Tom Clancy-created CIA agent Jack Ryan has been played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck, and now Chris Pine is getting his turn, with a release date set for Dec. 25.
Sissy Spacek hands the "Carrie" baton over to Chloë Grace Moretz on March 15.
And Spike Lee's American remake of the South Korean thriller "Oldboy," out Oct. 11, stars Josh Brolin as an executive who has been mysteriously confined for years and is now freed, and sets out to find out who stole his life. Will there be any eating of live octopus like in the original? They're not saying, but producer Nathan Kahane promised other "treats" for fans. "If you look carefully, you'll see some of the cast from the original," he said.
There's no competition for "The Hobbit," the second installment of which is due out Dec. 13 as the Dwarves get closer to their goal of reclaiming Erebor (after getting captured by both giant spiders and Elves). "The Desolation of Smaug" will feature Benedict Cumberbatch as the dragon Smaug. "He's absolutely fantastic," gushed co-star Martin Freeman. Smaug will be the first performance-captured dragon, and thanks to advancements in technology, we should be able to see more emotion and musculature in his face in the same manner in which Gollum was improved for "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," only on a much bigger scale. Also look for some more elf action in the second "Hobbit" film, with the return of Orlando Bloom as Legolas.
Ryan Gosling fans have three ways to see their favorite actor in 2013: in "Gangster Squad," "Only God Forgives" and "The Place Beyond the Pines." The third of these, due March 29, reunites Gosling with his "Blue Valentine" director Derek Cianfrance and kicked off his romance with co-star Eva Mendes. The movie has been getting rave reviews on the festival circuit, even if Rosling's role as a motorcycle stunt rider who resorts to bank robbery sounds like a rehash of what he did in "Drive." This time, however, it's more of a family drama; Gosling really only carries one third of the film. (Meanwhile, "Only God Forgives" is a reunion with his "Drive" director Nicholas Winding Refn, but has yet to screen).
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
There won't be a bigger zombie apocalypse than "World War Z," and it's got one of the biggest stars (Brad Pitt) to anchor it. Max Brook's book featured interviews from various survivors of the Zombie War, which gave both a time line and a sensation of the global nature of the catastrophe. Pitt's character has the unenviable job of tying up disparate storylines, but if anyone can do it, it's him.
On the comedic side, it's a toss-up between Seth Rogen's directorial debut "This Is The End," out June 14, and Edgar Wright's "The World's End," out Oct. 25.
In "This Is The End," an unspecified global cataclysm wipes out many famous actors playing themselves (including Michael Cera), so Rogen and friends hole up at James Franco's house and try to ride it out. "We joke about (the potential for a sequel), but I don't know where it would exist," Rogen laughed. "But they'll make a sequel out of anything. There's a script for "Titanic 2" lying around somewhere."
Then, in the bound-to-be-self-referencing "World's End," Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and friends try to do a pub crawl on their last night alive. Fans of "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz" know this will be epic.
What is it with all the films this year about Earth becoming an inhospitable planet? "Elysium" (starring Matt Damon, out March 1), "Oblivion" (starring Tom Cruise, out April 19), and "After Earth" (starring Will Smith, out June 7) share common themes, but only the first two seem to blame rampant corporatization and wealth discrepancies instead of nature. "After Earth" focuses on survival; "Oblivion" is about an underground resistance (led by Morgan Freeman).
But "Elysium," directed by Neil Blomkamp (of "District 9" fame) has the most socio-political overtones. In this scenario, the rich live on a luxurious new world called Elysium, and the poor live on Earth, which has become overpopulated, diseased and crime ridden. Damon's character fights to make a better life for himself, and inadvertently, everyone else.