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26 Must-See Summer Movies

Shaun Harrison
Must-See-Summer-iron-man3-1.jpg
1 of 26 Walt Disney Pictures

Iron Man 3

Release Date: May 3 On the heels of last year's blockbuster The Avengers, Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as Tony Stark (a.k.a. the titular superhero) in this action flick that officially kicked off the summer movie season. This time, he's battling evil mastermind The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), who's been launching a series of terrorist attacks. Gwyneth Paltrow also returns as Tony's girlfriend, Pepper Potts. Will this be the last we see of Iron Man? Unlikely, as The Avengers 2 is slated for a 2015 release.
2 of 26 Warner Bros. Pictures

The Great Gatsby

Release Date: May 10 Baz Luhrmann has turned F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel about a group of wealthy New Yorkers who spend a summer together that ultimately turns tragic into a 3D extravaganza. Though the movie stays true to the book's setting (New York at the height of the Jazz Age), the soundtrack in Luhrmann's version features the likes of Florence + the Machine, Jay-Z, Kanye West and Beyonce. Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the title role, while Toby Maguire plays narrator Nick Carrway and Carey Mulligan portrays the object of Gatsby's affection, Daisy Buchanan.
3 of 26 Zade Rosenthal/Paramount Pictures

Star Trek Into Darkness

Release Date: May 17 J.J. Abrams' highly-anticipated follow-up to 2009's Star Trek finds Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto reprising their roles on the U.S.S. Enterprise as Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, respectively. In this installment, the 12th in the Star Trek franchise, they're up against a wrathful supervillain played by Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch. Is he Khan? That secret's been closely guarded, but all signs point to this film having darker tones than Trekkies are used to. Zoe Saldana also returns as Spock's love interest Uhura.
4 of 26 Warner Bros. Pictures

The Hangover Part III

Release Date: May 23 The Wolfpack is back! And this time their shenanigans are centered around a road trip, not a bachelor party. But have no fear — this gang can always get into trouble. The third and final installment in the trilogy finds Alan (Zach Galifianakis), Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms) hitting the road together to help Alan cope with the death of his father. Where do they wind up? Las Vegas, of course. Melissa McCarthy and John Goodman also join the cast this time around, and Ken Jeong resurrects his gangster, Mr. Chow.
5 of 26 Twentieth Century Fox

Epic

Release Date: May 24 Colin Farrell, Amanda Seyfried, Beyonce, Christoph Waltz, Jason Sudeikis, Aziz Ansari, Steven Tyler and Josh Hutcherson all voice characters in this star-studded animated feature about a teenage human girl (Seyfried) who shrinks down to the size of tiny "Leaf Men," who live in the grass. She teams up with them to help them defend their world in the forest and save the human world at large in the process. Think Honey, I Shrunk the Kids in cartoon form, but with a good vs. evil action subplot.
6 of 26 Universal Pictures

Fast & Furious 6

Release Date: May 24 Once again helmed by director Justin Lin, the sixth Fast & Furious movie promises all the crashes, blasts and explosions of the first five — remember the teaser that played during this year's Super Bowl, featuring a car ejecting out of a crashing airplane as it hit the ground? Vin Diesel is back as Dominic Toretto, who gets behind the wheel to go head-to-head against former special ops agent Own Shaw (Luke Evans) and — surprise! — Michelle Rodriguez's Letty, who's back from the dead and working for the bad guys. What does that mean for her romance with Dominic? Also returning: Paul Walker and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
7 of 26 Barry Wetcher/Summit Entertainment

Now You See Me

Release Date: May 31 Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson and Dave Franco star in this caper as "The Four Horsemen," a group of magicians who use sleight of hand and other trickery to pull off a series of heists against banks and corrupt business leaders, and redistribute the money to their audience, Robin Hood-style. Mark Ruffalo plays the FBI agent who's trying to track them down.
8 of 26 Columbia Pictures

After Earth

Release Date: June 7 Father and son Will and Jaden Smith team up for M. Night Shyamalan's latest feature, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi adventure set 1,000 years in the future. Will Smith's interplanetary ranger/warrior and his son (Jaden) crash-land on Earth, which is now inhabited by savage, wild animals rather than humans. Jaden's ranger-in-training character is tasked with protecting himself and his father, who was injured in the collision. The elder Smith came up with the idea for the film after seeing a story about a veteran of the Iraq War who goes on a trip with his son upon returning home.
9 of 26 Phil Bray/Twentieth Century Fox

