The results are in: 2005 was the year everyone stayed at home to watch their bootleg DVDs. Hollywood needs to get audiences back into theatres and as anyone who has suffered through this winter knows, they haven't been trying very hard. Thankfully, relief is in sight. Heavy star power is rolling out in the form of new movies with Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks and Lindsay Lohan. On top of that, mutants, prehistoric mammals and pinups are also vying for attention. Find out what to see when the snow begins to thaw.
In theaters: March 17
Starring Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, John Hurt
In the future, a fascist government keeps Britain complacent with TV while rounding up Muslims and homosexuals into concentration camps. With Punk'd stunts and very real explosives, the mysterious masked anarchist V wages war against the status quo while nurturing Portman as his successor. Timely? Initial sightings say the $50 million Vendetta might be the world's most expensive piece of agitprop.
Fun fact: 22,000 dominoes arranged by four pro-domino assemblers were used for one scene in which V leaves behind his trademark initial.
In theaters: March 24
Starring Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster
Charismatic crook Clive Owen plans the perfect bank heist, and we all know what that means. Something far from perfection is going to happen. Washington is the cop called in to negotiate when Owen takes hostages. He suspects there's more going on than meets the eye, and when Foster starts interfering, things get even more interesting. Director Spike Lee tightens the screws with his usual stylishness.
Fun fact: The movie was shot in the same Brooklyn studio as The Producers.
In theaters: March 31
Starring Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Rooker
The current horror boom has been so intent on making teenagers jump that humor has been in short supply. But Dawn of the Dead scribe James Gunn's homage is a tip o' the hat to the tongue-in-cheek likes of The Evil Dead II and Re-Animator. Firefly's Nathan Fillion is the sheriff who has to battle the alien slugs turning the local citizenry into hungry zombies.
Fun fact: While working for Poverty Row studio Troma, Gunn choreographed the sex scenes for Tromeo & Juliet.
In theaters: March 31
Starring Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary
In 2002, the first Ice Age proved you didn't need to be Pixar to make a captivating CGI animated movie. The sequel reunites sloth Sid, mammoth Manny and saber-toothed tiger Diego and turns the temperature up. As the Pleistocene world begins to thaw, the trio's valley home is threatened with flooding. So it's off on another quest to save the day in the company of a second sassy mammoth voiced by Queen Latifah.
Fun fact: Leguizamo prepared for his part as a sloth by watching the Discovery Channel.
In theaters: April 7
Starring Rob Schneider, David Spade, Jon Heder
If you're not sold on that cast, there might not be much more we can say to convince you. Deuce Bigalow and Joe Dirt unite with Napoleon Dynamite as three adult geeks who form their own Little League team. The zeroes predictably become heroes, but their alliance is threatened when Schneider's past as a bully is exposed. Expect more Klingon jokes than a William Shatner roast.
Fun fact: Heder had to deny his own death after a Web site posted pictures of his spirit leaving a car crash.
In theaters: April 7
Starring Antonio Banderas, Rob Brown, Alfre Woodard
The story will be familiar from last year's hit documentary Mad Hot Ballroom. Banderas is the dance instructor who has to do a Dangerous Minds on some inner-city problem students. In spite of initial opposition, he soon has the breakfast club cha-cha-cha-ing their way to glory. With Banderas providing the Latin smolder and plenty of top-notch hoofing, what's not to like?
Fun fact: Banderas has his own line of perfume called Spirit. The scent "feels a little bit what I feel for life," he says.
In theaters: April 14
Starring Gretchen Mol, Lili Taylor, David Strathairn
Before the likes of Paris Hilton, red-blooded American males got their kicks from pics of Bettie Page. Often posing with a pair of cheetahs and in bondage situations, the pin-up queen titillated a generation of men in gray flannel suits. American Psycho director Mary Harron revisits this 1950s era of "camera clubs" and Playboy, coaxing a winning performance from Gretchen Mol as the titular Tennessee tease.
Fun fact: In the 1960s, a reborn Bettie Page went to work with the evangelist Billy Graham.
