Fresh, exciting stories and exhilarating new chapters in popular franchises made 2013 a great year to go to the movies. For those in the movie business, it was a banner year as well. But there’s also a lot to look forward to in the next 12 months, for filmmakers and film fans alike, with several films that seem poised to score big at the box office. Keep an eye out for these 10 flicks to see if they live up to their hype.
1. Muppets Most Wanted
Release date: March 21, 2014
In 2011, fans of Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fonzie, and the rest of the gang flocked to see their favorites on the big screen again in The Muppets. This time, seasoned comedians Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, and Modern Family’s Ty Burrell join the Muppets in a comedic crime caper, Muppets Most Wanted. It’s sure to bring in fans of all ages.
Release date: March 21, 2014
If you like your science fiction with a side dystopian futuristic adventure, then you’re like many of the fans of Veronica Roth’s wildly popular Divergent book trilogy. Summit Entertainment, the studio behind Twilight, hopes those fans will show up at the cinema to see their favorite scenes come to life. While the success of adapting the dystopian teen genre is varied – The Hunger Games is a smash hit, while The Mortal Instruments failed to impress audiences and critics – the first adaptation of Roth’s books looks like it could be a big box office draw.
3. The Amazing Spiderman 2
Release date: May 2, 2014
Hollywood fans weren’t sure what to expect when the reboot of the Spiderman franchise — starring critical darlings and real-life sweethearts Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone — swung into theaters in 2012. But the Marc Webb-helmed film did well at the box office, and the team has reunited for The Amazing Spiderman 2: Rise of Electro. This time, Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx joins the fray as villain Electro. Will this sequel electrify audiences? We’ll see when it hits theaters in late spring.
Release date: May 16, 2014
The Godzilla franchise has stomped its way to box office success since the 1950s. The Japanese gorilla monster is arguably one of the most easily recognizable pop culture icons in the world. And this year, a new generation of film fans will be introduced to the deadly beast when Godzilla hits theaters this spring. The reboot features a cast of talented actors like Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, and Oscar-nominee Ken Wantanabe. We’ll be watching to see if Godzilla can scare up some box office success.
5. X-Men: Days of Future Past
Release date: May 23, 2014
If you’ve been to the movies in the last decade, chances are you’ve seen at least one X-Men film. This spring, the enormously popular franchise combines fan favorite actors in one massive adventure with X-Men: Days of Future Past. We’ll see dual performances of many beloved characters, including Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy as Professor X/Charles Xavier and Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender as Magneto/Erik Lehnserr. Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and Jennifer Lawrence also star.
Release date: May 30, 2014
These days, we hear more about Angelina Jolie’s philanthropic missions and parenting adventures than we do her career. But that may change in 2014. She returns to the big screen with gusto this Memorial Day weekend as the titular character in Disney’s Maleficent. The film tells the tale of Sleeping Beauty’s iconic villain. The teaser trailer alone sparked serious excitement on the Internet. It seems safe to assume that the excitement over the film — and Jolie’s performance — will translate to success at the box office as well.
7. How to Train Your Dragon 2
Release date: June 13, 2014
One of the surprise hits of 2010, How to Train Your Dragon thrilled critics and audiences alike with its exciting story and stunning animation. The creative team behind the DreamWorks film have reunited to bring fans an exciting sequel starring the voices of Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill and Kristen Wiig. Expectations are high for How to Train Your Dragon 2, but chances are good that the film will bring fans back in droves for another lesson.
8. Guardians of the Galaxy
Release date: August 1, 2014
One of the most anticipated films in years, Guardians of the Galaxy is the latest science fiction thriller from Marvel Comics. It features a fantastical cast of characters — and an all-star list of actors to fill the roles, including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and Bradley Cooper. With wild and crazy creatures from outer space and nonstop action, it’s almost guaranteed to be a hit when it’s released in 3D this summer.
9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Release date: August 8, 2014
One of the quintessential animated series of the 1980s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will bring back the heroes in a half shell for a new generation of fans. The Michael Bay film, which stars Megan Fox and Whoopie Goldberg, is a live action reboot of this fun, adventure-packed franchise. Parents looking for a side of nostalgia with their popcorn may drag their youngsters to theaters this summer.
10. Mockingjay Part 1
Release date: November 21, 2014
There’s very little possibility that Mockingjay Part 1, the third installment in the Hunger Games franchise, won’t be a major success. Its predecessor, Catching Fire, was the most successful movie of 2013, and its star, Jennifer Lawrence, seems to gain legions of fans by the day. The question is whether the film — which tells the first part of the novel — will do as well as the first two films in the franchise, and how director Francis Lawrence will deal with the considerably darker tone of the already dark story as Mockingjay Part 1 progresses.