After a very strong movie-going season (overall) in February, we now move onto March – a month that is becoming more and more reminiscent of a summer movie-going month. In a lot of ways, March is now like a lesser version of April, which, in turn, has transformed into a lesser version of May. By that we mean that the upcoming month has a surprising amount of high profile releases – sequels and potential franchise-starters – that have caught our eye. But like the summer, there are some films releasing this month that could either be huge money-makers or complete duds; it all depends on the turn-out.

Either way, with a schedule that boasts a biblical epic, a comic book adaptation, and a muppet movie, March is sure to satisfy an eclectic set of tastes. Without further ado, here are the 6 movies we’re looking forward to in March.

300: Rise of an Empire (Release Date: March 7th)

There’s no Gerard Butler, no Zack Snyder, and it’s not based on an actual comic book. But still, 300: Rise of an Empire makes the list because of its predecessor’s legacy. Not only did the first 300 inform new styles of filmmaking and cinematic adaptation, it put several careers on the map. It was a slick, violent, action-packed epic that did its best to stay true to the source material.

Rise of an Empire, on the other hand, seeks to focus on the same conflict of 300, only from a different perspective. There are still Spartans fighting, only this time they are up against Artemisia (Eva Green)…in addition to the god-king Xerxes. If 300: Rise of an Empire can equal its predecessor in terms of style and action, it should be a fun piece of popcorn entertainment. But with many of the original’s key creatives not around, this could also be a serious disappointment.

Watch the trailer for 300: Rise of an Empire.

Need for Speed (Release Date: March 14th)

After his Emmy-winning turn as Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad, most figured that Aaron Paul was destined to headline at least one blockbuster film. It just so happens that the film he picked, Need for Speed, is also the first in a forthcoming batch of video game adaptations. But while Need for Speed might be based on a video game, it has much in common with the Fast and the Furious franchise – cool cars, practical stunts – that it might be able to escape the stigma oftentimes associated with game adaptations.

Still, there is a lot of weight on Need for Speed‘s shoulders, both in terms of video game adaptations and Aaron Paul’s future as a big-name actor. Breaking Bad was a huge TV hit, but oftentimes that doesn’t translate into box office success. Our time on the film’s set has us plenty intrigued, but whether audiences will turn out is unclear.

Watch the trailer for Need for Speed.

Divergent (Release Date: March 21st)

The latest in what seems like a never-ending series of YA adaptations, Divergent marks the closest we might come to the next Hunger Games. By that we mean Summit Entertainment has copied a lot of Hunger Games‘ winning formula, from the talented young headliner (Shailene Woodley) to the celebrated director (Neil Burger), in the hopes of duplicating Katniss Everdeen’s massive success.

Divergent‘s premise – a dystopian future where young teens are placed into factions based on their virtues – is intriguing, as is its cast. By all accounts, this could be a hit. But, as we have seen time and time again, even the source material with the most devoted fan base doesn’t always work as a feature film. For every Twilight there’s a Mortal Instruments or Beautiful Creatures.

Watch the trailer for Divergent.

Muppets Most Wanted (Release Date: March 21st)

Honestly, you had us at another Muppets movie, but thankfully the folks behind the original weren’t satisfied resting on their laurels. Rather than retread old material, Muppets Most Wanted introduces an entirely new human cast, while hopefully still retaining most of the charm of the original.

In a lot of ways, Muppets Most Wanted reminds us of The Great Muppet Caper in both its globetrotting plot and overarching mystery. Yes, it’s still The Muppets, but that doesn’t mean the story has to be any less entertaining on its own. Throw in Ricky Gervais, Tiny Fey, Ty Burrell, and more songs by The Flight of the ConchordsBret McKenzie, and we’re in.

Watch the trailer for Muppets Most Wanted.

Noah (Release Date: March 28th)

As far as March goes, you would be hard-pressed to find a film more highly anticipated at Screen Rant than Noah. At the same time, a big-budget retelling of the biblical flood story starring Russell Crowe and directed by Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) may be a cinephile’s dream, but it’s not necessarily the type of movie that will do gangbusters at the box office.

The film does, however, have a lot in common with last year’s Gravity – Oscar-winning star, big name director, visual effects extravaganza – and the hope is that Noah will find just as much success. Unfortunately, predicting how audiences will respond to these types of films is never easy. If the film is on par with Aronofsky’s other work (i.e. a critically-acclaimed awards show contender), we hope that will be enough. We’ll have to wait and see.

Watch the trailer for Noah.

Sabotage (Release Date: March 28th)

If there’s one subject matter writer/director David Ayer (End of Watch) knows better than most its gritty cop stories. He brought the genre into the modern age with Training Day, and has continued to put out good work at a decent pace. To be fair, his latest film, Sabotage, looks to lean a little more heavily on the action side of things, but when your cast includes the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sam Worthington it’s hard not to.

However, what adds a little more intrigue to Sabotage‘s story is its alleged roots. While not a direct adaptation, the film is reportedly loosely based on Agatha Christie’s novel And Then There Were None, about a group of 8 dinner guests that start dropping off one by one. In Sabotage, those dinner guests are traded for DEA agents, and the overarching story has been appropriated to fit Ayer’s sensibility – but the hope is that this story will be equally as intriguing. All in all, the film sounds like it could be a cool action flick.

Watch the trailer for Sabotage.

Conclusion

While The LEGO Movie certainly set the bar high for future 2014 releases, there are a few films hitting this month that could make a run at the number 2 spot. If Need for Speed can drum up even half of what the last Fast and Furious did, then it will have secured its place as a growing franchise. The same could be said for Rise of an Empire and future 300 films. And hopefully Noah makes at least enough money that Darren Aronofsky continues to get to make the films he wants to make.

Again, here are the 6 March releases we’re looking forward to:

  • March 7th: 300: Rise of an Empire
  • March 14th: Need for Speed
  • March 21st: Divergent, Muppets Most Wanted
  • March 28th: Noah, Sabotage

Which films are you looking forward to this month? Which March releases do you think will find success at the box office?

Follow Anthony on Twitter @ANTaormina