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Iron Man 3, Man of Steel and two Oklahoma films among 2013′s most anticipated

by Matthew Price Modified: April 22, 2013 at 4:45 pm •  Published: January 18, 2013

There’s a near-dizzying array of comic-book-inspired movies set for a 2013 release.   So this week, I provided my expertise, along with our entertainment crew of Gene Triplett, George Lang and Brandy McDonnell to take a look at some of the year’s most anticipated films.  As noted in this story, from the Friday edition of The Oklahoman, there’s a Sooner slant to this year’s films as well, with two notable movies filmed in the state on the horizon.

- Matt Price

2013 preview

Just imagine, fellow film fans: By the end of this year, not one but two movies filmed in Oklahoma could well be top contenders for Academy Awards and other cinematic prizes.

Just let that knowledge soak into your Sooner State psyche for a second.

After premiering at the Venice and Toronto film festivals, Bartlesville-bred writer/director Terrence Malick’s romantic drama “To the Wonder,” starring Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Javier Bardem and Olga Kurylenko, is opening in theaters in April.

Although no firm date is set, the star-studded adaptation of Tulsa native Tracey Letts’ Pultizer Prize- and Tony-winning “August: Osage County” also is due out in 2013. Produced by George Clooney and Harvey Weinstein, the movie counts Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch among its acclaimed cast.

In addition, Duncan-born director Ron Howard returns with his first film in four years, the fact-based racing drama “Rush” in September; Putnam City North graduate James Marsden appears opposite Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg in the crime drama “2 Guns” in August; and Choctaw native Ryan Merriman co-stars with Harrison Ford and Chadwick Boseman in the Jackie Robinson biopic “42” in April.

Plus, Superman, Iron Man, Thor, Katniss Everdeen, the Wizard of Oz, Bilbo Baggins, John McClane, Ron Burgandy, The Lone Ranger and the crew of the Starship Enterprise all will be back in action on the big screen in 2013:


“Identity Thief”

“Arrested Development” fans can help count down to the May return of the long-dormant cult hit when Jason Bateman stars in this road-trip comedy in which a mild-mannered businessman searches for the person who stole all his personal information. Melissa McCarthy, of “Bridesmaids,” co-stars in this comedy from director Seth Gordon, who previously worked with Bateman on 2011′s “Horrible Bosses.” (Feb. 8)

“A Good Day to Die Hard”

Smirky, wisecracking Bruce Willis is back as smirky, wisecracking New York supercop John McClane in the fifth installment of this action franchise, which takes our baldheaded hero to Russia to help out his wayward son (Jai Courtney), only to discover that sonny is a CIA agent working to stop a nuclear weapons heist, compelling dad to team with him against the bad guys. John Moore (“Behind Enemy Lines”) directs. (Feb. 14)


“Jack the Giant Slayer”

“X-Men” director Bryan Singer’s latest big movie concerns a young farmhand (Nicholas Hoult, “X-Men: First Class”) who accidentally plants an enormous beanstalk that allows beastly giants to wreak havoc. Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci and Bill Nighy will join the fairy-tale fray. (March 1)

“Oz the Great and Powerful”

Since “The Wizard of Oz,” the epochal 1939 classic version of L. Frank Baum’s story, Hollywood has tried several times to recapture that film’s vivid, indelible magic, but most of those projects (Sidney Lumet’s “The Wiz,” Walter Murch’s 1985 cult film “Return to Oz) failed to meet expectations. But director Sam Raimi’s “Oz the Great and Powerful” looks like it could strike closest to the original’s sense of wonder thanks to advanced technology, a similar color palette and performances by James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz. (March 8)


As “30 Rock” draws to a close, Tina Fey’s film career takes center stage with this comedy about a Princeton admissions officer who suspects that an alternative-school applicant is the child she gave up for adoption. “Admission” co-stars Paul Rudd and is directed by Paul Weitz, who includes the excellent “In Good Company” and “About a Boy” in his filmography alongside, um, “Little Fockers” and “Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant.”

