While 2014 had its fair share of hits, many spent the past year looking ahead to what's in store for 2015. For a while, fans have known that franchises such as Star Wars, The Avengers, and Jurassic Park are returning to the big screen with new installments next year, which is one of the reasons why there's so much excitement circling the approaching 12 months in film.
As such, creating a "most anticipated" list of titles viewers are desperately waiting to see shouldn't be much of an issue. Fandango polled 1,000 fans on its site to unveil one of the first of many similar lists we'll see popping up around the web in the coming days. According to the results, the movie Fandango users are most excited for is the return journey to the galaxy far, far away, with The Avengers: Age of Ultron in second place.
While the sequel to the most financially-successful superhero movie of all-time is worth getting jazzed about, Star Wars is an entirely different animal. Ever since the original film debuted in 1977, it has been a fixture of popular culture, earning multiple generations of fans. It's easy to see why The Force Awakens would top the poll, since it will mark the first new Star Wars movie in 10 years and launch a new wave of films hoping to reinvigorate the brand.
If the reaction to the Force Awakens teaser was any indication, moviegoers will be showing up en masse. The Age of Ultron trailer was quite enthusiastically received as well, so these two topping Fandango's poll is good news for Disney, which owns both Lucasfilm and Marvel Studios. It's a very distinct possibility that these two event films will gross in excess of $1 billion globally, so studio executives are probably loving the fact that the Mouse House is poised to dominate the box office in 2015.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, which serves as the followup to last year's most anticipated movie (based on Fandango's 2014 poll), ranked third amongst 2015 releases (hat tip Variety). As the finale to one of the most popular franchises in recent memory, it stands reason to believe it will be a major hit when it plays in theaters, especially after the cliffhanger ending from Part 1. Its "low" ranking on this particular list is merely an indication of its standing in the Hollywood franchise hierarchy, which is still quite high.
Rounding out Fandango's top five are Fifty Shades of Grey and Jurassic World. The latter is another instance where a long-dormant franchise (the third film came out in 2001) will be trying to make the old new again; and even if the reaction to the first trailer was somewhat mixed, moviegoers love getting the chance to see 2014's box office star Chris Pratt take the lead in another tentpole project.
Fifty Shades is the only non-sequel on the list, and that can be attributed to the overwhelming popularity of the source material book. It's the same aspect that helped David Fincher's Gone Girl become one of fall 2014's most anticipated releases. Even though no household names are starring in Fifty Shades, it should find a large audience when it is released on Valentine's Day.
And just because you don't see your most anticipated 2015 movie on here doesn't mean it won't be a hit. 2014's big winner at the box office, Guardians of the Galaxy, was not featured on Fandango's previous most anticipated list, after all. So for those of you hoping, say, Tomorrowland or Ant-Man can make it big, there's plenty hope for you yet. 1,000 votes is a small sample size, after all.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be in theaters December 18, 2015.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.