18 Films to Look Forward to in 2013

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Shakespeare, Superman, colossal robots, and other sights to see at the cinema this year

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Warner Bros.; Lionsgate; Pixar; 20th Century Fox

Looking back on the year in cinema, 2012 was a good year for franchises and for heroines—and an especially good year for Spandex.

Thanks to high-gloss superhero flicks like Joss Whedon's The Avengers, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, and Marc Webb's Marvel reboot The Amazing Spider-Manthe top three earners of the year—the stretchy stuff got a generous bit of screen time. And Magic Mike didn't hurt.

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While Man of Steel, Iron Man 3, and the second installment of The Hunger Games trilogy all promise to provide 2013 with its fair share of neoprene and Lycra-clad action stars, watch for this year's heroes to get a little grittier (Bruce Willis returns to Die Hard! Brad Pitt vs. zombie apocalypse!), a little more cerebral (Daniel Craig, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, and George Clooney star in a heist movie about art history!) and even a little more grandfatherly (Tom Hanks as Walt Disney!).

Of the 18 films included in this list, five are installments of existing franchises; another five are based on best-selling books and classic works of literature, and three draw their inspirations from real, historical events. Before we get there, though, the necessary opening disclaimers: First, this (admittedly incomplete) list is limited to films presently slated for wide release; that is, release in 2,000 theaters or more. And second, re-releases of older films are left off the list. That's why this year's 3D and IMAX re-edits of Jurassic Park, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Top Gun, and The Little Mermaid are omitted.

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Ashley Fetters is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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