The Internship

Release Date:June 7 Call it The Workplace Crashers? Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn reunite for this fish-out-of-water comedy from Night at the Museum director Shawn Levy, about two unemployed guys who decide to change careers in their 40s and accept rigorous internship positions at Google to do so. (The company allowed the film's crew to film scenes on location in its offices.) There, they compete with younger, more digitally-savvy workers for a permanent job at the tech giant.
10 of 26 Clay Enos/Warner Bros. Entertainment

Man of Steel

Release Date: June 14 Can Chris Nolan do it again? The man who revived the Batman franchise produces this Superman reboot starring Henry Cavill as the titular caped hero. Directed by Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) the new film traces Clark Kent's alien origin story, his adoption, and his growth into a young journalist who must embrace his secret superpowers to save Earth from invading members of his own race. Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane and Russell Crowe also star.
11 of 26 Disney

Monsters University

Release Date: June 21 Pixar's summer prequel revisits Monsters, Inc. pals Sulley and Mike (John Goodman and Billy Crystal) to tell the story of how they met in college, when they were both majoring in "scaring" and studying how to be monsters. Sulley and Mike's relationship turns competitive when they find themselves in the same fraternity trying to outdo each other when it comes to their "academic" achievements. Helen Mirren voices the school's headmistress, and Steve Buscemi reprises his role as Randall Boggs.
12 of 26 Jaap Buitendijk/ Paramount Pictures

World War Z

Release Date: June 21 Brad Pitt's long-awaited zombie apocalypse flick finally comes to the big screen six years after it was first announced. Based on Max Brooks' sci-fi novel of the same name, the movie traces a viral pandemic as it spreads around the world and sets off a zombie outbreak. Tracking the infection is U.N. employee Gerry Lane (Pitt), a "hot zone" specialist who brings the dead victims back to life in an attempt to discover the virus's origins.
13 of 26 Gemma La Mana/Twentieth Century Fox

The Heat

Release Date: June 28 From a script by Parks and Recreation writer Katie Dippold, The Heat gives the buddy-cop genre a gender reversal in this comedy starring Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock. Bullock plays FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn, a rigid, put-together Type A officer who, in order to catch a Russian mobster, teams up with McCarthy's Detective Shannon Mullins, an abrasive street cop from Boston with stringy hair, a bad wardrobe, and a foul mouth to boot. Michael Rapaport, Marlon Wayans and Tony Hale also star.
14 of 26 Reiner Bajo/Columbia Pictures

White House Down

Release Date: June 28 2013 hasn't been a good year for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — at least at the movies. The second movie this year to feature an attack on the White House (behind March's Olympus Has Fallen), White House Down stars Channing Tatum as a D.C. police officer/aspiring Secret Service agent who becomes a de facto bodyguard for the president (Jamie Foxx) after the White House is attacked by a paramilitary group. Maggie Gyllenhaal also stars as a Secret Service agent in the film, directed by disaster master Roland Emmerich.
15 of 26 Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer

The Lone Ranger

Release Date: July 3 Johnny Depp reunites with Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer for this Lone Ranger update, playing Tonto opposite Armie Hammer as John Reid (the masked Ranger). The film borrows plot points from the 1950s TV show The Lone Ranger, as well as its radio predecessor from the 1930s, but tells the tale from the perspective of Tonto, who rescues the Lone Ranger from an attack by the Cavendish gang in 19th century Texas. Depp became an honorary member of the Comanche Native American tribe during the course of filming, and his frequent collaborator Helena Bonham Carter also co-stars in the movie.
16 of 26 Universal Pictures

Despicable Me 2

Release Date: July 3 In this animated sequel, Steve Carell once again voices Gru, a professional supervillain who's in the midst of raising his three adopted daughters after retiring. But his calm domestic life is interrupted when he's called upon by the Anti-Villain League (led by Steve Coogan's Silas Ramsbottom) to track down Eduardo (Benjamin Bratt), a new villain who makes Gru's quest for world domination look tame by comparison. Russell Brand and Miranda Cosgrove will reprise their roles from the original 2010 film, while Kristen Wiig voices Agent Lucy Wilde.
17 of 26 Kerry Hayes/Warner Bros. Pictures

Pacific Rim

Release Date: July 12 Director Guillermo del Toro's latest effort is a robots-versus-monsters science fiction adventure set in the near future. Idris Elba stars as a military man leading the fight against a group of giant aliens that have risen from the Pacific Ocean and started a war against humans. Battling the creatures are giant robots known as Jaegers, which are controlled by two soldiers whose minds are synchronized. Rinko Kikuchi and Charlie Hunnam play an unlikely team who act as mankind's last hope when they are tasked with bringing an obsolete Jaeger out of retirement.
18 of 26 Nicole Rivelli/ Roadside Attractions

Girl Most Likely

Release Date: July 19 Kristen Wiig and Darren Criss form an unlikely connection in this dysfunctional comedy about a woman (Wiig) who decides a suicide attempt may be the best way to win back her ex-boyfriend (Brian Petsos). Instead, it lands her under the care of her estranged mother, a gambling addict played by Annette Bening, who's rented out her daughter's childhood bedroom to a drifter named Lee (Criss).
19 of 26 Jan Thijs/ Summit Entertainment

Red 2

Release Date: July 19 Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren and Catherine Zeta-Jones are back in this sequel to the 2010 action flick about a group of retirees trying to track down a weapon of mass destruction. In what may be a nod to his Silence of the Lambs role as Dr. Hannibal Lecter, newcomer Anthony Hopkins plays an imprisoned physicist who helps the team in their quest. John Malkovich and Mary-Louise Parker also star.
20 of 26 Universal Pictures

R.I.P.D.

Release Date: July 19 Based on the comic book of the same name, the title acronym stands for the Rest in Peace Department, a group of dead law enforcement officers who protect the people of earth from evil souls who refuse to pass on to the afterlife. Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds star as a marshal from the 1800s and his modern-day cop trainee, respectively, while Mary-Louise Parker plays their boss and Kevin Bacon plays Reynolds' partner in the land of the living. Oh, and the dead vigilantes all have "avatars" that living people see instead of the officers themselves.
21 of 26 Ben Rothenstein/Twentieth Century Fox

The Wolverine

Release Date: July 26 Hugh Jackman reprises his role as the titular Marvel Comics character in this second spin-off of The X Men, in which Wolverine meets a mysterious figure from his past and clashes with ninjas and the yazuka, an organized crime syndicate in Japan. The sixth film in the X-Men franchise, it's set sometime after 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand. The production has been plagued by both professional and natural setbacks — original director Darren Aronofsky dropped out in March 2011, a month before shooting was scheduled to begin, and later that month Japan (the movie's main shooting location) was struck by a deadly tsunami.
22 of 26 Universal Pictures

2 Guns

Release Date: August 2 Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg team up in this heist flick, based on the graphic novel of the same name, about a Naval Intelligence officer (Wahlberg) and a DEA agent (Washington) who try to take down a drug cartel. Their plan? Rob the bank where the cartel keeps its $40 million stash. But once they find out that they were actually set up by the CIA, the two officers find themselves on the run.
23 of 26 Disney

Planes

Release Date:August 9 Disney goes airborne with this new animated comedy, a spin-off of Pixar's Cars and Cars 2 featuring Dane Cook and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Cook voices Dusty Crophopper, an unassuming pilot who competes against the best of the best in a race around the world. Set to be the first film in a trilogy, Planes also features the vocal talents of Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Val Kilmer and John Cleese.
24 of 26 Kimberley French/ Columbia Pictures

Elysium

Release Date: August 9 Set in the 2150s, Elysium stars Matt Damon and Jodie Foster as characters in a semi-post-apocalyptic world. Earth has been ravaged and is in the midst of a population crisis, and only the very wealthy can afford to live on Elysium, a luxurious space habitat that revolves in Earth's orbit. Foster plays Secretary Delacourt, the head of the Elysium Corporate Authority, while Damon plays an Earth-dweller who's desperate to get to Elysium so that he can get the state-of-the-art medical treatment that he needs to live.
25 of 26 Dale Robinette/Millenium Entertainment

Lovelace

Release Date: August 9 The long-awaited biopic about the reluctant porn star Linda Lovelace features Amanda Seyfried in the title role and focuses on Lovelace's life between the ages of 20 and 32. Peter Sarsgaard plays the Deep Throat actress' abusive husband, who doubles as her manager, while James Franco appears as Hugh Hefner. Sharon Stone and Chris Noth also have cameos.
26 of 26 Universal Pictures

We're the Millers

Release Date: August 9 Horrible Bosses co-stars Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston reunite in this comedy to play the "parents" of a hastily thrown-together family who find themselves stuck in an RV together. The plot? Sudeikis' character is a small-time pot dealer who's tasked with transporting 2 tons of marijuana across the Mexican border and decides to use the ruse of a family road trip to elude border patrol. He recruits his stripper neighbor (Aniston) to play his wife, as well as a homeless teen and strange kid from his apartment building (Emma Roberts and Will Poulter) to play his children.