2011: The Year of the Sequel

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It seems that 2011, the “year of the rabbit”, can also be called the year of the sequel. Additional installments into numerous movie franchises are here this year. We will finally see what Wes Craven has in store for a 10-year-old series, the end of the Harry Potter series as we know it and we will see the much anticipated, and much needed hilarious (at least I hope so) sequel to box office hit The Hangover.

Scream 4

Release Date: April 4

Wes Craven is back with his fourth installment in one the most successful horror film franchises. After ten year in the vault, the original actors Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette reunite as the terror resumes haunting Woodsboro and Campbell’s leading role as Sydney Prescott. Emma Roberts and Hayden Panettiere are added to the cast to freshen up the ensemble and attract a new, younger audience. Cameos of Kristen Bell and Anna Paguin are not to be missed!

Pirates of the Caribbean:  On Stranger Tides

Release Date: May 20

Johnny Depp is Captain Jack Sparrow yet again. With his drunken speech, sneaky, tricky traps and comedic timing, Depp is the number one attraction in the fourth installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly do not reprise their roles, but the plot thickens as Captain Jack Sparrow finds his love interest in a new character. Penelope Cruz joins the cast as Angelica, an “equal adversary,” who distracts Sparrow on his journey in finding the Fountain of Youth.

The Hangover 2

Release Date: May 26

The gang is back for more fun in the sun and another hangover. Set in the city of promiscuity Bangkok, Thailand, Hangover 2, is anticipated to be full of “f***ed-up surprises” according to director Todd Phillips. Main actors Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms and Justin Bartha reprise their roles.  Ken Jeong still joins the gang as Mr. Chow who will not disappoint being raunchy and funny all at the same time. Brief cameos of Oscar winner Liam Neeson as a tattoo artist and former president Bill Clinton as himself surely cannot be missed.

Kung Fu Panda 2

Release Date: May 27

In response to the popularity of the first film, Kung Fu Panda 2 is a sequel to DreamWorks’ lovable Kung Fu Panda. The crime-fighting Panda with the voice of Jack Black will reprise his role along with his crime-fighting buddies with voices of the original stars Lucy Liu, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogan and Angelina Jolie. After the first film’s journey to becoming a successful kung-fu master, Po must join force with a new group of kung-fu masters to fight an old enemy. With innovations in 3-D technology and the visual animation, this film should be great entertainment for the whole family.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

Release Date: July 15

After the November release of the first half of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the anticipation for the second half could not be more intense. Many Harry Potter fans cannot wait for the series to culminate this final installment. The final showdown between Harry and Voldermort, a devastating battle at Hogwarts, and the epilogue with the now star-studded cast all grown up years later are all highlights that we have been waiting to see. The Harry Potter series has definitely changed the way Hollywood looks at the teen audience and the power of merchandising. This last film will solidify what it means to be a successful franchise. Go Harry!

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Release Date: July 1

After a disappointing second film Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Michael Bay is confident that the third installment in the series will focus on the core mythology from the Autobots and Deceptions’ history. After the admittedly flawed second film, the sexy Megan Fox will not be returning, but instead Shia LaBeouf’s character Sam Witwicky has a new love interest. Victoria Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley will be playing Carly. In the third and rumored final film in the franchise, the Autobots must race to protect the secrets of an Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon.

Final Destination 5

Release Date: August 26

The Final Destination series has successfully lured moviegoers’ love for adrenaline rushes and surprises. In the fifth installment, Final Destination 5, death chases a new group of teenagers with a new set of unanticipated accidents including one that involves a suspension bridge. A new director for the Final Destination franchise, Steven Quale who just finished serving as the second unit director on the raved Avatar, is expected to bring new, fresh ideas to the handling of the 3-D scenes.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I

Release Date: November 18

After three long films of intrigue and unrequited love, Edward, Bella and Jacob are finally going to resolve their intricate love triangle. Split up in two parts, Breaking Dawn, will give what Twilight fans have been waiting for, perhaps an Edward and Bella wedding? Bella’s possible transformation? And even a vampire-human child? Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylaur Lautner and the rest of the vampire coven and wolf pack resume their roles in the first chapter of the last book to the film adaptation of the Twilight Saga.

I hope all of you are as excited for these films as I am!

Images from perry_marco, hyku, and Ben Sutherland via Flickr.

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