May 19--The summer movie season is a young man's game. That's who Hollywood targets once the weather heats up and school gets out.
Why does this rite of passage happen every May? Marketing has proven that teen boys and young men are (No. 1) the segment of the public that buys the most movie tickets during the summer months, and (No. 2) the most likely candidates to see a blockbuster multiple times.
That's why the Wolf Pack has another "Hangover," and the cool-car gang gets "Fast & Furious" for a sixth time. That's why apocalypse reigns in "After Earth," "World War Z" and even a comedy in "This is the End."
There's a reason that "White House Down" can be released while remarkably similar White-House-under-attack flick "Olympus Has Fallen" is still hanging around theaters: Stuff will be blown up and bad guys will be blown away. These are the two nutritional requirements of the summer-movie diet for the adolescent male, as well as men with no interest in ever outgrowing such explosive fare.
There are other offerings, including the Circle Cinema's arthouse fare. But between now and Independence Day, Pixar's prequel "Monsters University" and "Despicable Me 2" are guaranteed hits because they're virtually the only films made for children in the next two months.
And "The Heat," pairing Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock as comedic law enforcement officers, is the only movie in that time that seems to say, "We're here for you, ladies!"
Rather than overwhelm with something like 100 movies arriving between now and Labor Day, consider this our Summer Movie Preview: Part 1. Look for the sequel to arrive around July 4.
The following films, and dates, are subject to change.
The Hangover, Part III
There's no bachelor party or wedding, but there is a friend to console when the Wolf Pack helps Alan get over his dad's death in their own unique way. The usual suspects return, and John Goodman and Melissa McCarthy join them for a round.
Fast & Furious 6
The last one was the best one in this series, revving up with a heist storyline and Dwayne Johnson. "The Rock" is back, and this time his federal agent is recruiting Dominic's team to take down a former Special Ops soldier and his hot-car team.
This animated 3-D action-adventure from the makers of the "Ice Age" movies features a teen (Amanda Seyfried) discovering a secret world in the forest, only to learn that its feuding inhabitants threaten her own world.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
From director Mira Nair ("Monsoon Wedding") and based on the international best-seller. Riz Ahmed stars with Kate Hudson and Liev Schreiber in this story of a Pakistani man chasing Wall Street success in America, until events including a hostage crisis and the lingering pull of his homeland change his fortunes.
At Any Price
Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron star in this story set among modern agriculture, in which a father looks to continue the family business through his son, who's more interested in auto racing until a family crisis affects their livelihood.
Now You See Me
The concept and the cast make this movie sound magical: A team of Robin-Hooding illusionists pulls off bank robberies and redistributes the cash to their audiences. Morgan Freeman, Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher and Mark Ruffalo are among those matching wits.
Will Smith acts alongside his son Jaden Smith ("The Karate Kid") as the pair land on a post-apocalyptic planet Earth, where centuries later the creatures have adapted to see humans as the enemy.
Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's
This documentary on the Manhattan department store features conversations with fashion designers, style icons and celebrities, ranging from Tom Ford, Vera Wang and Marc Jacobs to Candice Bergen, Joan Rivers and Susan Lucci.
Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson have moved beyond crashing weddings. Now they're paired as out-of-work salesmen entering middle-age and looking to inject some youth into their resumes. How about internships with Google?
The set-up: What would you do if society gave you one day a year to commit any act with no fear of police action? The question for Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey's characters: What would you be willing to do if those people arrive to break into your home?
Stories We Tell
Writer-director-actress Sarah Polley ("Away From Her") goes the documentary route as she interviews members of a family and learns how their varying narratives about family events shape their lives and form their memories.
This is the End
Los Angeles has had some bad days, but this is the worst: It's the end of the world. Written and directed by the "Superbad" team of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, they lead a crew playing embellished versions of themselves, including James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel and a dozen more big names.
Man of Steel
It's another new start for the DC Comics superhero. With Christopher Nolan ("The Dark Knight") as producer, will we get the Superman we need now? Among villains, General Zod (played here by Michael Shannon) is a favorite, and Amy Adams as Lois Lane just sounds right.
Love is All You Need
A Danish hairdresser (Trine Dyrholm), who finds her husband cheating on her, travels to Italy for her daughter's wedding to the son of an American (Pierce Brosnan) who is a recent widower. Can either find a new start -- perhaps together?
Join Harry Belafonte, Connie Francis, Glen Campbell and more for this unusual documentary exploring the history and the meaning of the Jewish standard, following an around-the-world journey of the song from Ukraine to YouTube.
It's not a sequel, but rather Pixar's first prequel, offering a look at the college days for Sully and Mike. See how the big guy and his one-eyed pal met on not-too-friendly terms.
World War Z
That's Z as in zombie, with Brad Pitt playing a U.N. employee seeking out survivors of a zombie war. Based on the book by Max Brooks, the trailers show pulse-pounding action with Pitt pulling off a hero turn for the first time in a while.
Indie-movie darling Brit Marling ("Another Earth," "Arbitrage") plays an agent for a private intelligence firm assigned to infiltrate a group of anarchists who execute covert attacks on greedy corporations. Alexander Skarsgard and Ellen Page co-star.
Two women in a buddy-cop movie could be a big hit if the women are Sandra Bullock as an FBI agent and Melissa McCarthy as a Boston cop. Is this the "Bridesmaids" summer hit for 2013?
White House Down
Tell us if this sounds familiar: The White House comes under attack in this action-packed thriller. Sure, it sounds just like "Olympus Has Fallen," but this one stars Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx and promises to be totally different. Really.
Despicable Me 2
There's Gru fighting a powerful new super criminal, and there's the little girls, and there are those wonderfully funny little minions. All we need for a sequel, if you ask most kids....is more minions! They are very cute and very funny, you know.
The Lone Ranger
Armie Hammer: Lone Ranger. Johnny Depp: Tonto. It sounds like "The Odd Couple" on the prairie, but this is big-budget action-adventure fare. Who wants to see a Western starring Depp, teaming up with his "Pirates of the Caribbean" filmmaker?
Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain
The current king of comedy tours has been in movies before ("Think Like a Man"), but this is Kevin Hart in concert, filmed during a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden.
Michael Smith 918-581-8479
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