Not gonna lie. If you’re a fan of original scripts, complex characters and thought-provoking conflicts, it’s going to be a long summer at the cineplex.
But, if you thrill to a big-screen car chase, comic-book heroes, special effects or sequels, 2013 is your lucky number. (And this summer, movies are a numbers game, from “Despicable Me 2” to “The Hangover Part III” to “Fast & Furious 6.”)
The sixth reiteration of “The Great Gatsby” finally arrives, as do the latest versions of “Much Ado About Nothing,” “The Lone Ranger” and “Man of Steel.”
Here, faster than a speeding bullet, the highlights (or lowlights, depending on your perspective) of the upcoming season of American cinema (keep in mind, release dates are always subject to change):
IRON MAN 3: Billionaire playboy Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is back, and terrorist mastermind Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) thinks he’s got his number. Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle are along for the CGI ride. (See review in TGIF.)
THE GREAT GATSBY: Baz Luhrmann’s highly anticipated, big-budget, 3-D re-envisioning of the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire. Get ready for over-the-top, lush party scenes, and Jazz Age attired by the same costume director who collaborated with Luhrmann on “Romeo + Juliet” and “Moulin Rouge!” Oh, Jay Z provides the score.
STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS: J.J. Abrams and crew board the Enterprise again. But when the ship is called back home, the crew finds that someone from within the organization has destroyed the fleet. Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one-man weapon of mass destruction.
BEFORE MIDNIGHT: Ah, something for adults. In Richard Linklater’s follow-up to “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset,” Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are now married with kids, and on vacation in Greece. Hawke has said of the trilogy, “They’re all chapters of the same novel.”
EPIC: Colin Farrell, Amanda Seyfried and Christoph Waltz – and Beyonce, Pitbull and Steven Tyler — voice this animated comedy from the creators of “Ice Age” and “Rio,” in which a teenage girl finds herself transported to a secret universe where she must team up with an elite band of warriors.
FAST & FURIOUS 6: Buckle up for vehicular violence in this latest installment of the Vin Diesel/Paul Walker/Dwayne Johnson franchise.
THE HANGOVER PART III: Melissa McCarthy and John Goodman join Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis as the “Wolfpack” returns to Las Vegas for another round of outrageous situations.
AFTER EARTH: M. Night Shyamalan directs Will and Jaden Smith in this sci-fi epic about a father-and-son team of interplanetary rangers whose ship crashes on a savage planet, overrun with terrifying animals, called Earth.
THE INTERNSHIP: “Wedding Crashers” co-stars Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson reunite as fortysomething salesmen who talk their way into cutthroat internships at Google, where they must compete against tech-savvy college students.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING: Joss Whedon follows up “The Avengers” with a black-and-white, modern-day adaptation of the Shakespeare comedy, which the director shot in his own home.
MAN OF STEEL: Director Zack Snyder and star Henry Cavill deliver a Superman who’s remarkably ill at ease with his superpowers. Amy Adams is Lois Lane, and Kevin Costner and Diane Lane are Pa and Ma Kent.
BLING RING: Sofia Coppola directs this film, based on a true story and starring “Harry Potter“‘s Emma Watson, about a gang of image-conscious, L.A. teenagers who stole $3 million worth of goods from Lindsay Lohan and Rachel Bilson.
WORLD WAR Z: Z is for zombies. Starring Brad Pitt, this $170 million film has been described as Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” meets Danny Boyle’s “28 Days Later.” If that helps.
THE HEAT: A female buddy movie about an FBI special agent (Sandra Bullock) and a Boston cop (Melissa McCarthy), directed by Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”).
MONSTERS UNIVERSITY: A Pixar prequel, starring the voices of John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi and Helen Mirren, about Sulley and Mike’s college years.
I’M SO EXCITED: Pedro Almodovar directs Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz in this comedy about airplane passengers stuck in a seemingly endless holding pattern.
WHITE HOUSE DOWN: Channing Tatum plays an aspiring Secret Service agent who finds himself guarding President Jamie Foxx when 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is attacked.
DESPICABLE ME 2: Supervillian Gru tries to settle down and raise three adopted daughters, but then the Anti-Villain League comes calling.
LONE RANGER: Johnny Depp plays Tonto, and Armie Hammer plays the masked man in this retelling from producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski, the team behind the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films.
GROWN UPS 2: Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James and David Spade find themselves involved in adolescent escapades.
LOVELACE: Amanda Seyfried plays “Deep Throat“‘s Linda Lovelace in this biopic co-starring Peter Sarsgaard, with cameos by Sharon Stone, Chris Noth and James Franco (appearing as Hugh Hefner).
PACIFIC RIM: Humankind makes a desperate last stand against robots and monsters. Guillermo del Toro (“Hellboy,” “Pan’s Labyrinth”) directs.
RED 2: Bruce Willis and his merry band of gun-toting retirees are at it again, and who do they encounter this time but Anthony Hopkins as a physicist imprisoned in an asylum.
TURBO: A 3D comedy, from the makers of “Madagascar” and “Kung Fu Panda,” about a snail who dreams of winning the Indy 500.
THE CONJURING: Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga play real-life supernatural investigators who set out to help a family in 1970s Rhode Island.
THE WOLVERINE: Hugh Jackman, modern-day Japan, battles fought tooth and claw.
BLUE JASMINE: Woody Allen’s 2013 offering stars Cate Blanchett as a New York housewife undergoing a personal crisis. Alec Baldwin plays the husband who trades her in for a younger woman. Sound familiar?
300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE: A sequel to 2007’s original, sort of — since most of “300’s” characters perished, “Rise of an Empire” explores naval battles between the Persians and Athenians.
ELYSIUM: The year is 2159, and the dire situation is this: the elite class survives aboard a space station, and everyone else fights to survive on Earth. Starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster.
ONLY GOD FORGIVES: Ryan Gosling and “Drive” director Nicolas Winding Refn are reunited for this thriller about a Bangkok drug smuggler whose mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) compels him to hunt down the man responsible for his brother’s death.
WE’RE THE MILLERS: Jennifer Aniston plays a stripper hired by dope dealer Jason Sudeikis to pose as his wife, as they attempt to drive 1,500 kilos of marijuana into Mexico. Emma Roberts plays a homeless young woman who pretends to be his daughter.
2 GUNS: Mark Wahlberg is a Naval Intelligence officer to Denzel Washington’s DEA agent. The unlikely duo attempts to rob a bank where a drug cartel has stashed its millions.
AUSTENLAND: Keri Russell and Jennifer Coolidge star in this rom-com about women looking for love at a Jane Austen reenactment.
THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: Cassandra Clare’s best-selling young-adult fantasy series about a New York City teenager whose mother is abducted by a demon, comes to life.