Critics be damned, when the third film in a series grosses over a billion dollars worldwide, you start seriously thinking of a fourth (and fifth) installment. And, although he once expressed a desire to exit the Autobots vs. Decepticons fray, director Michael Bay is now indicating that he, exec producer Steven Spielberg and toy giants Hasbro are all on board to shoot numbers 4 and 5 back-to-back. The plans make economic sense, shooting in the same style as sequels in such successful franchises as "Pirates of the Caribbean," "The Twilight Saga," "Harry Potter" and "Lord of the Rings"/"The Hobbit." Potentially replacing departed star Shia LaBeouf with Brit muscleman Jason Statham could inject some new testosterone-driven energy into the series.
As for the rest of this week's list…
October 19, 2011
1. "Transformers" 4 and 5 (Last week: Not ranked)
Jason Statham sounds like an upgrade from Shia LaBeouf. At least he's got some muscles.
2."The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn" (Last Week: No. 2)
It's been a big week for Edward and Bella: New photos from the film, a video interview with Robert Patinson and Kristen Stewart, and their sexy hand prints embedded in cement at Hollywood's famed Chinese Theater.
3. "The Dark Knight Rises" (Last Week: No. 10)
Rumors are rising that the first eight minutes of Christopher Nolan's final Batman film will unspool before IMAX screenings of "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol." Does Tom Cruise mind being upstaged?
4. "Les Miserables" (Last week: not ranked)
The starry film adaptation of the long-running Broadway musical is getting even starrier, as Anne Hathaway joins Hugh Jackman and Russel Crowe. Just give it the Oscar now.
5. "Avatar 2" (Last week: Not ranked)
Can you imagine a world where kajillionaire James Cameron decided NOT to make a sequel (or several sequels)? That world is about as real as Pandora.
6. "Man of Steel" (Last week: No. 14)
Everyone knows that Russell Crowe loves to fight in real life, so it's a good thing he's getting paid to fight Michael Shannon's General Zod (and talk about it) in Zack Snyder's Superman reboot.
7. "The Adventures of Tintin" (Last week: No. 9)
If you're still not convinced that Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson's mo-cap adaptation of the beloved Euro comic book will be cool, then check this out.
8. "Micronauts" (Last week: Not ranked)
Remember "Micronauts"? Even if you don't, J.J. Abrams does, and he's more important than you and me put together (unless Spielberg is reading this. Hi Steve!).
9. "The Avengers" (Last week: No. 1)
Although it may seem like the ultimate superhero film, "The Avengers" is only the beginning. Marvel's Kevin Feige has laid out the studio's sequel plans, starting with "Iron Man 3," and leading to a second "Avengers" movie. Start saving your babysitting money -- movie tickets will be even more expensive by 2014.
10. "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" (Last week: Not ranked)
It's been a long time coming, but Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller may finally be ready for more booze, broads and bullets.
11. "The Twilight Zone" (Last week: Not ranked)
For your consideration: The legendary '60s sci-fi anthology is being resurrected yet again, this time as a single-story feature film with director Matt Reeves ("Let Me In") attached. There's a signpost up ahead...
12. The Lone Ranger' (Last week: Not ranked)
The Johnny Depp-Jerry Bruckheimer western retread is finally back on track, due to some creative accounting and some...lay-offs. Hey, it's not like unemployment is at a record high or anything.
13. "Hunger Games" (Last week: Not ranked)
In recent interviews, star Jennifer Lawrence has stressed the challenging physicality of the role of Katniss, sending the Oscar-nominated "Winter's Bone" star to the gym for regular intense workouts. Is a new superheroine on the horizon?
14. "Immortals" (Last week: Not ranked)
God-like actors (Henry Cavill, Kellan Lutz, Luke Evans) play gods or at least half-gods in Tarsem Singh's ancient epic. Take a look at Cavill's muscle-bound take on Theseus for proof.
15. "The Lost Symbol" (Last week: Not ranked)
The third Dan Brown book to come to the big screen may very well benefit from the likely inclusion of "Never Let Me Go" director Mark Romanek (taking the place of Ron Howard). Tom Hanks is expected to return. Now if only they could find a better book to adapt...
Movie Power Rankings appears weekly on HitFix. See last week's rankings here.
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