It’s no secret that 2015 is going to be a sort of moviepocalypse with regards to its sheer magnitude of massive films, but right now we’ve still got 2014 to look forward to. There are plenty of exciting large-scale films on tap for the coming year ranging from sequels to reboots to (gasp!) original properties. Inevitably some will be great and some will be disappointing, but right now we’re full of optimism, and we’ve put together a list of 25 promising blockbusters set to be released in the next 12 months. Read on after the jump.
Note: For the sake of this article, a “blockbuster” is considered a large-scale, big budget event film. Movies are listed in order of release.
Directors: Phil Lord and Chris Miller
Cast: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell, Will Arnett, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Channing Tatum, and Jonah Hill.
Release Date: February 7th in 3D
Why We’re Excited About It: Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have carved out an excellent niche for themselves with Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street, and so it’s great to see their trademark goofball humor intact for the animated LEGO film. The trailers have all showcased a mix of wonderfully odd jokes and a colorful, entertaining energy befitting a LEGO movie, so hopes are high for this one.
Director: Jose Padilha
Cast: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jay Baruchel, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, and Samuel L. Jackson.
Release Date: February 12th.
Why We’re Excited About It: Though it’s tough to argue that a RoboCop remake is “necessary”, Padilha looks to have crafted an interesting take on the Paul Verhoeven classic that speaks to modern issues like drone warfare and free will. Joel Kinnaman is a rising star in his own right, and it never hurts to add the fantastic Michael Keaton and Gary Oldman into the ensemble. The jury’s still out on whether all of this will be worthwhile or not, but we’re definitely curious to find out.
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Cast: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth, and Anthony Hopkins.
Release Date: March 28th.
Why We’re Excited About It: Each new Darren Aronofsky film is an exciting affair, but Noah has the filmmaker navigating tentpole territory for the first time. Though the initial trailers looked to be pretty straightforward with regards to Aronofsky’s Biblical epic, the director’s take involves plenty of curious additions (including 11-foot-tall fallen angels called Watchers) so we’re eager to see how this one plays out.
Directors: Joe and Anthony Russo
Cast: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Sebastian Stan, Frank Grillo, Cobie Smulders, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones, Emily VanCamp, Georges St-Pierre, and Robert Redford.
Release Date: April 4th in 3D.
Why We’re Excited About It: Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World had the difficult task of following up 2012’s The Avengers, but Marvel’s Phase Two is now firmly in full swing. The most exciting aspect about The Winter Soldier is that the film will explore decidedly different territory for Marvel, as the timely pic is being described as a “political thriller”. Add acting legend Robert Redford into the mix, and the first of two 2013 Marvel films is looking quite promising.
Director: Wally Pfister
Cast: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Kate Mara, Cillian Murphy, Clifton Collins Jr., and Morgan Freeman.
Release Date: April 17th in IMAX.
Why We’re Excited About It: Here’s something new: an original, non-franchise, non-sequel, non-reboot movie! Cinematographer Wally Pfister served as Christopher Nolan’s collaborator on nearly all of his films, but now Pfister is trying his hand as a feature film director for the first time. Transcendence tackles some promisingly heady sci-fi issues like The Singularity, underground movements, and how technology rules our lives, and it also looks pretty terrifying.
Director: Marc Webb
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Jamie Foxx, Emma Stone, Dane DeHaan, Sally Field, Paul Giamatti, Felicity Jones, B.J. Novak, and Chris Cooper.
Release Date: May 2nd in 3D and IMAX 3D.
Why We’re Excited About It: Now that the origin story is out of the way, director Marc Webb has the freedom to really explore this new take on Spider-Man. There do seem to be quite a few villains in the mix, but Webb’s strong suit is the small character scenes and adding Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn into the mix will hopefully lead to some meaty Parker/Osborn scenes in the follow-up. Of course, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will also be leading into Sony’s newly announced expanded universe plans, so we’re also eager to see how the film sets up The Sinister Six and Venom.
Director: Gareth Edwards
Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe, and Sally Hawkins.
Release Date: May 16th in 3D.
Why We’re Excited About It: Any hesitation over director Gareth Edwards’ new take on Godzilla went squarely out the window after the stellar first teaser trailer was released online. The tone looks to find a nice balance between the super serious Christopher Nolan-style tentpole and a massive monster movie, and the prospect of seeing Godzilla square off against multiple creatures in the pic is doubly exciting.
