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The 30 Movies You Need to Know About This Summer

Iron Man 3 Marvel Films

It's summer, summer, summertime, time to sit back and unwind, as The Fresh Prince once rhymed. Iron Man, Wolverine, Superman and Hit-Girl are suiting up and the AC is pumping as studios trot out their big guns, eager to put butts in the seats with big stars, bigger explosions and lots of numbers after titles.

That's right, nearly a third of our list is sequels, there's even more that didn't make it, and that doesn't even count the reboots and potential franchise-starters in store as we dive headfirst into our glistening pool of summer movie bliss.

30. 'The Internship'

Release Date: June 7
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson
The Scoop: Since 2005 we've been champing at the bit for "Wedding Crashers" duo Vaughn and Wilson to re-team, and now nearly a decade later they're back in … a 90-minute ad for Google? Well, the premise has them pegged as two older salesmen trying to prove their relevance in the digital age by BS-ing their way into a competitive internship at the web browser, where the Gen-Xers butt heads with Gen-Y.

 

29. 'The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones'

Release Date: Aug. 23
Starring: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower
The Scoop: Everyone's looking for next "Twilight," and this right here could be it. Collins stars as Clary Fray, an innocent young girl who gets swept up in a whole new world of magic and mysticism. Clary learns she is a half-human/half-angel hybrid known as a Shadowhunter and must do battle with all sorts of baddies, including Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the evil Valentine, who holds a major key to her past.

 

28. 'White House Down'

Release Date: June 28
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal
The Scoop: Now that "Olympus Has Fallen" has fallen, it paves the way for director Roland Emmerich ("Independence Day") to do what he does best; namely, destroying the White House. This time around, instead of doing it with one shot of a laser beam, he's taking it apart brick by brick as terrorists invade 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and Tatum's Capitol security guy is the only one who can get President Sawyer (Foxx) out of deep s**t.

 

27. 'Fast & Furious 6'

Release Date: May 24
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson
The Scoop: They're back in the cars. This time it's personal? You bet. Dom (Diesel) learns that his perished lady love Letty (Rodriguez) is back from the dead (not in a zombie way) and working with a ruthless gang leader played by Luke Evans. Thusly, The Rock recruits the crew to take the bad guy down with the carrot of a full-pardon dangled as incentive.

 

26. 'Epic'

Release Date: May 24
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Beyoncé Knowles, Josh Hutcherson, Colin Farrell
The Scoop: This is large-scale animated adventure from the creators of "Ice Age" offers a massive look at a micro world, where a young teen girl named Mary (Seyfried) gets downsized "Honey I Shrunk the Kids"-style and corralled into a huge battle between the good Leaf Men and evil Boggans. The film nearly jumped ship to Pixar before Fox changed their mind and decided to make it after all, so if this doesn't live up to its name there's gonna be a lot of explaining to do.

 

25. 'The Bling Ring'

Release Date: June 14
Starring: Emma Watson
The Scoop: Mischief managed indeed. "Harry Potter" star Watson is a girl gone wild as she and a gaggle of loosey-goosey teens decide to form a gang and rob their favorite celebrities, including Paris Hilton, who plays herself. Based on real girls who really robbed Hilton and other really shallow peeps, this will undoubtedly be another snapshot of wealthy excess from "Lost in Translation" Academy Award-winner Sofia Coppola.

 

24. '2 Guns'

Release Date: Aug. 2
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Denzel Washington, Paula Patton
The Scoop: Wahlberg. Washington. Where do we sign up? The testosterone-infused pair play a couple undercovers unwittingly investigating each other, who discover they're actually being framed by the CIA in some elaborate scam. If we know our action movies, it's gonna take several wild shootouts and maybe a car chase or two to set things right.

 

23. 'We're the Millers'

Release Date: Aug. 9
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts, Ed Helms
The Scoop: Sudeiekis and Aniston try to recapture some of that "Horrible Bosses" energy with this madcap comedy about a pot dealer who fabricates a family made up of a stripper, a homeless teen and a geeky British kid in order to bring a ton (actually two tons) of weed over the border. This is director Rawson Marshall Thurber's first comedy since 2004's hilarious "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story," and might we say it's about high time he did another one.

