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The Most Anticipated Films of 2013

At the beginning of each year, the film industry takes their vacation. With the Oscar contenders being rolled out one after the other in the late months of the past year, filmmakers resort to the movies that will critically bomb and commercially do fine at best. “Movie 43,” “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” and “Warm Bodies” aren’t exactly memorable works of art. Yet, for movie buffs, there is no need to get discouraged, as the future of 2013 looks promising. With an emphasis on box office success, Hollywood has created a mix of big budget action adventures, edge-of-your-seat thrillers and hilarious comedies. As we begin to approach the spring, audiences should be excited for the great number of crowd-pleasing films to come. Thus, in the spirit of optimism, here is a list of some of the most anticipated movies of 2013:

“Oz the Great and Powerful” (March 8) Set before “The Wizard of Oz,” this film tells the story of Oscar Diggs (James Franco) and how he transformed from a struggling magician from Kansas to the Wonderful Wizard. (Side note: Forget everything you know if you have seen the musical “Wicked,” as this film tells quite a different story.)

“Iron Man 3” (May 3) In the third installment of the “Iron Man” trilogy, Tony Stark is pitted against Mandarin, a villain who attempts to destroy Tony’s world from the inside out. Throughout Tony’s quest for justice, he will finally answer the question, does the suit make the man or does the man make the suit?

“The Great Gatsby” (May 10) From Baz Luhrmann, director of “Moulin Rouge!” and “Romeo + Juliet,” comes this exuberant and fast-paced retelling of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel. The film, like the novel, tells the story of eccentric millionaire Jay Gatsby and his love of a married woman, as seen through the eyes of his neighbor, Nick Carraway.

“Star Trek Into Darkness” (May 17) With the return of the 2009 original cast, unreal special effects and a nearly indestructible force trying to destroy earth and the Enterprise, Trekkies and non-Trekkies alike will not be disappointed.

“After Earth” (June 7) A general (Will Smith) and his son (Jaden Smith) crash land on Earth 1,000 years after the apocalypse caused the abandonment of the planet. With the goal of returning to their planet, the father-and-son team must defeat aliens, along with many other perplexing obstacles.

“This is the End” (June 14) In this film, the Judd Apatow crew, including Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride and Craig Robinson, play fictionalized versions of themselves. Better yet, they are faced with cataclysmic events leading toward the end of the world.

“Man of Steel” (June 14) In the past few years, Hollywood has obsessed over superhero reboots that tell grittier origin stories, such as Batman, Spiderman and Wolverine. This year, the tradition continues with Superman. With audiences still mourning over 2006’s disappointing “Superman Returns,” this film has a lot to prove.

“World War Z” (June 21)  Brad Pitt? Check. Zombies? Check. Enough said.

“Monsters University” (June 21) While creating a prequel to an animated film seems like a daunting task, I have faith that Pixar will triumph. With the premise depicting how Mike and Sulley of “Monsters, Inc.” went from rivals to best buds in college, how could they not?

“The World’s End” (Oct. 25) The team that gave us “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” returns for their typical hilarity. This time, the English buddies follow an apocalyptic theme, but in this version, belligerent bar crawling is the perfect way to celebrate their last night.

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (Nov. 22) Last year, “The Hunger Games” proved to be one of the most successful book adaptations of all time, earning the third-largest domestic gross of 2012. This year, the highly anticipated sequel will focus on Katniss as she travels on the victory tour from her first Hunger Games win. But danger is lurking as rebellion begins to form, and a Quarter Quell Hunger Games will require past victors to return to the arena.

“Anchorman: The Legend Continues” (Dec. 20) In December of 2013, all of America will be staying classy. While little to nothing about the plot has been released, what we do know is that the entire original cast is returning. I think there is no question that this movie will be even better than “Pleasure Town.”