2015's Most Anticipated: The Big Guns

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Runner-Ups |

Hello Ladies
Here we are. These next five movies are going to be the top 5 movies at the box office next year. They're all franchise movies with high expectations. I want to give Disney here a lot of props - they have 2 movies in the top 5 and 4 in the top 15 on my list. After acquiring Marvel a few years ago, most speculated that they were going to mess with their properties. But they've let Marvel do their own thing while aggressively marketing the movies and reaping the benefits. Then they bought Star Wars and it seems like they're content to let people who know about that universe (specifically J. J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan and Kathleen Kennedy) take control of the direction Star Wars will go. And it looks like that will pay off as well. So despite all my misgivings on the House of Mickey, they've done nothing but make sure that original material gets made while continually nurturing and developing their properties. So color me surprised when I say that Disney is probably the best studio out there right now.

So on to the list - these five movies are all going to be special in their own way and thanks everyone for taking this journey with me. It's been fun once again and I honestly can wait for next year to hit!

5. Spectre
Starring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Ralph Fiennes
Director: Sam Mendes
Writers: John Logan, Neil Purvis, Robert Wade
Release Date: November 6
Skyfall was one of the best Bond films to date and Columbia secured both the writer - John Logan and the director - Sam Mendes for the next installment. Then they got Christoph Waltz, one of the more distinguished villainous actors as of late, to play the villain. It seems like Bond is back in a big way and the announcement of Spectre being the title of the new movie only solidifies where the studio wants to take the franchise. SPECTRE is a global terrorist organization with no political affiliation but hellbent on controlling nations and the world. I can't imagine the studio exploring this organization in just one film, which leads me to believe that the plot may spill over into the next Bond film. Which isn't a bad thing - there was a rumor a while ago that they were going to write a two-parter and then film it back-to-back and release them separately as Daniel Craig's last two Bond movies before his contract expires. I wouldn't be surprised if they still have part of this idea going on because SPECTRE plays such a huge part in the Bond universe that it would be silly for them to just have them in one movie. I'm glad Sam Mendes and Logan are back - Skyfall had a great mix of serious Bond (his childhood home at Skyfall) and the silly Bond (gadgets and komodo dragons eating up goons!). I think this was the credit of a good script and some thoughtful direction on the part of Mendes. One of the best parts of Skyfall was the cinematography and unfortunately Roger Deakins won't be returning but the producers got a really interesting guy in Hoyte Van Hoytema, the cinematographer behind Interstellar, Her and Let the Right One In. I'm interested to see how this film looks which going by his track record, should be fantastic. I could go on and on about this movie because there's so much to speculate but needless to say I'm glad Bond is back. Oh and the plot sounds dramatic enough: A cryptic message from an unlikely source sets James Bond navigating the layers of a sinister organisation known as SPECTRE. As M continues fighting political pressures that threaten the future of MI6, Bond draws closer to uncovering a hidden truth that threatens to destroy everything he has fought to protect. I'm going to have to have a Bond marathon before this one comes out to get me PUMPED UP!

4. Mad Max: Fury Road
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult
Director: George Miller
Writers: George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris
Release Date: May 15
Oh. My. God. Seriously my jaw dropped recently after viewing the new trailer. Just when you think they couldn't top the above teaser released earlier this year, they drop this amazing trailer. This is possibly one of the greatest trailers ever made by mankind. Here it is in all its glory:

I mean. I just. Oh man. I had this movie on my list two years ago. I'm ready for this. George Miller I think popped some pills and went into beast mode when he made this movie. Everything from the set pieces to the epic look of everything to Charlize Theron's badassery, is spot on. Tom Hardy is going to be just as good as Mel Gibson was a long time ago. It's been rumored that there really wasn't a script but a series of storyboards and that Miller and his crew were filming by the seat of their pants. I mean, you know you've got something special when a Hollywood A-list actress shaves her head and shacks up in the deserts of Africa for a few months for the role you want her to play. The film is supposedly a simple chase film: Mad Max meets Furiosa, a woman who wants to cross the desert to get back to her homeland all the while a rove of gangsters are chasing them. This should be a big, loud blast in the theaters this summer and I know I'm going to be throwing a Welcome Back party for Max.

