A Guide to This Summer's Big Blockbuster Movies

From sequels to superheroes, here are the big blockbuster films coming this summer.

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When the days get longer and the temperature hotter, movie theaters become an air conditioned oasis, offering big, action-packed, CGI-filled films to draw in the sweaty crowds. Sequels, reboots and superheroes have become the norm, with 3D and IMAX releases growing ever more prevalent. Not all summer releases fit the blockbuster stereotype — check out a roundup of some alternatives — but here are the ones that do:

[PHOTOS: 2013 Summer Blockbusters]

The Great Gatsby: Baz Luhrmann's glittery interpretation of the great American novel doesn't have the big explosions of the conventional blockbuster, but boasts an A-list cast, a stellar soundtrack and has got all the critics' tongues wagging. (May 10)

Star Trek: Into Darkness: With J.J. Abrams (of "Lost") at the helm, this sequel to the 2009 revival of the sci-fi series has already been selling out theaters, prompting the studio to release it a day early. (May 16)

Fast and Furious 6: Few things in life are certain, but one can count on death, taxes and "Fast and Furious" sequels. Expect all the car chases, international locales and Vin Diesel snickers of the previous installments. (May 24)

The Hangover 3:
The boys are back and returning to the scene of the original crime: Vegas, baby. John Goodman joins the cast as a mobster villain in the third and final installment of the raucous comedy series. (May 24)

After Earth: Will Smith plays another intergalactic badass father in this sci-fi flick. He and his son crash land onto Earth 1,000 years after humans were forced to evacuate it, and must fight beast and alien alike. (May 31)

Man of Steel: Produced by Christopher Nolan (of "Inception" and "The Dark Knight" series), this Superman reboot humanizes the origin story of its hero (Henry Cavill) and rethinks his relationship with Lois Lane (Amy Adams). (June 14)

World War Z: Brad Pitt produced and stars in this very expensive film adapted from a 2006 Max Brooks novel. In it, a plague turns millions of people into zombies, causing a massive, global war. (June 21)

White House Down: In what promises to be the sillier, snappier version of spring's "Olympus Has Fallen," Channing Tatum plays a Secret Service wannabe who teams up with the president (Jamie Foxx) when an attack is launched on the White House. (June 28).

Independence Day 3D: The 1996 America vs. aliens classic will be re-released in 3D on the eve of its namesake holiday. (July 3)

The Lone Ranger: Armie Hammer plays the Lone Ranger and Johnny Depp his loyal sidekick Tonto in the Disney revival of the cowboy western classic. (July 3)

Pacific Rim: Hopes are high for this epic in which robots rise from the sea. Guillermo del Toro -- famed for his dark fantasies -- directed and co-wrote the film that even has a video game tie-in. (July 12)

300: Rise of an Empire: The follow up to 2007's "300" is based on the graphic novel "Xerxes" and recounts a mythic battle between ancient Greek and Persian forces. (August 2)

Elysium: Director Neill Blomkamp, of "District 9," use a big budget, action-packed vehicle to examine socio-economic inequality in a dystopian future. Matt Damon stars as a lowly factory worker who dares to take on the 1 percent (led by Jodie Foster). (August 9)

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