The big blockbusters of summer 2015
Blockbuster season is almost upon us, but what will next summer's big hitters be? Here's a roundup
Once upon a time, summer blockbuster season 2015 was set to be packed with the biggest collision of big franchises we'd ever seen together. However, one by one, lots of these films moved away to other dates. As such, you won't be seeing Star Wars: Episode VII, Pirates Of The Caribbean 5, Independence Day 2, Batman Vs Superman or Finding Dory in a cinema next summer.
But even with those films gone, there's still no shortage of huge movies battling for your cash in a year's time. And as is traditional for us at the start of summer blockbuster season, we've taken a look at what's coming up in 12 months' time.
We kick off at the start of April (although note that March has Kenneth Branagh’s live action Cinderella movie, DreamWorks Animation’s The Penguins Of Madagascar, and Aardman’s latest, Shaun The Sheep)...
FAST & FURIOUS 7
We start with a film delayed for well known, and tragic reasons. The death of Paul Walker, half way through production of James Wan’s Fast & Furious 7 inevitably led to the film itself being put back. Originally set for release in July 2014, Fast & Furious 7 will now arrive in April 2015.
Walker’s character will still appear in the film, thanks to doubles and CG trickery, and the major new addition to the cast this time is Kurt Russell. Vin Diesel still headlines, with Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham also in the ensemble. Hopefully, all concerned will weave together a fitting tribute to the late Walker with the movie.
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
We’ll call it right here: this will be the biggest film of 2015. It’s not our ballsiest prediction, granted. And given that the first The Avengers is the third biggest film of all time (and the biggest ever if you don’t count James Cameron films), it’s hardly the biggest stretch to suggest The Avengers 2 will be quite popular.
Joss Whedon is directing again, with the likes of Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L Jackson, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr and Jeremy Renner appearing in roles of assorted sizes. New additions? Aaron Taylor-Johnson, James Spader, Elizabeth Olsen and Thomas Kretschmann.
The film’s main shoot is getting underway now, with the bulk of production taking place in the UK. And, as you more than likely already know, plans are already afoot for The Avengers 3 as well.
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
Delayed more than once, George Miller’s fourth Mad Max movie has no Mel Gibson, but instead brings in Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron. Miller has eschewed the world of CG, instead opting for practical chases and effects wherever possible. And by the sounds of some of the factors the production had to face, it’s a near miracle he’s managed to get it to the screen at all.
Miller’s also co-written the script, and is in post-production on the movie right now. As for the plot? It’s still being kept under wraps, and we suspect that’ll be the case for some time yet. If it hits, expect the gap between Mad Max 4 and Mad Max 5 to be shorter than the one between Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome and Fury Road...
PITCH PERFECT 2
Elizabeth Banks took on a supporting role in the original Pitch Perfect, but her key contribution was as producer, fighting hard to get the movie made in the first place. It proved to be a solid box office success, going on to make great riches on home formats, and spawning two soundtrack albums.
For Pitch Perfect 2, she’s moving over to the director’s chair too, making her feature helming debut in a movie that’ll reunite the key cast of the first Pitch Perfect. Again, firm details of where the story goes are unknown at this stage. But we suspect this will be a sequel that significantly outperforms the original. Universal seems to think so too, hence the prime summer release slot.
The second Jason Statham movie of summer 2015, this one teaming him up with Bridesmaids and The Heat (pictured above) director Paul Feig. He co-stars with Melissa McCarthy for this spy comedy, which also features Rose Byrne and Jude Law. McCarthy plays the title character, and Feig has penned the script for this one as well. Spy was once known as Susan Cooper, before a recent name change.
One of the summer 2015 films we’re hugely excited about. From director Brad Bird, Tomorrowland – originally known as 1952 - has been shrouded in mystery since pretty much the day it was announced. It's billed as a science fiction mystery movie, and known to have shot at Walt Disney World in Florida.
George Clooney takes the lead, alongside Hugh Laurie (reportedly the villain) and newcomer Britt Robertson as the film’s young heroine. Damon Lindelof has co-penned the script with Bird and Jeff Jensen, and the film was moved by Disney from the end of this year to its new summer 2015 slot.
Brad Bird is a man with not a bad film to his name. We strongly suspect that Tomorrowland will not change that. It might just be our best shot at an original, standalone non-franchise sci-fi blockbuster in 2015...
This one’s interesting, because it’s set to springboard the latest attempt by Paramount to crack the animation business. Since it parted company with DreamWorks Animation a year or two back, Paramount – buoyed by the relative success of Rango – has been working on its own animated features. Monster Trucks, a mix of animation and live action, is being directed by Chris Wedge, best known for launching the Ice Age series, but also for directing Robots and last year’s Epic.
With a $100m budget, Monster Trucks is fairly economic by animation standards. But Paramount will be hoping for more luck with an animated vehicular franchise than DreamWorks had with Turbo last year.
The UK is currently scheduled to get Monster Trucks a week earlier, on May 22nd.
