Hollywood is positioning 2015 to be the single biggest year for movies in the history of the medium, with The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Star Wars: Episode VII, Batman Vs. Superman, Mission: Impossible 5 and Bond 24 all arriving within months of each other. But standing in the way are the twelve months of 2014. While the New Year doesn't quite pack the heated punch of 2015, it does bring some highly anticipated fare that we simply can't wait to see. From plenty of superheroes, to evolved apes, to giant robots, to teenage vampires, and even the return of Dominic Toretto, here are the 14 movies guaranteed to get us standing in front of that box office window buying a ticket before 2015 does its ultimate damage on our savings account.
Release Date: February 14. The Players: Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch), Kirova (Olga Kurylenko), Queen Tatiana (Joely Richardson), Mason Ashford (Cameron Monaghan), Dimitri Belikov (Danila Kozlovskiy) and Natalie Dashkov (Sarah Hyland). Why We Can't Wait: We know, we know...You think this is another Twilight rip-off. And teen vamps are just so 2008. But with Mean Girls director Mark Waters and Heathers writer Daniel Waters teaming-up for the first time, we believe this particular sub-genre will be pushed in new and exciting directions, bringing us all something fresh that captures not only the imagination of young girls everywhere, but will also appeal to those who've taken a dump all over Edward and Bella for the past 7 years. There are a lot of YA novel adaptations coming our way in the next twelve months, and we believe most will bomb. This is the rare occasion where the source material and the filmmakers are colliding in an effort to produce what just might be a true teen classic. When this comes out, and people actually like it, don't say we didn't warn you. Plus, look at that cast of beautiful and sexy up and comers...We need a little new at the cinema, and despite its seemingly antiquated premise, we feel Vampire Academy can bring us just that. So scoff all you want, we want to see Vampire Academy!
Release Date: March 7. The Players: Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes) and Zero Moustafa (Anthony Quinonez). Why We Can't Wait: It's the latest comedy from Wes Anderson, and it looks to be upholding the spirited whimsy of his last effort, Moonrise Kingdom. The trailer quickly won us over, with its story of a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel who befriends the lobby boy, going with him on many fantastic adventures throughout the years. It looks old fashion, new wave and just hip enough to charm the pants off your grandma and dive bar dwelling pweebs alike. Plus, it has one of the year's most eclectic and exciting casts. Why wouldn't we be anxious to see it? That should be the question.
Release Date: March 7. The Players: Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell) and Sherman (Max Charles). Why We Can't Wait: In a never-ending sea of CGI animated adventures, at least we recognize and already love these guys. The appeal of a time traveling dog and his pet boy is hard to resist. We can't quite tell if this segment from the 60s sitcom Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends will translate to today's youth. It's unlikely that they are remotely familiar with this iconic, yet somewhat forgotten, duo. It probably seems like an all-new franchise to them. Which might work in both the parents' and kids' favor. The story finds Peabody and Sherman hurtling through time with the use of Peabody's most famous invention, The WABAC machine. Trying to impress a young lady, Sherman royally screws up history, and its up to this nerdy pair to fix humankind's destiny while facing off against some of our all-time greatest historical figures. How could this be anything but fun? And DreamWorks Animation hasn't really disappointed yet (even Rise of the Guardians was cool, despite the fact that it bombed at the box office).
Release Date: April 4. The Players: Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). Why We Can't Wait: This sequel picks up where 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger ended, with Steve and is best friend Bucky reuniting under complex circumstances. Rogers must embrace his new life in a modern world while battling an old threat in what is being described as the superhero version of Three Days of the Condor. Marvel's first true espionage thriller, it promises some great action sequences, and directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo are sure to inject some much-needed humor into this otherwise intense comic book property. We'll get to see Falcon battle an aircraft! Cap takes on an elevator full of bad guys by himself! Plus, Steve and Natasha's bubbling relationship might be the steamiest thing to happen to Phase 2 since all those people exploded in Iron Man Three. This is a definite must-see!
Release Date: May 2. The Players: Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), Electro (Jamie Foxx), Rhino (Paul Giamatti) and Goblin (Dane DeHaan). Why We Can't Wait: Director Marc Webb is using this latest sequel to set up the Sinister 6, taking Marvel's favorite hero where Sam Raimi's franchise never quite managed to go. Peter Parker will face off against two of his biggest advisories, while also holding true to his promise that he will put his dangerous vigilante lifestyle behind him and focus on his relationship with Gwen. Will Stacy fall victim to the Goblin in the film's anticipated climax? Or will she live to see another sequel? With so many villains, and a burgeoning storyline that will span at least two more movies with the same cast, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 promises to be one of next summer's biggest movies. Hopefully, it can contain itself, and not be the sloppy mess that the over-stuffed Spider-Man 3 ended up being. At least the oft-told origin story is out of the way. Now the real fun can begin!