In theaters: April 21
Starring Hugh Grant, Dennis Quaid, Mandy Moore
Newly reelected President Dennis Quaid reads a newspaper for the first time in four years and experiences something of an awakening. To keep the newly conscious prez occupied, his handlers book him to appear as a judge on an American Idol-style show hosted by the unctuous Hugh Grant... and targeted by suicide bombers. Who would have expected American Pie-creator Paul Weitz to make the next Network?
Fun fact: Date Movie filmed in the neighboring studio. But when Alyson Hannigan got to meet her hero Hugh Grant, she was wearing a fat suit.
In theaters: April 21
Starring Kiefer Sutherland, Michael Douglas, Kim Basinger
It's like 24 on steroids... and it's even got Kiefer Sutherland. Michael Douglas is one of the brightest lights in the Secret Service, those guys with the earpieces who bodyguard the president. He's also the No. 1 suspect in a plot to kill the commander in chief, and erstwhile partner Sutherland has to take him down. Oh, and Douglas is sleeping with the First Lady (Basinger). Should make for one helluva Hannity & Colmes.
Fun fact: The U.S. Secret Service was originally commissioned in 1865 to suppress counterfeit currency.
In theaters: April 28
Starring David Alan Basche, David Rasche, Kate Jennings Grant
In 90 minutes, this real-time drama reconstructs what happened on the United flight whose passengers took on the 9-11 hijackers. Drawing on cell-phone recordings, air-traffic transmissions and accounts from the victims' families, Bourne Supremacy director Paul Greengrass improvised the movie with a cast of unknowns. The end results are sure to be nerve shredding.
Fun fact: Newark Airport's air-traffic control tower was recreated for the film in Pinewood Studios, home of the James Bond and Carry-On movies.
In theatres: May 5
Starring Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Keri Russell
Never mind the movie... how can Cruise top 2005's astonishing series of publicity stunts? While the tabloids eagerly hope he'll do some more damage to Oprah's furniture, we're just thrilled about watching his super-agent Ethan Hunt face-off against Philip Seymour Hoffman. The Capote star's tubby assassin looks determined to blow up anything that gets too close to his buff nemesis.
Fun fact: Hoffman once met Miles Davis while working as a lifeguard in a New York spa.
In theatres: May 12
Starring Josh Lucas, Kurt Russell, Lucinda Barrett
The 1972 Poseidon Adventure became something of a camp classic thanks to the memorable sight of Shelley Winters swimming underwater. Don't expect too many laughs in this $140 million remake, which takes the original capsized boat premise and gives it the full Titanic treatment. A buff cast of survivors try to find their way to the surface while resolving their Love Boat-style personal crises.
Fun fact: In 2004, The Poseidon Adventure was turned into a musical which enjoyed an eight-month run in Chicago.
In theatres: May 12
Starring Lindsay Lohan, Chris Pine, Samaire Armstrong
Lohan has been pretty vocal about shedding her "teen queen" image, but she's not ready to do so just yet. In this brat-friendly comedy, she's a PR professional blessed with a lucky streak, until she kisses perennial loser Pine. Can she reverse her misfortune before losing her job, her home and that irresistible grin? If you've ever wanted to see Lohan beg for a slice of bacon, then this one's for you.
Fun fact: Earlier this year, Lohan made out with Kate Moss before an audience of lucky strip-club patrons.
In theatres: May 19
Starring Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellan
Is there anybody out there who doesn't know what happens in the ubiquitous thriller? If so, we'll just say that Hanks (looking like he needs a shower) is a symbologist investigating a murder at the Louvre and unlocking the secrets of the Old Master's art. Ron Howard's movie has already drawn criticism from those who consider Dan Brown's book blasphemous. Wonder if Jesus will show up?
Fun fact: Pablo Picasso was questioned by Parisian police following the theft of the Mona Lisa in 1911.
In theaters: May 26
Starring Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellan, Halle Berry
Comic-book geeks disapproved of the choice of Brett Ratner as director and pictures of the Rush Hour faux-teur posing as Wolverine called for alarm, but the trailer has generated good buzz about the mutant franchise's third installment. The X-Men and Magneto's mutant brotherhood are split when a cure is found for their super-heroic condition. Among the other surprises: Storm (Halle Berry) shows signs of a personality.
Fun fact: X-Men creator Stan Lee claimed he came up with the mutant idea so he could avoid manufacturing individual origins for superheroes.