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15 January 2012

'Amazing Spider-Man,' Batman 'The Dark Knight Rises', 'The Avengers' and 2012 Movie News; Superheros Red Hot, by Greg Tingle

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The Amazing Spider-Man Spider-Man Batman The Avengers Ghost Rider Movies Hollywood

Hollywood is continuing its lover affair with superhero themes, movie revamps and the like.

So in 2012 we're looking at a bush tucker bag of sequels, prequels, remakes... you name it. The Hollywood studios will be pumping out their best efforts in order to make as much money as they can muster.

Entertainment kingpin Marvel Entertainment are going to be spinning out their “The Amazing Spider-Man”, hitting us hard with "The Avengers" and the Warner Bros. - DC Comics tag-team is going to ink us with the next instalment of Batman - "The Dark Knight Rises".

You've also got fantasy themes with “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” More scary stuff with "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2.” Then there's “Men in Black 3.” More Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and Incredible Hulk with "The Avengers." And there's the classic “The Three Stooges.”

Add in three action movies based on fairy tales and four 3-D revamps of major blockbusters, and some keenly awaited films, such as “The Hunger Games,” and 2012 might see Hollywood lure back audiences after movie attendance last year sunk to its lowest level since 1995.

Here’s a peek at some of this year’s coming attractions...(US dates)

Nicolas Cage provides a winter warm-up with “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” (Feb. 17), returning as the bounty hunter from hell on a mission to rescue a child from the devil.

“The Avengers” (May 4), teaming Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as the Incredible Hulk, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye.

Next is “The Amazing Spider-Man” (July 3), with Andrew Garfield taking over as Peter Parker in director Marc Webb’s new take on how a mutant spider bite turns a teen into a web-slinging hero.

Christian Bale returns as Batman in “The Dark Knight Rises” (July 20), director Christopher Nolan’s third and final tale of the well to do vigilante with all the cool gadgets. Anne Hathaway joins the cast as Catwoman.

After the late Heath Ledger’s Academy Award-winning performance as the Joker in “The Dark Knight,” Nolan went with a lesser-known villain: This time, it’s Bane (Tom Hardy), known to comic-book fans as the brute who breaks Batman’s back and puts him in a wheelchair.

Julia Roberts is the wicked queen to Lily Collins’ Snow White in “Mirror Mirror” (March 16), with the banished heroine raised by dwarfish rogues and leading a battle against the mean old monarch. “Twilight” star Kristen Stewart is the warrior princess in “Snow White and the Huntsman” (June 1), trained by a hunk (“Thor” star Hemsworth) to wage war against her own wicked queen (Charlize Theron).

A magic beanstalk unleashes an army of super-sized warriors in “Jack the Giant Killer” (June 15), starring Nicholas Hoult, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane and Ewan McGregor.

George Lucas begins his sci-fi saga all over, in 3-D, with “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” (Feb. 10), the first of his six space epics converted to three dimensions.

James Cameron gives the same 3-D treatment to “Titanic” (April 6), whose 3-D version coincides with the 100th anniversary of the luxury liner’s sinking.

Disney follows the success of “The Lion King” in 3-D by adding an extra dimension for reissues of “Beauty and the Beast” (Jan. 13) and the Pixar Animation blockbuster “Finding Nemo” (Sept. 14).

“The Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson returns to J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy realm with “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” (Dec. 14) the first in his two-part prequel chronicling how Bilbo Baggins came to possess that pesky evil ring.

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2” (Nov. 16) picks up where we left off — with Bella (Kristen Stewart) newly changed into a vampire, while her bloodsucking hubby (Robert Pattinson) and his werewolf rival (Taylor Lautner) aim to defend her against a world of evil.

And more...“Dark Shadows” (May 11), with Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter in director Burton’s take on the vampire TV soap opera; “Prometheus” (June 8), Ridley Scott’s return to his “Alien” sci-fi world with a space adventure starring Theron, Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender; “The Woman in Black” (Feb. 3), with “Harry Potter” star Daniel Radcliffe as a grieving lawyer who encounters a vengeful ghost; and “World War Z” (Dec. 21), starring Brad Pitt in the story of a worldwide zombie outbreak.

Will Smith’s Agent J travels back in time to save his partner, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), in “Men in Black 3” (May 25), which reunites both actors with director Barry Sonnenfeld and nicely casts Josh Brolin as the young Agent K.

Other sequels, updates and spinoffs include: “Total Recall” (Aug. 3), with Colin Farrell as a blue-collar guy who learns he might be a deadly super-agent with falsified memories; “The Bourne Legacy” (Aug. 3), with “Avengers” co-star Renner as a new agent caught up in the fallout from the earlier films; and “Taken 2” (Oct. 5), with Neeson going after more bad guys that threaten his family.

Not quite everything in the genre is a sequel or remake. With “Harry Potter” done and “Twilight” nearing its end, a new youthful literary series debuts in “The Hunger Games” (March 23), with Jennifer Lawrence among teens fighting to the death in a televised bloodbath in post-apocalyptic North America.

The knuckleheads are back. Directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly revive Curly (Will Sasso), Larry (Sean Hayes) and Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos) in “The Three Stooges” (April 13).

Other comedy to look out for includes “American Reunion” (April 6), reteaming the “American Pie” gang for a high school reunion; “The Dictator” (May 11), with Sacha Baron Cohen as a Third World tyrant; “This Is 40” (Dec. 21), Judd Apatow’s “Knocked Up” offshoot, with Rudd and Leslie Mann reprising their roles as troubled marrieds, and “Ted” (July 13), “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane’s story of a grown man (Mark Wahlberg) saddled for life with a talking teddy bear.

2012 also offers up serious movies that attack the world of politics, war et al. Executive producer George Lucas’ “Red Tails” (Jan. 20) features Cuba Gooding Jr. and Terrence Howard in the World War II story of black pilots in the Tuskegee Airmen program; “The Great Gatsby” (Dec. 25) stars Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic about 1920s blue-bloods; “Won’t Back Down” (March 30) casts Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal as mothers aiming to salvage their kids’ inner-city school; and Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” (December) has Daniel Day-Lewis as the 16th president.

If it sounds like 2012 is going to be a pretty good year for movies, both on an entertainment front (for fans) and business angle (for studios etc), that's because it is. Enjoy.

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