Release Date: May 9. The Players: Husband and Wife Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne), Frat Brothers Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron), Pete (Dave Franco) and Scoonie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). Why We Can't Wait: While its not quite a remake of the 1981 classic starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, this updated version of a similar conceit finds party obsessed Frat Bros moving in next-door to new parents. Things become increasingly difficult for the loving couple, as a war between the two houses erupts into an escalating cavalcade of profane and unbelievable circumstances that have earned this comedy a healthy, hearty R rating. Seth Rogen is just coming off his best film to date with This Is the End and Zac Efron is enjoying a new second life on the big screen as an unlikely comedic force of nature. Director Nick Stoller might have found the best comedic premise of 2014, and we hope it pays off, as this looks like it will be a smash hit if it lives up to its early trailers. Let's just hope they've saved some of the best stuff for the big screen.
Release Date: May 16. The Players: Father-Daughter duo Joe and Elle Brody (Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen), Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), and of course, Godzilla! Why We Can't Wait: Let's face it, no Godzilla movie is that good. In the history of the franchise, 1998's American adaptation from director Roland Emmerich is probably the most energetic, action-pack installment of the entire 70 year franchise. Usually we have to wade through at least an hour of really boring exposition before we get to the good stuff: Godzilla smashing and fighting his way to infamy. Fans hated Godzilla 98 not for its pace, but for its lack of authenticity. And its baby Godzookies. And because it completely fucked with the iconic Godzilla design. Here, Gareth Edwards is merging the old (we've see his Godzilla design, and its cut from a legendary cloth) with the new for an action-packed monster movie that truly updates the series for an audience of attention-depraved GCI cinema junkies...While also retaining the aesthetic that has made this lizard a beloved icon for so many years. We can't wait to see what the results are. Pacific Rim set the bar pretty high for giant robots versus giant Kaiju fights. We have a feeling this Godzilla is going to come out swinging. If he doesn't? He'll probably still get a pass, because, hey, he's Godzilla. He's the monster world's Clint Eastwood. And we don't pick on old dudes.
Release Date: May 23. The Players: Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Magneto (Michael Fassbender and Ian McKellen), Professor X (James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart) and Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage). Why We Can't Wait: Any true Marvel comic book fan has long waited to see the events of Days of Future Past play out on the big screen, and this version, directed by original franchise kick-starter Bryan Singer, promises to bring a Mutant tale of apocalyptic proportions. Its true that they are playing fast and loose with the original source material, with Wolverine doing all the heavy lifting instead of Kitty Pryde. But we love the idea of merging the original trilogy with X-Men: First Class for an all-out Mutant explosion the likes of which we've never seen. Maybe, like The Amazing Spider-Man 2, you think there are too many characters and storylines converging all at once. We disagree. We want to see everyone back, and we like where this could take future installments of the franchise as it splinters off into a million different directions. Plus: Sentinels! Plus: Time Traveling Wolverine! This all but guarantees our ticket purchase!
Release Date: June 13. The Players: Jenko (Channing Tatum), Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Captain Dickson (Ice Cube). Why We Can't Wait:21 Jump Street was easily one of the funniest, fastest and smartest movies of 2012. It also rests in the top 5 TV-to-Movie adaptations ever attempted by Hollywood, a sub-genre rife with unwatchable garbage. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum held down that type of once-in-a-lifetime chemistry that really makes the movie sing past its faults to become an exceptional slice of funcore cinema. While comedy sequels seldom work, the episodic nature of its source material makes us think this one just might. Plus, it does have that whole 'action' thing going for it. The original sports one of the greatest modern day car chases, so we can't wait to see how they plan to one-up that iconic moment. As long as they just don't repeat what we've seen before, this college-set adventure has what it takes to be a truly great sequel. Though, we realize, it also has the feared potential to be another Arthur 2: On the Rocks or The Hangover Part III. You can never truly call these things until the end credits roll. We're holding out hope, though, that 22 Jump Street lives up to the standards of the first, pushing the insanity to new heights.
