The end of a great year of film has arrived. As you all get ready to celebrate New Year in whatever way you see fit and reflect on what’s occurred over the past twelve months, one must also look ahead to the events of the twelve months to come. As such, it’s time to take a look at the twenty films coming out next year I’m most looking forward to.
Before we begin, a few notes:
- This list is based on what is scheduled to come out in 2015 as of this moment. Some of these may get delayed to 2016 for a variety of reasons, but as of now they are due for release next year.
- I’m only counting films that have a confirmed release for next year. I know Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight is expected to release next year among others, but because there’s no set date as of this moment, I cannot count it.
- Films that will be released here in the UK in 2015 but were released in the US in 2014 don’t count, so don’t expect to see films like Whiplash, Foxcatcher or Big Hero 6 on this list.
- This is not a prediction of what I think will be the best films of 2015; some of them I even have serious doubts about. These are merely the movies I am most excited and/or interested to see, and their quality will be judged when I have actually seen them.
And now, we may begin…
- The Jungle Book
As much as Disney has been doing well lately with its animated films and partnerships with Pixar and Marvel, their live action films haven’t received exactly the same success on a critical level; for every Oz The Great and Powerful, there’s an Alice in Wonderland. The company has two live action reimaginings coming out next year: the first, Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella, certainly looks like its going to fall into the bad camp, but despite little information at his moment about Jon Favreau’s version of The Jungle Book, I certainly have a lot of hope. Favreau has proven himself as a director of both blockbusters and indie fare, and he’s assembled a great cast as well for this live action/motion capture hybrid. Heck, it’s got Bill Murray as Baloo and Christopher Walken as King Louie. Need I say more?
Neill Blomkamp, director of the spectacular District 9 and the good-but-not-as-good-as-District 9-was Elysium, returns for another sci-fi tale. Tackling the familiar but still interesting theme of artificial intelligence, Chappie looks to be Blomkamp’s attempt at a softer film after his first two explosive outings. We’re still getting plenty of grime, robots and South African accents that we expect from Blomkamp, but with perhaps a bit more heart. It could end up just being a supped-up version of Short Circuit, but count me intrigued.
- In the Heart of the Sea
Ron Howard is often a hit-or-miss director and, considering his last film Rush was a real high point, that doesn’t bode well for In the Heart of the Sea. However, this could be the film to buck that trend. Telling the true story that inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick, the film features an all-star cast and some tremendous looking special effects and set-pieces.
- Ted 2
Seth MacFarlane’s sophomore effort A Million Ways to Die in the West was a bit of a disappointment, so let’s hope this sequel to his first hit film doesn’t prove he was a one-hit wonder in the movie world. I’m not exactly sure what a sequel to Ted would entail, but I’m sure MacFarlane has enough imagination to come up with a decent scenario to send Ted and John on an interesting adventure. Hopefully this can be the next 22 Jump Street rather than the next The Hangover Part II.
- Terminator: Genisys
I really, really want another good Terminator film, and at the moment I’m getting some mixed signals here. Going all Back to the Future Part II on the first film and bringing in a great cast with likes of Emilia Clarke, Matt Smith and the return of Schwarzenegger look cool, but pulling an in-canon reboot isn’t anything new, the CGI looks more dated than the effects from Terminator 2, and it still feels like they’re too reliant on the iconic imagery from the original two films. This could easily go either way, and I’m hoping it goes the right way, but if it doesn’t I think we need to tell Arnold, “No. Don’t come back.”
- Midnight Special
Not much is currently known about this latest effort from Jeff Nichols, director of Take Shelter and Mud, other than it is an ode to the classic films of John Carpenter. Honestly, that’s all I need to know. I love John Carpenter, I love Mud, and I love Michael Shannon, so I might as well just buy my ticket now and expect the best.
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
Mockingjay – Part 1 was a bit dragged out, but I was somewhat expecting that and what was there was pretty good. It’s now at least got me pumped up to see the climax play out on the big screen. Having read the book, I can promise this second part will be much heavier on the action, similar to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, and bring an intriguing and satisfying close to this great series.
- Mad Max: Fury Road
I’m not a huge fan of the Mad Max franchise, but the trailers they’ve released for this looks astounding. The crazy amount of real car carnage and gorgeous visuals on display here is enough to get me pumped, as is the casting of Tom Hardy in the shoes once occupied by Mel Gibson. I know this film has been in the works forever, and whether anything else in it will be of note is yet to be seen, but I’m sure this will at least be a visual treat.
- Mission: Impossible V
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol was a welcome kick in the pants for this long-running franchise, and with Christopher McQuarrie taking the helm for this fifth installment I couldn’t be happier. Looking forward to more crazy stunts, exotic locales, and lots and lots of Tom Cruise running.
- Victor Frankenstein
We really need another good Frankenstein movie, especially in the wake of I, Frankenstein, and perhaps this could be exactly what this old monster story needs. Directed by Paul McGuigan of Sherlock and Lucky Number Slevin fame, written by Chronicle scribe Max Landis, starring James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe and giving the tale a spin that supposedly mixes together pretty much all pop culture interpretations of the story, Victor Frankenstein already has me sold.
