This year’s crop of would be summer blockbusters features the usual assortment of old friends—if you consider Captain Jack Sparrow and Papa Smurf friends—sequels, remakes and comic-book adaptations. From Cars 2 to Transformers 3 to Spy Kids 4 to Final Destination 5, Hollywood is once again betting you’ll pay to see movies with numbers in the title.
Here are ten of the most intriguing flicks from a loud-but-potentially-fun bunch.
Thor (May 6)
The Gist: Godly comic-book epic starring relative unknown Chris Hemsworth.
Why It Will Rock: Directed by visual wizard and Shakespearen legend Kenneth Branaugh, co-stars post-Oscar Natalie Portman and Sir Anthony Hopkins.
Unless: This character is silly even by superhero standards.
Best Case Scenario: When it comes to superheroes, there’s no such thing as too silly.
Bridesmaids (May 13)
The Gist: Rowdy comedy starring Kristin Wiig (who also co-wrote), Rose Byrne and Jon Hamm.
Why It Will Rock: Looks raunchy and funny enough to be this year’s The Hangover (even as it competes against The Hangover Part II).
Unless: It winds up more like the hideous Bride Wars and audiences ditch it at the altar.
Best Case Scenario: Women finally get their own iconic gross-out comedy.
The Tree of Life (May 27)
The Gist: Highly secretive historical drama starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn.
Why It Will Rock: Written and directed by elusive genius Terrence Malick, one of the greatest filmmakers alive. The trailer has been giving audiences chicken skin.
Unless: This was originally filmed years ago and has been pushed back multiple times. Is that a red flag, or simply Malick being Malick?
Best Case Scenario: Another Malick masterpiece.
X-Men First Class (June 3)
The Gist: Prequel starring Michael Fassbinder and Jennifer Laurence.
Why It Will Rock: A promising attempt to reboot and revive the mutant franchise.
Unless: X-Men simply doesn’t work without the original cast, including Bryan Singer, Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman.
Best Case Scenario: X-Men: Preschool gets the green light.
Super 8 (June 10)
The Gist: A top secret sci-fi thriller, written and directed by J.J. Abrams.
Why It Will Rock: Abrams is aiming for a Spielberg-like mix of explosions and whimsy—and Spielberg is on board as a producer.
Unless: The secrecy and lack of big stars cause it to get lost in a sea of sequels.
Best Case Scenario: Abrams is no longer known as the guy who created Felicity.
Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop (June 24)
The Gist: Documentary about O’Brien’s summer tour following his Tonight Show debacle.
Why It Will Rock: A funny and revealing look at the late-night meltdown that spawned a million “Coco” posters.
Unless: It can’t dodge the question: why should we pay for something we can see for free every night?
Best Case Scenario: Leads to a spin-off Triumph The Insult Comic Dog/Masturbating Bear road-trip movie.
Larry Crowne (July 1)
The Gist: Romantic Comedy starring Tom Hanks (who also directed) and Julia Roberts.
Why It Will Rock: Two big stars, and a return for Hanks to the Sleepless In Seattle genre.
Unless: The Hanks/Roberts team-up didn’t lure audiences to Charlie Wilson’s War, which tanked.
Best Case Scenario: Hanks won’t have to resort to a Bosom Buddies reunion special.
Cowboys and Aliens (July 29)
The Gist: Sci-Fi Adventure starring Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig, from Iron Man director Jon Favreau.
Why It Will Rock: A genre mash-up featuring James Bond and Indiana Jones? How can it miss?
Unless: The last time we got a sci-fi Western, it was Wild Wild West.
Best Case Scenario: Fanboys worldwide glue cowboy hats onto their Han Solo action figures.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (August 5)
The Gist: Sci-fi prequel starring James Franco, Frieda Pinto and Andy Serkis.
Why It Will Rock: The studio, which nicknamed it Ape-etar, is big on it. Looks nothing like the much-hated 2001 Tim Burton remake.
Unless: Considering it’s a prequel to a half dozen movies, the ending is a given.
Best Case Scenario: Damn dirty apes are hot once again.
Fright Night (August 19)
The Gist: Shot-in-3-D remake of the 1985 horror classic, stars Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell and Toni Collete.
Why It Will Rock: Farrell’s performance is what got him the lead in next summer’s Total Recall remake. Director Jim Gillespie also made the wonderful Lars and the Real Girl.
Unless: It’s another crappy remake of a good horror movie.
Best Case Scenario: Jerry Dandridge vampire costumes outsell Ghostface on Halloween.