It’s a new year, and that means dozens of new movies for families to get excited over.
Sure, there’s nothing quite as big as “The Avengers” or “The Dark Knight Rises,” but film enthusiasts of any age should have plenty of options to keep them busy all year long.
Here’s a look at some of the family-friendly titles coming to a theater near you in 2013.
“Beautiful Creatures” — Based on a series of young adult novels by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, “Beautiful Creatures” could turn out to be the next teen phenomenon now that “Twilight” is over. Veteran actors like Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson and Viola Davis should keep things interesting for adults.
“Oz: The Great and Powerful” — Sam Raimi’s hubristic prequel to one of the most beloved films of all time updates the 1939 original’s Technicolor fantasyland with modern CGI visuals — not to mention flying monkeys that will haunt the nightmares of a new generation of youngsters.
“The Croods” — The first of three features from DreamWorks Animation scheduled for release in 2013, “The Croods” stars Nicolas Cage as the patriarch of a family of Neanderthals who must face the end of the world as they know it.
“The Host” — An adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s non-“Twilight” young adult novel about a race of body-snatching aliens. With the prodigious Saoirse Ronan in the lead role and “Gattaca” director Andrew Niccol at the helm, this could be one to watch out for.
“Jurassic Park 3D” — One of Steven Spielberg’s crowning achievements as a director returns to the big screen for a limited run. For anyone who didn’t catch it in theaters when it was originally released 20 years ago, this should be one of the must-see movies of the year.
“Iron Man 3” — The first post-“Avengers” Marvel movie will see Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark battling a new foe, the mysterious Mandarin (played by Sir Ben Kingsley), in what is being described as a “gritty, intense techno-thriller.” A no-brainer for fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“Epic” — Mixing elements from stuff like “FernGully: The Last Rainforest” and “The Secret World of Arrietty,” “Epic” is the latest movie from the team behind “Ice Age” and “Rio.” Like DreamWorks’ recent “Rise of the Guardians,” “Epic” is also based on a book by William Joyce titled “The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs.”
“Man of Steel” — Stepping into the role of producer on this one, Christopher Nolan applies his unique touch to the Last Son of Krypton himself, Superman, this time played by British actor Henry Cavill. If the trailers are any indication, expect big things.
“Monsters University” — A prequel to Pixar’s beloved “Monsters, Inc.,” this movie will explore the early relationship of Mike Wazowski and James “Sulley” Sullivan before they became Monstropolis’ top Scarers.
“Despicable Me 2” — Steve Carrell returns as the super-villain Gru in this sequel to the 2010 hit. Other than some casting details, though, not much is known, but audiences can probably look forward to more Minions.
“The Lone Ranger” — Armie Hammer dons the iconic mask and white hat made famous in the 1930s radio serials, but the real star of this big-budget Western from “Pirates of the Caribbean” director Gore Verbinski will undoubtedly turn out to be Johnny Depp as Tonto.
“Turbo” — Ryan Reynolds, who is also voicing a character in “The Croods,” stars as a racing snail named Theo — aka Turbo — in the second feature from DreamWorks Animation. With a TV series already in the works, DreamWorks must be feeling pretty confident.
“Disney’s Planes” — Originally intended as a straight-to-DVD movie, this “Cars” spinoff follows — you guessed it — an airplane as he competes in a race around the world. It probably won’t convert any “Cars” naysayers, but “Planes” could end up being a lot of fun.
“Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” — Logan Lerman returns in this sequel to 2010’s “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.” This time, Rick Riordan’s teenage hero and his friends must find the Golden Fleece from Greek mythology.
“The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” — Another young adult series jostling for teenagers’ box-office dollars this year, “City of Bones” is based on the first of Cassandra Clare’s novels about half-angel warriors called Shadowhunters.
“The Little Mermaid 3D” — Even though “Beauty and the Beast 3D” didn’t quite light up the box office, audiences will have another chance to catch a Disney classic in three dimensions with this year’s re-release of the movie that kick-started the so-called “Disney Renaissance.”
“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” — Departing slightly from Judi Barrett’s books, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” picks up right where the first film left off. Bill Hader and the rest of the cast return along with some new voices, including Terry Crews and SNL vet Will Forte.
“Mr. Peabody and Sherman” — Starring Ty Burrell of "Modern Family" as Mr. Peabody, the time-traveling dog/adoptive father of a human boy named Sherman, this is the third and final DreamWorks Animation release of the year. According to some early reports from the sci-fi and technology website io9, at least, this one could actually restore interest in the decades-old characters.
“Frozen” — For its 53rd animated feature, Disney returns to the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen in this musical adaptation of “The Snow Queen” directed by Chris Buck (“Tarzan”) and starring Kristen Bell.
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” — After a remarkably warm fan and critic response to the first film, Jennifer Lawrence and Co. return to the dystopian sci-fi world of Suzanne Collins’ “Hunger Games” novels for this highly anticipated sequel.
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” — Part 2 of Peter Jackson’s new Middle-earth trilogy. Given the title, fans of the J.R.R. Tolkien books can expect to finally see Benedict Cumberbatch (the BBC’s “Sherlock”) in all his scene-chewing glory as the dragon Smaug, and that alone could be worth the price of admission.
A native of Utah Valley and a devoted cinephile, Jeff is currently studying humanities and history at Brigham Young University.