Looking Ahead: Ethan Picks His Top 13 Most Anticipated Films of 2013

January 3, 2013

13 Most Anticipated Films of 2013

After naming my personal Top 20 Films of 2012, it's time to look forward to an all new year of hopefully great films. This weekend kicks off with a whimper as Lionsgate sends Texas Chainsaw 3D to theaters, but movies like The Impossible, Not Fade Away, Promised Land and Zero Dark Thirty get wider releases. However, there's plenty of great films on the horizons, and while most of them are a few months away, I've decided to compile my 13 Most Anticipated Films of 2013 (because why not?). There aren't too many indies on this list because we'll catch a lot of those at Sundance in a couple weeks, and many of them don't have release dates or distributors just yet. But we'll cover all of those films soon enough. See the list below!

#13. Before Midnight (TBA)

Before Midnight

After immensely enjoying Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise and the unlikely sequel Before Sunset, you can bet that I'm absolutely thrilled to be catching the third installment at Sundance in a couple weeks. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy return as Celine and Jesse after another nine years and this time we find them in their early 40s in Greece. But for some reason, the two only have until midnight to share some meaningful conversation and catch up on all the time they've spent away from each other. It's hard to believe it's been nearly 20 years since they first met, and I can't wait to see their latest encounter.

#12. Monuments Men (December 18th)

Monuments Men

We don't have a trailer or even a first look photo, but just the story and cast of this new film from director George Clooney is enough to have me more than excited for this likely Oscar contender. The film is an adaptation Robert M. Edsel's book The Monuments Men and tells the true story of a hand-picked group of art experts chosen by the U.S. government to retrieve artwork stolen by the Nazis. Clooney is co-writing the film with his producing partner Grant Heslov (Good Night and Good Luck), and he's also rounded up an impressive cast to join him on the big screen. Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Daniel Craig, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban and Hugh Bonneville are all part of the film, so hopefully that's enough to grab your attention.

#11. The Wolverine (July 26th)

The Wolverine

This would be higher on the list if the film was still being directed by Darren Aronofsky, but director James Mangold isn't a bad replacement for this sequel that is supposed to take place sometime after X-Men: The Last Stand. Hugh Jackman returns as our favorite gruff, clawed mutant, but this time he's headed to Japan. Story details are still pretty vague, but Wolverine is said to be facing his ultimate nemesis in a life-or-death battle that will leave him forever changed. Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality, emerging more powerful than we have ever seen him before. It already sounds infinitely better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

#10. Kick-Ass 2 (June 28th)

Kick-Ass 2

The sequel to the 2012 comic book adaptation is rounding up a real-life team of Avengers in the form of Justice Forever, a team of heroes joining forces with Kick-Ass (Aaron Johnson) and Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz) to take on Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) who is now a super villain with his own team of bad guys. Jim Carrey and Donald Faison are some of the new heroes and John Leguizamo takes post as a new henchman. This will be a nice R-rated, bloody but of comic book counter programming for those who aren't all that impressed with Marvel's cinematic universe so far.

#9. The Wolf of Wall Street (TBA)

The Wolf of Wall Street

Martin Scorsese teaming up with Leonardo DiCaprio again is enough to get excited, but throw in Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill, Kyle Chandler, Jon Favreau and Jean Dujardin and you've got the making of a great Oscar contender in 2013. There's no official release date yet, and only some paparazzi snaps from the 80s-set drama have surfaced, but with Scorsese and DiCaprio teaming up, you can be sure this will be vying for Academy Awards towards the end of 2013.  The financial thriller follows a New York stockbroker who refuses to cooperate in a large securities fraud case involving corruption on Wall Street, the corporate banking world and mob infiltration.

#8. This is the End / The World's End (June 14th / October 25th)

This is the End / The Worlds End

All right, we're cheating a bit here since this is actually two movies, but when you have two apocalyptic comedies from two different comedy powerhouses, you just have to keep them together. This is the End features friends and colleagues James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson and Jonah Hill all playing themselves, facing a threat at the end of the world. Emma Watson and Michael Cera also come along for the ride with a bunch more Hollywood friends, and the red band tease looked hilarious. Meanwhile, director Edgar Wright finally reunites with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost for the final installment of the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, The World's End. The first look photo just emerged featuring Pegg and Frost, and we're hoping for a trailer soon.

