The anticipated fight between Superman and Batman has been postponed until 2016, but there are still plenty of major franchise tentpoles – Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jurassic World, James Bond 24, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, and Star Wars: Episode VII among them – that will be flexing their big muscles during the 2015 box office derby.

Summer 2015 is largely filed out, in terms of genre blockbuster sequels, reboots and/or new pop intellectual properties (Ant-Man, Assassin’s Creed, and so forth) – and even the rare non-indie original form of entertainment (Tomorrowland, Inside Out, etc.) – headed to the big screen. However, there’s still room in the remaining months of that year, which Warner Bros. has taken advantage of to schedule early 2015 release dates for two noteworthy titles on its checklist.

First is The Man from U.N.C.L.E., a big screen reboot of the 1960s TV series that will star Henry Cavill (Man of Steel) and Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger) as, respectively, an American CIA agent and Russian KGB operative who join forces to stop a global criminal organization. The project has evolved significantly over the past few years, when it changed from being the latest Steven Soderbergh/George Clooney joint to a new update of an older established property directed by Guy Ritchie (the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies).

Man from U.N.C.L.E. will open theatrically during next year’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday frame, beginning January 16th, 2015. Question is, will it fare better, worse or the same at the box office as this year’s Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – another reboot based on an older espionage genre property, which has taken in $123 million worldwide thus far (on a $60 million budget). It’s possible that Man from U.N.C.L.E. will do better in the U.S. since it retains the original show’s 1960s backdrop; comparatively, the Jack Ryan reboot’s modernized take on the Tom Clancy character’s origins struggled to stand apart as something unique, contributing to it becoming the lowest-grossing Ryan flick here in the States.  

However, just as Shadow Recruit had to battle the Kevin Hart/Ice Cube teamup flick Ride Along for attention from moviegoers (a battle it definitely lost), Ritchie’s film will have to face-off against another Kevin Hart comedy in The Wedding Ringer. There’s also a new take on Frankenstein and a currently-untitled Michael Mann-helmed thriller starring Chris Hemsworth (Thor: The Dark World) currently slated to arrive during that same opening weekend frame.

That other noteworthy WB project now set for 2015 is Focus, a caper/comedy starring Will Smith as a seasoned con artist who takes a gifted protege under his wing – which turns out to be a bad idea, when the pair’s romantic interest in one another begins to conflict with their illicit work. I Love You Phillip Morris and Crazy, Stupid, Love directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa wrote the script and are calling the shots on the film, which costars Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) as the woman whom Smith’s grifter becomes infatuated with.

Focus will open in theaters on February 27th, 2015, where its competition includes the true story-inspired climbing adventure/thriller Everest and the sci-fi feature Selfless from director Tarsem Singh (The Cell, Immortals). That not only means that Focus will be the next Will Smith vehicle to hit theaters, but it also means that the con artist flick will be another test of the A-lister’s current draw at the box office – which apparently isn’t enough to compensate for a film that doesn’t look all that promising anymore, as we saw last year with After Earth.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. opens in U.S. theaters on January 16th, 2015.

Focus opens in U.S. theaters on February 27th, 2015.

Source: Box Office Mojo