Highlights of springtime's box office: 'Thor,' 'Pirates,' 'Rango'

With the excitement of award season over and the slow box office period ended, March delivers a pack of fascinating films to theaters, with stars including Johnny Depp and Natalie Portman.

From sci-fi and fantasy to animated adventures in 3D, comedies and hit sequels, all the fun unspools before the superhero action and blockbusters of the summer.

The Adjustment Bureau
Releases March 4 in North America, UK, Singapore, rolls out in Europe in March

A sci-fi romantic thriller, starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt ( Young Victoria), follows a politician on the rise who meets a beautiful ballet dancer and soon discovers strange and immovable circumstances keep them apart. Directed by George Nolfi (writer of Oceans Twelve and The Bourne Ultimatum).


Releases March 4 in the US and select countries, worldwide through March and April

Johnny Depp gives voice to an animated pet chameleon in this comedy-adventure set in an Old West town called Dirt where the lizard finds his true self as sheriff. Also features the voices of Abigail Breslin ( Little Miss Sunshine), Alfred Molina ( The Sorcerer's Apprentice), and Bill Nighy ( Harry Potter). Directed by Gore Verbinski ( Pirates of the Caribbean).

Sucker Punch!

Releases March 25 in Australia, Singapore and North America, worldwide through April

This action-fantasy features an ensemble female cast headed by Emily Browning ( Ned Kelly) as Babydoll along with Carla Gugino ( Night at the Museum) and Abbie Cornish ( Elizabeth: The Golden Age). Directed and written by Zack Snyder ( Watchmen, 300, Legend of the Guardians), the story follows a teenage girl confined to a mental institution who conjures an alternative reality of dragons, samurai and bomber jets to escape.

Source Code

Releases April 1 in the US; April 22 in the UK; Sweden, Malaysia, and Germany through May

A sci-fi thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal ( Prince of Persia) as a soldier involved in an experiment in which he awakens in the body of unknown people, forced to live and relive a train bombing until he discovers who is responsible. Costarring Vera Farmiga ( Up in the Air) and Michelle Monaghan ( Mission Impossible III) and directed by Duncan Jones ( Moon).

Scream 4

Releases week of April 15 in North America, France, UK, Australia, Russia, Malaysia, Brazil, and more

Master of horror Wes Craven returns with his slasher franchise a decade later with Neve Campbell's Sidney returning to her hometown, only to find the brutal Ghostface killer on the rampage again. As expected there's a twist in the plot with some new young victims, like Emma Roberts ( Valentine's Day). Courteney Cox and David Arquette are back, too.

Water for Elephants
Releases April 22 in North America and parts of Europe, rolling out worldwide through May

A romantic drama, set in the 1930s, follows a young veterinary student played by Twilight's Robert Pattinson who leaves his studies when his parents suddenly die and joins a traveling circus, falling in love. Co-stars Reese Witherspoon, Christoph Waltz and Tai, a 9,000-pound elephant. Directed by Francis Lawrence ( I Am Legend).


Releases April 28 in Europe, UK, Hong Kong, India and Brazil; opens May 6 in North America and rolls out through June

The first of the year's slew of comic superhero fantasies will be released in converted 3D. The anticipated blockbuster stars Anthony Hopkins ( The Wolfman), Natalie Portman ( Black Swan), Samuel L. Jackson ( Iron Man 2), and Chris Hemsworth ( Star Trek) in the title role. Directed by Kenneth Branagh ( The Magic Flute), this story from Marvel Comics follows a powerful and arrogant Norse warrior who is cast from Asgard to Earth, where he learns about heroism when faced with villainous forces.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Releases worldwide on May 20

Johnny Depp is back for the fourth installment of the fantasy adventure - and in 3D. Captain Jack Sparrow sets off with Barbossa, played by Geoffrey Rush ( The King's Speech), on a quest for the elusive fountain of youth. They discover that Blackbeard and his feisty daughter, portrayed by Penelope Cruz ( Broken Embraces), are seeking it, too. This rousing sequel is directed by Rob Marshall ( Nine). http://disney.go.com/pirates

The Hangover: Part II

Releases on May 26 in North America, the UK, Australia, and Thailand

In this sequel to the high-grossing comedy, four friends travel to Bangkok (instead of Las Vegas) for their pal's wedding. Like the original, mayhem follows. The funny cast returns - Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha and Ken Jeong - and so does the director Todd Phillips ( Due Date). Liam Neeson and Juliette Lewis come aboard and cameos include former boxer Mike Tyson (again) and former US President Bill Clinton.

Kung Fu Panda 2

Releases on May 27 in North America, Malaysia and Singapore, and in June in Europe

Jack Black plays Po the Panda with a stellar cast who lend their voices to this animated family comedy in 3D. Costars include Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, and Gary Oldman. In this story, Po joins forces with a group of new kung-fu masters to defeat the evil peacock Lord Shen in possession of a deadly new weapon.


Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas

Arts and Entertainment
Dapper Laughs found success through the video app Vine

comedy Erm...he seems to be back

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)

tvReview: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Arts and Entertainment
Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly flanking 'Strictly' winners Flavia Cacace and Louis Smith

tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special

Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Shenaz Treasurywala
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump


Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all