We're the Millers

22. 'Before Midnight'

Release Date: May 24
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
The Scoop: Richard Linklater's other two "Before" movies chronicled cute couple Jesse and Celine as they met cute in Vienna and continued to talk cute nine years later. After another nine-year increment, they're still together and, yes, still cute. Now they have twin girls of their own, with Jesse still experiencing success as a writer while Celine contemplates a change. If early word is any indication, expect another unanimously-praised gab fest from modern masters of the art form.

 

21. 'After Earth'

Release Date: May 31
Starring: Will Smith, Jaden Smith
The Scoop: Okay, so the last time M. Night Shyamalan delved into fantasy territory we got "The Last Crapbender," but "After Earth" has one key element that enterprise didn't have: Will Smith. The Fresh Prince (when can we start calling him The Fresh King?) is the real mastermind behind this sci-fi adventure, co-writing and producing it and starring alongside real-life progeny Jaden as a father-son team who get stranded on a post-apocalyptic Earth covered head-to-toe with monsters.

 

20. 'Despicable Me 2'

Release Date: July 3
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Al Pacino
The Scoop: You wanted more adorable yellow Minions. You got 'em. It's Carell vs. Pacino as the former supervillain takes on a new nemesis in the form of Eduardo so he can say good night to the bad guy. The first "Despicable Me" was a delightful surprise, so let's hope they can deliver another one now that there are actual expectations ... not to mention lots of other animated competition.

 

19. 'R.I.P.D.'

Release Date: July 19
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Mary-Louise Parker, Kevin Bacon
The Scoop: Let the "Men in Black" comparisons begin! The trailer essentially plays out like "MiB" with ghosts, but Jeff Bridges' rootin' tootin' sheriff of the hereafter, Roy Pulsipher, is breakin' in his new partner Nick (Ryan Reynolds) in a most unexpected way: inhabiting the bodies of a hot chick and an old Chinese guy, respectively. Nice touch, boys.

 

18. 'The Hangover Part III'

Release Date: May 24
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Melissa McCarthy
The Scoop: The wolf pack is back again, and if you thought "Part II" was a carbon copy of the first one then let it be known that in "Part III" things are coming full circle. Yes, the gang is back in Vegas for a plot that involves a hunt for Ken Jeong's Leslie Chow in exchange for Justin Bartha's Doug, who's being held hostage this time around.

 

17. 'The Way, Way Back'

Release Date: July 5
Starring: AnnaSophia Robb, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Sam Rockwell
The Scoop: Nat Faxon and Jim Rash deservedly earned an Oscar (and made fun of Angelina Jolie's dress) for "The Descendents," thus earning their right to make a movie of their own. First love is just one of the items on the menu as 14-year-old Duncan (Liam James) spends summer vacation with his mom and winds up being mentored by a wacky water park manager played by Rockwell.

 

16. 'Elysium'

Release Date: Aug. 9
Starring: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga
The Scoop: Neill Blomkamp made his mark with the visionary sci-fi Apartheid parable "District 9" and looks to be making another statement about extreme social stratification with his sophomore effort. Damon plays a soldier who uses a special weaponized suit to attempt access to the title space station where the wealthy receive medical attention and luxury. Sounds like an exclusive spa worth fighting for.

 

15. 'The Lone Ranger'

Release Date: July 3
Starring: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer
The Scoop: Whoa, kemosabe, this crazy-ass-looking western could either be fun on the bun … or "Wild Wild West Redux." Even though it's called "The Lone Ranger," this is most definitely Tonto's movie, with Johnny Depp trying to capture some of that Captain Jack lightning in a bottle again with help from original "Pirates" director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. They ride for justice ... and a bigger payday for the sequel.

 

14. 'The Spectacular Now'

Release Date: Aug. 2
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Miles Teller, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kyle Chandler
The Scoop: The always-charming Teller ("Project X") plays a high school senior who lives for the moment, but after the budding alcoholic gets dumped by his girlfriend he meets Aimee (Woodley), a nerdy nice girl who dreams about the future. Word out of Sundance has this pegged as a charming, John Hughes-esque tale of teen angst that could very well become the sleeper hit of the summer.