B.O.O.: BUREAU OF OTHERWORDLY OPERATIONS
One of the few upcoming DreamWorks Animation projects that hasn’t bounced around the schedule a lot, B.O.O.: Bureau Of Otherworldly Operations is a story about ghosts. More to the point, it’s about a secret government agency that uses ghosts to protect humans from nasty hauntings. So, good ghosts versus bad ghosts by the sounds of it.
It’s being directed by Tony Leondis, who previously helmed the straight-to-DVD Emperor’s New Groove sequel, Kronk’s New Groove, for Disney. He was also the director of 2008’s Igor, and made the 2011 short film Kung Fu Panda: Secrets Of The Masters. Leondis came up with the story for B.O.O. too.
Promisingly, Bill Murray is part of the voice cast, alongside Rashida Jones, Seth Rogen (back on DreamWorks duty after Monsters Vs Aliens) and Jennifer Coolidge. And say what you like about DreamWorks Animation, for a maker of expensive motion pictures, its non-sequel to sequel ratio is very healthy indeed.
The UK release date for this one, incidentally, is currently Friday 17th July.
Headlined by Dwayne Johnson (pictured above in Pain And Gain), San Andreas is a film about the aftermath of a huge earthquake in California. It's set to focus on a rescue helicopter pilot who’s trying to rescue his daughter, and Allan Loeb – who penned the scripts for Rock Of Ages, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and Just Go With It – has penned the screenplay.
Brad Peyton is directing, reuniting with Johnson after Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. He also made Cats & Dogs 2: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore. San Andreas won’t be like that, though.
Criticise us to death for it if you want, but Jurassic Park 4 can’t come quickly enough. Get us in a pub, and we’ll even attempt a spirited defence of Jurassic Park III for you.
For this new film, the trump card may yet be the hiring of director Colin Trevorrow, who showed he could stretch resources brilliantly with his feature Safety Not Guaranteed. And in spite of the larger canvas afforded by Jurassic World, what he’s been saying about the film does nothing to shatter our confidence. He’s refusing to bring back characters just for the sake of it, and his film will be set two decades after the original, taking the story on rather than rebooting it.
Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Nick Robinson (not the BBC’s political editor) and Jake Johnson lead the cast. Our hopes are very high.
Not a blockbuster as such perhaps, but it would be remiss of us not to note that the Entourage movie gets a big summer release next year. Sadly, we’ve learned that Piers Morgan is in it, but that aside, there’s a lot to look forward to. Doug Ellin is behind the camera, and in front of it are Mark Wahlberg, Alice Eve, Haley Joel Osment, Jeremy Piven, Adrian Grenier, Jerry Ferrera, Ronda Rousey and Kevin Connolly. There’s set to be no shortage of cameos as well.
To our knowledge, this is the only one of 2015’s summer films that Piers Morgan is in. We shall update you accordingly.
Even appreciating that summer 2015 is the blockbuster season with The Avengers 2 in it, it still seems to us that director Josh Trank’s reboot of the Fantastic Four movie franchise is the one that thus far has been written about the most.
It’s the casting that’s caused the bulk of the debate, with Marvel’s first family now being played by Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B Jordan and Jamie Bell. We’ve tried to report details of the story before, and got a legal letter for our troubles, but after seeing what Josh Trank did with Chronicle, there’s still cause for a lot of optimism here.
Fox certainly is keen to keep pressing ahead, having already announced a 2017 release date for Fantastic Four 2. No pressure there, then...
By the firm’s standards, there will have been a fairly substantive Pixar drought by the time Inside Out arrives in cinemas. Courtesy of the delay to A Good Dinosaur (bounced back over a year to November 2015), Inside Out – directed by Up and Monsters Inc’s Peter Docter, along with Ronnie del Carmen – will arrive nearly two years after the firm’s 14th movie, Monsters University.
And the pressure’s on a bit. Not since 2010’s Toy Story 3 has Pixar made a film that feels like it’s been up to the very high standards it sets itself. Inside Out looks strong though, set inside the head of a young girl, where characters such as Joy, Anger and Fear try and guide her through life. Think something akin to the British cartoon strip The Numskulls.
Michael Arndt has worked on the script for this one, and Docter has described Inside Out as one of the most challenging projects he’s ever taken on.
Sadly, as is usual with Pixar releases, we get this one later in the UK, on July 31st.
Arguably the comedy to beat at the box office in 2015. Seth MacFarlane is directing again, with Ted 2 reuniting the title character with Mark Wahlberg. Mila Kunis and Amanda Seyfried are on board as well. MacFarlane, as well as directing, has written the script. Expect swearing and stuff. UK release? July 10th.
It’s not a modern summer blockbuster season now without at least one major franchise revival, and this second attempt to kickstart the Terminator series is very much that. Alan Taylor, off the back of Thor: The Dark World, is directing, with Arnold Schwarzenegger taking on a lead role. He’s being joined by Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke and Jai Courtney.
