Movie Predictions: The Biggest Films of 2014 – Part II

10 Apr

In Part I of this post we looked at some films almost certain to top this year’s worldwide box office rankings, and possibly join the billion dollar club. We also looked at some big sequels which should earn half a billion and beyond.

In Part II of this post, we turn our attention to a few other movies that are hoping to give the half billion dollar mark a nudge, including some fresh blockbusters from big name actors and directors, some reboots, some young adult novel adaptations, and a pair of comedies.

Blockbusters

Edge of Tomorrow

Here’s a figure that might make your head explode quicker than the bad guys’ hideout at the end of an action blockbuster: $3,213,000,000. That’s how much money Tom Cruise’s films have grossed over the course of his career.   Just in America. I would do the maths on his worldwide numbers but my calculator doesn’t go that high.

Needless to say, whatever your opinion of the man might be, Cruise is as big a box office lock as any actor of the last 40 years. He’s hoping to do it again with this year’s Edge of Tomorrow.

Edge of Tomorrow is a sci-fi pic centring on Cruise repeatedly reliving the same day of a war against alien forces. Think Groundhog Day except if Bill Murray was blasting extra-terrestrials with plasma rays (I’d totally watch that movie by the way). 2012’s Oblivion managed a decent $286.2 million worldwide, and it wasn’t long ago when Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol raked in almost $700 million, so Cruise can still bring people into the cinemas. He’s also surrounded by a solid cast, including Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton and Jeremy Piven, so this film should work.

That said, I think there are too many must see blockbusters this year for Edge of Tomorrow to make a huge impact. It should top Oblivion, but not by much.  Although there might be a huge demand to see Tom Cruise die over and over and over…

Prognosis: This film will be on the edge of blockbuster successes. $300 – $350 million.

Interstellar

Someone else who has been box office gold in recent years is Christopher Nolan. The writer/director’s last three films (The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, The Dark Knight) grossed almost $3 billion between them. Will his latest project, Interstellar, be just as successful?

The odds are on his side. As is usual with his films, the cast is stellar (or should that be interstellar?). Some of the usual suspects are there – Anne Hathaway and Michael Caine – and they are joined by the likes of Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace, and reigning Academy Award Best Actor Matthew McConaughey. That’s pulling power.

The trailer doesn’t give much away, but that’s how Nolan likes it.  Based on resume only, you’d have to assume this will be a hit.

Prognosis: The movie will be astronomical in name and earnings. $500 – $600 million.

Jupiter Ascending

Another sci-fi blockbuster, Jupiter Ascending is the latest effort of the Wachowski siblings. Unlike Nolan, the Wachowskis’ stock has stagnated since an extremely promising start; although 2012’s Cloud Atlas did respectfully in foreign markets, it bombed in the US, barely scraping in $27 million at the box office. Will Jupiter Ascending capture audience’s imaginations, like bullet time in The Matrix? Or will it simply confuse audiences, like the Architect’s speech in The Matrix Reloaded?

It’s not easy to tell. Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis should attract viewers, and the trailers look beautiful, but they also show that the plot is likely to be as unconventional as Cloud Atlas. That might be a problem, given that audiences shunned that film for more familiar and easily digestible superhero movies and sequels. If I had to guess, I’d say the returns will be an improvement on Cloud Atlas, but not in the same class as others on this list. However ultimately I wouldn’t be surprised with any figure.

Prognosis: It could go any way, but in all likelihood, Jupiter won’t ascend all that far. $200 – $400 million.

Noah

This one will be interesting. In a vacuum, an action/disaster movie starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Nick Nolte and Anthony Hopkins, with a budget of $125 million, and written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, would seem like a sure fire candidate to make half a billion dollars. However Noah, of course, has an added element: it is a tale lifted from the Bible.

And by lifted I mean ‘the basic premise of the story of Noah has been taken and adapted into an action film’, if the trailers are anything to go by. How will audiences react? Will Christians shun it as blasphemy? Will non-Christians ignore it as a religious film?

Well the initial box office returns have been strong, and the last time we saw a controversial religious film on the big screen The Passion of the Christ ended up being the a huge hit, particularly in the US, where $370.8 of its $611.9 million were earned.

Noah could have bombed badly, and it’s clear that it won’t, but I’m not convinced it will be a story for the ages.

Prognosis: Aronofsky’s prayers will be answered, and Noah won’t drown. $400 – $500 million.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel has been meticulous with their film planning over the last decade and getting the most out of their cache of characters. As we’ve seen, the results speak for themselves, with any recent movie associated with their name coming with a blank cheque from the box office. So it’s nice to see them take a bit of a risk, which is exactly what Guardians of the Galaxy is.

Guardians does not have any of Marvel’s big name characters, and it’s adapted from a comic that not many people have heard of. It is also a little more out there than most of Marvel’s films to date, with aliens that look like trees and talking racoons. So will audiences be interested?

Guessing the ceiling on this one is tough, but I’m well and truly in the camp that wants and expects this to be a hit. If anyone can afford to throw some money into marketing, it’s Marvel, and the trailer looks extremely fun. Chris Pratt is perfect to play wise guy Peter Quill, and the likes of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel voice some of the other characters. I’m saying that Guardians hits the mark as a fun space romp and gives Marvel another hit.

Prognosis: Marvel at this money making machine. $400 – $600 million.

Check back in soon for the next page of this post

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