Once upon a time, long long ago (like, an entire year ago), 2015 was but a year of legend. A place where a plethora of massive, highly anticipated films would be unleashed upon the public. Now, 2015 is a reality. The year that brings us new Star Wars, new James Bond, two new Pixar movies in one calendar year (for the first time ever), and sequels to Avengers, Jurassic Park, Mission: Impossible, Ted, Pitch Perfect—not to mention original works from Brad Bird and the Wachowski Siblings, reboots galore, and so much more. As the movie year ahead looks to be a bit overwhelming, now feels like the opportune time to break down the major “blockbuster” films that will be hitting theaters over the course of the next 12 months, providing a nice overview of the year ahead. Check out the 2015 Blockbuster Preview 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, which is subject to change.
Release Date: February 6th
Directors: Lana and Andy Wachowski
Cast: Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Eddie Redmayne, Sean Bean, Douglas Booth, Tuppence Middleton, James D’Arcy, Tim Pigott-Smith, and Doona Bae
The Skinny: Originally slated to open in theaters last year, Warner Bros. pushed this original sci-fi epic back quite a bit after the studio suffered a few misfires in a row. Regardless, this is an original sci-fi epic from Lana and Andy Wachowski, a pair of filmmakers who specialize in the unique. The thing looks absolutely crazy in the best of ways, complete with inventive space battles, rocket boots, and Channing Tatum as an ex-military half-werewolf half-albino.
Kingsman: The Secret Service
Release Date: February 13th
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Cast: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine, and Mark Hamill
The Skinny: This is the film that Vaughn gave up directing X-Men: Days of Future Past in order to tackle, and the marriage of director and material—a violent, colorful twist on the spy genre—seems perfect. This is a James Bond film by way of Matthew Vaughn, as the filmmaker brings his signature sense of explosive, somewhat naughty fun to the table with a swell ensemble to boot.
Release Date: March 13th
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Cast: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden, Helena Bonham Carter, Hayley Atwell, Stellan Skarsgard, Holiday Grainger, Nonso Anozie and Sophie McShera
The Skinny: Disney’s newest trend is producing live-action adaptations of beloved films that they previously produced in animated form, and Cinderella is the next out of the gate. The film looks to be a lavish retelling of the story, though from the first trailers there’s not much that separates it from its animated counterpart story-wise. Nevertheless, Branagh is well-versed in the art of period dramas, and this appears to be a sweeping romance told on a massive canvas.
The Divergent Series: Insurgent
Release Date: March 20th
Director: Robert Schwentke
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Ansel Elgort, Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Zoe Kravitz, Miles Teller, Daniel Dae Kim, Maggie Q, Ray Stevenson, and Jai Courtney
The Skinny: While the first adaptation of Veronica Roth’s futuristic thriller trilogy wasn’t the runaway success that The Hunger Games was, Divergent still did solid business at the box office and this franchise is on track to finish out. Based on the trailer, the tone of Insurgent is quite different, offering up more action and adrenaline-fueled sequences than Divergent’s more character and Tris-centric POV.
Release Date: April 3rd
Director: James Wan
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Kurt Russell, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, Djimon Hounsou, Lucas Black, and John Brotherton
The Skinny: Due to the tragic death of Paul Walker during production, this was no doubt one of the toughest films to get completed. But after regrouping and finding a way to finish the movie while also honoring Walker and his work in the franchise, Furious 7 is poised to be unveiled to the world this spring. Somewhat impossibly, this series is the strongest its ever been six films deep, and with The Conjuring and Insidious director James Wan making his action genre debut on Furious 7, many are eager to see both if this seventh entry keeps the winning streak alive and how (if at all) Wan shakes things up.