#7. Pacific Rim (July 12th)

Pacific Rim

Guillermo del Toro and giant robots fighting giant monsters. Where do I sign? With a concept that feels straight out of anime, the creative and fantastical mind of Guillermo del Toro is perfect for this kind of large scale sci-fi action blockbuster, and he doesn't need a huge A-list cast to bring it to life. In fact, lead actors Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi and Charlie Hunnam are hardly household names, and Ron Perlman and Charlie Day aren't exactly big box office draws, so this is kind of a risk all around. It's the big action set pieces that have to sell this film and the teaser trailer release late last year did that just fine. It'll be nice to have a del Toro directed feature on the big screen again after years of waiting.

#6. Anchorman: The Legend Continues (December 20th)

Anchorman: The Legend Continues

It will have been nearly ten years by the time this sequel hits theaters, and the anticipation couldn't be higher. That almost guarantees that director Adam McKay will be facing an unfair amount of scrutiny, especially for a comedy that was never really meant to be a huge hit with quotes that still resonate through pop culture today. But the idea of rounding up Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell and David Koechner, who are all much bigger names today, and some more of their comedian friends who have risen to stardom in the last ten years sounds like it'll at least be fun, even if it ends up not living up to the original.

#5. Gravity (TBA)


After being pushed back to 2013, the eagerly anticipated sci-fi film from director Alfonso Cuaron is almost guaranteed to hot theaters this year, but there's no release date just yet. The film is part of Warner Bros. deal to release a slew of their films on IMAX, so it's just a matter of time. And you can bet that after putting Children of Men at #3 in my picks for the ten best films of the last decade, I'm looking forward to Cuaron's first film since finishing the gritty 2006 sci-fi drama. George Clooney and Sandra Bullock lead the film which follows astronauts attempting to return to Earth after debris crashes into their space shuttle, leaving them drifting alone in space. It's supposed to be quiet, intimate and riveting, so I cannot wait to see what Cuaron has been working on all these years. *Note: the picture above is from Solaris.*

#4. The Great Gatsby (May 10th)

The Great Gatsby

Yes, the new adaptation from Baz Luhrmann is very high on the list, and that's because it looks like a stellar, flashy, but powerful take on F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel. From a cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton to a visual style that is unlike anything that has been seen when adapting this kind of material, there's every reason to be giddy with anticipation. And if I haven't made it clear enough before, I love the use of modern music in the trailers, and can't wait to see what Luhrmann and his crew, along with Jay-Z as a producer, do with the soundtrack.

#3. Iron Man 3 (May 3rd)

Iron Man 3

You can't help but get excited for the Marvel Studios' movie immediately following The Avengers and the kick-off of Phase Two of their cinematic universe. Plus, this time Kiss Kiss Bang Bang director Shane Black is at the helm and Ben Kingsley is bringing to life Iron Man's arch nemesis The Mandarin with a voice that seems to carry quite a phenomenal performance. The first trailer was more stark (no pun intended) and serious than we anticipated, but we're sure there's humor to be found amongst the darkness when this sequel launches the summer blockbuster season in May. Plus, it'll likely give us a hint of what's to come in Thor: The Dark World later in 2013.

#2. Man of Steel (June 14th)

Man of Steel

After Superman Returns, I wasn't sure if I could ever look forward to a new film featuring the Big Blue Boy Scout again. Bringing in Christopher Nolan as a producer was a good move by Warner Bros. but hiring Zack Snyder to direct was a bit of an eyebrow raising decision. However, when that first full trailer for the film arrived, I was more than blown away. It's subtle, quiet, haunting and beautiful. It almost feels like they're lying telling audiences that Zack Snyder directed the film. This might finally be the Superman film fans and cinephiles have been waiting on for far too long now. Can we see some more of Michael Shannon as General Zod sooner than later, please?

#1. Star Trek Into Darkness (May 17th)

Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness - As a longtime Star Wars fan, you can't imagine my surprise upon realizing that I've come to love the new Star Trek franchise from J.J. Abrams. And that's coming from someone who hasn't really come to unconditionally love the old film franchise or any of the various TV series. But after Abrams rebooted Star Trek in 2009 with an unbelievable cast, I was hooked. And now all the mystery surrounding the villain and story of this sequel is enough to make this my most anticipated film of the year. From the 9-minute prologue that I've now seen play twice before The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to the amazing theatrical trailer, this sequel looks breathtaking, and I don't know if I can wait until May to see it.

