands her back at home with her mother (Annette Bening). "It's a comedy with an underpinning of real emotion, because this character is a hot mess and falling apart at the seams," co-director Shari Springer Berman said. "But it's Kristen, so you love her. Kristen can do anything."
July 26: "The Wolverine"
Hugh Jackman is back for another round as Logan in "The Wolverine," in what should be a stand-alone film within the" X-Men" series (hopefully erasing any bad memories leftover from "X-Men Origins: Wolverine.") This time, the story is from Chris Claremont and Frank Miller's 1982 comic series, so Logan is in Japan, where he meets up with a man he'd saved from a POW camp during World War II. Logan's lived a long time, but his friend offers him a way out: to make him mortal. In his way are Viper and Silver Samurai, the Yakuza and members of the Japanese criminal underworld.
Aug. 2: "The Spectacular Now," "2 Guns"
An indie teen coming-of-age story ("Spectacular Now") starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller is no box office match against "2 Guns," but it'll remind audiences of John Hughes films that they love -- and make Teller a break-out star.
In the meantime, Mark Wahlberg teams up with Denzel Washington (and re-teams with his "Contraband" director Baltasar Kormákur) for "2 Guns," in which a DEA agent and a naval intelligence officer are forced to work undercover together as members of a narcotics syndicate, but neither one knows the other is also a federal agent. When they discover the truth about each other, they have to go on the run -- together.
Aug. 9: "Elysium"
A little more high-concept is the much-anticipated sci-fi film "Elysium," starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster and directed by "District 9"'s Neill Blomkamp, about the wealthy living on a space station while the impoverished live on a polluted planet. "It's not a sequel; it's not a franchise," Foster said at San Diego Comic-Con. "This is completely original, and it has a real sociopolitical relevance. It's about all sorts of things that matter to me, plus beautiful gut-wrenching explosions."
Aug. 16: "Austenland"
In a summer filled with "gut-wrenching explosions," "Austenland" offers a respite for those looking for something more gentile. Keri Russell plays a mega-Jane Austen fan who spends her life's savings for a weekend getaway at a spot that promises to re-create life as portrayed in such classics as "Pride and Prejudice" and "Sense and Sensibility." She's hoping to find her own Mr. Darcy, but fantasy and reality collide in this comedy about role-playing romance, also featuring "Flight of the Conchords" star Bret McKenzie.
Aug. 23: "The World's End"