“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone”

Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi and Jim Carrey will attempt to conjure comedic gold as magicians competing for supremacy on the Las Vegas Strip. Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin and James Gandolfini will co-star, and 12-year-old Oklahoma City native Mason Cook will play the younger version of Carell’s title character. (March 15)

“Olympus Has Fallen”

Gerard Butler plays an ex-Secret Service agent who is the only hope for salvation in a thriller described as “Die Hard” in the White House, when terrorists take over 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”) directs, while Morgan Freeman, Dylan McDermott, Aaron Eckhart and Ashley Judd co-star. (March 22)

“The Host”

“The Twilight Saga” may have run its course, but writer/director Andrew Niccol (“Gattaca”) is ushering best-selling author Stephenie Meyer’s other otherworldly novel onto the big screen. Starring Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons, Diane Kruger and William Hurt, the sci-fi/romance centers on a parasitic extra-terrestrial “Soul” that is injected into one of Earth’s last remaining alien-free humans, Melanie Stryder (Ronan). Instead of following her species’ mission of taking over Earth, the alien bonds with her host and sets out to help other free humans. (March 29)

“The Place Beyond the Pines”

A motorcycle stunt rider turned bank robber (Ryan Gosling) and an ambitious police officer (Bradley Cooper) anxious to climb the ranks of a corrupt police department clash in a drama that unfolds over 15 years, leaving their respective sons (Dane DeHaan, Emory Cohen) to deal with the consequences of their shared legacy. Derek Cianfrance (“Blue Valentine”) directs and cowrites. (March 29)

“G.I. Joe: Retaliation”

Jon M. Chu (“Step Up 2”) directs this sequel to 2009′s “G.I. Joe.” A holdover originally set for 2012 release, the follow-up boasts additional star power in the form of Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis. Chu told Slashfilm that he grew up playing with G.I. Joes and hopes fans of the toy/comic book/animated show will give the second film a shot. Channing Tatum returns as Duke, and Ray Park is back as the silent ninja Snake Eyes. (March 29)


“To the Wonder”

Filmed in and around Bartlesville, Pawhuska and Tulsa — and Mont Saint-Michel, Manche, France — by reclusive and enigmatic film director Terence Malick (“Days of Heaven,” “The Tree of Life”) in the summer of 2010, this potential awards-grabber stars Olga Kurylenko as Marina and Ben Affleck as Neil, a couple who meet in France and move to Oklahoma to start a life together, but find complications when Marina meets a priest (Javier Bardem) who is struggling with his vocation, while Neil renews a relationship with childhood sweetheart Jane (Rachel McAdams). (April 12)


Writer-director Brian Helgeland’s (“A Knight’s Tale”) baseball drama chronicles Jackie Robinson’s (Chadwick Boseman) historic breaking of the sport’s color line. Harrison Ford plays legendary Brooklyn Dodgers President and General Manager Branch Rickey, who signed Robinson; Christopher Meloni portrays outspoken team manager Leo Durocher, who makes a stand on behalf of the pioneering athlete; and Oklahoma native Ryan Merriman plays right fielder Dixie Walker, who opposes Robinson joining the squad. (April 12)


Tom Cruise stars as a drone repairman on a post-apocalyptic, war-torn earth. When he rescues a beautiful stranger from a spacecraft, his world is thrown into chaos. The film is directed by Joseph Kosinski (“TRON: Legacy”), who created the story as well. (April 19)


“Iron Man 3”

Robert Downey Jr. slips back into the heavy metal suit of Iron Man to play billionaire playboy Tony Stark for the fourth time (or fifth, counting an “Incredible Hulk” cameo). This time, Shane Black takes the director’s seat to helm the superhero’s battle against Marvel Comics baddie the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts and Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/War Machine also return. Jon Favreau, who directed the series’ first two installments, will appear as Stark’s driver, Happy Hogan. (May 3)

“The Great Gatsby”

The fifth attempt to adapt F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most celebrated novel to film stars Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role of the enigmatic, nouveau riche playboy; Tobey Maguire as the Long Island neighbor, Nick Carraway, who is drawn into Gatsby’s dangerously decadent world; and Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, Carraway’s cousin and Gatsby’s old flame. The 1920s-period drama is directed and cowritten for the screen by “Moulin Rouge!” helmer Baz Luhrmann. (May 10)

“Star Trek into Darkness”

J.J. Abrams (“Lost”) returns to direct the second post-reboot “Trek” film, featuring Chris Pine as Captain James T. Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock. Benedict Cumberbatch (“Sherlock”) is on board as a mysterious villain. In the film, the Enterprise is called back to Earth after a terrorist act, but Kirk strikes out on his own on a manhunt to capture a destructive force. (May 17)

“The Hangover Part III”

The “Wolf Pack” reunites to console Alan (Zach Galifianakis) over a death in the family, and the party reignites in Las Vegas and accelerates in Tijuana. Todd Phillips directs and cowrites again, and Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Justin Bartha are back in their cups, as well. (May 24)


“Now You See Me”

