The US summer season revs into high gear on April 29 with the release of UPI’s Fast Five.

Fast Five

Dir: Justin Lin

US release date: April 29

Worldwide distributor: UPI

The Fast And The Furious action series has never lost its lustre with audiences and, as a testament to its longevity, fans get another chance to see Vin Diesel team up with Paul Walker as they fall foul of a drug lord and a persistent federal agent. Throw in Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and widely-admired young action director Justin Lin and UPI has good reason to be excited.

Transformers: Dark Of The Moon

Dir: Michael Bay

US release date: July 1

Worldwide distributor: PPI

The $1.5bn cash cow continues for a third outing with Bay at the helm in the story of a race between Autobots and Decepticons to locate a crucial device on the Moon. Shia LaBeouf is the cast’s mainstay and teams up with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, the British former Victoria’s Secret model, who replaces Megan Fox as the female lead.

Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Dir: Rob Marshall

US release date: May 20

Worldwide distributor: WDSMPI

The smash adventure franchise offers another chance for audiences to get their fix of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, who this time embarks on a quest for the fountain of youth. Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom may have left the franchise but Penelope Cruz joins.

Cars 2

Dirs: John Lasseter, Brad Lewis

US release date: June 24

Worldwide distributor: WDSMPI

Disney/Pixar is revving up for a huge summer with this sequel to the 2006 global smash that plays as a homage to the spy movie genre. Audiences are waiting: Cars property has generated more than $2bn in merchandising since 2006. “The thing that’s particularly great about this property is it has been globalised,” says WDSMPI’s David Kornblum. “Lightning McQueen and Mater travel around the world and there will be pit stops in Tokyo, Paris, London and Italy.” Michael Caine voices the new Finn McMissile.

Kung Fu Panda 2

Dir: Jennifer Yuh

US release date: May 26

Worldwide distributor: PPI

The first instalment in this DreamWorks Animation series grossed more than $630m at the global box office. That is a tough act for first-timer Yuh to follow but she brings vast animation experience to the table (having worked on various titles including Madagascar and the first Kung Fu Panda) and is working with returning cast members Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen and Jackie Chan.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Dir: David Yates

US release date: July 15

Worldwide distributor: Warner Bros

The 3D finale of the beloved franchise is set to be the film event of the year as the 10-year-old series comes to an end. While Part 1 was essentially a bridging story, the ultimate instalment promises to bring it all home with a heady brew of action, intrigue, comedy, romance — and a happy ending?

Cowboys And Aliens

Dir: Jon Favreau

US release date: July 29

US distributor: Universal Pictures

International distributor: PPI

Daniel Craig stars in DreamWorks’ hotly anticipated graphic novel adaptation, which Paramount is releasing overseas. It is tough to establish a new film franchise, but the fanboy buzz on this story of Wild West heroes who face down an alien invasion has become increasingly loud. Iron Man’s Favreau directs.

The Hangover Part II

Dir: Todd Phillips

US release date: May 26

Worldwide distributor: Warner Bros

The biggest R-rated comedy of all time famously spawned a sequel before it even opened in US theatres. The returning cast of Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Justin Bartha have kept busy since 2009 but should fit back together nicely as the crazy friends who go to Thailand to attend a destination wedding.

The Smurfs

Dir: Raja Gosnell

US release date: August 3

Worldwide distributor: SPRI

Brand awareness of the blue tribe is global, and Sony expects to make a splash with its family adventure. The combination of live action and animation goes out first in 26 territories and a second wave of 14 follows the second weekend afterwards. “The Smurfs is a huge worldwide brand so there are lots of promotions, including a world-wide tie-in with McDonald’s,” says SPRI distribution president Mark Zucker.