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A look ahead to next summer's screen lineup

By Nick Nunziata
CNN Headline News

Tom Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt in "Mission: Impossible 3," which is set to be released next year.
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(CNN) -- As movies prepare to go from fast-paced and gas-guzzling this summer to introspective and Oscar-aspiring in the fall, let's have a look at films that might be picking moviegoers' pockets a scant 10 months from now.

A less superhero-oriented crop may be on hand in 2005, but there still will be a lot of sequels, remakes and adaptations.

Though it recently lost Joe Carnahan ("Narc") as director, "Mission: Impossible 3" still looks to be Tom Cruise's big 2005 effort. No word on the plot yet, but I'd bet a sizable chunk of my limited dough that it involves Cruise's Ethan Hunt thwarting some sort of well-funded criminal mastermind and no shortage of inventive stunt work.

With Frank Darabont handling the latest rewrite, the future looks bright. Having "The Shawshank Redemption" on a resume tends to add a little weight to a writer's profile. With previous efforts in the series directed by heavyweights Brian DePalma and John Woo, expect a big name to attach to the project in the coming months.

The late Douglas Adams' beloved book "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" reaches the silver screen after some small screen success as a limited series.

With an eclectic cast featuring Martin Freeman of "The Office" fame, John Malkovich and criminally underrated Sam Rockwell, the film looks to capture both the geek crowd as well as those hoping for a little original science-fiction fare. The recent "I, Robot" deviated drastically from its source novel by Isaac Asimov, and legions of Adams fans won't stand for the same treatment for this potential franchise starter.

Ridley Scott knows how to handle giant movies, and after this year's "Alexander" and "Troy," fans clamoring for more well-oiled heroes battling with swords need look no further than "Kingdom of Heaven," an epic star-studded tale that takes place during the Crusades of the 12th century.

In his first true starring role, former elf and pirate Orlando Bloom gets to put his star wattage to the test. It doesn't hurt that he has able support in the form of Edward Norton, Liam Neeson and the ubiquitous Brendan Gleeson (who seems to be challenging Brian Cox in his quest to appear in every single film).

The last hurrah of the Jedi Knights is sure to take a sizable bite out of the box office as "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" aims to prohibit any lasting rancor from fans. What to expect: a climactic duel to rival any ever filmed ... and Yoda.

Also planning their maiden voyage in the middle of the year is the Vin Diesel deprived "XXX" sequel, Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman's big screen "Bewitched," hotly anticipated "Batman Begins" and Steve Martin's surprising foray into the shoes of Peter Sellers in "The Pink Panther."

It may not be the most creative year in Hollywood history, but it's sure to be an interesting one.

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