A group of renegade magicians (played by Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher and Morgan Freeman, among others) are tracked by the FBI after they stage a series of bank heists and reward their audiences with the spoils. “Now You See Me” also stars Woody Harrelson, Melanie Laurent (“Inglourious Basterds”) and Dave Franco, and is directed by Louis Leterrier (“Clash of the Titans”). (June 7)

“Man of Steel”

Zack Snyder (“Watchmen”) gets his chance to define Superman for a new generation. Henry Cavill (“The Tudors”) replaces Brandon Routh in the blue tights as the hero from Krypton who can leap tall buildings and bend steel, as well as his alter ego Clark Kent. Amy Adams is scheduled for Lois Lane; Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner play Superman’s Kryptonian and Earthling fathers, respectively. The film was written by David Goyer (“Batman Begins”) and is produced by Christopher Nolan, whose success on the “Batman” franchise Warner Bros. would no doubt like to replicate. (June 14)

“This Is the End”

“Superbad” writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg directed a huge cast of friends and colleagues — all playing slightly exaggerated versions of themselves — in this comedy about celebrities attending a party at James Franco’s house on the night of a global apocalypse. “This is the End” features Rogen, Goldberg and Franco with Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Jay Baruchel, Rihanna, Emma Watson, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Michael Cera and almost everyone else. (June 14)

“World War Z”

Brad Pitt jumps on the overloaded zombie bandwagon as a United Nations employee struggling to stem the outbreak of a worldwide plague of undead nasties in this horror epic directed by Marc Forster (“Quantum of Solace,” “Finding Neverland”), based on Max Brooks’ best-selling novel. (June 21)

“Monsters University”

Pixar’s first prequel traces how future champion scarer James P. “Sulley” Sullivan (voice of John Goodman) and his wisecracking pal Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) became best friends back in college, years before the events of 2001′s “Monsters, Inc.” (June 21)

“White House Down”

Channing Tatum plays a Secret Service agent who must save the president (Jamie Foxx) after a paramilitary group overruns 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Richard Jenkins and Jason Clarke co-star in the latest action vehicle from director Roland Emmerich (“Independence Day,” “2012”). (June 28)

“Kick-Ass 2”

New heroes are inspired by the example of Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), which leads to a parade of self-made superheroes, led by Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey). The Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), now renamed something unprintable, decides to hunt these heroes down, leaving Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) as the heroes’ best chance for survival. (June 28)


“The Lone Ranger”

Clayton Moore will always be the “Masked Man” everyone remembers, and Klinton Spilsbury (of the misbegotten 1981 version) will always be the one everyone forgets, but with Gore Verbinski’s radically reimagined version of “The Lone Ranger,” Armie Hammer gets his chance to be legendary in the saddle as trigger-happy lawman John Reid. Oklahoma City’s Mason Cook appears as Will, and Johnny Depp co-stars as Tonto, who has a bird on his head. (July 3)

“Pacific Rim”

In the five years since “Hellboy: The Golden Army,” Guillermo Del Toro came close to directing the “Hobbit” films but instead opted for global catastrophe, alien invasion-style. In “Pacific Rim” a destructive intergalactic force is fought off by colossal robots piloted by humans. The humans include Ron Perlman and Charlie Hunnam, of “Sons of Anarchy,” Idris Elba, of “The Wire,” and Charlie Day, of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” which is like putting all forces of cable cult hits against the ugly interplanetary horde. (July 12)

“The Wolverine”

Based on the classic Chris Claremont-Frank Miller comic book miniseries, “The Wolverine” finds Logan (Hugh Jackman) in Japan training to be a samurai warrior. James Mangold (“Walk the Line”) directs after a tortured preproduction that was scuttled first by the 2011 earthquake in Japan, then by the departure of director Darren Aronofsky. (July 26)



With his first feature film, “District 9,” Neill Blomkamp used science fiction to create a moving allegory about South African apartheid, and with “Elysium,” he takes on economic class distinctions. In 2159, the “haves” live in off-world colonies while the “have-nots” deal with overcrowded, ravaged Earth, and Max (Matt Damon) takes a renegade approach to bringing equality to the disparate worlds. The film co-stars Jodie Foster, Alice Braga and Sharlto Copley. (Aug. 9)

“2 Guns”

Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg star as competing federal agents who have to go on the run together when their joint undercover operation goes awry. Bill Paxton, Paula Patton and Oklahoma native James Marsden co-star in the action-packed crime drama. (Aug. 16)



