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Super summer movie preview

Adventure leads the pack as season of superheroes bursts onto the big screen

Posted: June 1, 2012 6:00 a.m.
Updated: June 1, 2012 6:00 a.m.
Big summer movies Big summer movies
Big summer movies

Amid one of the most-promising box-office seasons Hollywood has ever served up, three movies stand above the rest. The first weekend in May brought out "The Avengers," the ensemble adventure teaming Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man with such fellow Marvel Comics heroes as Thor, Captain America and the Incredible Hulk. "The Avengers" captured the all-time box office crown for an opening weekend pulling in more than $200 million.

"The Amazing Spider-Man" will follow over the Fourth of July as Marvel's web-slinger gets a fresh origin story, with Andrew Garfield taking over as teen-turned-superhero Peter Parker.

Finally, in late July, there's "The Dark Knight Rises" with Christian Bale returning as DC Comics' masked vigilante in the finale of director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy.

Of course, there's plenty to fill in the gaps between superhero sagas.

Other action tales include "Men in Black 3," with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, which opened last week; Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron's fairy-tale makeover "Snow White and the Huntsman"; Ridley Scott's return to sci-fi with "Prometheus"; "Avengers" co-star Jeremy Renner's "The Bourne Legacy" and Colin Farrell's remake "Total Recall."

Cartoon makers offer up the Scottish adventure "Brave," the latest from the animation virtuosos at Pixar, while talking-animal franchises return with "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" and "Ice Age: Continental Drift."

The comedy and music front brings Adam Sandler's fatherhood story "That's My Boy"; the all-star song fest "Rock of Ages"; Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill's suburban romp "Neighborhood Watch"; Sacha Baron Cohen's tyrant tale "The Dictator"; and Whitney Houston's final film, "Sparkle."

And what would summer be without vampires? In addition to "Dark Shadows," "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" has the great emancipator taking down the undead.

Here's a look at other summer highlights:

"Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter"
Can't wait for Steven Spielberg's upcoming biopic "Lincoln"? Then catch the 16th president (Benjamin Walker) as he emancipates the land from blood-suckers.
A Scottish lass (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) must undo the chaos her defiance has unleashed on her kingdom in the latest from the animation maestros at Pixar.
"G.I. Joe: Retaliation"
The toy soldiers inspire another live-action firefight featuring Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson.
"Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted"
The zoo animals are still on tour as voice stars Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett Smith return.
"Magic Mike"
Channing Tatum takes it off again in a story inspired by his early work as a male stripper. Steven Soderbergh directs.
"People Like Us"
"Star Trek's" Chris Pine comes down to Earth as a salesman tidying up his late father's estate in a comic drama co-starring Elizabeth Banks and Michelle Pfeiffer.
"Piranha 3DD"
It's another Friday night fish fry in reverse as prehistoric piranha chow down on tourists at a water park.

Ridley Scott. Science fiction. Any questions? The "Alien" creator returns to the genre with a cousin to his space horror tale starring Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender.
"Rock of Ages"
Journey and REO Speedwagon ride again in a musical romance featuring old rock tunes and a cast that includes Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Mary J. Blige, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Julianne Hough.
"Snow White and the Huntsman"
Kristen Stewart's the fiercest in the land as she teams with a tough guy (Chris Hemsworth) to battle an evil queen (Charlize Theron).
"That's My Boy"
Adam Sandler tries to grow up as a bad dad hoping to make things right with his estranged grown son (Andy Samberg).
"To Rome with Love"
Woody Allen woos Italy and appears on-screen for the first time in years with an ensemble romance co-starring Penelope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni and Ellen Page.
"Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection"
Filmmaker Perry reprises his role as saucy grandma Madea, who takes in the family of a CFO (Eugene Levy) in witness protection.

"Ice Age: Continental Drift"
For extinct species, these cartoon critters sure are survivors. Ray Romano and his voice co-stars are back with another prehistoric comedy.
"Katy Perry: Part of Me"
The pop superstar gets the 3-D treatment in a music documentary featuring performances and behind-the-scenes access.
"Neighborhood Watch"
Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill learn their town is teaming with space invaders disguised as average suburban dwellers.
"Ruby Sparks"
A character created by a novelist (Paul Dano) comes to life as a real woman (Zoe Kazan) in the latest from the directors of "Little Miss Sunshine."
California pot growers fight a Mexican drug ring in Oliver Stone's thriller featuring Salma Hayek, John Travolta, Taylor Kitsch and Uma Thurman.
"Step Up: Revolution"
The next round in the dance franchise has a crew of Miami hoofers fighting a neighborhood developer.
A teddy bear come to life is every boy's dream -- until the thing sticks around into the kid's adult years. Mark Wahlberg stars in the comedy.

"The Apparition"
Ashley Greene stars in a spooky tale of a couple haunted by a presence conjured up in a college experiment.
"The Bourne Legacy"
The spirit of lethal operative Jason Bourne lives on, minus Matt Damon, with Jeremy Renner at the center of fallout from the first three action hits.
"The Campaign"
Dirty politics in this age of bipartisanship? Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis sling mud as congressional opponents in Jay Roach's comedy.
"Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days"
The hapless hero (Zachary Gordon) of the best-selling books stumbles through trouble over summer vacation.

 "The Expendables 2"
Action heroes crowd the screen again as Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li and friends seek vengeance after a mission goes wrong.
"Hope Springs"
Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones are a long-married couple trying to renew the spark with a counselor (Steve Carell) at a marital retreat.
"The Odd Life of Timothy Green"
A couple (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton) eager to start a family gets a dose of the unexpected when a mysterious boy turns up at their door.
The animated comedy centers on a boy who can speak with the dead and becomes the last hope of his hometown after it's overrun by zombies.
"Premium Rush"
A Manhattan bike messenger (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is steered into a deadly chase when bad guys come looking for the delivery he's carrying.
Whitney Houston's final movie role features the late singer as mom to a girl group (including "American Idol" winner Jordin Sparks) struggling with the pressures of fame.
"Total Recall"
Colin Farrell steps into Arnold Schwarzenegger's sci-fi role as an average guy on the run who uncovers a secret identity even he didn't know about.




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