Will Indie Directors Have Blockbuster Success?
Director Gareth Edwards is going from bare-bones indie sci-fi (Monsters) to the massive scale of Godzilla - easily one of the most anticipated films of the year. Gareth Evans will grow from the low-budget cult-hit The Raid: Redemption to full-on blockbuster-level action in The Raid 2. On the comic book side: The Russo Brothers left behind their Arrested Development and Community sitcom days to tackle Captain America: The Winter Soldier, while the poster-child for offbeat indie films, James Gunn (pictured left with raccoon actor), is trying to launch Marvel's riskiest property yet with Guardians of the Galaxy. Even from this small example, one can clearly see that some hard-working underdogs are finally getting a crack at the big time. Here's hoping they learned worthwhile lessons about making more out of less.
Will Sci-Fi Outclass Superheroes?
Last year it was surprising that sci-fi outliers like Oblivion and Gravity won more acclaim than anticipated favorites like Star Trek Into Darkness and Pacific Rim. Unsurprising? Thor, Iron Man and Superman all made solid bank. This year, however, sci-fi is getting some heavyweight clout. Former Dark Knight Trilogy collaborators Chris Nolan and Wally Pfister are each making star-studded blockbuster sci-fi flicks with Interstellar and Transcendence, respectively. Tom Cruise is going sci-fi again for Edge of Tomorrow and The Wachowskis are trying to improve their Cloud Atlas numbers with stars Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum headlining Jupiter Ascending. With that lineup of talent, superheroes could be in for a fight to hold onto that box office top tier.
How Much Do We REALLY Want to Know?
A lot of focus has been put on a the crazy year in movies that will be 2015 - but in order to get to that point, there needs to be a lot of work done in 2014. Even though Batman vs. Superman has been delayed (or has it?) Zack Snyder, Ben Affleck and Co. need to get to work soon - as do the teams behind Avengers: Age of Ultron and Star Wars Episode VII and Jurassic World. With all these big films going into production, legitimate spoilers could start trickling from every inch of the interwebs. But how much do we want to know in advance? Who wants to arrive at that epic lineup of 2015 films knowing EVERY single twist, surprise or plot beat of the movies they are most excited for? Too much info can be a truly terrible thing...
Could This Be Marvel Studios' Best Year Yet?
Marvel Studios has already accomplished so much - but 2014 could be another milestone year. Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy are probably the riskiest combination of films Marvel has released in a single year - but both are riding on strong buzz for their great scripts and unique directorial visions. If both films perform well, then Marvel could firmly establish some unproven properties as box office earners; launch a new multi-media franchise with Guardians; and earn two counts of Dark Knight-style critical praise in the process. Not too shabby. (Image credit: Skinny Glasses @ DeviantArt)
Will Third-Party Shared Universes Work?
Marvel and DC are the two big shared universe players (though the latter is still struggling to get off the ground); however, in 2014 there will be other studios making a run at it. In 2014 a lot of eyes will be on Fox and Sony, whose tentpole films X-Men: Days of Future Past and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will each try and launch new Marvel superhero universes - outside of the one populated by The Avengers. In the eyes of fans that's a big risk, as third-party studios carry the stigma of mismanaging their superhero properties. With big things already promised for future installments (Apocalypse, Venom), these third-party superhero universes better start with a big bang.
Those are our 5 Big Questions for 2014. Are YOU a geek or a hardcore fan? What questions are YOU asking in the new calendar year? Here are a few we had on the back or our minds:
- Is this a good year for reboots? Two new Hercules films, a new vision of Robocop... does any of it look good?
- Will Transformers 4 REALLY be a fresh start for the franchise?
- Will Katniss Everdeen continue her box office domination?
- Will any animated film top How to Train Your Dragon 2?