We love them, we hate them, and sometimes we love to hate them. But this much is certain: They sell a lot of popcorn.
Every year, Hollywood's blockbusters mimic the British World War II bombs they were named after, bombarding us with explosions, noise and an immersive attack (of advertising) that takes out entire city blocks at a time. As you read this, generals Ron Howard, Michael Bay, McG and others are undoubtedly standing in front of enormous flags, Patton-style, planning out their attacks.
As we enter 2009 and continue our all-week countdown to the year's most anticipated films, here are the top blockbusters of the next 12 months. Let the battle begin.
[movie id="381911"]10. "2012"[/movie]
Writer/director/producer Roland Emmerich always manages to either make us ooh and ahh ("Independence Day," "Stargate") or boo and hiss ("Godzilla," "10,000 B.C."), but give the man credit: He puts every dollar of his big budgets on the screen. On July 10, he'll bring us an all-star cast, including John Cusack, Amanda Peet and Woody Harrelson, and once again tear the Earth apart, à la "The Day After Tomorrow." As always, Emmerich has given us a great-looking trailer — let's hope that this time, the movie is just as good.
[movie id="363653"]9. "G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra"[/movie]
Boasting the year's most out-of-left-field cast (Channing Tatum, Dennis Quaid, Sienna Miller, Marlon Wayans and Ray "Darth Maul" Park?) and bountiful source material (45 years of toys, comics and cartoons), the long-awaited "G.I. Joe" movie will hope to once again establish the franchise's Kung Fu Grip on pop culture. Early photos, however, bear little resemblance to the toys we remember, and there's a good number of fan favorites (Roadblock, Wild Bill, Tomax & Xamot) missing in action. We'll know more about the August 7 release once the first trailer comes out, and knowing is half the battle.
[movie id="375622"]8. "Public Enemies"[/movie]
It's getting to the point where even Christian Bale's home movies must be amazing to look at. Simply point a camera at the guy, and the footage inevitably turns into "The Dark Knight," "3:10 to Yuma," "The Prestige" or another instant classic. In July, the hottest man in Hollywood will team with an actor boasting an equally hot streak (Johnny Depp) to tell the tale of classic American gangsters battling the Feds in the 1930s. With "Heat" filmmaker Michael Mann behind the camera, get ready for a mob at your local movie theater.
[movie id="328526"]7. "Monsters vs. Aliens"[/movie]
It's got monsters! And aliens!
[movie id="330488"]6. "Angels & Demons"[/movie]
Screenwriter David Koepp is promising that if you liked "The Da Vinci Code" movie, you can look forward to more of the same. And if you're among those who said the film had problems, that it wasn't faithful enough to Dan Brown's novel, or that Tom Hanks was miscast as Robert Langdon? Well, the theater next door will gladly offer you monsters and aliens. If "Angels" similarly takes in $758 million worldwide when it opens in May, you won't be missed.
[movie id="351156"]5. "Up"[/movie]
Two words: "Pixar" and "Disney." This May release about a 78-year-old man, an 8-year-old boy and a flying house buoyed by thousands of balloons looks like their most daring movie yet. Move over, Will Smith, because the new summer blockbuster king might just be — Ed Asner?
[movie id="347265"]4. "Terminator: Salvation"[/movie]
You love the first two movies, hate the TV show, and feel largely indifferent toward "Rise of the Machines." But this movie promises to point a camera at Christian Bale (see above) and throw in such solid actors as Anton Yelchin, Bryce Dallas Howard, Common and Sam Worthington for good measure. The latest trailer looks adequately dirty, futuristic and robotic, and "Charlie's Angels" filmmaker McG subscribes to the Emmerich philosophy of putting everything onscreen. If it's good, you can bet there'll be sequels. If it isn't, the franchise might be done. Either way, May 22 is judgment day.
[movie id="369059"]3. "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"[/movie]
How will humanity be changed now that we know about the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons? Which new Transformers will be introduced? And, most importantly, what will Shia LaBeouf's hand look like? This eagerly anticipated sequel to 2007's biggest film has director Michael Bay promising even more awesomeness, and the June release also promises to bring back what might just be the greatest special effect Bay has ever unveiled: Megan Fox.
[movie id="301495"]2. "Avatar"[/movie]
There might not be a 2009 release that we know less about — which is exactly why we're all dying to see "Avatar." For years, legendary director James Cameron has been promising that Hollywood special effects are finally catching up with his imagination, and the result will be astounding. The man has revolutionized the industry with virtually every film he's made ("The Abyss," "Terminator 2"), and the last proper movie he directed ("Titanic") still reigns supreme as the biggest hit of all time. In December, his interplanetary war epic will finally hit theaters — and we'll see if he's still the king of the world.
[movie id="307087"]1. "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"[/movie]
Every "Potter" film has flirted with a billion dollars worldwide, but will the sixth movie finally cross that sacred plateau? By the time July 17 rolls around, it will have been two years since fans saw their wizard friends onscreen, and many regard "Half-Blood" to be one of the best books in the franchise. Through the first five films, Harry has overseen the most successful movie franchise of all time, and it seems likely that "Prince" will once again crown him king.
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