Early promises suggested an R rating, but we’d still be surprised if Terminator: Genesis didn’t ultimately arrive as a PG-13 movie. It’s going to tie into story threads left behind by Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and the idea is that it’ll be the springboard for a new trilogy of films. Mind you, they said that about Terminator: Salvation too.
The UK gets this one a full week earlier, on June 26th.
If Avengers: Age Of Ultron doesn’t top the summer 2015 blockbuster, it’ll only be because of the Minions of Despicable Me. Despicable Me 2 edged close to $1bn at the global box office ($970m if you want it more exact), and there’s no doubting what the main attraction about the movie was: the anarchic minions themselves. Thus, unsurprisingly, they’re getting a spin-off movie to themselves.
That’s a risk of sorts in itself, in that taking them from comedy supporting characters to the main attraction comes with inherent risks. Yet Illumination Entertainment – which is also working on Despicable Me 3 – is confident. Kyla Balda (co-director of The Lorax) and Pierre Coffin (co-director of the first two Despicable Me movies) are calling the shots. This will, we predict, be the third animated movie to break $1bn at the global box office.
We get this one early in the UK too. Current date: June 26th.
The film that kick-starts phase three of the Marvel cinematic universe is the long touted Ant-Man, from director Edgar Wright. He’s cast Paul Rudd in the title role, with the likes of Michael Douglas, Patrick Wilson and Evangeline Lilly in supporting roles.
Wright has co-written the script with Joe Cornish, and with filming underway any minute, we wonder if we may yet get a sting for the film in the end credits of Guardians Of The Galaxy later this year. That’s us speculating, clearly, but you never know...
Warner Bros doesn’t have Batman Vs Superman for the summer of 2015, so instead, it’s moved its Peter Pan origin story project into the slot it had earmarked for it. The film is going by the name of Pan, and director Joe Wright is making it (Wright is still best known for Pride & Prejudice and Atonement, but he also made the edgy, really rather good Hanna).
Rooney Mara and Hugh Jackman have been confirmed in the cast so far, with newcomer Levi Miller taking on the title role. TRON: Legacy’s Garrett Hedlund has been linked too. And in a summer short of live action family movies, Warner Bros may have made a smarter move with this one than many are giving it credit for...
Four films into his directorial career, and Judd Apatow (pictured) has two outright hits – The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up – and two interesting box office disappointments – Funny People and This Is Forty.
Trainwreck? Well, he’s got Tilda Swinton, Ezra Miller, Bill Hader, Amy Schumer, Barkhad Abdi and the brilliant Brie Larson in his cast. Beyond that? It’s something of a mystery. That title is a bold movie for critics looking to add extra snark to their copy, mind. Note that the UK release for this is August 28th.
For Sacha Baron Cohen, the success of Borat at the box office must seem quite a long time ago. His subsequent high profile projects, Bruno and The Dictator, have disappointed to differing degrees.
For Grimsby, he’s teamed up with Now You See Me and The Incredible Hulk director Louis Letterier, in a film about a British black-ops operative who reunites with his estranged brother. His estranged brother being a football hooligan.
Cohen has co-penned the script with long-time collaborator Peter Baynham (who also worked on the script to Arthur Christmas).
PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIARS
Based on Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, Peregrine’s Home For Peculiars has been adapted by Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class scribe Jane Goldman. And Tim Burton is going to be sitting in the director’s chair.
Given there’s more than one book, a franchise is presumably eyed here, but not too much is known about the first movie so far. The story will be about a teenage boy transported to an island where he has to protect a bunch of orphans with special powers from nasty things, but there’s been no casting news that we know of so far. The UK won’t get the film until August 19th.
It was The Expendables and District 9 that proved you could have a blockbuster success in August, and 20th Century Fox will certainly be hoping that’s still the case in 2015. That’s when it’s scheduled the Assassin’s Creed movie for, which has Michael Fassbender attached to it. Script work is well underway, but to the best of our knowledge, there’s no director on board yet, which suggests that that August date may yet be a bit flaky. Daniel Espinosa – of Safe House fame – has been linked, but that was back in January, and we’ve had no confirmation.
Still, UbiSoft is keen to get movie versions of its games going, so for the time being, August 7th remains the target date.
THE BOURNE SOMETHING
Summer blockbuster season 2015 will draw to a close with the fifth chapter in the Bourne cinematic saga (turning up in the UK on August 21st) . The focus will remain on Jeremy Renner’s Aaron Cross, with no sign of Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne returning. Also not returning is The Bourne Legacy’s director Tony Gilroy. The critical reaction to the film probably sealed that, and it’s hard to argue that the Bourne films now need an injection of something new.
Details on Bourne 5, other than those, are light so far. But it may be last chance saloon for the franchise if this one doesn’t work, and if Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass remain unwilling to return (as it seems they are).
Inevitably, that schedule is set to change around a bit yet, and there are one or two films yet to snare a summer 2015 date. But that, as we know it, is the current line up.
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