By Eric Kelsey
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - This year will look a lot like 2012 at the box office, with "The Hunger Games" and Hobbits at the top of cinemagoers must-see lists, according to a survey by ticket-seller Fandango released on Thursday.
The second installment in "The Hunger Games" trilogy, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," which is set for a November release, topped the list as 2013's most-anticipated blockbuster.
The first film in the life-or-death thriller series starring Jennifer Lawrence, raked in some $687 million at the worldwide box office in 2012.
"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," director Peter Jackson's second installment in the "The Hobbit" series of elves and dwarves, ranked second on the survey that polled more than 2,000 moviegoers during the final week of 2012. It is scheduled to hit the big screen in December.
"People love the mega-franchises and that is what gets them most excited," Dave Karger, Fandango chief correspondent, told Reuters. "The first 'Hunger Games' whetted peoples' appetites for more. The same can be said for 'The Hobbit' and 'Iron Man.'"
The superhero thriller "Iron Man 3" starring Robert Downey Jr. ranked third on the list and is set for a May 3 release.
"Star Trek into Darkness" - the follow-up to 2009's "Star Trek" science-fiction adventure - and "The Great Gatsby" starring Leonardo DiCaprio rounded out the top five. Both films are set to open in May.
'JAZZED' ABOUT FRANCHISES
The heavy dose of franchise films on the list indicates how familiarity can build buzz among moviegoers, Karger said.
"In the case of 'The Hunger Games,' many people who loved the movie have read the other books so they're excited to see it brought to life," he said. "The same with 'The Hobbit' too.
"Some people say, 'Where is the originality?' but the fact of the matter is that these franchises are what people get most jazzed about."
The survey also asked film fans to vote on the sexiest man and woman on the big screen in 2013, as well as best villain, breakout stars and best apocalyptic films.
Mila Kunis, who stars in upcoming film "Oz: The Great and Powerful," was voted sexiest actress, while Channing Tatum was voted sexiest man for Paramount's "G.I. Joe: Retaliation." Both films are set for March releases.
Ben Kingsley ("Iron Man 3") was voted most-anticipated villain, and June's zombie thriller "World War Z" starring Brad Pitt was voted most-anticipated apocalyptic film.
British actress Alice Eve was voted biggest breakout actress for "Star Trek" while fellow Brit Henry Cavill got the nod as biggest breakout actor for playing Superman opposite Russell Crowe and Amy Adams in "Man of Steel," which will be released in June.
Full results can be viewed at Fandango.com.
(Reporting by Eric Kelsey, editing by Jill Serjeant and Sandra Maler)