— For the third year in a row, movies with roots in comic book stories, sci-fi and fantasy appear poised to dominate box offices in 2013, including the continuation of Marvel’s “Avengers” universe. But a few comedies and dramas also have us excited to get in line with our popcorn.
‘Beautiful Creatures’ (Feb. 14)
Is this the new “Twilight”? Or will Stephenie Meyer’s fans wait for the movie adaptation of “The Host” on March 29? “Beautiful Creatures” is the first entry in a young-adult book series about a guy and girl living in a small Southern town. They are inexplicably drawn to each other, and have magical connections, but a curse threatens them and their families.
‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ (March 8)
Until Gregory Maguire’s “Wicked,” any story about Oz featured that perky Kansan Dorothy. Maguire’s tale of the green-skinned Elphaba has been transformed into a successful Broadway musical, and the author has continued his take on Oz A.D. (after Dorothy) in three follow-up novels.
But what about the Wizard? Sam Raimi, the director behind the “Spider-Man” reboots starring Tobey McGuire, tells the story of his arrival in Oz and how he became that man behind the curtain. Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz play three good and bad witches.
‘Iron Man 3’ (May 3)
Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers” was the biggest movie of 2012. Tying together the stories started in “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Thor” and “Captain America,” the supergroup kicked extra-terrestrial tush on screen.
Thor will return to theaters in November, but Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Iron Man makes the third in this franchise a summer must-see. Directed by Shane Black (2005’s “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”), the movie also features Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin.
‘The Great Gatsby’ (May 10)
Leonardo DiCaprio stood out as Romeo in Baz Lurhmann’s stylish “Romeo and Juliet,” so we’re eager to see what he does with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic now that he is more seasoned. DiCaprio plays the enigmatic, dapper Gatsby, and Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan plays Daisy Buchannan.
Even more intriguing is how the movie will be filmed for 3D. On most movies, the gimmick seems to be a waste, but Lurhmann has a long resume of visually dazzling movies, including “Moulin Rouge” and “Strictly Ballroom.” We’ll gladly fork over the extra upcharge to see what he does with the format.