2012's 12 Highly Anticipated Movies
When: January 20
Who: Mans Marlind, Bjorn Stein (director), Kate Beckinsale, Charles Dance, Stephen Rea
What: Selene returns to take down some more werewolves.
Why: Beckinsale makes a welcome, eye-catching return. And the Underworld series is the ultimate in January fare: fast, fun, and warmly trashy.
When: March 23
Who: Gary Ross (director), Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson
What: A dark fantasy film that explores daily life in America if American Idol were replaced with a psychotic and brutal televised ritual where young people are pitted against each other and looked upon by a panel of crazies.
Why: With Harry Potter over and Twilight winding down, Hollywood needs a new series to wean young audiences on. Enter: The Hunger Games.
When: May 4
Who: Joss Whedon (director), Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson
What: A band of disparate superheroes (selected on skill, wealth, brains, whether they're into leather or not) work together for the greater good.
Why: We've put up with weird cameos and loose story threads across nearly a dozen Marvel films. It all pays off here.
When: May 25
Who: Barry Sonnefield (director), Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin
What: A secret government agent travels back in time in search of his old partner and some good jokes, having exhausted all of them in the present day.
Why: Will Smith hasn't released a movie since 2008 (guess Seven Pounds not breaking $100 million convinced him to focus on other things) and there appears to be still worldwide affection for the franchise.
When: June 1
Who: Rupert Sanders (director), Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth
What: A girl and a witch settle an argument over which is fairer with swords, armies, and sensible bloodletting.
Why: We've witnessed enough pouting and lip biting from Stewart: Bring us on some violence!
When: June 8
Who: Ridley Scott (director), Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, Idris elba
What: Humans explore deep space in search of our origins, and to test theory that in space no one can hear you scream.
Why: Scott makes a welcome return to sci-fi territory and considering the killer 2011 Fassbender has had, we're eager to see him carry that over to 2012 and straight into the apocalypse.
When: June 22
Who: Mark Andrews (director), Kelly Macdonald, Craig Ferguson, Emma Thompson
What: A groundbreaking (main character is a girl, has red hair) fairy tale about an impetuous princess, whose skill at archery inadvertently unleashes chaos in her kingdom.
Why: Pixar always has something to prove with each movie and with Cars 2 breaking Pixar's 16-year Certified Fresh streak, a lot rides on Brave.
When: July 3
Who: Gary Ross Marc Webb (director), Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans
What: A high school photojournalist is bitten by a radioactive spider and learns that with great power comes hot girls like Gwen Stacy.
Why: Rebooting a series only 10 years old? Bold move, Sony. The studio must utterly wow the world with Amazing Spider-Man, and the audience response to the trailer and hot young cast and director has this spider on the upswing.
When: July 20
Who: Christopher Nolan (director), Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman
What: The caped crusader returns after eight years when Gotham City is terrorized by a villain frustrated that nobody understands him.
Why: This is it. The end of the legend. How far will Nolan be willing to go in closing out the ultimate comic trilogy?
When: November 12
Who: Bill Condon (director), Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson
What: A vampire, a human, a werewolf, and an infant demon overcome their differences.
Why: Finally, it's OVER! . . .That is, we mean, this scintillating, well-balanced, and non-spooky journey of vampires and werewolves and the babies they love reaches the bloody romantic climax.
When: December 14
Who: Peter Jackson (director), Martin Freeman, Ian Holm, Ian McKellan
What: A band of vertically-challenged friends, with the help of a wizard, quest for some jewelry.
Why: The actors, the sets, the personnel -- everything is in place. And high hopes remain that Jackson's heart is in the right place, too, and that his passion for Middle-earth hasn't diminished after so many years spent on the films.
What are YOU looking forward to in 2012?