It's a new year and that means all kinds of new entertainment to look forward to in the months ahead. In 2012, you'll have the chance to see highly anticipated movies, huge arena concerts and dynamic stage performances. Plus there will be new places to shop and fresh music and games to enjoy.
Here's a preview of some big entertainment events to watch for this year:
The lineup for 2012 looks good especially if you are a fan of young adult novels and comic books.
"Hunger Games": Jennifer Lawrence stars in the film adaptation of the book series about a not-so-distant future where young people are forced to battle to the death. This is a tough series to film because it deals with violence against young people. It opens March 23.
"The Avengers": Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and other Marvel superheroes come together on May 4 to save the Earth. As long as the heroes don't trip over one another, this will be a super story.
"The Dark Knight Rises": This July 20 is supposed to deliver the last Batman movie in the franchise directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale. If that's the case, then the pair will go out in style with this monumental showdown that has the caped crusader facing Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) and Bane (Tom Hardy).
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2": On Nov. 16, the final chapter is here for Bella, Edward, Jacob and the rest of the "Twilight" gang as the series ends with an epic showdown. The only question is whether fans will still be as rabid considering it will be a year between the two parts. Of course they will be as rabid.
These are some of the highly anticipated cultural arts events on the calendar.
Yes, superstar diva Renee Fleming performed in Fresno in 2007. But her return visit March 27 to the Saroyan Theatre, in a Fresno Grand Opera appearance, will be as hotly anticipated as before.
In another Fresno Grand Opera appearance, 11-year-old opera sensation Jackie Evancho -- Billboard's top Classical Albums Artist for 2011 -- will sing Feb. 26 at the Saroyan Theatre.
Looking for some passion in your classical music? "Carmina Burana" should blow the roof off the Saroyan Theatre April 21-22 when the Fresno Philharmonic and the Fresno Community Chorus combine on the tumultuous piece by Carl Orff.
In a big retrospective show, the Fresno Art Museum will celebrate the life and art of sculptor Clement Renzi, who died in 2009. It opens May 31.
One of the Bay Area's premier dance companies, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, on Feb. 24 brings its powerful contemporary ballet "Scheherazade" to the Saroyan Theatre.
Hot tickets to look forward to in 2012 for music lovers:
Lady Antebellum: The star country trio returns to Save Mart Center, this time as headliners, on March 28.
Rock & Worship Roadshow: Christian rock festival tour (with MerceMe and others) stops at Save Mart Center again on March 11, where it's become an annual favorite.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra: We're used to seeing them at Christmas, but this popular rock orchestra and light show brings a nonholiday show to Save Mart Center on April 3.
Joe Bonamassa: Blues guitar titan rocks Saroyan Theatre on April 19.
Drake: Heartthrob rapper Drake has announced a March 8 date at Save Mart Center, but the arena hasn't confirmed. While we await final word, eager fans can still start saving money.
The vibrant local theater scene promises some interesting fare in the coming year.
Bee staff writers Rick Bentley, Bethany Clough, Donald Munro and Mike Osegueda contributed to this report. The reporters can be reached at (559) 441-6330 or email@example.com