It’s a whole new year at the movies: full of entertainment, enlightenment and more than a few horrific wastes of time. We have no idea what 2014 might have in store for us at the movies, but… okay check that, we have a pretty good idea of what 2014 has in store for us at the movies. The question is, will any of it be worth the wait? Just like most years, some of it will, some of it won’t, and some of it might just sneak up and surprise us (in both good and bad ways) before next January rolls around.
Here’s a brief look at the next twelve months in genre filmmaking, pointing out the potential highlights and lowlights along the way. As always, release dates are subject to change at the whims of our evil corporate overlords.
The annual Month of Suck begins with the surprisingly not-sucky Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (January 3). We don’t expect that trend to last. January 10 brings Renny Harlin’s The Legend of Hercules, followed by the ridiculous-looking Satanic thriller Devil’s Due, the animated The Nut Job and Kenneth Branagh’s Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit on the 17th. Aaron Eckhart gets the 24th all to himself as a certain mad doctor’s creation in I, Frankenstein, and the month closes with non-genre fare: That Awkward Moment and Jason Reitman’s Labor Day on the 31st.
It may sound strange, but The Lego Movie actually has the potential to be good goofy fun. It opens on the 7th, along with George Clooney’s WWII art thief movie The Monuments Men. Sony Pictures dusts off Robocop for a reboot on the 12th (damn you Michael Keaton for making us want to see this!), while the 14th belongs to lovers of various sorts with the The Vampire Academy and Winter’s Tale. Paul W.S. Anderson goes swords and sandals on the 21st with Pompeii, with McG’s 3 Days to Kill providing some direct guilty-pleasure competition on the same day. The thriller Non-Stop with Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore anchors the month, as well as the teen sci-fi comedy Welcome to Yesterday.
Winter blows its way out with 300: Rise of an Empire on the 7th. It’s joined by the new version of Mr. Peabody and Wes Anderson’s latest foray into whimsy, The Grand Budapest Hotel. The 14th finds Kristen Bell reprising the role that made her famous in Veronica Mars, along with Nicole Kidman’s Princess Grace in Grace of Monaco and the video game adaptation Need for Speed. Kermit the Frog & Co. launch an all-new adventure on the 21st with Muppets Most Wanted, joined by Joe Carnahan’s action-comedy Stretch and the sci-fi thriller Divergent. The end of the month gets Biblical with Russell Crowe in Noah on the 28th, the same date as a pair of sequels: The Raid 2 and A Haunted House 2. We’ll let you decide which one we’re excited about.
Summer gets started a little early with Captain America: The Winter Soldier on the 4th, the first of four Marvel movies slated for a 2014 release. (DC has apparently decided to sit the year out.) It’s followed by Rio 2 on the 12th, bringing Jesse Eisenberg’s high-strung parrot back for more animated mayhem. The same date sees the release of Sabotage, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Christopher Nolan’s DP Wally Pfister makes his eagerly anticipated directorial debut with Transcendence on the 18th, followed by Earth to Echo and the horror movie The Quiet Ones on the 25th.
Summer movie season officially begins with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on the 2nd, along with the animated feature Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return. The 9th features a pair of comedies – Jon Favreau’s Chef and Gareth Edwards Neighbors – as a bit of a palate cleanser before more heavy hitters arrive. Having spent all those years stomping Tokyo, Godzilla takes a go at San Francisco on the 16th, followed by Bryan Singer’s return to the X-Men franchise with Days of Future Past on the 23rd. Wolverine and the gang share a release date with the Adam Sandler-Drew Barrymore romance Blended. Disney releases its live-action version of Maleficent on the 30th, while Seth MacFarlane gives someone, somewhere a chance to laugh the same day with A Million Ways to Die in the West.
