UPDATE [1/14]: Trailer added for "The Ghost Writer" and description updated for "Inception."
How to follow a record-setting year? You don't.
Regardless of how you felt about the overall quality of movies during 2009 -- and there were some gems, although maybe not as many as in previous years -- last year saw a singular achievement in cinema history, as total box office grosses exceed $10 billion for the first time.
However, a repeat performance in 2010 may be tricky, although expected increases in ticket prices -- and the continued trend toward 3D movies (and their costlier admissions) -- may help. While the next 12 months will see the release of highly anticipated sequels like Iron Man 2 and a potential blockbuster based on (gasp!) an original story idea (Christopher Nolan's Inception), nothing on the calendar looks like it will reach Avatar levels of pop culture domination. (Fortunately for exhibitors, James Cameron's film is still going strong in 2010.) And the number of movies that stand out (for any reason) in our lists below is underwhelming -- although the number of releases based on films from the 1980s is mind-boggling.
Of course, there certainly will be hits, at the box office and with reviewers. And there will be films that emerge from seemingly nowhere to wow audiences and award-voters. For those, you'll have to scan our lists of upcoming movies (on the next pages) and make your best guesses. First, let's see which 2010 movies have already captured the attention of fans, pundits, and critics. Here is a list of the most anticipated films of the year, based on a completely unscientific sampling of dozens of other preview lists and that phenomenon known as "buzz." These aren't necessarily the best films -- just the most discussed so far.
|1||Inception||Christopher Nolan's big-budget sci-fi action pic||Jul 16|
|2||Iron Man 2||Easily the most-anticipated sequel of the year||May 7|
|3||Toy Story 3||A Pixar movie may fail someday, but not this one||Jun 18|
|4||Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows||The beginning of the end -- literally||Nov 19|
|5||Robin Hood||Ridley Scott + men in tights = summer hit?||May 14|
|6||The Green Hornet||Seth Rogen, superhero||Dec 22|
|7||The Expendables||Sly Stallone's action movie throwback||Aug 13|
|8||Tron Legacy||Today, most people are stuck inside videogames||Dec 17|
|9||Alice in Wonderland||Tim Burton's most intriguing film in years||Mar 5|
|10||The Twilight Saga: Eclipse||Isn't the last Twilight movie still in theaters?||Jun 30|
|11||Scott Pilgrim vs. The World||Edgar Wright's indie-rock comic-book comedy||TBD|
|12||The A-Team||If you have a problem, if no one else can help ...||Jun 11|
|13||Kick-Ass||A teenage superhero attempts to do just that||Apr 16|
|14||Shutter Island||Scorsese's thriller could scare up big Feb. numbers||Feb 19|
|15||Predators||This sci-fi sequel promises escapist fun||Jul 7|
|16||Jonah Hex||This comic-book Western might be cursed||Jun 18|
|17||Sex and the City 2||It's like Cosmopolitan with cosmopolitans (again)||May 28|
|18||Shrek Forever After||A "fourgettable" sequel?||May 21|
|19||A Nightmare on Elm Street||Another pointless remake?||Apr 30|
|20||The Last Airbender||The twist? M. Night Shyamalan might have a hit||Jul 2|
What follows are descriptions and release dates for over 100 of the films likely to appear in 2010 -- the most promising, the most intriguing, the most likely to succeed, the most perplexing, and the most likely to be terrible movies of the next 12 months. We hope you didn't have a lot of work planned for today.
We start with this year's biggest sequels ...