Year in Preview: 2013's 3-D Movies

Ever since James Cameron took us to a 3-D Pandora in 2009's "Avatar," resulting in the biggest box-office hit of all time, Hollywood's been eager to replicate that blockbuster's unparalleled success. This year, Tinseltown is unleashing over 20 films in the popular (and pricey) format, and we've got you covered. Here's a breakdown of the hottest upcoming 3-D offerings films 0f 2013.

'Texas Chainsaw 3-D' (Jan. 4)

What better way to ring in the New Year than a chainsaw to the face? That seems to be the thinking of Lionsgate, who are releasing the first 3-D installment in the "Chainsaw" franchise on January 4. Adding a third dimension to the equation seems like a no-brainer; almost every enduring horror franchise has done it ("Final Destination," "Saw" ... you name it).

'Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters' (Jan. 25)

This isn't the fairytale you were told as a child. As the red band trailer for this action pic makes very clear, this is a hard-R take on what happened to the siblings 15 years after their infamous incident at the gingerbread house. Equipped with rifles, crossbows and various other deadly machinery, the pair (played by Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton) work as witch-killing bounty hunters.

'Top Gun 3-D' (Feb. 8)

Take to the skies in IMAX 3-D with Paramount Pictures's rerelease of the 1986 Tom Cruise classic, "Top Gun." This spruced-up cut was remastered for the biggest screen in the world from high-resolution original negative scans. Director Tony Scott, who passed away last year, was on hand during the 3-D conversion process to make sure everything was up to his standards. If seeing Cruise fly high in 3-D is your thing, don't delay: The film's only playing for a limited six-day engagement.

Jack the Giant Slayer'Jack the Giant Slayer' (March 1)

We can't think of a story better suited to 3-D than one about giants fighting to reclaim the land they lost. Add Bryan Singer to the equation (the director who did wonders with the first two "X-Men" installments), and you bet we're psyched. Starring Nicholas Hoult as our young hero, "Jack and the Giant Slayer" is – you guessed it – a reimagining of the classic "Fee-fi-fo-fum" fairytale, only this time way more epic.

'Oz the Great and the Powerful' (March 8)

You've never seen the Land of Oz like this before. Thanks to how far CGI has come over the past decade, the resurgence of 3-D and the wondrous eye of director Sam Raimi, this prequel to "The Wizard of Oz" promises to wow you in ways the original masterpiece never could. Headlined by James Franco as the titular wizard before he acquired his powers, "Oz" is sure to be a magical experience. Now if only we could pin down on whether Mila Kunis is playing a good witch or a bad witch. Guess we'll have to wait and find out.

'The Croods' (March 22)

Go back in time with "The Croods," this animated prehistoric comedy adventure about the world's first family. When their cave is destroyed, the clan is forced out into the wild where they encounter creatures they never knew existed. DreamWorks proved they're the best in the 3-D animation department with "How to Train Your Dragon," so all bets are "The Croods" will be an immersive blast to the past.

'G.I. Joe: Retaliation' (March 29)

Originally slated to open last summer but delayed after Paramount's last minute decision to convert the film into 3-D, the sequel to the critically reviled but commercially successful "G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra" reportedly boasts new scenes that feature more of Channing Tatum ... never a bad thing.

'Jurassic Park 3-D' (April 5)

If seeing Steven Spielberg's revolutionary (we don't use that word lightly) summertime classic in 3-D doesn't get your inner kid's heart racing, there's no helping you. If ever there was a live action feature that demanded the 3-D treatment, this T. Rex-sized epic is it.

Also check out: The 50 Movies We're All About in 2013

'Iron Man 3' (May 3)

The first 3-D installment in the "Iron Man" franchise is sure to kick the summer blockbuster season off in high gear as the wise-cracking Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) dukes it out with his biggest foe yet, the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). As the closely scrutinized first trailer made clear, this "Iron Man" will forgo the bubbly tone of the first two installments for something more foreboding and dark. Call it the "Dark Knight" effect.

The Great Gatsby'The Great Gatsby' (May 10)

Baz Luhrmann joins the esteemed roster of auteurs turned 3-D visionaries that includes Ang Lee, James Cameron and Martin Scorsese with his anticipated adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire, "Gatsby" is set to do for period romances what his "Moulin Rouge" did for musicals. In other words: reinvigorate a well-worn genre with new and opulent tricks to make it seem fresher than ever. "Gatsby" was shot in 3-D, a sad rarity for the popular format, which gives Luhrmann some technical credit to back this risky venture.

'Star Trek Into Darkness' (May 17)

Like "Iron Man 3," the second entry in J. J. Abrams's reboot of the "Star Trek" film franchise looks to be good deal moodier than its predecessor, thanks to a sinister villain ("Sherlock" star Benedict Cumberbatch) who causes all sorts of perilous mayhem for Captain Kirk and company. Working in 3-D for the first time, Abrams is sure to bring his A-game to the table. He should – it's taken him four years to deliver a sequel!

