PREVIEW: Big names vie for 2015 box office

final collageIf you thought 2014 was a big year for cinematic spectacle, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
In January it’s all about the Oscars as we start getting the big hitting contenders for the Academy Awards. (A word to International readers – these are Kiwi release dates, sometimes much later that the rest of the world!)
It starts with gung-ho biopic American Sniper starring Bradley Cooper; followed by Michael Keaton’s comeback meta-film, Birdman.
Also out are Still Alice, starring Julianne Moore; Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut, Unbroken, and Foxcatcher, which puts a fake nose on Steve Carell to tell a dark, true story about US Olympic wrestling.
Two others with Oscar form – The Imitation Game and Turner, both British historical biopics – are already in theatres.
With a focus on killer performances, all of these films are tipped to make bank with the Academy, garnering at least Best Actor or Actress nominations for their stars, if not Best Film nods.
My money’s on Keaton, the original big screen Batman, getting the Golden Boy for his portrayal of a down-on-his luck actor trying to regain credibility after his career sinks in the wake of playing a superhero in a big budget production. (Talk about art imitating life.)
Later in the year we get Selma, a biopic about Martin Luther King Jnr, and the Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything, both also on the Oscar possibles list.
February goes from the sublime to the ridiculous – the sublime being the animated delight Sponge Bob: Out of Water, and the ridiculous being the male-body-free sex film 50 Shades of Grey.
But there’s also the much delayed sci-fi wonder, Jupiter Ascending, to look out for, as well as P T Anderson’s Thomas Pynchon adaptation, Inherent Vice.
Neil Blomkamp’s robot romance, Chappie, hits screens in March, followed by less erudite fare, as Kingsman: Secret Service and Divergent: Insurgent duke it out for who’s the toughest young adult on the block.
There’s only one thing happening in April and that’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. Expect your block to be busted and your corns to be popped right off as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes assemble once more, this time to fight James Spader’s demented robot overlord.
In May the cinema gets a tune up with Pitch Perfect 2.  The month also sees the return of an Australian legend as Mad Max: Fury Road smashes into your local cinema and burns it to the ground.
Also showing is Tomorrowland, Disney’s ode to that part of the theme park, with a story-line so guarded I do not know what it’s about, other than that it stars George Clooney and the ever lovely Britt Robertson as adventurers.
June goes Jurassic as Jurassic World opens. I’m not sure there’s much point to this film, other than getting to see a flock of Velociraptors running with Chris Pratt on a motorbike.
June is also all about the reboot, with Terminator: Genysis lumbering into cinemas.
And that’s just the first six months!  In the latter half of the year we supposed to get Peter Jackson’s The Adventures of Tin Tin: Prisoners of the Sun; another Marvel outing, Ant Man; Magic Mike XXL; The Fantastic Four reboot; Maze Runner: Scorch Trials; a brand new Peanuts movie; The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 finale; Christmas nightmare Krampus; and finally, the film we’ll all be waiting for, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
So it looks like you won’t have to go outside all year if you don’t want to.  Although you should probably start taking a multi-vitamin if you’re going to be eating all that popcorn.

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