Release Date: June 27. The Players: Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), Bumblebee, Grimlock (Mike Patton), and Father-Daughter duo Cade and Tessa (Mark Wahlberg and Nicola Peltz). Why We Can't Wait: Can we all agree that Transformers: Dark of the Moon was a bloated mess? Director Michael Bay took some time off to make the truly exceptional Pain & Gain, which will grow as it ages to be remembered in the same breath as Goodfellas and Scarface. We hear it's re-inspired his passion for storytelling, which can only benefit this franchise; one that started to grow old midway through 2009's second installment Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. He's injecting some much needed energy with an all-new cast, new Autobots and Decepticons, and...We finally get to see the Dinobots on the big screen for the first time! That's enough to sell us a ticket right there. This time out, the story follows a mechanic and his daughter who get caught up in the ongoing war between the citizens of Cybertron, who've decided to play out their latest feud on planet earth. Its not much, but it can't be any worse than what's come before it....Can it? At least we don't have to suffer through an hour of Sam Witwicky's annoying parents...Or do we?
Release Date: July 11. The Players: Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker), Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Ian Shaw (Jason Statham), Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) and Kurt Russell! Why We Can't Wait: This is one franchise that just keeps getting bigger and better with each new installment. We don't really care what its about, as long as director James Wan keeps up the forward momentum established by Justin Lin in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift that has now run through four exceptional sequels. With an expanding cast, and a great team that loves to work together, will this series ever crash and burn? Can FF7 be the best installment yet? Please don't screw it up James. We believe in you!
Release Date: July 18. The Players: Caesar and Cornelia (Andy Serkis and Judy Greer). Why We Can't Wait: Now that we're over the hump of the origin story, we can get down to some dirty business. We hope this is all apes, all the time, as these anthromorphic primates finish breaking a foot off in the ass of humanity, taking over the planet and finally setting up the events seen in 1968's Planet of the Apes. Director Matt Reeves has proven he knows how to tell a story without being burdened or overwhelmed by special effects. And we'll get to see monkeys riding horses! What else do you need in a post-apocalyptic thriller about Apes and mankind learning to live together? We're promised an all-out war here, and it sounds a lot better than a subplot about John Lithgow and Alzheimer's. Count us in.
Release Date: August 8. The Players: Mike (Noel Fisher), Don (Jeremy Howard), Ralph (Alan Ritchson), Leo (Pete Ploszek), April O'Neil (Megan Fox), Splinter (Danny Woodburn) and Shredder (William Fichtner). Why We Can't Wait: Bitch all you want, you know you're still going to go see this on opening day. Even if its just for watching Megan Fox in one of the greatest Cosplay roles of a lifetime. So far, we don't like the story, the direction, or even the casting of the turtles. We hate everything about this! But, we love this franchise. Maybe we're buying a ticket to justify our anger and hurt, and to have solid proof that backs up our claim that this is the worst thing to happen to movies in years...But serious, we're really buying a ticket because, deep down, we want to watch the Turtles in action. And we're hoping, against all odds, that this is something awesome. We just have to remember that we're grown adults, and this is, and always will be, a franchise for children, first and foremost. Even if we only see it once on the big screen, it's those kids that will make it a giant hit. We're not going to miss out on what will be one of the greatest dividing factors in modern geek history. Even if it's the biggest cinematic turd dropped in the history of the medium, we want to be there when that sphincter opens up and plops this grumpy sumbitch on expecting audiences across the world! We believe this will be a gargantuan blockbuster smash no matter how it plays to longtime fans. And we also believe that there will be many sequels to come.
Release Date: November 7. The Players: Hiro Hamada and Baymax. Why We Can't Wait: This is the first team-up between Marvel Studios and Disney Animation, and it brings a unique twist to the superhero genre. The story follows brilliant robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada, who finds himself in the grips of a criminal plot that threatens to destroy the fast-paced, high-tech city of San Fransokyo. With the help of his closest companion, a robot named Baymax, Hiro joins forces with a reluctant team of first-time crime fighters on a mission to save their city. It's a colorful, sci fi epic that brings a unique look and feel to the big screen, for an experience we've surely never had before. It means we're one step closer to a Pixar and Marvel team-up, and for animation fans, we believe this is going to be one of the best movies of the year.
We had to limit our list, and our pocketbook, to just 14 titles. But other 2014 movies we're looking forward too, and will probably at least catch on video, include The Lego Movie, Sin City: A Dame to Die For, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, That Awkward Moment, The Interview, Non-Stop, 300: Rise of an Empire,
If you're wondering why we didn't include Guardians of the Galaxy, RoboCop, Maleficent or any of the other seemingly big ticket items that are absent...You'll have to wait until next week when we bring you 14 potential bombs waiting to explode in 2014. Because it doesn't matter how badly we want to see them, the rest of America doesn't. And a flop is a flop, no matter the cult following it amasses in its wake.