'Epic' (May 24)

With a title like that, the creators of "Ice Age" and "Rio" are clearly aiming high with their latest 3-D computer animated offering. Set in a magical forest where a teenage girl wakes up to find herself shrunken down to bug size and forced to help save the world, "Epic" sounds like a spirited mix between "Avatar" and "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids." Sounds like a winning combo if there ever was one.

'Man of Steel' (June 14)

Superman soars high for the first time in 3-D in Zack Snyder's anticipated spin on one of the most iconic superheroes of all time. With a story dreamed up by "The Dark Knight" duo Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer (Nolan also produced), "Man of Steel" promises to be the most serious-minded Superman entry yet. With the power trio of Snyder, Nolan and Goyer involved, it may also prove to be the best.

Pacific Rim'Pacific Rim' (July 12)

Human-controlled robots take on giant alien monsters in Guillermo del Toro's long-awaited foray into the 3-D realm. The "Transformers"-like setup isn't a groundbreaking one, but with the visionary "Pan's Labyrinth" director at the helm, this summer release has all the makings of something truly special. Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam and Ron Perlman star.

'300: Rise of an Empire' (Aug. 2)

This belated prequel to Zack Snyder's massively successful (and gory) adaptation of Frank Miller's iconic graphic novel doesn't have Snyder at the helm or star Gerald Butler in a toga, but it does come to us in 3-D, something "300" could have benefited from. "Rise of an Empire" centers on the god-king Xerces (returning baddie Rodrigo Santoro) and his ascent to power. Adding some class to the proceedings is Eva Green as the leader of the Persian army.

Currently Untitled One Direction 3-D Concert Movie (Aug. 30)

Academy Award-nominee Morgan Spurlock takes a break from taking pokes at our consumerist and metrosexualized culture to document the British phenomenon that is One Direction, for the band's first ever concert film. And following in the footsteps of Justin Bieber and Katy Perry, this love letter to the fans comes to you in 3-D.

'Riddick' (Sept. 6)

Vin Diesel and writer/director David Twohy reteam for the third film in their Riddick trilogy, having previously collaborated on "Pitch Black" and "The Chronicles of Riddick," for the series' first 3-D installment. Rumored to be the last chapter in the saga, "Riddick" finds Diesel reprising his role of a dangerous escaped convict wanted by every bounty hunter in the galaxy. After being left for dead on a seemingly lifeless planet, Riddick finds himself fighting for survival after coming across a nasty band of alien predators.

'The Little Mermaid 3-D' (Sept. 13)

The latest Disney cartoon to get the deluxe 3-D treatment is "The Little Mermaid," the beloved musical about a red-haired mermaid who gets more than she bargained for after making a pact with an underwater witch to become human. If you grew up watching it, you owe it to yourself to see it again. And if you've never caught it, you're in for a treat.

'Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones 3-D' (Sept. 20); 'Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith 3-D' (Oct. 11)

With the recent surprise announcement that the "Star Wars" saga will live on under Disney and sans George Lucas, what better time to revisit Episode I and II, for the first time in 3-D no less? Given that these two most recent installments play like animated films with wall-to-wall CGI, the 3-D enhancement is sure to look stunning. Lucas wouldn't have it any other way.

The Seventh Son'The Seventh Son' (Oct. 18)

Based on the first book in the popular children's dark fantasy novel series "The Wardstone Chronicles," "The Seventh Son" stars Ben Barnes as an apprentice to a local Spook named Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges) who fights against evil supernatural spirits. Julianne Moore stars as Mother Malkin, a powerful witch and Master Gregory's nemesis. What more do you need to know?

'Thor: The Dark World' (Nov. 8)

Following Tony Stark's return to the big screen, Thor is the second of the Avengers to make his solo comeback in 3-D, and like the new "Iron Man" film, the sequel to "Thor" promises to be a whole lot darker than the blockbuster that preceded it. In "The Dark World," Chris Hemsworth reunites with Natalie Portman, while Christopher Eccleston takes over baddie duties from Tom Hiddleston as Malekith, a shape-shifting dark elf intent on plunging the universe into darkness.

'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' (Dec. 13)

As the last shot of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" made clear, this second installment in Peter Jackson's new trilogy (the third and final one comes out in 2014) will feature a lot more of Smaug, the treasure-loving dragon only glimpsed in the first hit film. The CGI creation, which will be played via performance capture by none other than "Star Trek" baddie Benedict Cumberbatch, is sure to be a wonder in 3-D – and perhaps the chief reason to be excited for Jackson's latest.

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