Last year was again dominated by super heroes, animated features, and fantasy flicks. Though to be fair, the highest grossing movie of the year was surprisingly American Sniper ($344 million domestically). But to put that in perspective, American Sniper is the lowest grossing film to lead all movies in its calendar year since 2007 (Spider-Man 3 with $336 million). Are we getting tired of super heroes and sequels? Possibly, but 2015 has something I’m going to call “mega-sequels.” In addition to those mega-sequels, there are some films I am highly anticipating in 2015. Let’s go to the list!
The list is in the order of when the film is released.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1)
Do I really need to explain why, along with everyone in the world, I am really excited for this sequel? The Avengers was a box office giant, grossing over $623 million domestically (third on the all-time list only behind Avatar and Titanic). I don’t think it’s really that hard to think that Age of Ultron will become the all-time highest grossing film after this year is over. It helps that the Avengers film universe is still growing, with incredible success from Captain America: Winter Solider and Guardians of the Galaxy from last year. Age of Ultron is being released in the prime of the Marvel film universe and it helps that it’s the unofficial first blockbuster film of the summer season. This mega-sequel is on the path to shatter all kinds of records. Oh, and it looks awesome too.
Tomorrowland (May 22)
If you’re thinking, “Ugh, not another Disney ride that’s turning into a movie,” then hold your thoughts for a minute! I had that exact same thought for Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Curse of the Black Pearl was amazing! Plus, look who’s in charge of Tomorrowland: Brad Bird (director of The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and the under-appreciated live-action Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol) and writer/producer Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers, Prometheus, Star Trek). Did I also mention that George Clooney is in the film? I have a really good feeling about Tomorrowland, plus the trailer is great.
Jurassic World (June 12)
So remember when you were blown away from the grandness of seeing dinosaurs on the big screen as Sam Neil and Laura Dern (along with some annoying kids) ran for their lives? Yeah, that was 1993, and apparently there were two sequels after Jurassic Park blew your mind. 14 years after the latest sequel, we have Jurassic World. Why am I excited? First off, it’s written and directed by the duo that brought us Safety Not Guaranteed. Sure, that doesn’t really make me certain they can pull off a huge action flick, but it’s a decent start. I guess we’ll have to see if Chris Pratt can pull off another blockbuster hit. Is this a mega-sequel? In my mind, it is.
Irrational Man (June 24)
Writing and directing his one millionth film, Woody Allen is back again with this mystery-comedy boasting a cast that includes Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone, and Parker Posey. Sure, Allen is very much hit-or-miss, but nonetheless I’m excited whenever any of his films are released.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (July 31)
In my opinion, Ghost Protocol is still insanely underrated and remains one of my favorite action films of all-time. How much of that is because of Brad Bird? I’m not exactly sure, but with Bird out let’s look at who’s in. Written by Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3, Pacific Rim-uncredited, and the Ghostbusters reboot) and directed by Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher), we should be in pretty good hands.
Steve Jobs (October 9)
No, you haven’t already seen this film. This is not the Ashton Kutcher movie, this is the highly anticipated, biographical drama starring Michael Fassbender, written by Aaron Sorkin, and directed by Danny Boyle. Yup, this is certainly on The Academy’s radar until the film actually gets released, but it’s safe to say there is a lot of talent inside of this project. Now, we just have to wait.
Bridge of Spies (October 16)
If you thought the film above has an impressive group of people, wait until you research this historical spy thriller. Directed by Steven Spielberg, written by the Coen brothers, and starring Tom Hanks, Amy Ryan, and Alan Alda. This is like the prime rib at the five-star restaurant of movies. I’m salivating just thinking about the potential of this film. Can’t it just be October already!
The Hateful Eight (November 13)
Quentin Tarantino is back with his eighth film, and it’s a Western! My fingers are tingly just imagining what he’s going to do with the Western genre. It’s also starring Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell. While I’m still fresh from Oscar fever, I’m wondering if this could be Tarantino’s chance at possibly a Best Director statue? He is backed by The Weinstein Company for this flick, so anything is possible.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 (November 20)
Finally, the franchise comes to an end. While I wasn’t too fond of the decision to split the last book into two films, I’m excited to watch the war between the citizens and the Capital play out. This one is going to be epic!
The Martian (November 25)
Science fiction has always been one of my favorite genres, so let’s put together the minds that brought us Alien, Blade Runner, Cloverfield, and The Cabin in the Woods! That’s right, written by Drew Goddard and directed by Ridley Scott, we get The Martian, starring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, and Jeff Daniels. It seems like it’s going to be a survival film about a man stranded on Mars. Count me in!
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (December 18)
If there is any film that can compete with Avengers: Age of Ultron as 2015’s biggest film, it’s this one. This is the seventh installment in the Star Wars franchise, written by the veteran Lawrence Kasdan (who co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) and directed by JJ Abrams. Can you tell there’s a lot of hype surrounding this film? I mean, it’s Star Wars for crying out loud! What else needs to be said?!
The Revenant (December 25)
Fresh from his Oscar wins for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay, Alejandro González Iñárritu is back with The Revenant, a thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. Is it possible to have back-to-back Oscar wins? Will this finally be the year DiCaprio wins his Oscar? Let’s see what kind of twisted tale Mr. Iñárritu will present to us this year.
Joy (December 25)
Last but not least, David O. Russell is back right in the middle of Oscar season. He’ll be bringing in the big guns again with Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Robert De Niro starring. No, it’s not a Silver Linings Playbook sequel, but if there’s one thing to be sure of, this is going to be full of great acting performances.