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Film forecast for '14

Feb. 21, 2014 - 05:06PM   |  
Tom Cruise appears in the motion picture 'Edge of Tomorrow.' (Warner Bros. Pictures)
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Hollywood may be hoping for a little less drama in 2014.

Last year was a tale of two cinemas. Blockbusters such as “The Lone Ranger” and “After Earth” flopped spectacularly, and yet by the end of the year, Hollywood had set a record with nearly $11 billion in revenue, while critics hailed the 2013 crop — from “Gravity” to “12 Years a Slave” — as one of the best in years.

How will 2014 unfold? The plot, at least, will be unchanged. However much some would like to see a new rhythm to Hollywood’s seasonal cycle, the year will move to the familiar pattern of sketchy spring releases, summer superhero blockbusters and fall award contenders. Here are 10 things to look for in 2014:

1. Stellar sci-fi

Anticipation runs especially high for “Interstellar” (Nov. 7), Christopher Nolan’s deep-space adventure starring Matthew McConaughey. Nolan, the director of “Inception” and “The Dark Knight,” is one of few directors whose name makes fanboys salivate. Nolan produces “Transcendence” (April 18), the artificial intelligence tale starring Johnny Depp and Rebecca Hall. Other science-fiction entries include a reboot of “Robocop” (Feb. 12); “Edge of Tomorrow,” a futuristic, time-traveling war film with Tom Cruise (June 6); fantasy oddity “Jupiter Ascending” (July 18); and “How to Catch a Monster” (no date yet), a domestic drama that tunnels into an underwater realm.

2. Holdovers from 2013

This year will benefit from last year’s unusually good leftovers. George Clooney’s “The Monuments Men”opened Feb. 7. James Grey’s Ellis Island drama “The Immigrant” (undated) could emerge as an Oscar dark horse after earning acclaim on the festival circuit. Bennett Miller’s “Foxcatcher,” featuring a dark turn from Steve Carell, will bow sometime in 2014. “Grace of Monaco,” with Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly, opens March 14.

3. Marvel's expanding universe

Marvel’s world domination continues with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (April 4), “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (May 2), “X-Men: Days of Future Past” (May 23) and “Guardians of the Galaxy” (Aug. 1).

4. Musicals sing again

Clint Eastwood directs the screen adaptation of the hit production about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in “Jersey Boys” (June 20). “Annie” (Dec. 19), produced by Will Smith and Jay Z, will get a contemporary update. Rob Marshall (“Chicago”) will transfer the Grimm fable “Into the Woods” to the big screen (Dec. 25), with Meryl Streep as the Witch and Depp as the Big Bad Wolf. The Muppets will be back in “Muppets Most Wanted” (March 21), in which Jim Henson’s troupe travels to Europe. And not yet dated is John Carney’s “Once” follow-up, “Can a Song Save Your Life?”

5. Sure bets from veteran hands

Paul Thomas Anderson (“There Will Be Blood,” “The Master”) releases have become the highlight of many a movie buff’s year. His “Inherent Vice” continues the director’s series of California-set films. Also hotly anticipated is David Fincher’s version of Gillian Flynn’s best-selling thriller, “Gone Girl” (Oct. 3). Other directors to watch in 2014 include Wes Anderson (“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” March 7), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (“Birdman,” undated), Woody Allen (“Magic in the Moonlight,” undated) and Tim Burton (“Big Eyes,” undated).

6. Men of the Bible & myth

First will come Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah” (March 28), starring Russell Crowe. Ridley Scott will follow Dec. 12 with “Exodus,” starring Christian Bale as Moses. Greek mythology will also double up in 2014 with two Hercules movies, the demigod played by Dwayne Johnson in “Hercules” (July 25) and by Kellan Lutz in “The Legend of Hercules” (opened Jan. 10). More Greek warfare comes with the sequel “300: Rise of an Empire” (March 7).

7. Sequels, remakes and a final 'Hobbit'

A boatload of sequels and remakes includes “Godzilla” (May 16), “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” (Nov. 21), “Transformers: Age of Extinction” (June 27), “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” (July 11), “22 Jump Street” (June 13), “The Expendables 3” (Aug. 15) and “How to Train Your Dragon 2” (June 13). Peter Jackson will close out his lifetime with J.R.R. Tolkien with “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” (Dec. 17).

8. That was not the end

Co-directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg will follow up their 2013 hit “This Is the End” with “The Interview” (Oct. 10), a comedy starring James Franco as a talk-show host caught up in an assassination plot. Rogen also stars with Zac Efron in “Neighbors” (May 9). The comedy lineup also includes “Dumb and Dumber To” (Nov. 14); the one-night-stand comedy “Walk of Shame” (April 25); “Sex Tape” (Aug. 1) with Cameron Diaz; the spelling-bee farce “Bad Words” (March 14), directed by and starring Jason Bateman; Seth MacFarlane’s western “A Million Ways to Die in the West” (May 30); and the road trip comedy “Tammy” (July 2).

9. Jolie's return

Angelina Jolie hasn’t starred in a live-action film since 2010’s forgettable “The Tourist,” but she’ll be a large presence in 2014, starring as the title villain in “Maleficent” (May 30), the twisted “Sleeping Beauty” tale. She also directs her second feature in “Unbroken” (Dec. 25), a World War II prisoner-of-war drama co-scripted by Joel and Ethan Coen. Jolie’s famous companion, Brad Pitt, stars in a WWII story of his own, “Fury” (Nov. 14), about an American tank crew in Nazi Germany.

10. Hunting 'The Hunger Games'

The competition is thick for the next hit young-adult franchise. Among the films looking to draw teenage audiences with stories from young-adult novels are the post-apocalyptic “Divergent” (March 21); the high-school vampire fantasy “Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters” (Feb. 14); and the sci-fi dystopia “The Maze Runner” (Sept. 19). May the odds be ever in your favor.

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