Box office season heats up

Do Trekkies, Iron Man and a reimagining of the Superman legend sound like a good time?

The big battle in terms of summer box office this year is between Marvel and DC Comics, with the latter universe’s Superman stepping into the limelight just as Batman bowed out last summer with “The Dark Knight Rises.” And with 2012 being dominated by Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor, Captain America, Hulk and Hawkeye —- with “Marvel’s The Avengers” breaking records here and overseas and opening with the highest grossing weekend ever. Ever. —- the stakes remain high.

While rumors of a Justice League movie continue to loom (which would band Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and The Green Lantern together) it’ll be interesting to see what box office receipts look like at the end of the year. Iron Man opens the summer box office, Superman enters the game in June and Thor rounds out the year with “The Dark World” to be released in the fall.

But don’t count the non-super heroes out. Like many a year before, the summer seems to belong to a round of sequels and even a re-envisioning of an F. Scott Fitzgerald classic (of which I’m sure many of us became familiar with through mandatory reading in high school) coming to the big screen.

Here are just a few we can’t help anticipating:

“Iron Man 3” – May 3

Marvel’s cocky but brilliant billionaire entrepreneur Tony Stark faces off against Oscar winner Ben Kingsley’s villainous The Mandarin in this third installment that picks up after the events in “The Avengers.”

“The Great Gatsby” – May 10

Leonardo DiCaprio reunites with his “Romeo + Juliet” director Baz Luhrman for the first time since 1996 in this 3-D adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel of the same name. It’s sure to be filled with colorful cinematography and an incredible soundtrack to boot, like many of Luhrman’s past endeavors. But with the director’s notorious reputation for being hit or miss with audiences, it’ll be intriguing to see what 3-D conversion can do for this drama. For what it’s worth, bloggers are already spoofing the idea: “Feel the themes of loneliness right in your face!”

“Star Trek Into Darkness” – May 17

With director J.J. Abrams stirring up controversy in the geek world by signing on to helm a new trilogy of “Star Wars” films, eyes will be watching to see what he offers up in this follow-up to 2009’s “Star Trek.” Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto returns as Captain Kirk and Spock. Together they lead the search for an Enterprise crew member that has gone rogue, who the team will discover is a “one man weapon of mass destruction” (played by “Sherlock” BBC favorite Benedict Cumberbatch).

“The Hangover Part III” – May 24

The Wolf Pack is back. While its predecessor was a shot for shot do-over of the original (and a complete bore), this final installment seems like a refreshing and fitting way to end what’s become one of the most successful and notorious R-rated comedy trilogies of all time. And with director Todd Philipps promising that “It’s not a hangover, it’s not a missing night,” and the addition of the incomparable John Goodman —- how can we resist?

“Man of Steel” – June 14

Zack Snyder is no newbie to adapting graphic novels, having directed both “Watchmen” and “300.” Here he teams with producer Christopher Nolan (who helmed “The Dark Knight” trilogy) for this re-imagining of the DC Comics favorite. And if the trailer or poster is any indication, —- with the caped crusader (“The Tudor’s” Henry Cavil) in handcuffs —- the tale will be similarly grim but inspiring. Amy Adams plays Louis Lane with Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe playing Clark Kent’s biological and extraterrestrial dads respectively.

“World War Z” – June 21

Fans have been anticipating this adaptation of Max Brooks’ “World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War” for quite some time. Brad Pitt stars as U.N. employee Gary Lane, a man trying to stop the spread of a zombie pandemic that threatens to end humanity.

“The Conjuring” – July 14

“Saw” and “Insidious” director James Wan brings the story of Ed and Lorraine Warren’s (the real life paranormal investigators who inspired “The Amityville Horror”) most frightening case to the screen. But he promises not to follow recent trends in horror, with the trailer teasing “It’s not a haunting. It’s not a possession.” Reportedly, the film was originally scheduled for release last fall, but test screenings were so successful that Warner Bros. decided to shelve it in favor of a coveted summer blockbuster slot.

“The Wolverine” – July 26

Hugh Jackman suits up as the X-Men fan favorite for the fifth time in this 3-D film that finds Wolverine battling his nemesis the Silver Samuari while struggling with his own immortality in modern day Japan. Twentieth-Century Fox promises that the hero will “emerge more powerful than we’ve ever seen him before.”

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Box office season heats up