Zack Mandell is a movie enthusiast, writer of movie reviews, and owner of, which has great information on movies, actors, and films like Looper. He writes extensively about the movie industry for sites like Gossip Center, Yahoo, NowPublic, and Helium.

2013 is going to be a big year for sci-fi movies set in an apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic Earth. Barring the odd few that aren’t projected to be blockbuster megahits, such as John Dies at the End,which will be coming out this January, or The World’s End, set to release in late October, here are the top five post-Earth sci-fi movies coming out in 2013.

1. Pacific Rim

Set in the near-future, Pacific Rim features Charlie Hunnam, known widely for his role in Sons of Anarchy, and Rinko Kikuchi as the pilots of a giant robots constructed to do battle with monolithic monsters that have emerged from the ocean deep. If this doesn’t sound awesome, I don’t know what does. Imagine giant MechWarriors fighting the spawn of C’thulhu. As humanity wages war with the monsters, called “Kaiju”, the world is reduced to a near-apocalyptic state, which is why it makes this list. To top it all off, the same mastermind behind Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro, will be directing.

2. Elysium

Matt Damon and Jodie Foster star alongside each other in this sci-fi summer blockbuster-to-be. Set in the year 2159, Elysium explores the dichotomy of mankind into two different groups: those lucky few who can afford to live on the utopian space-station, dubbed Elysium, and everybody else that got left behind on a crowded, tapped-out Earth. While not much is clear about the plot of the movie, Jodie Foster is cast as Secretary Rhodes, who is apparently very dedicated to preserving Elysium’s exclusivity from the people of Earth. If you ever wanted to see Occupy Wall Street make it to space, Elysium might just be your movie.

3. Oblivion

Oblivion starts Tom Cruise as Jack Harper, a “drone repairman” who is tasked with the recovery of resources on an Earth that has essentially been evacuated after a devastating war has torn the landscape apart. After discovering a human (played by the stunning Olga Kurylenko preserved in some sort of cryo-sleep pod, Jack plummets into an adventure ripe with conspiracy, danger, and Morgan Freeman. Co-writer of the Oblivion graphic novel, Joseph Kosinski will also direct the movie, following his success with Tron: Legacy in 2010.

4. After Earth

Imagine you are on a boat, and that you crash land on an island that is filled with beasts and monsters that all want to eat you. Now imagine that instead of a boat and an island, it’s a spaceship and an abandoned future-Earth teeming with super-predators that have evolved specifically to eat and kill humans. Finally, imagine that you are Will Smith. You have just basically imagined yourself into the plot of After Earth, which also features Will’s son, Jaden Smith. Upon crash-landing, Kitai, played by Jaden, will be forced to venture into the post-Earth wilderness to recover a rescue beacon while his father remains, injured, with the ship. This movie looks intense, and will sidle up next to Elysium in the Summer of 2013.

5. Star Trek Into Darkness

Some might wonder why this one made it onto the list, but it’s here for the same reasons that Pacific Rim is: It looks amazing, and the trailer show an Earth that is on the verge of destruction and crisis. Chris Pine returns as James Tiberius Kirk, and Benedict Cumberbatch will be playing the mysterious villain John Harrison, of which almost nothing is known. J.J. Abrams and his crew have kept extremely tight-lipped about the movie, so the possibilities are endless, though I expect that by its May release, something will have leaked.

Fortunately for all of us, the world didn’t end in 2012 like some thought it would. As such, we are free to watch it end on the silver screen at least five times in the upcoming year—so grab some popcorn and prepare for life after Earth!

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