Our 40 Most Anticipated New Movies Coming in 2013

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While Awards Season for 2012 films has just begun, we turn our sights forward to the promising slate of movies due out in 2013. Directors like Martin Scorsese, the Coen Brothers, Terrence Malick, J.J. Abrams, Richard Linklater and Joss Whedon all have new movies due out in the next 12 months. The following 40 movies are the ones we’re most excited about—not the ones that will necessarily have the biggest box office draws. They range from indie dramas to smart-looking popcorn blockbusters. They’re presented in calendar order, and we’ll update this list with trailers and release dates as they’re released.

21. Ender’s Game
Release Date: Nov. 1
Director: Gavin Hood
Stars: Asa Butterfield, Abigail Breslin, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld
Why We’re Excited: We’re hoping this is the Gavin Hood that gave us Tsotsi, not the Gavin Hood that delivered X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The beloved Orson Scott Card novel about a boy at a military school preparing to fight an alien invasion has long begged for a big-screen adaptation.

22. The Counselor
Release Date: Nov. 15
Director: Ridley Scott 
Stars: Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz
Why We’re Excited: The screenplay by Cormac McCarthy is about a lawyer caught up in the world of drug trafficking. Last time Javier Bardem was involved in a McCarthy project, we got No Country For Old Men.

23. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Release Date: Nov. 22
Director: Francis Lawrence
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci
Why We’re Excited: We’re suckers for the books and thought Jennifer Lawrence did a phenomenal job in the original.

24. A Long Way Down
Release Date: Fall
Director: Pascal Chaumeil
Stars: Rosamund Pike, Aaron Paul, Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette
Why We’re Excited: Nick Hornby’s writing has worked well on the big screen—High Fidelity, An Education, About a Boy (we don’t count Fever Pitch since the movie wasn’t about soccer). And it’ll be good to see Aaron Paul outside his Breaking Bad meth lab.

25. Twelve Years a Slave
Release Date: Fall
Director: Steve McQueen
Stars: Quvenzhané Wallis, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, Michael K. Williams, Paul Dano
Why We’re Excited: McQueen and Fassbender follow Shame with a story set in the 1800s about a black New Yorker (Quvenzhané Wallis) who’s kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Deep South.

26. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Release Date: Dec. 13
Director: Peter Jackson 
Stars: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Elijah Wood
Why We’re Excited: Despite the length and pace of the original, we’re glad for any excuse to revisit Tolkein’s Middle Earth with Peter Jackson as our guide. Plus, with Benedict Cumberbatch playing Smaug, it’s Sherlock and Watson back together at last.

27. Anchorman: The Legend Continues
Release Date: Dec. 20
Director: Adam McKay 
Stars: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell
Why We’re Excited: Ron Burgundy returns with his top-rated news crew in this sequel to one of Will Ferrell’s best movies.

28. The Monuments Men
Release Date: Dec. 20
Director: George Clooney 
Stars: George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Daniel Craig
Why We’re Excited: Art historians don’t usually get to be the hero—or get portrayed by folks like Clooney, Damon and Craig—but in the The Monuments Men, they’ve got to recover art before it’s destroyed by Nazi Germans. We’re thinking Ocean’s Eleven meets Inglorious Basterds but with Bill Murray.

29. Gravity
Release Date: 2013
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Stars: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Basher Savage, Eric Michels
Why We’re Excited: After rising to fame with the gritty Y Tu Mamá También, Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón took on the third film in the Harry Potter series before setting Children of Men in a dystopian future. Gravity, his first feature-length film since 2007, is another sci-fi thriller about astronauts stranded in space after their shuttle crashes into debris on the journey home.

30. Before Midnight
Release Date: 2013
Director: Richard Linklater 
Stars: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
Why We’re Excited: Unlike most movie relationships, we’ve already gotten to see Jesse and Celine connect twice in life, a night in Vienna (Before Sunrise) and an afternoon in Paris (Before Sunset). The characters are nearly 20 years older, and Greece is the setting for their latest encounter, though we’ll find out more when it screens at Sundance later this week.