The summer season hits its stride with the Tom Cruise sci-fi thriller Edge of Tomorrow on the 6th, with another pair of sequels – How to Train Your Dragon 2 and 22 Jump Street – hitting on the 13th. With the original proving one of last year’s surprise hits, the producers return with a much less prominent cast in The Purge 2 on the 20th. Michael Bay owns the end of the month with his new Transformers abomination, Age of Extinction on the 27th.
Melissa McCarthy gets another chance to regain her Bridesmaids form with Tammy, slated for 4th of July weekend, the same date as the horror film Deliver Us from Evil. Andy Serkis straps on the mo-cap gear for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes on the 11th, followed by the Wachowskis’ new exercise in baffling pretension Jupiter Ascending and Disney’s quickie Planes 2: Fire and Rescue. They’re both slated to open on the 18th. July 25th sees the second Hercules movie of the year, The Thracian Wars, directed by Brett Ratner, as well as the Jason Segel/Cameron Diaz comedy Sex Tape.
With the prime real estate taken up by bigger flicks, the also-rans are left to duke it out in the waning days of summer. It kicks off on the 1st with Guardians of the Galaxy, a real test to see how viable Marvel’s lesser known properties can be on the big screen. The 8th sees three action films arrive: Luc Besson’s Lucy, the thriller Into the Storm and yet another version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Jeff Bridges teams with veteran director Philip Noyce in for the sci-fi thriller The Giver on the 15th, competing with Sylvester Stallone and a whole lot of old guys in The Expendables 3. We are assured by reliable sources that the long-delayed Sin City: A Dame to Kill For will indeed arrive on the 22nd, while the 29th sees the Natalie Portman Western Jane Got a Gun opening alongside two thrillers, Jessabelle and The Loft.
With the kids heading back to school, big films take a breather, leaving smaller titles to find what audiences they can before the Oscar contenders arrive. On the 5th, the action thriller Addicted butts heads with Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno, followed by the crime drama No Good Deed on the 12th. 20th Century Fox unveils a sci-fi drama The Maze Runner on the 19th and the 26th sees two films of interest to genre fans: the animated The Boxtrolls and Denzel Washington rebooting the old television series The Equalizer.
In the mood for a little David Fincher? That’s good, because he starts October of with his thriller Gone Girl on the 3rd. The 10th sees a trio of comedies opening: The Judge with Robert Downey, Jr., The Interview with Seth Rogen, and the controversial adaption of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Christina Applegate tests the action film waters with Book of Life on the 17th, along with Dracula Untold which hopes to take a bite out of the Halloween crowd. The Vince Vaughn comedy Business or Pleasure provides some counterprogramming on the 24th, and rumors are swirling that another Paranormal Activity entry may take a bow as well. We’ll have to see.
Even the most cynical movie fan has to be excited about the prospect of Interstellar, Christopher Nolan’s latest mind-bender which opens on the 7th. It’s joined by the Disney animated feature Big Hero 6. Jim Carry and Jeff Daniels return for more gross-out mayhem in Dumb and Dumber To on the 14th, along with the Brad Pitt war drama Fury. Jennifer Lawrence starts formally hitting back in The Hunger Games – Mockingjay, Part 1 on the 21st, while Thanksgiving weekend belongs to the animated feature Home and the comedy sequel Horrible Bosses 2.
The last month of the year traditionally belongs to Oscar contenders, topped this year by a pair of musicals: Annie on December 19th and Into the Woods on December 25th. Before that, we get Christian Bale as Moses (yes, really) in Ridley Scott’s Biblical epic Exodus on the 12th along director Paul King’s new version of Paddington, with Colin Firth voicing the titular bear. Angelina Jolie takes a turn in the director’s chair with Unbroken on Christmas Day, along with Ben Stiller collecting a paycheck for Night at the Museum 3. Oh yeah, and lest we forget, Peter Jackson brings the overdrawn Hobbit saga to a conclusion with There and Back Again on the 17th.
There it is, at least as far as we can see from here. Everyone have a great time at the movies in the coming new year!