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2012: From 'Hobbit' to 'Hunger Games,' seven stories to watch

January 3, 2012 |  7:00 am

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games."

The year that past was full of unexpected turns, from the ill-advised remarks of one Lars von Trier to an R-rated marital comedy, "Bridesmaids," that swept the nation. The year ahead promises even more juicy story lines. Here are seven to watch:

'Dark Knight' Rising.There was already anticipation galore for "The Dark Knight Rises," Christopher Nolan's final film in his Batman trilogy that hits theaters July 20. But the Christian Bale-starrer became an even greater object of fascination when Nolan was revealed to be filming near Occupy Wall Street — and a trailer showed that the film had the income gap and other hot-button economic issues on its mind.

Land of Lincolns. Considering how prominent a role he played in American history, it's hard to believe how few depictions there have been of Abraham Lincoln in recent years. (A Gore Vidal-derived TV movie comes to mind — a movie that aired in 1988.) That changes in 2012: June brings the release of "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," in which Benjamin Walker plays a leader intent on rooting out the bloodsuckers. Next December, Daniel Day-Lewis gets his turn: The Oscar-winner plays the 16th president in Steven Spielberg's reconstruction of the final, critical months of Lincoln's life.

'Prometheus' ' fire.It was an "Alien" prequel, then it wasn't. Either way, Ridley Scott's new futuristic film, due June 8, about extraterrestrials seeking life on Earth, is one of the director's most anticipated in years. The presence of Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace doesn't hurt either.

'Hobbit' habit. The backstory to Peter Jackson's two "Hobbit" films may be more compelling than many films' actual story lines, what with all sorts of financing drama and Jackson stepping in to direct the film after Guillermo del Toro spent years developing it. We get the first of Jackson’s new pair of Tolkien adaptations — subtitled, fittingly, "An Unexpected Journey" — on Dec. 14.

Floating 'Battleship'? Maybe the only film whose pre-production news coverage rivaled "The Hobbit" was "Battleship," the Peter Berg-directed film based on the classic children's game. Aliens, spaceships and big effects will be in the offing when the movie comes out May 18. So will a reported $200-million budget, as the Hollywood and its toy- and game-obsession gets a key test.

'Hunger' pangs."The Twilight Saga" will come to an end in 2012. But another popular genre-based young-adult series begins its march to the big screen on March 23, with Jennifer Lawrence inhabiting Suzanne Collins' Katniss Everdeen. Fans will be watching the Gary Ross film carefully. So will the studio Lionsgate, which is eager to fill the void that Summit’s “Twilight” is leaving behind.

Christmas cheer.It seems like we're barely through this past holiday season. But next Dec. 25 is already looking like an auspicious date, particularly for those interested in U.S. period tales: it marks the release of Quentin Tarantino's slave story "Django Unchained" and Baz Luhrmann's 3-D reintepretation of "The Great Gatsby."


2011: Seven film stories we never saw coming

Nolan's 'Dark Knight Rises' dons Occupy garb

Hunger Games: Complete coverage

Carey Mulligan: 'The Great Gatsby' gets me nervous too

— Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games." Credit: Lionsgate

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