BoxOffice wraps up our first 2014 preview with a look at the most promising flicks of the final three months of the year.
Big Hero 6
In another first for Marvel in 2014, they take the leap into the animation format with this lower-tier group of unknown comic book characters. Disney Animation Studios is on a hot streak with Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph, and Tangled over the last few years, so the combination of that team working with Marvel's brain trust and source material makes for considerable potential. We think a solid domestic run is likely by default as Big Hero 6 won't have much direct competition. All told though, this one's a wild card until the studio releases something more tangible.
Christopher Nolan's first post-Dark Knight Trilogy project is generating significant buzz online despite very little information about the film. Should history repeat itself, general audiences will follow suit as marketing peels away layers of the film throughout the year. The holiday release is a first for the popular filmmaker, indicating studio intentions to gun for awards buzz if the pic is up to usual Nolan standards. He himself is consciously aware of the challenge of space-set films. The secrecy behind Interstellar makes it impossible to forecast whether or not the movie will approach Inception's $293 million domestic run, but overseas (where the dream-sharing blockbuster earned $531 million) success is a safe bet. Key foreign markets will include China, the U.K., France, and Japan.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
As we speak, Catching Fire is bucking the domestic trend of sequels doing less business than their predecessors who seemingly reached a saturation point in audience size. The division of the book series' final entry into two films follows the pattern of the Harry Potter and Twilight series, both of which saw their penultimate installments fall slightly in gross before rebounding with the final film. Expect a similar behavior from Mockingjay domestically. Strong overseas markets should again include the U.K., Germany, and Australia.
Ridley Scott gets religious with this adaptation of the story of Moses, to be portrayed by Christian Bale. Scott hasn't delivered a crowd-pleasing blockbuster in awhile, but that could change here. Bale is on his A-game right now just a few years removed from his first Oscar, plus American Hustle's success, and a well-received biblical epic should play well through the holiday season. Like Noah earlier in the year, Brazil and Spain will be among the foreign territories that could put up big grosses for the film.
The Hobbit: There and Back Again
(Warner Bros., 12/17)
Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy will come to a close in what will surely be the most aggressively marketed entry of the franchise since 2003's The Return of the King. A few fans/audiences initially shied away from The Desolation of Smaug after An Unexpected Journey didn't quite live up to the hype of its Oscar-winning predecessors, but the middle chapter's word of mouth is regaining some momentum for the series in a way that should benefit There and Back Again. Another run close to $1 billion globally is likely with a strong finale.
Honorable Mentions: Gone Girl (10/3), The Interview (10/10), David Ayer's Untitled World War II Film starring Brad Pitt (11/14), Dumb and Dumber To (11/14), Horrible Bosses 2 (11/26), Annie (12/19), Into the Woods (12/25)