Sci-fi films, superhero stories and action-adventures command screens this summer, joined by kids' animated movies, with sequels and reboots big along with a couple of original tales.
In what is already a record-breaking year at the box office, May releases kick off the hits early with The Avengers, Battleship, Dark Shadows and Men In Black 3 in 3D released early to avoid competing with the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship in June.
These heroes aren't just fighting villains taking over the world -- intergalactic invasions intend to destroy the planet and annihilate the human race. Perhaps with the predictions of the end of the world on December 21 as the "inspiration," the superhuman forces expect to draw super-sized audiences.
1. Snow White and the Huntsman
Release dates: May 30-June 1
Twilight's Kristen Stewart as Snow White, Chris Hemsworth (Thor) as the Huntsman and Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen. This twist on the Grimm fairy tale packs a punch with the hunted and hunter joining forces against the witch.
Release dates: May 30-June 1 in the UK, France and half the world, rolling out to the rest of the markets June 7-9
Related to his film Alien, Ridley Scott's latest sci-fi horror thriller stars Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron and Idris Elba as a team of space explorers who must battle to save the planet and escape back to earth. Circa 2090, Michael Fassbender plays an android as they travel to the darkest part of the universe. http://www.prometheus-movie.com
3. Madagascar 3
Release dates: June 6-7 in North America and France, followed by Denmark, Brazil, Turkey, and Australia in July; other markets including the UK through October
Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the Hippo join a circus in hopes of getting home to New York. The third installment of this comic romp in 3D features the voice talent of Ben Stiller (The Fockers, Megamind) Jada Pinkett Smith (Ali), Chris Rock (Death at a Funeral) and Sacha Baron Cohen (Hugo).
4. The Amazing Spider-Man
Release dates: debuts in Japan May 30, rolling out worldwide July 3-6
This reboot of the successful DC Comics superhero franchise stars Andrew Garfield (The Social Network), replacing Tobey Maguire as a teenage Peter Parker juggling human problems that turn into a crisis when he meets his father's former partner. Emma Stone costars as girlfriend Gwen Stacy and Rhys Ifans as villain The Lizard.
5. Brave in 3D
Release dates: June 21-22 in Australia, Brazil and North America, followed by Europe in July and August
Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter), Emma Thompson (Nannie McPhee), Billy Connolly (Gulliver's Travels) and Craig Ferguson (How To Train Your Dragon) join Kelly MacDonald as Princess Merida in a modern animated fairy tale of a young girl whose archery and bravery stop a beast and end a curse.
6. G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Release dates: June 21-22 in Russia, Turkey and Singapore, followed in July and August by most international markets
Starring Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis and Channing Tatum, this sequel to the sci-fi action thriller brings the surviving elite special-ops agents against Zartan's forces and government leaders under the enemies' influence.
7. The Dark Knight Rises
Release dates: July 18-20 in North America and Europe, rolls out July 25-27 worldwide
Christian Bale reprises his role for the last time as Batman/Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan's last tale in his Batman trilogy, taking on the evil Bane, played by Inception's Tom Hardy. The DC Comics thriller also stars Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Anne Hathaway as Catwoman.
8. Bourne Legacy
Release dates: August 3 to 23 in most markets, followed in September by France, South Africa and Japan
With Matt Damon on hiatus from this franchise, the fourth installment, based on Robert Ludlum's novels, features Oscar winner Jeremy Renner (The Avengers), Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton in the story of a CIA operative on the run. Directed by Tony Gilroy (Duplicity).
9. Total Recall
Release dates: August 2-3 in Asia and North America, followed by Sweden, South America, Russia, Japan, France, the UK and European markets through August
In this remake of Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1990 hit, Colin Farrell stars as a factory worker who suspects he's a spy but doesn't know which side he's on, the nation state of Euromerica or New Shanghai. Also stars Jessica Biel, Kate Beckinsale and Bryan Cranston. Directed by Les Wiseman (Underworld). http://www.welcometorecall.com/
10. The Expendables 2
Release dates: August 16-17 in Russia, the UK and North America, followed by most of the world through the month and Japan in October
Starring classic action heroes Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis, Van Damme, Lundgren and Jet Li, plus a new breed with Liam Hemsworth and Jason Statham, who join the team. This sequel brings the Expendables together again on a quest for revenge and an unexpected threat. Directed by Simon West (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider).