Its not that I always bemoan the blockbusters and reboots that crash-land into theaters this time of year. I love a good alien-invasion scarefest as much as the next fanboy.
But its the sheer volume in both frequency and loudness that is so infuriating. And thats especially true of the sequels that roll off the dream-factory assembly line this time of year like Camrys in a Toyota plant. Nothing screams a lack of original ideas in Hollywood more than a movie title with a numeral attached to the end of it.
Heres hoping that at least one of these turns out to be a lucky number:
Star Trek Into Darkness J.J. Abrams 2009 reboot of the Star Trek franchise was a genial calling card, but Into Darkness will show where he really wants to take these iconic characters. The title would seem to indicate a much grittier, bleaker vision of the 23rd century, where our heroes have to deal with terrorism. May 17.
The Hangover Part III Director Todd Phillips promises this is the last Hangover movie. Considering how poorly critics received the second movie its at 34 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, though it has grossed more than $85 million thats probably a wise move. For this one, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis get more deeply involved in the world of Ken Jeongs Mr. Chow crime-boss character. May 24.
Fast & Furious 6 Of course, there are lots of fast cars that crash and at least one plane in this latest celebration of gas guzzling. Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Dwayne Johnson are all back in the drivers seat. May 24.
Man of Steel Less a sequel than a reboot, this Superman tale directed by Zack Snyder (300, Dawn of the Dead remake) is going to give us a more introspective man of the cape (played by Henry Cavill, The Tudors) as Earth is invaded by people from his home planet. June 14.
Monsters University Pixar cant seem to do any wrong, so its going back to the Monsters Inc. well for a prequel in which Sulley and Mike meet in college. June 21.
Despicable Me 2 The voices of Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig return in this animated adventure about the soft-hearted villain Gru who tried to steal the moon in the first film. This time he faces off against a more evil villain. July 3.
Grown Ups 2 The original Grown Ups wasnt exactly an Oscar contender but this Adam Sandler vehicle which paired him with Chris Rock, Kevin James and David Spade as old friends reuniting made enough (more than $160 million domestically) to greenlight a sequel. In this one, Sandlers Lenny character moves back to his hometown and finds out things really havent changed. July 19.
Red 2 Just because youve got an AARP card doesnt mean you cant take down bad guys. Bruce Willis, Morgan Freedman and Helen Mirren reteam to go on the hunt for a weapon of mass destruction. Anthony Hopkins joins the cast. July 19.
The Wolverine Director James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma) promises a darker vision for this followup to 2009s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, once again starring Hugh Jackman. July 26.
The Smurfs 2 The little blue people are back to take on the evil Gargamel (Hank Azaria) after he kidnaps Smurfette (Katy Perry). Oy. July 31.
300: Rise of an Empire Most of the ripped Spartans from 300 didnt survive, so this not-really-a-sequel tells of a fight between Persians and Athenians. And theres a woman, Artemisia (Eva Green), at the heart of the story this time. Aug. 2.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Makers of this franchise based on the popular young-adult series about the half-human son of Poseidon struck $88 million dollars worth of gold the first time around in 2010. This one has a new director (Thor Freudenthal, Diary of a Wimpy Kid), but theres no reason to believe this wont be equally appealing to fans of the books. Aug. 7.
Kick-Ass 2 This could be a big gamble. The first Kick-Ass wasnt a huge hit and some were put off by its meshing of comic-book sensibilities with a very R-rated approach to language and violence, especially as it involved the young pre-teen superhero Hit Girl (Chloe-Grace Moretz). But she and Kick-Ass himself (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) return and hook up with another superhero, Jim Carreys Colonel Stars and Stripes. Aug. 16.