And these movies are just the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty of great films to see each month, and we're sure to add dozens more to your lists of anticipated films once we head to Park City, Utah on January 17th for the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. You can check out all of our Sundance related coverage right here, and stay tuned for all our updates from the mountains on the latest and greatest indie films to hit the circuit. In the meantime, feel free to tell us some of your most anticipated movies of 2013 in the comments below!

Find more posts: Discuss, Editorial, Hype



Cool list man! My most anticipated is The Place Beyond the Pines and also Only God Forgives. Hoping it's a great year for movies!

Andrew Zachariason on Jan 3, 2013


Damn fine list Ethan, but after that horrid trailer I can't agree to #7

Tester on Jan 3, 2013


Totally agree with you, the trailer for Pacific Rim was horrible. Just really unexciting. The trailer has definitely pushed it down my list of most anticipated movies of 2013.

Pubics on Jan 3, 2013


Pacific Rim, Star Trek 2, The Hobbit Part 2, This is The End, and Anchorman 2 are my top five.

DAVIDPD on Jan 3, 2013


a good list. i've no doubt i'll be at some of the blockbusters on opening night, but it's January and i think i might be getting sequel fatigue! really looking forward to Gravity and (if it can be better than the trailer) Pacific Rim, but 2013's sci-fi film for me is Elysium. in District 9, Blomkamp set the bar very high, so the challenge will be trying to watch the film without comparison. have to disagree with you on the comedy comparison. in my opinion, the cast of The World's End tower over This Is The End's. was looking forward to World War Z until that horrible trailer. also looking forward to The Place Beyond The Pines, Gangster Squad, Brandon Cronenberg's Antiviral and Stoker, the last two of which look like they'll get under your skin. plus the spectacle of Aaron Eckhart playing Frankenstein in September. let's hope it's a vintage year.

son_et_lumiere on Jan 3, 2013


Wasn't wowed by District 9 like a lot of people were. The whole thing felt rather...sloppy.

Chris Groves on Jan 4, 2013


fair enough, it worked for me. i thought it was pretty tight rather than sloppy. sci-fi can be all about escapism, but i also like it not afraid to be gritty, ugly or political. i know some don't like the third act, but i enjoyed Blomkamp cutting loose. it made his name, now it's up to him to show he's no one hit wonder. if District 9 showed anything, it's that he's not afraid to try things rather than just play it safe. that has to be worth anticipation. same goes for Cuaron / Gravity.

son_et_lumiere on Jan 4, 2013


You probably hate sex too

Geoffrey Shauger on Jan 4, 2013


If you are comparing District 9 to sex...then I pity you.

Chris Groves on Jan 6, 2013


the wolverine is on the list... really?

comic393 on Jan 3, 2013


I more looking forward to Thor 2 than I am Wolverine (strictly speaking on the subject of comic movies)

JBrotsis on Jan 3, 2013


I agree with Gravity, Man of Steel, Star Trek 2, and The Wolverine (which has absolutely fantastic posters). I'd also agree with @facebook-100003945884265:disqus choices of The Place Beyond the Pines and Only God Forgives. I'd also add in Reitman's Labor Day, Alexander Payne's November (if it comes out), Joseph Gordon Levitt's directorial debut, The Evil Dead (I'm praying it's good), Esylium, Side Effects (Steven Soderberg's last film...), Gangster Squad, A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, Warm Bodies, Oz: The Great and Powerful, Much Ado about Nothing, Sin City 2, Ender's Game, To the Wonder, and, last but not least by any standard, The Zero Theorem.

Greg dinskisk on Jan 3, 2013


Side Effects will be his last film in theaters. But Behind the Candelabra will air on HBO later this year! Some other great pics mentioned here as well. I forgot about Labor Day and Zero Theorem.

Andrew DiDonato on Jan 4, 2013


Right, right, right, Behind the Candelabra, I forgot about that one... Adding that to my list too!!! I'm going to miss him when he's gone...

Greg dinskisk on Jan 5, 2013


thanks for the reminder on Zero Theorem. Gilliam + Waltz + Damon + The Swinton + Wishaw + Thewlis - seriously, what's not to like?

son_et_lumiere on Jan 4, 2013


Yeah, I noticed it a few days ago on wikipedia, and I started flipping because I hadn't heard of it before. It sounds incredible!!!

Greg dinskisk on Jan 5, 2013


What's it supposed to be about? Now you've got me interested...

