With the notable exception of Furious 7, April was relatively quiet in terms of big-budget Hollywood blockbusters. That Vin Diesel-led action extravaganza - which also heavily featured a farewell tribute to the late Paul Walker - became a record-breaking box office success for Universal, while the studio's sci-fi thriller Ex Machina earned critical praise for the directorial debut by screenwriter Alex Garland (Dredd). However, the summer movie season finally takes flight this month. So let's take a look at which films are hitting theaters this month, including several of our most-anticipated films of 2015.
Here are the 8 films to watch for in May 2015:
Avengers: Age of Ultron (Release Date: May 1)
Way back in 2012, Marvel's The Avengers was released to much anticipation from fans and ended up bringing in more than $1 billion worldwide. Now, with nearly every other major studio embracing shared universes, Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron is faced with proving the continued viability of that model and preparing the Marvel Cinematic Universe for Phase Three (and, ultimately, the heroes' showdown with Thanos in the two-part Avengers: Infinity War).
In addition to the James Spader-voiced villain of its title, Age of Ultron adds a number of new faces to the ever-growing cast of characters, including Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and the Vision (Paul Bettany). The film serves as writer/director Joss Whedon's final Marvel Studios project (at least for now), marking the end of his three-year contract and the end of an era for Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
Check out our Avengers: Age of Ultron review for more.
The D Train (Release Date: May 8)
In The D Train, Jack Black plays the head of a high school reunion committee who decides he must convince the most popular member of his graduating class (James Marsden) to attend the event in order to ensure its success. The film - which marks the directorial debut for screenwriting duo Andrew Mogel and Jarrad Paul (Yes Man) - may not have built-in fanbase of some of this month's other releases, but it does hold enough promise to warrant a mention.
Even in their more lackluster film roles, Black and Marsden have proven themselves as bright spots - and in The D Train, they are joined by a stellar supporting cast that includes Kathryn Hahn and Jeffrey Tambor. The film also looks like it has more on its mind than just laughs, incorporating deeper coming-of-age themes (like the need to be popular) into the mix as well.
Check out the latest trailer for The D Train.
Mad Max: Fury Road (Release Date: May 15)
It's been 30 years since the last Mad Max film; and while a reboot has been talked about for years, original director George Miller finally returns to the character with Mad Max: Fury Road. Tom Hardy takes over the role once played by Mel Gibson, with stars like Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult joining the franchise as new larger-than-life characters.
The film promises to be a celebration of excess, from the over-the-top art direction of its post-apocalyptic world to the crazy visual effects. Mad Max: Fury Road has been steadily building buzz for months, and its high-octane thrills could easily help the film develop into the summer blockbuster that casual moviegoers never saw coming.
Check out the latest trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road.
Pitch Perfect 2 (Release Date: May 15)
After the runaway success of the first film, the release of Pitch Perfect 2 seemed inevitable. Between star Anna Kendrick's undeniable onscreen charm to the infectious musical numbers, the film managed to make acapella singing competitions a mainstream success for the first time since Glee burst onto television screens.
However, now that the franchise has an established fanbase, the stakes are higher both on and off-screen. Pitch Perfect 2 - which sees the Barden Bellas enter an international singing competition - marks the feature-length directorial debut for actress Elizabeth Banks. Will the sequel feature a breakout hit song that can match Kendrick's hugely successful "Cups"? Fans will find out soon enough.
Check out the latest trailer for Pitch Perfect 2.
Tomorrowland (Release Date: May 22)
Tomorrowland - inspired by the attractions at Walt Disney World, as its name implies - has been largely shrouded in mystery since its announcement. Recent months have brought fans closer to the plot of writer/director Brad Bird's latest, and considering that Bird's filmography includes universally beloved titles like The Incredibles and The Iron Giant, anticipation was running high even before any story details were unveiled.
The film stars Britt Robertson as a teen who stumbles across the existence of a fantastical place and must track down a washed-up scientist (George Clooney) to learn the many secrets it holds. So far, footage of the film has been extremely intriguing, promising an adventure filled with equal parts wonder and excitement. There's no telling if the final film will live up to expectations, but with Bird at the helm, there's a good chance it just might.
Check out the latest trailer for Tomorrowland.
Poltergeist (Release Date: May 22)
Remakes/reboots of classic horror films are famously hit-and-miss (okay, perhaps mostly miss). So fans of the original Poltergeist have every reason to be skeptical of director Gil Kenan's version of the classic 1982 Tobe Hooper film. Kenan is best known as the director of animated spook-fest Monster House - and while that film has its fair share of scares, it remains unclear just how closely the new Poltergeist will hew to the dark, edgy tone of its source material.
Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt star as a married couple whose family home becomes infected by malevolent spirits; and in the age of the Paranormal Activity franchise, the haunted house premise may need to prove itself worthy to younger moviegoers unfamiliar with the previous films. In the case of Poltergeist, the film will also need to tread carefully if it hopes to avoid the wrath of longtime fans. Whichever way it goes, it's likely that Poltergeist will make a splash when it hits theaters.
Check out the latest trailer for Poltergeist.
San Andreas (Release Date: May 29)
Disaster films are often a tricky sub-genre to pull off at the box office, considering the many cliches and familiar story beats that often telegraph how the movie will play out. However, even if San Andreas succumbs to some of those drawbacks, the effects-heavy feature still has a solid chance at delivering a fun cinematic experience for one reason: Dwayne Johnson.
In the past few years, the wrestler-turned-movie-star has injected new life into a number of franchises (most notably, with his inclusion in the Fast and Furious series), and there's no reason to think he can't pull off the same feat here. Johnson is known for bringing both his imposing physicality and inherent likability to the big screen - and his action-hero persona could be perfectly suited to the story of a father's search for his daughter following a massive L.A. earthquake.
Check out the latest trailer for San Andreas.
Aloha (Release Date: May 29)
Cameron Crowe has proven in the past that he is particularly skilled in combining comedy and drama into a memorable character-driven story (see: Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous). In Aloha, he has the opportunity to demonstrate this once again with an ensemble cast that includes Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, John Krasinski, Bill Murray and Alec Baldwin.
Cooper - fresh off his third consecutive Oscar nomination - stars as a military contractor who reconnects with a former love (McAdams) and finds himself drawn to a young Air Force officer (Stone). With that premise, the film could easily fall into overly formulaic territory and betray its potential. Still, with such a winning cast, Aloha could end up being a charming film... even if it winds up being severely flawed.
Check out the latest trailer for Aloha.
With more than its share of highly anticipated releases, May 2015 should have plenty of fun in store for moviegoers (starting with today's please of Avengers: Age of Ultron in the U.S.). Adventure films are coming out in full force this month, ranging from family-friendly entries to darker, more violent offerings. Of course, this summer is also filled to the brim with nostalgia, so expect more reboots, remakes and long-awaited sequels in the months ahead.
All things considered, this month only marks the beginning of what could very well be one of the biggest movie summers in recent memory.
Once again, here are the 8 films to watch this May:
- May 1: Avengers: Age of Ultron
- May 8: The D Train
- May 15: Mad Max: Fury Road, Pitch Perfect 2
- May 22: Tomorrowland, Poltergeist
- May 29: San Andreas, Aloha