The Spectacular Now

13. 'Now You See Me'

Release Date: May 31
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine
The Scoop: "The Prestige" couldn't do it, "The Illusionist" didn't cut it, and Penn & Teller definitely don't got it, so is this going to be the first movie to make magic actually seem cool and sexy? Eisenberg uses his brainy powers to magically steal money and give it out to his audience, unless Ruffalo can stop him (without Hulking out).

 

12. 'The Purge'

Release Date: May 31
Starring: Lena Headey, Ethan Hawke
The Scoop: After the stunning success of "Sinister," Hawke is on a horror jag, this time pairing with "Game of Thrones" beauty Headey as heads of a family that must protect themselves during a night when anyone can commit a crime consequence-free. That's a scary-ass premise, especially when dudes in creepy masks start banging down your door.

 

11. 'The World's End'

Release Date: Aug. 23
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Rosamund Pike, Martin Freeman
The Scoop: Edgar Wright concludes his loose "Blood and Ice Cream" trilogy that began with "Shaun of the Dead" and continued with "Hot Fuzz." Pegg and Frost are childhood friends who reunite with a few other lads to recreate an epic pub crawl but get caught up in that whole apocalypse deal. Actually, we're not sure if that apocalypse is natural, biblical, robotic or alien as extreme secrecy shrouds the project, but considering this team has never let us down we don't know why they'd start now.

The World's End

10. 'World War Z'

Release Date: June 21
Starring: Brad Pitt
The Scoop: It's the first epic zombie movie, and we do mean EPIC. You could have made twenty low-budget zombie movies for what this one cost, but for that price tag you get a shaggy-haired Brad Pitt as a UN guy globetrotting to find a cure for the zombie hordes that are toppling whole societies as they form into massive swarms we call "zombie globs." Gross. Based on the popular novel by Max Brooks, who's Mel's son ... but don't expect the zombies to suddenly burst into "Springtime For Hitler."

 

9. 'The Wolverine'

Release Date: July 26
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen, Will Yun Lee
The Scoop: After several false starts, including original director Darren Aronofsky dropping out, this stand-alone adventure finds Jackman's Logan arriving in Japan where an old friend offers to give him the gift of mortality. That's just in time for him to take on the entire Yakuza in a battle over the love of Mariko (Tao Okamoto), where he just may find his mutant healing powers handy. This adaptation of the classic Chris Claremont/Frank Miller story from the '80s has the distinct advantage of not possibly being any worse than the last Wolverine outing.

 

8. 'Kick-Ass 2'

Release Date: Aug. 16
Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Jim Carrey, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
The Scoop: The first "Kick-Ass" gave new meaning to the term "child endangerment," as every bad guy in that movie got endangered by Moretz's pint-sized assassin Hit-Girl. Now she and Dave (Taylor-Johnson) will join forces with underground crimefighters led by reformed mobster Colonel Stars and Stripes (Carrey) to battle an army of supervillains led by McLovin himself.

 

7. 'The Great Gatsby'

Release Date: May 10
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Tobey Maguire
The Scoop: F. Scott Fitzgerald's time-honored literary masterpiece gets an MTV-friendly makeover as "Moulin Rouge!" helmer Baz Luhrmann goes hog-wild with his usual lavish sets and anachronistic soundtrack, courtesy of Jay-Z. This jazz age chronicle of new money clashing with old in the roaring '20s has DiCaprio's Gatsby trying to reignite the love he and Daisy Buchanan (Mulligan) once had, with a little help from Maguire's Nick Carraway.

 

6. 'Monsters University'

Release Date: June 21
Starring: John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Helen Mirren, Steve Buscemi
The Scoop: Pixar has made more than their fair share of sequels, with "Finding Dory" on the way, but this represents their first attempt at a prequel. This is perhaps Goodman and Crystal's only chance to play younger, thinner versions of themselves as Sulley and Mike embark on an intense curriculum as they frat, prank and scare their way through college. Big kegger at Monster House!

