2014 is upon us and today we preview what we believe will be ten movies that will boss the box office around world through the coming twelve months.As with each year during the past decade or so, we are accustomed to sequels, prequels and reboots dominating the box office. Sadly for some, this won't change in 2014. Originality is not on the agenda for big buget Hollywood movies, bar a small handful of releases like Christopher Nolan's sci-fi thriller "Interstellar" and "Transcendence" starring Johnny Depp.
This year we shall see the resurection of Godzilla and the returns of the X-Men, Hunger Games, The Hobbit, Transformers, Spider-Man, Planet of the Apes and many more familiar flavours.
Take a look through what M&C think will be the biggest releases around the world in 2014.
The fourth "Transformers" movie from director Michael Bay hit's screen this summer, this time with a total revamp of the cast. Series stalwart Shia LaBeouf and his disfuctional family (+ girlfriends) make way for Mark Wahlberg and his disfuctional on screen family. Expect more of the same with "Transformers: Age of Extinction," a paper thin plot, big robots, pretty faces, explosions and a helicopter flying in front of a setting sun, in slow motion of course.
The last film in the series was a monster worldwide hit even though critical response was negative and audience reaction lukewarm. Unless an extremely clever marketting campaign takes place in the build up to this release, I can't see "Age of Extinction" earning more than "Transformers 3." Saying that, "Age of Extinction" will still be huge.
Comparisons: "Transformers: Dark fo the Moon" grossed $1.223 billion, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" $836 million and "Pacific Rim" $407.6 million.
Global Box Office Prediction: $1b-$1.2 billion
Release Date: June 27th (US), July 10th (UK)
"There and Back Again" is the epic conluding chapter in Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" trilogy. Based on the novel by J. R. R. Tolkien, the final movie picks up right from the cliffhanger ending of "Desolation of Smaug," with the fate of Middle-Earth and many of it's inhabitants hanging in the balance. The stakes are raised in "There and Back Again" with a dragon loose, war on the horizon and the knowledge (for those who have read the book) that not every character will survive to see the end.
"The Hobbit" trilogy looks like it will go on to gross $3 billion at the worldwide box office. Critical response and word of mouth on the second "Hobbit" film had improved from the first. Add to that a cliffhanger ending and audiences will likely return in their droves for Bilbos final adventure.
Comparisons: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (the final LOTR film) grossed $1.119 billion, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey $1.017 billion, whilst "The Desolation of Smaug" looks on course for a final tally of around $950 million to $1 billion.
Global Box Office Prediction: $950m-$1.05 billion
Release Date: December 17th (US), December 19th (UK)
In "Mockingjay - Part 1" we follow heroine Katniss Everdeen's journey as she leads the districts of Panem in a rebellion against the tyrannical and corrupt Capitol. As the war that will determine the fate of Panem escalates, Katniss must decipher for herself who she can trust and what needs to be done, with everything she cares for in the balance.
"The Hunger Games" movie have been a critical and box office success story. Both of the previous film's have been monstrous hits in the US (taking $400+ a piece), whilst the popularity of the series internationally has surged since the release of the first film too. The international gross of "The Hunger Games" was $283 million, whilst "Catching Fire" which is still on release has already earned in excess of $400 million. Audiences will likely return in even larger numbers for "Mockingjay - Part 1."
Comparisons: "The Hunger Games" grossed $691 million worldwide and it's sequel "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" has already grossed $800 million (and could still reach $900 million).
Global Box Office Prediction: $880m-$1 billion
Release Date: November 21st (US and UK)
We've always known that Spider-Man's most important battle has been within himself: the struggle between the ordinary obligations of Peter Parker and the extraordinary responsibilities of Spider-Man. But in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," Peter Parker finds that a greater conflict lies ahead.
It's great to be Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield). For Peter Parker, there's no feeling quite like swinging between skyscrapers, embracing being the hero, and spending time with Gwen (Emma Stone). But being Spider-Man comes at a price: only Spider-Man can protect his fellow New Yorkers from the formidable villains that threaten the city. With the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx), Peter must confront a foe far more powerful than he. And as his old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: Oscorp.
Comparisons: "The Amazing Spider-Man" grossed $752.2 million in 2012 (a big drop on previous Spider-Man movies) and Sam Raimi's final Spider-Man film "Spider-Man 3" took $890 million globally.