Scopedog on Jan 5, 2013


i just looked up the official logline again: 'An eccentric and reclusive computer genius plagued with existential angst works on a mysterious project aimed at discovering the purpose of existence—or the lack thereof—once and for all.' while an article by Alex back in August said: 'Living in an Orwellian corporate world where 'mancams' serve as the eyes of a shadowy figure known only as Management, Leth (Waltz) works on a solution to the strange theorem while living as a virtual cloistered monk in his home—the shattered interior of a fire-damaged chapel. His isolation and work are interrupted now and then by surprise visits from Bainsley, a flamboyantly lusty love interest who tempts him with 'tantric biotelemetric interfacing' (virtual sex) and Bob, the 'whiz-kid' son of Management who spurs on Qohen’s efforts at solving the theorem. Bob creates a virtual reality 'inner-space' suit that will carry Qohen on an inward voyage, a close encounter with the hidden dimensions and truth of his own soul,wherein lie the answers both he and Management are seeking. The suit and supporting computer technology will perform an inventory of Qohen's soul, either proving or disproving the Zero Theorem." so, all clear, now?!

son_et_lumiere on Jan 6, 2013


Crystal. Thanks much for that! One to certainly keep an eye on.

Scopedog on Jan 6, 2013


Elysium should be on there!

Paul K. on Jan 3, 2013


Wow! and i thought 2012's film line-up was impossible to top. Most anticipated films for me would be 1. Elysium 2 Place beyond the Pines 3 Man of Steel 4 Gravity . Cant wait!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sherlon on Jan 3, 2013


Elysium is #1 on my list. These are all decent choices, but Blomkamp has the skills and vision to really be the standout.

Greedo on Jan 3, 2013


I hope so too but I read the script and it was pretty shlock...here's hoping for the best but not so sure....

ff on Jan 4, 2013


Pacific Rim feels and somehow will probably be Jon Carter of 2013. As for #8, might as well say your top 14. They are typically the same type of plot (end of the world scenario) but two completely different movies. It's like saying Oblivion and After Earth is my #5 anticipated movie.

Jack Felton on Jan 3, 2013


I'm not invested in two end of the world comedies because of the plot. It's because of the cast, directors and writers. The problem with most comedies nowadays is being a slave to a plot that's too complicated, when it really needs to be about the characters and laughs.

Ethan Anderton on Jan 4, 2013


what about The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, can't wait for another 3 hour movie

Andrew on Jan 3, 2013


Lot of great picks. I'm personally really looking forward to The Wolf of Wall Street, Inside Llewyn Davis, To the Wonder, Trance, I'm So Excited, The Hobbit Part 2, Nymphomaniac, Nebraska, Pacific Rim, Star Trek Into Darkness, The World's End. A lot of my favorite directors have movies coming out next year, should be fun.

Andrew DiDonato on Jan 3, 2013


Good list. Gravity is hands down my most anticipated film this year. I hope it comes out already. After that The Wolf of Wall Street and the 2 Ryan Gosling films. Oh, and the second Hobbit.

Isildur_of_Numenor on Jan 4, 2013


1. Pacific Rim 2. Jurassic Park 3D 3.Man of Steel 4. Star Trek Into Darkness 5. Man of Steel 6. Star Wars Episode 2+3 3D

Chris Groves on Jan 4, 2013


Star Trek Into Darkness?? Looks like they copied psyche of batman-Joker...see the trailer

ASB on Mar 13, 2013


You think I haven't? The first was great and this looks better. Also, my list has a typo. Iron Man 3 should be in the #3 spot, don't know why I typed 'Man of Steel' twice.

Chris Groves on Mar 14, 2013


Pacific Rim is going to blow people away. Sure, Hunnam and Day aren't big 'movie stars'...but Hunnam is the lead of the hit show 'Sons of Anarchy'(along with Perlman) and Day is a lead on the equally successful show 'It's always sunny in Philadelphia'...and between Thor and Prometheus, Elba has gotten some decent exposure. It's not a cast of A-listers...but in the cases of Day, Hunnam, and Perlman, you have millions of devoted fans tuning into their shows every weak. Not a cast of 'no-names' either.

Chris Groves on Jan 4, 2013


Trailer looked like pure garbage....like another Transformers movie

Geoffrey Shauger on Jan 4, 2013


If you don't know the difference between Guillermo Del Toro and Michael Bay, and the type of films they make, then I can't help you. Count the amount of explosions in the trailer for 'The Dark Knight'...probably similar to other 'generic action movies'...did that impact how the film turned out? Trailers are all cut in similar fashions.

