sneak peek Superhero flicks, action adventures, sci-fi, screen adaptations of celebrated novels… 2012 promises to be highly entertaining

Recycled, reinvented, reissued might be the over-arching mantra of Hollywood 2012, but a few literary adaptations hold out the hope of something fresh.

The million dollar question for local film buffs is this: Which of these upcoming films will get theatrical releases in town, even as we're waiting patiently for the arrival of 2011's later releases such as Hugo .

Okay, some superheroes such as Thor and Iron Man will certainly fly in, as will moolah-spinning gimmicks such as the re-release in 3D of Star Wars I-The Phantom Menace and Titanic . Fairy tales are the unlikely basis for action thrillers such as Mirror Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman and Jack the Giant Killer.

We even have a side-quel in The Bourne Legacy — without Matt Damon or director Paul Greengrass — set in the Bourne universe created by previous films.

Some sequels may pleasantly surprise — Men in Black III , perhaps? — some seem scarily unnecessary — Scary Movie 5 for one — and the jury is out on others such as Underworld: Awakening or Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.

We've lined up a baker's dozen of movies that we hope will transfer hot off the oven and into Chennai theatres in 2012:

One for the Money

Fans of Janet Evanovich's novels really want this One to be good for the money. Katherine Heigl stars as spunky, ditzy Stephanie Plum, the unlikely bounty hunter who gets entangled with dangerous business and two hunky men (played by Jason O'Mara and Daniel Sunjata).

Hunger Games

Post- Harry Potter , fans of long franchises might have a new one in Hunger Games . It's about a world where reality TV contestants — including our protagonist Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) — battle to the death, live, in front of cameras.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II

Love it or loathe it, you can't ignore the anticipation that's spiralling. The final film of The Twilight Saga promises to be action-packed with the vampire (Robert Pattinson) and the werewolf (Taylor Lautner) continuing to safeguard newly “vampire-ised” Bella (Kristen Stewart).

The Avengers

Be prepared to overdose — happily? — on superheroes in The Avengers with Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as the Incredible Hulk, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye.

Dark Shadows

Tim Burton's celluloid take on the cult gothic-horror TV series stars Johnny Depp — he of the high cheekbones and penchant for oddball roles — as the vampire Barnabas Collins.

Prometheus

When the guy who made Alien and Blade Runner returns to a sci-fi film, expectations are off the charts. Ridley Scott's Prometheus promises to be a full-on classic space adventure, layered with questions relating to the origins and future of mankind. Deep stuff, intriguing trailer and a cast that includes Noomi Rapace and Charlize Theron.

The Dark Knight Rises

While we may be scratching our head over Sony's decision to reboot the Spider-Man franchise in 3D with Andrew Garfield so soon after the previous revamp, there's undiluted excitement over the final instalment of director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. Christian Bale returns as the caped crusader, with Bane (Tom Hardy) as the chief villain.

Midnight's Children

We're all waiting to see what director Deepa Mehta does with Salman Rushdie's iconic novel, brought to life by a promising cast that includes Rajat Kapoor, Shabana Azmi, Satya Bhabha and Rahul Bose.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit — based on the classic by JRR Tolkien — is a tale that precedes the events of Lord of the Rings . Young Hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is enticed by Gandalf (Ian McKellen) on a dangerous quest to help the dwarves against the terrifying dragon Smaug. The really good news? The two-part movie is directed by Peter Jackson, and Andy Serkis returns as Gollum.

Life of Pi

Irrfan Khan, Suraj Sharma and Tobey Maguire star in Ang Lee's adaptation of the acclaimed book by Yann Martel about a boy and a menagerie — that includes a Bengal tiger — adrift in the Pacific Ocean.

The Great Gatsby

In the remake of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel by Baz Luhrmann, Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the eponymous title role, made famous by Robert Redford. Closer home, the Bollywood excitement is about Amitabh Bachchan playing a small role in the production, his first international project.

Skyfall

The new Bond movie — finally? Daniel Craig returns as the agent with the licence to kill in the 23rd instalment of the franchise. Plot details are still sketchy but seem to centre on M's (Judi Dench) past returning to threaten players in the present. Extra eye candy assured with Javier Bardem as uber-villain and Ralph Fiennes as a government agent.

Cloud Atlas

David Mitchell's celebrated book about six connected stories might seem un-filmable, but directors Tom Tykwer and two Wachowskis (Andy and Lana) give it a go, accompanied by a who's who list of actors such as Tom Hanks, Hugh Grant, Hugo Weaving and Halle Berry. Definitely more promising than other celeb guest-list movies, think New Year's Day .

Parvathi Nayar