Catching Fire leads slate of big-screen adaptations in 2013

Jan 15, 2013
It’s safe to say that one of the most anticipated movies of the year is Catching Fire, the second installment in the cinematic Hunger Games quadrilogy(Mockingjay will be split into two films). We’re going to have to wait a while for Catching Fire— it won’t hit theaters until November 22 — but there are plenty of other big time big-screen adaptations working there way into multiplexes in 2013. The moviegoing season is always slow going the first couple months of the year, but things start to pick up in March. Jack the Giant Slayer fe-fi-fo-fums onto the nation’s movie screens on March 1. The movie is based on the fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstalk,” is directed by Bryan Singer, and stars Nicholas Hoult, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, and Billy Nighy. A week later, on March 8, we return to Oz (this time BD – Before Dorothy) in Oz: The Great and Powerful. Directed by Sam Raimi and based on L. Frank Baum’s classic series,the movie is a prequel to the original 1939 film and stars James Franco as the one-day wonderful wizard. After a pitstop at Jurassic Park (based on Michael Crichton’s book), which is being released in 3D on April 5, we hit the freeway of summer movie season with The Great Gatsby. Leonardo DiCaprio is Gatsby, Carey Mulligan is Daisy, and Tobey Maguire is Tom in thisfourth adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel. The movie is in 3D, andif director Baz Luhrmann’s previous films (Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge) are any indication this version will be something quite unique. A couple relatively lower profile adaptations follow Gatsby: Epic, an computer-animated film based on the children’s book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs by William Joyce, andMuch Ado About Nothing, director Joss Whedon’s take on the Bard. Then we get some of the biggest adaptations of the year. First up,Man of Steel, the first new Superman movie in seven years, makes theaters safe for truth and justice on June 14. Alot about director Zach Snyder’s movie is being kept secret, but this much is certain: Henry Cavill is Superman/Clark Kent, Amy Adams is Lois Lane,Russell Crowe is Jor-El, Michael Shannon is Zod, andthe beloved comic book character (who turns 75 this year) will get theBatman Beginstreatment. (That is, a re-told origin that will lay the foundation for a not-your-parents’ Superman series.)This is followed a week later, on June 21, by World War Z, a hotly anticipated adaptation of Max Brooks’ cult novel starrting Brad Pitt about a zombie apocalypse. We get to catch our breath for a few weeks before the latest entry in the X-Men franchise rampages into theaters. Hugh Jackman returns as The Wolverine on July 26 in a stand-alone film directed by James Mangold. Like Man of Steel, secrets abound about The Wolverine, but Mangold has said it is based on a seminal mini-series-turned-graphic-novel by Frank Miller and Chris Claremont — an exciting revelation for fans of the character (and good storytelling). The book closes on summer with Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, the second entry in the big-screen version Rick Riordan’s wildly popular Percy Jackson series, which will be released on August 16. But as we head into the fall and winter we hit awards season and a slew of adaptations led by Ender’s Game. The classic sci-fi novel by Orson Scott Card has been in development for years, and it finally makes it to theaters on November 1 with Asa Butterfield (previously seen as Hugo Cabret) suiting up as Ender Wiggin and Harrison Ford returning to outer space as Col. Hyrum Graff. The year is rounded out withThe Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second installment in the Hobbit trilogy, scheduled to be releasedDecember 13;Monuments Men, a World War II-set true story about a corps of American Army personnel who rescued important art and artifacts in war-torn Europe, starring George Clooney and based on an excellent book byRobert M. Edsel and Bret Witter; and finally Jack Ryan, a reboot of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series starring Chris Pine, and a second adaptation of James Thurber’s masterpiece The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, starring Ben Stiller, both scheduled for a December 27 release. Phew. Obviously this is not a be-all-end-all list. So let us know what adaptations you’re excited about in the comments section. And be sure to keep an eye on release dates as they are subject to change. Photo: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire teaser poster (courtesy Lions Gate Entertainment)