With the last days of summer upon us, it’s time to look ahead to the films of fall and early winter — traditionally the season of Academy Award bait and family-oriented blockbusters. Following is a look at many (but not all) of the movies scheduled for release between now and the end of the year. Release dates are subject to change.
ABDUCTION (Lionsgate): Taylor Lautner stars in this John Singleton thriller about a young man who tries to discover the truth about his life after seeing his baby photo on an abducted-children website.
KILLER ELITE (Open Road): It’s Jason Statham vs. Clive Owen as Statham plays a former member of Special Forces who sets out to rescue his kidnapped ex-boss (Robert De Niro).
MONEYBALL (Sony): Brad Pitt stars in the story of how baseball general manager Billy Bean used a new way of crunching player statistics to build the Oakland A’s, briefly, into a powerhouse.
50/50 (Summit): Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anna Kendrick star in this comedy about a guy coping with his cancer diagnosis. Yes, it’s a comedy.
DREAM HOUSE (Universal): Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts and Martin Csokas star in this Jim Sheridan thriller about a couple who discover a crime that was committed against the previous owners of their house.
MARGARET (Fox Searchlight): Anna Paquin stars in this Kenneth Longeran film about a guilt-ridden young woman who tries to come clean about her role in a fatal accident. Matt Damon, Matthew Broderick, Allison Janney and Mark Ruffalo also star.
THE IDES OF MARCH (Columbia): George Clooney co-wrote, directed and co-stars in this dramedy about a young idealist (Ryan Gosling) who learns hard life lessons on the political campaign trail. Marisa Tomei, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood and Philip Seymour Hoffman also star.
MACHINE GUN PREACHER (Relativity): Gerard Butler has the title role in this story of biker-turned-minister Sam Childers, who took up arms to protect orphans in war-torn, famine-plagued Sudan.
WANDERLUST (Universal): Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd play city slickers who decide to dabble in a counterculture lifestyle in this Judd Apatow-produced comedy that also stars Malin Akerman and Alan Alda.
THE BIG YEAR (Fox):
Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson star in this comedy about obsessive birdwatchers, inspired by the nonfiction book “The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession.”
THE THING (Universal):
Joel Edgerton and Mary Elizabeth Winstead are among the stars of this latest remake of the alien-monster-in-the-arctic tale, “The Thing From Another World.”
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 (Paramount): The new horror goose that keeps laying golden eggs returns with more ghostly “found video.”
THE THREE MUSKETEERS 3D (Summit): Logan Lerman, Milla Jovovich, Orlando Bloom, Matthew Macfadyen and Christoph Waltz star in this 3-D version of the “all for one and one for all” tale. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson.
MARGIN CALL (Roadside Attractions): Oscar winners Kevin Spacey and Jeremy Irons head an all-star cast in this drama about 24 hours at an investment banking firm at the start of the worldwide financial meltdown.
ANONYMOUS (Sony): An Elizabethan tale of intrigue regarding who “really” wrote William Shakespeare’s plays. Vanessa Redgrave, Rhys Ifans, Derek Jacobi and David Thewlis are among the stars of this unlikely film from the director of “Independence Day.”
IN TIME (Fox): Olivia Wilde, Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried and Alex Pettyfer head the cast in this sci-fi tale of a future era when aging has stopped but time has become a commodity because of fears of overpopulation.
PUSS IN BOOTS (DreamWorks Animation): This “Shrek” prequel is about earlier adventures of the swashbuckling Spanish cat (Antonio Banderas).
TOWER HEIST (Universal): Ben Stiller, Casey Affleck, Eddie Murphy, Tea Leoni and Matthew Broderick star in this comic thriller about Ponzi scheme victims who set out to rob the businessman who stole their money.
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN (Weinstein): Michelle Williams is Marilyn Monroe, Kenneth Branagh is Laurence Olivier and Eddie Redmayne is the fellow who tells the story of how they didn’t get along on the set of Olivier’s “The Prince and the Showgirl.”
J. EDGAR (Warner Bros.): Clint Eastwood’s sure-to-be-controversial bio-pic about the former FBI chief stars Leonardo DiCaprio.
HAPPY FEET 2 IN 3D (Warner Bros.): That gotta- dance penguin (Elijah Wood) is back, in 3-D, in this animated sequel to the kids musical hit with an environmental message.
TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY (Focus): Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Tom Hardy head an all-star cast in this adaptation of the John le Carre spy fiction classic.
THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN — PART 1 (Summit): The vampires of Forks, the girl who loves them and the werewolves who want to protect her begin to make their exit in the first half of this two-part finale.
ARTHUR CHRISTMAS (Sony-Columbia): The Wallace and Gromit animators at Aardman turn their talents toward showing us how Santa & Co. really gets all those toys made, sorted and delivered in one night.
HUGO (Paramount): Martin Scorsese tackles a 1930s family mystery with this tale of a boy (Asa Butterfield) who lives in a train station and wants to learn about his father (Jude Law) and automatons.
THE MUPPETS (Walt Disney): Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Emily Blunt are among the stars of this relaunch of the Muppets franchise, in which the adorable puppets must put on a show to save their old theater.
THE DESCENDANTS (Fox Searchlight): George Clooney stars in this film from the director of “Sideways,” about a land baron trying to reconnect with his estranged daughters.
CORIOLANUS (Weinstein): Ralph Fiennes directed and stars in this Shakespeare tragedy about a banished Roman who vows revenge on the Eternal City. With Vanessa Redgrave, Gerard Butler and Jessica Chastain.
NEW YEAR’S EVE (Warner Bros.): Garry Marshall’s all-star sequel to his all-star romance “Valentine’s Day” sets up loosely connected couples wending their way toward New Year’s Eve. Zac Efron, Hilary Swank, Ashton Kutcher and Sarah Jessica Parker are just a few of the stars.
SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS (Warner Bros.): Noomi Rapace and Stephen Fry are among those joining Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law and Rachel McAdams in this sequel.
THE IRON LADY (Weinstein): Meryl Streep is Margaret Thatcher in this political biopic, widely regarded as big-time Oscar bait.
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (Sony): Daniel Craig is the disgraced journalist digging into a mystery and Rooney Mara takes on the title role in this remake of the Swedish hit based on Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE — GHOST PROTOCOL (Paramount): Brad Bird ( “The Incredibles”) leaves animation to direct this revival of the Tom Cruise action franchise, with Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton and Simon Pegg.
THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN (Paramount): Jamie Bell has the title role in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the popular European comic-book character, a reporter who finds himself in mysteries or, in this case, on a treasure hunt. With Daniel Craig, Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg and almost no actresses of note.
Tribune staff contributed to this story.