Set in the 1970s — the glamorous golden age of Formula 1 racing — two-time Oscar winner Ron Howard’s first movie since 2009′s “Angels and Demons” chronicles the real-life rivalry between charismatic Englishman James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth, “The Avengers”) and methodical Austrian driver Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl, “Inglourious Basterds”). (Sept. 20)

“Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2”

In the animated sequel, inventor Flint Lockwood (Tulsa native Bill Hader) discovers his infamous machine that makes food out of water is still operational and creating culinary beasts like tacodiles, shrimpanzees and apple pie-thons. (Sept. 27)



An advertising executive (Josh Brolin), inexplicably kidnapped and held prisoner for years without any indication of his captor’s motives, is suddenly released, triggering his quest to discover who orchestrated his bizarre punishment and the reasons behind it. Spike Lee directs, while Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley and Samuel L. Jackson co-star. (Oct. 11)


Oscar winners Sandra Bullock and George Clooney play astronauts struggling to get back to Earth after an accident sets them adrift in space in the latest movie from writer-director Alfonso Cuaron (“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” “Children of Men”). (Oct. 18)


“Ender’s Game”

Novelist Orson Scott Card has been protective about his 1985 novel since its publication, turning down several opportunities to adapt the story about a gifted young soldier preparing for the latest in a series of battles against invading aliens. The story finally comes to the screen with Asa Butterfield (“Hugo”) as Ender, Abigail Breslin as Valentine and Harrison Ford as Col. Hyrum Graff. Gavin Hood (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) directs. (Nov. 1)

“Thor: The Dark World”

Chris Hemsworth returns as the Norse god of thunder in the sequel to 2011′s “Thor.” Thor faces a race of dark elves in this second outing, which returns Natalie Portman, Kat Dennings and Anthony Hopkins from the first film, along with Tom Hiddleston, who menaced Thor and friends in Marvel’s “The Avengers.” (Nov. 8)

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”

In the sequel to last year’s blockbuster, District 12 heroes Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark (Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson) have survived the 74th Annual Hunger Games, but during their victory tour of Panem (post-apocalyptic North America), it is clear that rebellion is brewing. So, ruthless President Snow (Donald Sutherland) plans a special version of the government-mandated teenage death-match for the 75th Hunger Games, or Quarter Quell. “Hunger Games” stars Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz are returning for “Catching Fire,” which will be directed by Francis Lawrence (“I Am Legend”) and co-star franchise newcomers Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jena Malone and Sam Claflin. (Nov. 22)


“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”

Peter Jackson’s version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s first Middle Earth novel goes ever, ever on with the second installment in which Bilbo (Martin Freeman) finally arrives at the Lonely Mountain and must square off with the dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch of “Sherlock”). Ian McKellen and Hugo Weaving return as Gandalf and Elrond, respectively. (Dec. 13)

“Anchorman: The Legend Continues”

Fans of 2004′s “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” have had the smell of desire for a sequel for years, and so director Adam McKay has reteamed with Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell and David Koechner for an update of the San Diego news team, who will no doubt take viewers to Pleasure Town. It will all go down like scotchy, scotchy scotch. (Dec. 20)

“Last Vegas”

In what looks like “The Hangover, Part 10,” a group of friends in their late 60s (Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline) throw a bachelor party for the last marriage holdout of their group. Director Jon Turteltaub (“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”) directs from a script by Dan Fogelman (“The Guilt Trip”) (Dec. 20)

“Jack Ryan”

Tom Clancy’s all-purpose international hero of the title is portrayed by Chris Pine as a young CIA analyst who uncovers a Russian plot to sabotage the U.S. economy by terrorist attack. Keira Knightley co-stars as Cathy Ryan, and Kenneth Branagh directs and co-stars as evil Viktor Cherevin. Kevin Costner plays William Harper. (Dec. 25)

To be determined

“August: Osage County”

John Wells’ film adaptation of Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play about the dysfunctional Weston family was filmed around Bartlesville in late 2012, which means that heavy hitters such as Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper and Benedict Cumberbatch were all stomping around Sooner soil. The cast also includes Ewan McGregor, Dermot Mulroney, Margo Martindale and Abigail Breslin.

“Out of the Furnace”

The thriller stars Christian Bale and Casey Affleck as brothers whose hopes of escaping the economically stagnant Rust Belt are decimated when one lands in prison and the other gets entangled in a violent crime ring. The latest film from “Crazy Heart” writer-director Scott Cooper also stars Woody Harrelson, Forest Whitaker and Zoe Saldana.

Entertainment Writers
From Friday’s The Oklahoman

by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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