 

5. 'This Is the End'

Release Date: June 12
Starring: James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson
The Scoop: It's the Apatow gang's "Avengers"-style team-up movie, as Franco, Rogen, et al. play themselves trapped in a Hollywood mansion as the Biblical apocalypse ravages the world. They're forced to fight over the last Milky Way bar, drink their own urine and survive some serious calamities, including having their supplies stolen by Emma Watson.

 

4. 'Star Trek Into Darkness'

Release Date: May 17
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch
The Scoop: Captain's Log, Stardate AWESOME. Kirk, Spock, McCoy and all the rest are back for another go-round in the lens flare-riddled universe of J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek." Unlike most previous "Trek"s, this one seems to emphasize Earth-bound action as John Harrison (Cumberbatch) enacts a catastrophic revenge scheme on the federation. Abrams swears up-and-down Harrison isn't Kahn, but do you honestly trust this guy? | Watch the trailer

 

3. 'Man of Steel'

Release Date: June 14
Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe
The Scoop: Ever since Richard Donner's 1978 take on the Last Son of Krypton we've been consistently let down by Superman on the big screen, but director Zack Snyder and producer Christopher Nolan are looking to end the big blue boy scout's losing streak with an epic modern re-imagining. Cavill's Clark Kent goes on a long, bearded spiritual journey before taking up the cape, with an intrepid/sexy Daily Planet reporter and an evil Kryptonian general both hot on his heels.

 

2. 'Pacific Rim'

Release Date: July 12
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Charlie Day
The Scoop: Guillermo del Toro is gonna layeth the smacketh DOWN this summer. It's mechas vs. kaijus, or robots vs. monsters for the layman, all on a scale never before dreamed of by fans of Japanese "Godzilla" movies. Early word says this could be the next "Star Wars," or simply the $150-million-dollar version of a deranged little boy playing with his toys in the bathtub. Either way, we're there.

 

1. 'Iron Man 3'

Release Date: May 3
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle
The Scoop: Okay, maybe we've seen this movie already and maybe we haven't, but just maybe it will rock your rocket boots off. It seems this time around Tony Stark has to go mano-a-mano with his most fearsome foe yet, the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), all while trying to figure out where he stands in the eternal triangle between himself, Pepper Potts (Paltrow) and those many lovely suits of armor of his.

 

The Runners-Up:

MAY
Michael Shannon plays real-life contract killer/mass murderer/family man Richard Kuklinski in "The Iceman" (May 3); Craig Robinson gets a rare starring role as a dude trying to impress his fiancé's family in "Peeples" (May 10); Greta Gerwig does the Noah Baumbach two-step as an enthusiastic hipster in "Frances Ha" (May 17); and three quirky boys run away and build their own lair in the woods in "The Kings of Summer" (May 31).

JUNE
Joss Whedon does the Bard proud with his modern-dress Shakespeare adaptation "Much Ado About Nothing" (June 7); Sandra Bulloch and Melissa McCarthy play good cop/psycho cop in "The Heat" (June 28); Pedro Almadovar sets his latest farce aboard a doomed airplane in "I'm So Excited" (June 28); and Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton make a "Twilight" for smart people in vampire flick "Byzantium" (June 28).

JULY
Adam Sandler and his buddies use the term "grown up" loosely in  "Grown Ups 2" (July 12); Bruce Willis and his geriatric pals lock and load for "Red 2" (July 19); real-life paranormal investigators The Warrens are called in to reckon with "The Conjuring" (July 19); Ryan Gosling bangs guys up in Bangkok's underworld in "Only God Forgives" (July 19); and Woody Allen brings us more neurotic delights with "Blue Jasmine" (July 26).

AUGUST
More Spartans means more greased-up abs in "300: Rise of an Empire" (Aug. 2); "Disney's Planes" (Aug. 9) cashes in on whatever dollars they left on the table after "Cars"; the fantasy gravy train keeps rolling on as we set sail for "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" (Aug. 9) and Aubrey Plaza has a lot of sex on the agenda in "The To Do List" (Aug 16). Finally, it's not looking good for you (if you're the killers) in the late-summer horror revenge-fest "You're Next" (Aug. 23).

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