15 Hot Movies of 2011
RED RIDING HOOD (March 11)
This is not the fairy tale you remember. In this telling, Amanda Seyfried is the heroine Valerie, whose village is being terrorized by a werewolf that goes on to kill someone close to her. A hunter (Gary Oldman) stokes the villagers' paranoia, while Valerie is in a love triangle with the man her parents want her to marry (Max Irons) and the one she really loves (Shiloh Fernandez).
SUCKER PUNCH (March 25)
Emily Browning stars as Babydoll, who gets stuck in an asylum for allegedly wayward women and tries to lead her fellow inmates to escape — if they can fight through fantastical scenarios created by her own imagination. Expect director Zack Snyder to bring it with guns, samurais, fire-breathing dragons, and beautiful actors kicking ass while wearing very little.
ARTHUR (April 8)
Madcap Brit Russell Brand steps into the shoes of the late madcap Brit Dudley Moore in a remake of the 1981 hit about a booze-loving playboy, in what Brand calls a less edgy version. Helen Mirren takes on the role of Arthur's quippy butler, Hobson, now known as a quippy nanny.
SCREAM 4 (April 15)
Ten years after the last Scream movie, Neve Campbell's Sidney goes back home only to encounter yet another brutal Ghostface killer and a doozy of a new twisty plot, according to director Wes Craven. Kevin Williamson, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette return as well, joined by a few young potential victims (including Emma Roberts).
WATER FOR ELEPHANTS (April 22)
''To have a costar who is this reliable, this sensitive and circumspect and intelligent — it's just fabulous,'' says Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds). He's not talking about Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson, who play the star performer and veterinary student in an adaptation of Sara Gruen's best-seller about a traveling circus in the 1930s. He's talking about Tai, a 9,000-pound Asian elephant.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES (May 20)
The egomaniacal Captain Jack Sparrow is back in this fourth installment of the franchise, which is in 3D and introduces a slew of fresh characters, including Blackbeard (Ian McShane); his feisty daughter, Angelica (Penélope Cruz); and a young missionary played by newcomer Sam Claflin.
THE HANGOVER: PART II (May 26)
In the sequel to the top-grossing R-rated comedy of all time, the four friends (Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, and Justin Bartha) travel to Bangkok for Helms' character's wedding, and just as it did in Vegas, mayhem ensues.
GREEN LANTERN (June 17)
Ryan Reynolds takes on the classic comic-book character of Hal Jordan, a cocky test pilot who's recruited into an elite intergalactic police force and must save Earth from a demented baddie (Peter Sarsgaard).
CARS 2 (June 24)
The sequel to Pixar's 2006 hit Cars is...a spy thriller? Yes, while Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) competes in the World Grand Prix — with races in Tokyo, in London, and on the Italian Riviera — his tow-truck companion, Mater (Larry the Cable Guy), gets mistaken for an American spy and soon realizes that the fate of the world rests in his hands...er, wheels.
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2 (July 15)
The final Harry Potter film brings Daniel Radcliffe's titular boy wizard nose-to-snake-snout with Ralph Fiennes' villainous Voldemort in a wand duel to the death. ''It's very much an action film,'' says producer David Heyman. ''Part 1 was more akin to a road film. Part 2 is all about the destination.''
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (July 22)
Chris Evans stars as the red-white-and-blue-clad supersoldier of Marvel Comics legend.
COWBOYS & ALIENS (July 29)
''Put a hat on [Daniel Craig] and you can't help but be reminded of Steve McQueen in The Magnificent Seven,'' says Jon Favreau, director of the graphic-novel adaptation about cowboys battling space invaders. ''He's so compelling to watch, even when there's no dialogue. That's important in a Western.''
THE HELP (August 12)
Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Sissy Spacek, and Octavia Spencer (former roommate of the director, Tate Taylor) all star in this adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's hit 2009 novel about the enmeshed worlds of African-American maids.
FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS (Summer)
Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake star as two buddies trying to pull off a physical relationship without all the messy emotions.
BREAKING DAWN: PART 1 (Nov. 18)
Even if you don't know each plot twist and turn from the final book in Stephenie Meyer's best-selling series, every self-respecting Twihard is aware that Breaking Dawn features Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) becoming vampire man and wife and sharing a marital bed for the first time. ''Finally!'' laughs director Bill Condon. ''It is one of the most anticipated scenes, and I spent a tremendous amount of time thinking about it. You want to play with what people expect and maybe subvert it a little and surprise them.''