March has become a month that contains the first airs of summer – big budget blockbusters rubbing elbows with more genre-focused fare. That said, a few March releases like 300, Alice in Wonderland, and The Hunger Games, have ranked in the top 10 box office takes in their respective years.

While there might not be a Hunger Games hidden among this bunch, there are one or two candidates that could do very well – while others are looking more like big disappointments. Here are 9 movies we’re looking forward to in March 2013.

Although the film’s marketing thus far hasn’t exactly sold audiences on this reimagining of the classic fairy tale, there’s still hope for Jack the Giant Slayer; there’s also the possibility Jack will start March on a bad note.

We don’t want to see signs when they’re might not be any, but it seems oddly counterproductive of Singer to hype his work on the much anticipated X-Men: Days of Future Past, mere weeks before Jack hits theaters. There’s also some points of overlap between X-Men and Jack, namely the presence of Nicholas Hoult – who plays Jack in this film and a young Beast in X-Men. We’d like Jack and the Giant Slayer to be good – for Singer and Hoult’s sake – but those really bad posters have made us very wary.

Check out the trailer for Jack the Giant Slayer.

The fact that someone signed off on The Last Exorcism Part 2, at least from a titling perspective, is laughable. However, considering the original film grossed a reported $67 million off a budget of $1.5 million it’s a little easier to see why. The found footage genre has taken a beating as of late – with Paranormal Activity 4 failing to reach the benchmarks of its predecessors – and as a result this sequel has chosen more traditional filmmaking techniques.

And surprisingly, there is a story to followup on from the first Last Exorcism, as Nell Sweetzer discovers her first exorcism was not her last. The first film was a surprise hit even from a narrative perspective, but it’s hard to imagine audiences were clamoring for a sequel. That said, horror films of all kinds are known to surprise us with solid opening weekends at the box office, so we’ve got our eye on this one.

Check out the trailer for The Last Exorcism: Part 2.

We all know the story of Dorothy and Oz, but what came before the tornado and the Technicolor transition? Well, Oz the Great and Powerful seeks to answer some of those questions.

In the film, James Franco plays Oscar Diggs, a magician who would go on to become the eponymous wizard. And like’s Dorothy’s journey, Oscar’s includes encounters with witches (both good and bad) and flying monkeys.

With Spider-Man director Sam Raimi at the helm, Oz the Great and Powerful could be something really special. It’s been almost 80 years since the Wizard of Oz, but there’s no reason Raimi couldn’t easily capture the wonder and discovery associated with that classic film. We’ll just have to wait to see if the return to Oz was worth the wait.

Check out the trailer for Oz the Great and Powerful.

Noomi Rapace reunites with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo director Niels Arden Oplev for Dead Man Down, a noir thriller also starring Colin Farrell. The basic premise focuses on a revenge plot involving Farell’s character, a former enforcer, seeking revenge for the death of his wife and daughter. And, as it turns out, the man responsible for said deaths is his former boss, played by Terrence Howard.

Things only get complicated from there as Farrell’s character becomes involved with Beatrice (Rapace), a woman seeking her own vengeance. Dead Man Down might easily be passed over as a generic thriller with some decent talent, but the reunion of Ardev and Rapace has us intrigued.

Check out the trailer for Dead Man Down.

A comedy titled The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, about rival magicians and starring Jim Carrey and Steve Carell, needs almost no introduction – nor does it need any marketing. The last film to feature the two actors as rivals – the 2003 comedy Bruce Almighty – went on to gross $484 million at the box office. It also spawned a sequel: the less liked, but still profitable Evan Almighty. Nevertheless, comedy fans are likely chomping at the bit to see this movie.

As Burt Wonderstone, Carrell plays a traditional illusionist – a David Copperfield-esque type – while Carrey plays a new age magician, not unlike Cris Angel. Of course, as the two battle for popularity in the very niche market of magicians, things start to escalate well beyond card tricks and sleight of hand. Also, those wigs on Carell and Steve Buscemi, who plays Wonderstone’s assistant in the film, are ridiculous.

Check out the trailer for The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.

Loosely based on the novel by Jean Korelitz, Admission stars Tina Fey as a Princeton admissions officer who’s a little too generous with her “deny” stamp. However, when she reconnects with a former classmate, played by Paul Rudd, her icy exterior begins to melt away.

Admission has all the makings of a fairly basic romantic comedy, but Korelitz’s novel touches upon some subject matter that the trailers don’t overtly address. We don’t want to give anything away, but know that this is more than the basic love story. That said, even if the film doesn’t do the novel justice, the presence of Rudd and Fay in a comedy is likely enough for audiences to take notice.

Check out the trailer for Admission.

One of two action films releasing this year set in or around the White House, Olympus Has Fallen features Gerard Butler as a disgraced Secret Service agent who is also the only man that can save the President. This movie has generic action film written all over it, but the presence of director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) could put action fans in the seats.

Additionally, we wouldn’t be surprised if audiences made their way to the theaters thinking they were about to sit down for a film starring Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum — which could work in Olympus‘ favor. Just to be clear, this film features Aaron Eckhart as the President – the Foxx/Tatum flick is White House Down. Unfortunately, it’s usually the first film out of the gate – the one that is rushed out to beat its competition – that performs the weakest at the box office.

Check out the trailer for Olympus Has Fallen.

We’ll be honest: After a delay into 2013 and talk of 3D post-conversion arose, things were not looking good for G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Whether it was bad test screenings, an unhappy studio, or any combination therein, something about Retaliation apparently wasn’t up to snuff. Considering the first film was mostly panned by moviegoers and critics alike, things looked even worse. That said, there’s still a large group of G.I Joe fans left out there who’d like to see this film get it right.

And so Paramount is taking the “do-over” route – eliminating most of the first film’s cast (save for Channing Tatum and a few others) and replacing them with The Rock and Bruce Willis. Will the gamble pay off? It’s hard to tell, but at least ninjas fighting on the side of a mountain should look cool.

Check out the trailer for G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

Like the book on which it is based, a major draw for The Host is the involvement of Twilight author Stephenie Meyer. However, the parallels between The Host and the teen vampire franchise are few and far between.

This film’s story centers on a future where Earth has been colonized by a parasitic alien race called “Souls,” which inhabit human bodies and control them. Saoirse Ronan plays Melanie in the film, a human that is “implanted” with a soul named Wanderer – but unlike most possessed humans, Melanie is different. Her feelings for a boy named Jared keep Wanderer from taking full control over her body, and preserves her humanity.

With visionary director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca) behind the camera, and an intriguing premise, The Host could easily be a solid sci-fi film for young teens. However, with those aforementioned Twilight connections, it’s hard not to dismiss the film outright.

Check out the trailer for The Host.

March looks to be a solid mix of big budget blockbusters, a few intriguing dramas, and two films about magicians. Although these are the March releases that caught our eye, there are a few other films releasing next month worth mentioning, including The Croods, The Call, 21 & Over, and Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor.

With stiff competition between Jack the Giant Slayer, Oz the Great and Powerful, and G.I. Joe 2, which film do you think will win the month of March? Or will The Host use the Twilight fanbase to trump them all?

  • March 1: Jack the Giant Slayer, The Last Exorcism: Part 2
  • March 8: Oz the Great and Powerful, Dead Man Down
  • March 15: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
  • March 22: Admission, Olympus Has Fallen
  • March 29: G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Host