Global Box Office Prediction: $770m-$830 million
Release Date: May 2nd (US), April 18th (UK)
"Interstellar" chronicles the adventures of a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.
Directed by movie mastermind Christopher Nolan, the film features a strong cast that includes Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Wes Bentley, Bill Irwin, Mackenzie Foy and Topher Grace.
To some extent, the film is a bit of an unknown quality. It's difficult to predict what this film will earn. However, with universal themes, a great cast and a director who doesn't seem to do any wrong, I feel "Interstellar" can be the non-sequel/prequel hit of 2014.
Comparisons: Christopher Nolan's last original sci-fi thriller was "Inception," which grossed a hefty $825.5 million worldwide.
Global Box Office Prediction: $650m-$800 million
Release Date: November 7th (US and UK).
A Biblical epic from acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Wrestler, Requeim for a Dream) about the story of Noah, a man chosen by God to create an ark for all life to rebuild life on Earth after a devastating flood.
Russell Crowe stars as Noah alongside an exciting cast that includes Emma Watson, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins and Logan Lerman.
A worldwide release around the Easter holidays could see "Noah" perform miracles itself at the box office, similar to what "The Passion of the Christ" achieved during an Easter release in 2004.
Comparisons: "The Passion of the Christ" earned $611 million worldwide in 2004, which adjusted to inflation and the rise of new film markets would likely raise that figure substantially if it were released today.
Global Box Office Prediction $650m-$750 million
Release Date: March 28th (US and UK)
An epic rebirth to Toho's iconic Godzilla, this spectacular adventure, from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, pits the world's most famous monster against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity's scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.
The most popular of all monsters, this is the first big buget Godzilla movie since Roland Emmerich's "Godzilla" some 16 years ago. Following the release of it's impressive teaser trailer (see above), the excitement levels of "Godzilla" have risen significantly. The film should perform well in the United States and internationally, especially in countries such as Japan and China (where similar title, "Pacific Rim" grossed a huge $111 million, more than it's final tally in the US).
Comparisons: "Transformers" $709 million, "Pacific Rim" $407 million and "Godzilla" $379 million, which was the third highest grossing movie of 1998.
Global Box Office Prediction: $600m-$750 million
Release Date: May 16th (US and UK)
It's been five years since Hiccup and Toothless successfully united dragons and vikings on the island of Berk. While Astrid, Snoutlout and the rest of the gang are challenging each other to dragon races (the island's new favorite contact sport), the now inseparable pair journey through the skies, charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds. When one of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace. Now, Hiccup and Toothless must unite to stand up for what they believe while recognizing that only together do they have the power to change the future of both men and dragons.
Strong DVD/Blu-Ray sales, positive reaction to the first film and the general success of animated sequels suggest "How To Train Your Dragon 2" will most likely go on to outgross it's predecessor. Will likely be the highest grossing animated film of 2014.
Comparisons: "How To Train Your Dragon" $494 million, "Madagascar 2" $603 million, "Shrek 2" $919 million, "Monsters University" $743 million and "Kung Fu Panda 2" $665 million.
Global Box Office Prediction: $550m-$680 million
Release Date: June 13th (US), July 4th (UK)
A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth's dominant species.
The first film, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" was critically praised earning a 82% fresh rating on RottenTomatoes and was well received by audiences. This should help "Dawn of the Planet of Apes" build on what "Rise" grossed at the global box office.
Comparisons: "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" $481 million.
Global Box Office Prediction: $500m-$600 million.
Release Date: July 11th (US), July 17th (UK)
From Disney comes "Maleficent"—the untold story of Disney's most iconic villain from the 1959 classic "Sleeping Beauty." A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land's fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal—an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces an epic battle with the invading king's successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom—and perhaps to Maleficent's true happiness as well.
Comparisons: "Enchanted" $340 million, "Snow White and the Huntsman" $396 million, "Oz: The Great and Powerful" $493 million and "Alice in Wonderland" $1.025 billion.
Global Box Office Prediction: $450m-$600 million
Release Date: May 30th (US and UK)
Potential hits that could break into the 10
Divergent - $300m - ???
Captain America: The Winter Soldier $400m-$500 million
Guardians of the Galaxy - $300m-$500 million
X-Men: Days of Future Past -$350m-$500 million
Transcendence - $200m-$400 million
The Lego Movie - $300m-$600 million
Exodus - $400m-$700 million