Chris Groves on Jan 6, 2013


1) Screw 'Hobbits' (and it's 2 inevitable [and dreaded] sequels) 2) 'Anchorman'?? Really?? Seriously?? 3) WHY is Star Trek '#1' on the list (I can understand it being on there, but.. #1'?? 4) WHY is 'The Wolf of Wall Street' significant or even a movie to begin with??!! 5) WTF is 'Monuments Men'??!! I wish it was an April Fools Joke, but, alas.. It's only January. 6) 'The Great Gatsby' had BETTER be better than it's trailer. (although it may be a few years before I'm bored enough to find out) 7) I'm going to find out exactly what 'Elysium' is, since so many on here insist it should've made the list. 8) I'm SO RELIEVED to not see anything about a new 'Twilight' film!! Woo, hoo!! Finally, the (Soap Opera-Esque, over-dramatized, Greasy-Haired) Undead IS dead!! Hopefully there won't be any more of that crappola during my lifetime! Whew!! ;~D (Where's Blade, Buffy & Van Helsing when you need them?)

Atheist on Jan 4, 2013


I wasn't a fan of the Lord of the Ring series nor Anchorman, so I'm not the one to talk to about this, but I believe I can comment on every other thing on here... 3: 2009 Star Trek wasn't great (despite popular belief) but it was good, and after a slew of bad to decent Star Trek movies, that's fantastic. Plus, from what I've heard, the first nine minutes that some saw in 3D Imax was incredible. Probably some hyperbole, but probably not that much (I have hope in Abrams). 4.) The Wolf of Wall Street is a movie because someone thought that Martin Scorsese, one of the greatest directors ever, who made Goodfellas, Raging Bull, Casino, Hugo, and much, much more, could make a good movie out of a good book with a good cast. I'm not sure I get it either!!! 5.) Monument Men is a film directed by George Clooney, you know, an up and coming guy (psh I doubt he'll make ANYTHING of himself ever ;D), and it has an incredible cast. Definitely deserves a spot on this list. 6.) This is the only one I'm really iffy on... It looks good to me, has Carey Mulligan and Leo DiCaprio, but... Baz is hit or miss with me, and Tobey McGuire... 7.) Elysium is Blomkamp's follow up to 2009's District 9, which was 2/3s fantastic, 1/3 cool shootout. This one sounds like it can't end in a shootout, and Blomkamp showed quite a bit of potential, so it's easy to see why people would be looking forward to it. I am. 8.) Sorry to break it to you here, but Warm Bodies (looks good to me), World War Z, Beautiful Creatures, and most every January/October release this year... Sorry! I probably sound like a dick. Oh well.

Greg dinskisk on Jan 5, 2013


"I probably sound like a dick. Oh well." Nah, you sound like a guy giving an informed opinion, backed up by pretty solid points. Doesn't sound dickish to me.

Scopedog on Jan 5, 2013


Sweet, thanks!

Greg dinskisk on Jan 5, 2013


Pacific Rim and Iron Man don't belong on this list. Plus where is Elysium?

Geoffrey Shauger on Jan 4, 2013


Great list--hope all of these films are worth it.

Scopedog on Jan 5, 2013


Guessing you're not fond of Zack Snyder (don't ask me how I know this, just a hunch). Well, I love the guy & his directing & feel all of his movie thus far are nothing short of awesome (yes, that includes Suckerpunch) & I have full confidence that Man of Steel WILL be the Superman movie we've all been waiting BECAUSE of Mr. Snyder. Thank You.

Superhaus on Jan 5, 2013


My additional 13... Only God Forgives by Nicolas Winding Refn The Place Beyond the Pines by Derek Cianfrance Her by Spike Jonze Lowlife by James Gray The Sacrament by Ti West Twelve Years a Slave by Steve Mcqueen The Grandmaster by Wong Kar Wai Evil Dead by Fede Alvarez Only Lovers Left Alive by Jim Jarmusch Stoker by Park Chan-wook Labor Day by Jason Reitman Spring Breakers by Harmony Korine The Bling Ring by Sofia Coppola

Marcus on Jan 6, 2013


Missing Oblivion, After Earth and Elysium on that list.

SciFiCisco on Jan 16, 2013


Star Trek was very hyped and over-rated. I can't seem to know why is it in 1st place!

ASB on Mar 13, 2013

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