2014 was pretty forgettable for movies—and poor box office attendance reflected this. Sure, there were a few standout moments, like when Godzilla made his triumphant return to the big screen, and traveling to space with Christopher Nolan was good fun. But we also had disasters like TMNT, and Michael Bay still hasn’t given up on Transformers. Give it a rest, Bay!
Luckily 2015 is already shaping up to rectify the stumbles of last year. Usually Age of Ultron and The Force Awakens would be enough (two big Disney movies, by the way), but there are many, many more movies you should be excited for. For the purpose of this article, we’re confining it to 15 movies (it’s catchier because it matches the year!) in the science fiction/fantasy/geek genre.
It was supposed to come out last year, but ultimately got delayed to add more polish. And what a shame, too, because from what we’ve seen, the film was really shaping up to be quite the spectacle. As of now, the movie—starring Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis—is set to hit theaters on Feb. 6. That’s not exactly the summer blockbuster timeframe we were initially promised, but we’ve waited long enough. In less than a month we’ll finally see if the next Wachowski movie (the same directors who brought us The Matrix) lives up to all the sci-fi hype. [Release Date: Feb. 6]
Man vs. robot, and so forth. Usually that kind of premise would have us rolling our eyes, but Chappie is being directed by Neil Blomkamp, the same mind that brought us District 9. Chappie will focus on one robot in particular named, um, Chappie, who is bestowed with the same emotions and consciousness of a human being. Of course, a man with a mullet (played by Hugh Jackman) believes that level of intelligence poses a problem. We’ll see if Chappie is ever accepted when the film hits theaters this March. [Release Date: March 6]
It isn’t sci-fi, nor is it animated, but I couldn’t help but give a nod to Furious 7. Sure, the franchise is probably overstaying its welcome, but I can’t help but love it, and I don’t mean that in a “so bad, it’s good” kind of way. In addition to the seventh film this year, a 4D ride is being built at Universal Studios in Los Angeles. If that’s not a vote of confidence, I don’t know what is. The trailer looks utterly ridiculous, but that’s the point; these are the kind of movies summer blockbusters are all about, and it sure doesn’t look like Furious 7 will disappoint. [Release Date: April 3]
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Arguably the biggest film of the year, Age of Ultron is the highly anticipated follow up to the first Avengers film, which came out all the way back in 2012. It was a huge success, obviously, and it’s had people clamoring for the sequel ever since. Marvel’s Cinematic Universe has been a runaway hit for Disney over the years, and it sure looks like Age of Ultron will be its biggest yet. From the early footage we’ve seen, there seems to be more infighting between the Avengers crew than ever before. We’ll see if Joss Whedon and crew can pull off another miracle and set the stage for Avengers: Infinity War in 2018. [Release Date: May 1]
Mad Max: Fury Road
Out of the many movies on this list, Fury Road might be the one I’m most excited about, or at least intrigued by. Maybe it’s because of the beautiful use of practical effects, or maybe it’s just because Tom Hardy is dreamy. Either way, it’s hard not to get excited after seeing the footage released by Warner Bros. Fury Road looks like it’ll feature a ton of gritty action, and the dusty, desert wasteland looks absolutely brutal. What is the movie about? No idea. But the trailers have done a pretty terrific job convincing me it’ll be an entertaining flick. [Release Date: May 15]
All you really need to know about Tomorrowland is that it’s being directed by Brad Bird, who also took charge of films like The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Ratatouille. He doesn’t exactly have a live-action pedigree, though Bird did direct the most recent Mission Impossible film, which was the best in the series. So, yes, we’re cautiously optimistic about Tomorrowland. Not much is known about the film, and we only have a small teaser to go on. I’m sure we’ll find out much more before the movie drops later this year. [Release Date: May 22]
Am I the only one who actually enjoyed Jurassic Park 3? Yes? Ok then. I was greatly affected by Jurassic Park as a young boy, so I’ve been hooked on anything related to the franchise ever since. It’s been almost 14 years since the last Jurassic Park film came out, so we’re definitely overdue. That means there’s a ton of pressure riding on Jurassic World, which is going back to where it all began on the island of Isla Nublar. Can Chris Pratt’s growing celebrity carry this one? Not long until we find out. [Release Date: June 12]