- The Fantastic Four
This reboot of the first superhero family has been kept relatively under wraps which has worried fans, as has its unconventional casting choices, but this sense of mystery has me intrigued. From what we know, the film is inspired by multiple runs of the comic but specifically Ultimate Fantastic Four, which explains the younger cast and more grounded tone they’ve talked about. In my opinion, the cast sounds fascinating and with Chronicle’s Josh Trank at the helm, I’m hoping this could be next summer’s big surprise. Fox certainly has a lot of faith in the project considering they’ve already scheduled a sequel, and I hope their non-existent marketing so far is being done to make the eventual reveal that much better. But if it does fail, just hope that the rights will revert to Marvel.
- Crimson Peak
I love me some Guillermo Del Toro, and this return to the horror genre for him sounds like it could be the horror film to beat next year. Taking the classic haunted mansion genre and imbuing it with Del Toro’s unique sensibilities sounds like a winning formula, and throwing heavyweights like Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain into the mix makes it sound even sweeter.
- Jurassic World
I predicted Colin Treverrow would be going places after his spectacular feature debut Safety Not Guaranteed, but I never expected he’d reach this high so quickly. Jurassic Park remains one of the greatest and most nostalgic movies of my generation for a reason, and hopefully this long overdue sequel will be the follow-up fans truly deserve. A fully operational park, hybrid dinosaurs, and Chris Pratt riding a motorbike with his raptor buddies? Count me in.
- Kingsman: The Secret Service
This spy action flick has been pushed around the release calendar quite a lot, but from having read the comic and hearing the buzz from early screenings, I couldn’t be more excited. Mixing the style and lunacy of classic James Bond with the mad stylings of Matthew Vaughn and Mark Millar is a genius idea, and hiring such classy folk as Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Caine to help sell it is even more awesome. Just think a mix between Moonraker, X-Men: First Class and Kick-Ass, and I think you’ve got a good idea of what to expect from Kingsman.
My anticipation for this one has certainly been quelled since Edgar Wright abruptly left the project earlier this year, but Marvel have yet to let me down and so I’m hoping Peyton Reed has what it takes to hold this ship together into another hit. An impressive cast, a bizarre superhero and talks that it most resembles a heist movie is enough to keep me hooked despite the lack of Wright’s involvement.
Skyfall was one of the most impressive James Bond movies in recent memory, and with the same creative team back at the helm for the follow-up I couldn’t be more excited. With the previous film’s conclusion suggesting a return to the classic Bond formula, bringing back MI6’s old nemesis SPECTRE is the perfect move for the franchise right now, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Christoph Waltz doesn’t turn out to be a certain bald, cat-stroking villain (no, not Dr. Evil!). That and it’s going to have Dave Bautista in it. Can we just call this race now?
- Inside Out
Pixar have been in a bit of a lull recently, their last three films not reaching their previously ultra-high standards and behind-the-scenes problems with The Good Dinosaur causing them to skip out on 2014 entirely. The world desperately needs another great Pixar film, and this concoction from Up director Pete Docter could potentially be that one. The idea of exploring the mind as if its run by people isn’t an entirely new concept, but Pixar have such a good reputation of putting a unique spin on traditional ideas that I’m sure they’ll make it all their own. With Disney and DreamWorks really upping their game in recent years, Pixar cannot afford to slouch anymore.
Speaking of Pixar, Brad Bird’s newest venture is looking to be something special. Its teaser trailer is near perfect, tantalizing us with the potential for an amazing ride but still without letting us in on what exactly is going on; all we know is that it’s got George Clooney, a magic pin and jetpacks. Sure, the presence of Damon “I-don’t-know-how-to-write-a-third-act” Lindelof as a writer is a worrying aspect, but the imagination of Bird is hard to deny. I’m ready to adventure to Tomorrowland.
- Avengers: Age of Ultron
Earth’s Mightiest Heroes reassemble for what looks to be the movie to beat this summer. After facing an alien invasion in the first film, the threat of Robot James Spader might initially seem like a step down, but I promise you this is probably going to get insane. With more action, more banter, and more characters with some high stakes and a creepy interpretation of a Disney song, Age of Ultron would have to do something spectacularly stupid to upend Marvel’s winning streak right now.
- Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
It’s the obvious choice, I know, but this is my list and I stand by it wholeheartedly. Nothing has had an impact on my life the way Star Wars has, and I want to see it done right. I’ve said for years that new Star Wars films are not only possible, but also have the chance to be great again, if only George Lucas would step down and let a new generation take the reigns. I never thought it would actually happen, at least not so soon, but it did and my excitement cannot be contained. Even with a year to go until its release, The Force Awakens has already made some great moves. Bringing back the old cast whilst hiring some great new talent as well, putting a great focus on using old filmmaking techniques rather than just a lot of CGI and, the best thing of all, keeping the whole thing shrouded in secrecy. How rare is that in this day and age? One of the most talked about movies on the landscape right now, with news and rumours flooding in every week and even a trailer released well in advance, and yet we still know next to nothing. That is how it is done. I’m not going to say you’d be wrong to still be cautious, as Star Wars is a property that has let us down several times before and even I’m trying to remain as reserved as I can, but if you’ve written The Force Awakens off already and have absolutely no hope of it being good, you really have turned to the dark side.