Director: Bryan Singer
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Peter Dinklage, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, and Halle Berry.
Release Date: May 23rd in 3D.
Why We’re Excited About It: This star-studded follow-up to X-Men: First Class marks a reunion of sorts for the X-Men series. X-Men and X2 director Bryan Singer returns to the director’s chair to bring nearly the entire original cast together with the new First Class crop of actors in a story involving time travel, Sentinels, and Bolivar Trask. The pic’s first trailer was great, and the film will lead directly into the recently announced follow-up X-Men: Apocalypse, which Singer will also direct. The X-Men franchise is very much alive and kicking.
Director: Seth MacFarlane
Cast: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Sarah Silverman, Giovanni Ribisi, and Neil Patrick Harris.
Release Date: May 30th.
Why We’re Excited About It: Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane proved with Ted that he could successfully make the move to feature films, and he recruited Ted scribes Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild to help co-write the script for his second feature: a Western comedy. MacFarlane also stars in the film, and while we haven’t seen much from the pic, we’re eager to see how the multi-talented MacFarlane’s next film comes together. If anything, the prospect of seeing Liam Neeson as a notorious outlaw in a Wild West comedy will be worth the price of admission.
Director: Doug Liman
Cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Laura Pulver, and Jeremy Piven.
Release Date: June 6th.
Why We’re Excited About It: Though this Groundhog Day-esque actioner had been flying a bit under the radar, the film’s first trailer announced itself as one to look for in 2014. Tom Cruise is one of the most committed actors on the planet, and the intriguing premise of a rookie military officer forced to relive the same battle over and over again sets up plenty of opportunities for some excellent action set pieces. Here’s hoping 2014’s sci-fi offerings aren’t as disappointing as 2013’s were.
Directors: Phil Lord and Chris Miller
Cast: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Amber Stevens, Jillian Bell, Craig Roberts, Nick Offerman, and Ice Cube.
Release Date: June 13th.
Why We’re Excited About It: The second 2014 film from Lord and Miller is just as exciting as the first—if not moreso. 21 Jump Street was a pleasant surprise, as the directors once again infused their goofball sense of humor into the action comedy genre. This time around, the formidable comedic duo of Hill and Tatum are infiltrating a college campus. The premise is rife with plenty of comedic opportunities, but we can rest assured that Lord and Miller will be finding the least expected ways to make us laugh.
Director: Dean DeBlois
Cast: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Kit Harington, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Djimon Hounsou, and Kristen Wiig.
Release Date: June 13th in 3D.
Why We’re Excited About It: It’s been a long wait for the follow-up to Dreamworks Animation’s excellent 2010 film How to Train Your Dragon, but the sequel looks like it just might be worth it. The follow-up takes place five years after the events of the first installment and finds Hiccup and Toothless exploring new territories, only to find a secret ice cave housing hundreds of new wild dragons. The trailer is certainly promising, offering up even more gorgeous visuals, and we can’t wait to see what else the full film has in store.
Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Jack Reynor, Nicolas Peltz, Kelsey Grammer, Stanley Tucci, T.J. Miller, Titus Welliver, Han Geng, Sophia Myles, and Li Bingbing.
Release Date: June 27th in 3D and IMAX 3D.
Why We’re Excited About It: Leave it to Michael Bay to reboot his own franchise. The fourth film in Bay’s Transformers series focuses on a wholly new set of characters, and the director has teased that it’s a more “grown up” story than the previous films. We’re interested to see how T4 fits into the Transformers universe as a whole, and of course we’re looking forward to seeing just how many different things Bay blows up.
Director: Matt Reeves
Cast: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Gary Oldman, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kirk Acevedo, Toby Kebbell, Enrique Murciano, and Judy Greer.
Release Date: July 18th in 3D.
Why We’re Excited About It: 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a pleasantly surprising entry in the Apes franchise, and for the follow-up Fox is taking things down an even darker path. Let Me In director Matt Reeves’ sequel takes place 15 years after the events of Rise and finds the human race in survival mode, trying to establish a peaceful coexistence with Caesar and his ape clan. The first trailer looks fantastic, so we’re eager to see how the full film progresses.