Culture

The Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies Coming in 2015

Next year stands poised to break box office records. So many successful franchises have highly anticipated releases in 2015 that you may need to make a category in your budget just for tickets and concessions. It’s going to be huge, due not just to the franchises themselves, but the circumstances under which many of them have returned.

Expectations are high and, with this much competition, damn well better be met. Here’s our top 10 most anticipated movie releases coming in 2015.

10. Pan

Hugh Jackman has done a bang up job of building a career beyond his bread and butter role as X-Men’s Wolverine. Next year, he goes full bad guy in Joe Wright’s take on Neverland, Pan. A prequel to the classic we know, Pan will tell how the titular boy adventurer came to be. Tron: Legacy’s Garrett Hedlund will play an up-and-coming James Hook. It sounds like he may have a rival/mentor in Jackman’s Blackbeard.

In the above interview, actor Nonso Anozie tells about his experience working with Jackson, Hedlund, and Wright. He also offers some insight into his new character, Bishop.

9. Insurgent

Let’s address the elephant in the room. The Divergent series is a lot like The Hunger Games. In one sense, that similarity hurts it from being recognized as anything but derivative. On the other hand, but for The Hunger Games’ success, Divergent may never have been made. Regardless, this tale of a freethinker held captive in a repressive social system proves relevant to our day.

It also serves as a great platform for star Shailene Woodley, whose critically acclaimed performances in other fare like The Descendants and The Fault in Our Stars may not see as broad of an audience. A girl’s got to make a living. She might as will entertain and fly the flag of self-determination while doing it.


8. Mad Max: Fury Road

Confession: I’ve never seen Mad Max, any of them. I’m not even sure how many there are. I could look it up, and probably should – writing this piece and all. But why feign interest?

The good news? This reboot by series creator George Miller looks tailored for folks like me who harbor no familiarity with the franchise. It also looks like an atmospheric, action-packed thriller that harks back to the genre flicks of the 1980s. It has the strange effect of driving me to abstain from the original so as not to ruin next year’s experience.

7. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2

Following the precedent first established by the Harry Potter franchise and carried on in the Twilight films, The Hunger Games will split its final chapter into two films. Two times the profit, right?

Hopefully, there’s more to the choice than that. The first two films have done a great job of simmering the conflict which will ignite into full-blown flame in this year’s Part 1.

It’s good to see that Philip Seymour Hoffman will remain as regime insider and resistance double-agent Plutarch Heavensbee. The actor’s untimely demise led many to suspect that the role would have to be recast.

6. The Fantastic Four

It can’t be worse than the last attempt, right? How about we just forget those other films ever happened?

That’s what director Josh Trank has done, going so far as to cast Michael B. Jordan, one of his black stars from Chronicle, to play the traditionally Caucasian Johnny Storm. It’s but one signal that this version of The Fantastic Four will not be bound by what has come before.

Fans have good reason to expect a satisfying experience. Trank has already been tapped to direct a sequel, and was chosen by Disney to helm one of their stand-alone Star Wars films. You don’t get such gigs without proving yourself.

5. Ant-Man

Marvel Studio’s commitment to expand their Cinematic Universe continues with next year’s Ant-Man starring Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas as generational versions of the title character. You thought Guardians of the Galaxy was obscure? Wait until you get a load of this.

Ten years ago, who would have thought that something remotely like an Ant-Man feature film could ever become reality? Marvel Studios has changed the Hollywood landscape, proving that genre films made by and for genre fans can perform both commercially and artistically.

One of the best aspects of Marvel Studios’ approach has been their willingness to embrace different styles or subgenres appropriate to their different properties. Ant-Man leans heavily toward comedy, which explains the casting of Rudd, the original choice to hire director Edgar Wright, and the tapping of replacement director Peyton Reed.

4. Terminator: Genisys

The once great franchise has languished as of late. Fans and general audiences alike have been disappointed in the two most recent films (neither of which was guided by series creator James Cameron). Then there was the short-lived television series, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which held a loyal but too small viewer base.

A reboot is in order. But is a reboot really what we’re getting? It’s hard to tell. We know this fifth film will feature new actors in the classic roles of Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese. We know the plot has something to do with their first encounter with the cyborg assassin. What’s less clear is how this new story will connect with or overlap events depicted in previous films, or whether this will turn out to be some kind of time-traveling continuity reset like those seen in 2009’s Star Trek or this year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past.

3. Jurassic World

Really, another Jurassic Park movie? If that’s what you’re thinking, just wait. Because that reaction is precisely what this new sequel is about. Director Colin Trevorrow reveals:

What if, despite previous disasters, they built a new biological preserve where you could see dinosaurs walk the earth… and what if people we’re already kind of over it? We imagined a teenager texting his girlfriend with his back to a T-Rex behind protective glass.

It’s a brilliant way to acknowledge what we, the audience, may feel regarding this series. We’ve seen Jurassic Park before. Why do we need to see it again? Trevorrow’s answer:

There will be one new dinosaur created by the park’s geneticists. The gaps in her sequence will be filled with DNA from other species, much like the genome in the first film was completed with frog DNA. This creation exists to fulfill a corporate mandate – they want something bigger, louder, with more teeth. And that’s what they get.

Should work out swimmingly.

2. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Making money off the Avengers sequel is guaranteed. Marvel Studios and director Joss Whedon could throw up 90 minutes of shawarma eating, and it would make $100 million. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. But they could certainly recycle the same story, changing a couple things here and there, and make a ton of money.

Fortunately, there seems to be enough passion for these characters, their legacy, and the broader Marvel Cinematic Universe to ensure that Avengers: Age of Ultron raises the stakes and flips the script. Trickled concept art depicts Iron Man busting Hulk in armor designed for the task, the Avengers overwhelmed by Ultron’s mechanical drones, and two new heroes in the form of Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch and Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Quicksilver.

1. Star Wars: Episode VII

Was there any doubt? Of course the next Star Wars is our most anticipated movie of 2015.

It wasn’t even supposed to happen! When we took our seats for the debut of the final prequel, Revenge of the Sith, we understood the magnitude of the moment. This was to be the last time we saw that iconic main title blast onto the big screen without knowing what was to follow.

Even though rumors of a third trilogy had circulated for years, creator George Lucas had stated clearly that the prequels completed the story he wished to tell. With full control over the property, that was that. There was never to be another Star Wars film.

But now, with the brand’s acquisition by Disney, we’re not only getting a new trilogy beginning with 2015’s Episode VII. We’re also getting at least three confirmed spin-off films in the intervening years between sequels.