Pixar has this uncanny ability to cram decades worth of emotion into a matter of seconds, and that was on full display in Inside Out’s most recent trailer. The movie will focus on a young girl as she tries to acclimate to her new life in San Francisco. But it won’t just be about her; the film will also see how she’s guided by her emotions—Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness—and how they themselves wrestle the turmoil of everyday life. In our eyes, Pixar can do no wrong, and we’re excited to see how this one pans out. [Release Date: June 19]
Let’s just say Terminator has lost its way over the last several years. Really, nothing was ever going to top the first two films. We’re not sure if Genisys will be any different, but Arnold sure is trying his hardest. That counts for something! Genisys will see Kyle Reese (from Terminator: Salvation) go back through time to save the life of John Connor’s mother, who featured prominently in the first Terminator movie. It sounds complicated, and you just know the filmmakers had a heck of a time keeping Genisys in check. But we weren’t completely disappointed by the trailer, so there’s that. [Release Date: July 1]
Like I’ve said many time, the best part of the two Despicable Me movies were the Minions. You know, those Twinkie-shaped mumbling servants who blindly follow Gru. Let’s be honest: they get in the way more than they help, but whoever created them should get a special star on the Walk of Fame. They laugh at potty jokes and have the vocabulary of a stick of celery. But sheesh, I can’t help but love them, which means I’ll be one of the first ones to line up for the standalone Minions movie later this year. So what if I’m a grown adult. [Release Date: July 10]
I’ll be honest, Ant-Man doesn’t sound like the most enthralling cinema, but that might just be because I don’t understand the comic. Paul Rudd might not come to mind as your first superhero choice, but Ant-Man always seemed like a longshot; this is Marvel and Disney taking a chance. The film will follow Scott Lang as he dons the Ant-Man suit, giving him the superpowers to shrink himself down to the size of an ant while retaining his human-sized strength. It’ll be odd to see a little ant do battle with regular people, but this always seemed more like an emotional journey rather than an action-packed one. [Release Date: July 17]
Let’s be clear: Adam Sandler stopped making good movies after Big Daddy (probably earlier). He’s had his moments, but the guy has obviously been phoning it in over the past decade. That said, we’re mildly intrigued by Pixels, which is a live-action/computer-animated film that will be heavy on the nostalgia of classic arcade games. Only in Hollywood would Sandler be relied upon to save the human race. I guess we’ll get a better sense of Pixels when a trailer finally comes out. For now, I have to admit the posters are pretty awesome. [Release Date: July 24]
The Good Dinosaur
Two Pixar movies in one year? Disney is going all-out in 2015, wrapping up its animated efforts with The Good Dinosaur. Because the movie is still 11 months away, not much has been revealed, but what we do know is that the film will imagine a world where dinosaurs never became extinct. Quirky! And probably comedy gold. In the hands of Pixar, pretty much anything can be funny, and I’m sure The Good Dinosaur won’t disappoint. Dinosaurs and humans co-existing? Preposterous, but I can’t wait. [Release Date: Nov. 25]
Easily the most serious movie on the list, The Martian is based on the 2012 novel of the same name that follows astronaut Mark Watney as he becomes stranded on Mars. Hollywood interpretations always have a tendency to stray from the subject material, so we’ll see how true to the book the film stays. It’s being directed by Ridley Scott, and stars Matt Damon, two very recognizable names to help bring a film like this to life. [Release Date: Nov. 25]
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Saving the best for last, this is no doubt the biggest movie on the list. Not only is it Star Wars, but it’s the first reboot since Disney took over from LucasFilm. We all know how the prequel trilogy turned out, and people are still very much scarred by that experience. But J.J. Abrams, who successfully brought Star Trek back to life, has said he’s focusing more on a practical effect this year, bringing Star Wars back to its roots. We’ll see how that translates into a finished product. Most of the cast is new, though some familiar faces are popping up to help carry on the Star Wars torch. I can’t freaking wait. [Release Date: Dec. 18]
As you can tell, there’s a lot to look forward to this year, with much, much more to come. If you’re a fan of geek culture, or just movies in general, you’ll have plenty to keep you occupied throughout the year. There are a lot of films I didn’t even get a chance to mention, including San Andreas, Spectre, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (Part 2) and more. So, you know, go see those, too, when they hit theaters later this year.