3. Jurassic World
Starring: Christ Pratt, Jake Johnson, Bryce Dallas Howard, Judy Greer
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Writers: Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow
Release Date: June 12
I've been waiting a long time for this, but finally their bringing back the dinosaurs! And everything about this movie just looks and feels right! Universal hired a fairly unknown director - Colin Trevorrow. He has one film to his directing credit, the indie gem Safety Not Guaranteed. I believe in this dude - Trevorrow seems like a good fit for this franchise. He follows in the footsteps of Gareth Edwards, another director with a indie hit (Monsters) who got hired right away for the latest Godzilla movie. I think Trevorrow will have similar success because it seems like everything is falling into place for this movie. Trevorrow co-wrote the script with his writing partner, Derek Connolly and from all the interviews about the movie, it seems they've addressed issues as to why anyone in the Jurassic Park universe would actually go through with the actual theme park after the disastrous results in the first three movies. The film takes place 20 years after the original with a fully, living and breathing dinosaur theme park. It seems the movie is taking the ideas from the first movie and pushing them even further - instead of just recreating dinosaurs, why not engineer brand new species? And what are the consequences of these pursuits? I'm hooked and yeah, a new, genetically engineered dinosaur sounds gimmicky, but the filmmakers would be damned if they do, damned if they don't. I guarantee if there was just regular old dinosaurs roaming around, the internet would be sighing and commenting about how they could just see the first movie if they were going to retread the same territory. Aside from the plot, the cast is fantastic! Chris Pratt is already proving he's a superstar and did I mention Judy Greer is in this movie? She's appearing in 4 movies on this list! (The Good Dinosaur, Ant-Man, Tommorowland are the other three). This is the Year of Greer, folks! Oh and Jake Johnson from New Girl and Safety Not Guaranteed is in this film which only makes this ten times better. I love that dude. Jurassic Park still holds up really well despite it's age. It's paced perfectly, the characters are well-defined and memorable and the effects are still solid. I think this sequel has a lot to live up to, but I think the cast and crew are well put together to bring us an amazing movie.

2. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, James Spader
Director: Joss Whedon
Writer: Joss Whedon
Release Date: May 1
Three years ago no one could have predicted how big the Avengers could get. I wrote in my 2012 preview for the number 9 most anticipated movie: "I don't believe this movie can live up to the amount of hype that the internet has heaped upon it, but I'm sure it's going to be a real good time at the theater." and "Obviously this is a guaranteed box office hit - I don't know how much it will make domestically, but worldwide? Probably at least $500 million, and that's a conservative estimate." The movie made over 2 billion dollars worldwide. So the sky's the limit on this sequel, which has all of the cast returning and then some. I'll say it again like I said it from the last movies: this film could break under its own weight. There's just so many damn characters in this sequel. Which isn't a bad thing, but the Avengers felt crowded already so adding two new heroes and cast members from the other Marvel movies could potentially hurt this film. I trust Joss Whedon that he's put together a solid script and his direction in the last movie was flawless. I like the direction Marvel is going with their films - they have a clear path ahead of them and honestly Age of Ultron is just going to set up Phase 3 of their sprawling timeline. So as much as this is a culmination of the past four movies (and one future movie!) in Phase 2 (Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man), this will be just the beginning of an even more epic saga with their Infinity Wars two-parter coming at the end of this decade. This teaser trailer gets everything right about the Avengers and introduces the villain - Ultron as something unique and way better than those lame aliens in the first Avengers. Plus James Spader as the voice of Ultron is perfect. We have yet to see much of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch so I'm excited to see more of them. Plus there really hasn't been any footage or mention of Paul Bettany playing Jarvis, who eventually turns into the Vision, a new member of the Avengers. There's so much to get excited about and this movie will be one of the biggest hits next year, guaranteed. It might eclipse box office records that the previous Avengers film holds. Which is stunning.

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Starring: John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver
Director: J. J. Abrams
Writers: J. J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan
Release Date: December 18
Age of Ultron would be the biggest movie of the year if it weren't for the next installment of the biggest franchise in the world. How can you not put this at number one? When there's several websites dedicating hundreds of words to dissecting the 88-second teaser trailer, you can now understand how much fervor and excitement there is for this movie. Finally. It seems like Star Wars fans (including myself) have been waiting for these movies every since Lucas disappointed us with the prequels. I think we've all come to terms with that glossy, shiny turd of a trilogy. While the prequels felt partly like Star Wars, they never came close to recreating the magic and wonderment of the first three. And here comes Abrams, a man who successfully resurrected the Star Trek franchise, taking on the reigns of this global force that is Star Wars. And so far, he's nailed it from the looks standpoint. The teaser trailer feels like the old Star Wars. And these next three films won't be shackled by any story or time restraints like the prequels. Abrams and long-time Star Wars scribe Kasdan have the freedom to write whatever the hell they want. It's what everyone's been hoping for and if Abrams can pull this off, expect The Force Awakens to break all sorts of records. I'm glad the main cast is made up of mostly unknowns - I feel like the film could be too distracting if Jennifer Lawrence or Andrew Garfield showed up onscreen. I honestly think the main cast is not going to involve Han Solo and the Skywalkers - they'll have some major scenes, but I can't imagine this next film revolving around them; their story has already been told. There's so much to talk about in this film - but there's a whole year to speculate and get excited for this movie. Abrams should deliver an excellent film and most assuredly this will be the biggest movie next year.

50-46 | 45-41 | 40-36 | 35-31 | 30-26 | 25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 | 5-1 |
Runner-Ups |

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