With 2013 behind us and a slate of not-good January movies on the horizon, it's hard to get excited about what 2014 has to bring (considering these meager offerings) ... which is why we're going to predict the biggest blockbusters of 2014. If we could fast-forward to May we would—not just to get as far away from the polar vortex as possible, but to get to all the great movies that 2014 has lined up for us. Nothing sounds better to us right now than buying a giant popcorn and soda, sitting in air-conditioned movie theater, and watching the lights go down and Michael Fassbender's jawline appear on screen.
Picking box-office winners is a tall order, though. Just ask [insert name of fired Hollywood executive], right? Sorry, [first name of previously named Hollywood executive], just playing. But predicting the fickle tastes of the American audience is a good way to drive yourself crazy. Still, come on, it's not like America hasn't shown their cards more than a few times over the years. Superheroes, sequels, animated films. This is pretty much the pool we're drawing from.
Without further delay, then, here are our best guesses for the top box-office winners of 2014:
10. Gone Girl
Here's the dark horse. The success of the Twilight movies, along with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, changed the the way we think about the relationship between books and movie ticket sales. Gone Girl has that Twilight/GWTDT kind of readership that authors and studio executives would throw their grandmothers down stairs to have.
9. One of Those Hobbit Movies
The Desolation of Smaug was pretty good, and it seemed to convince people (including this Hobbit hater) that Peter Jackson was more on his game compared to to Unexpected Journey. That's good sign for his final movie.
Divergent kind of seems like it has all the tools to break the curse of the Young Adult feature film. Beautiful Creatures should have been more popular, Mortal Instruments didn't make use of pretty good material and readership, and Vampire Academy ... woof. Divergent feels like a the designer impostor version of Catching Fire— dystopian futures, girl who starts a revolution, said girl is a pretty good actress — and with all the success Catching Fire garnered, that might not necessarily be a bad thing.
7. Fast and Furious 7
Both the fifth and sixth Fast movies have landed in the box-office top ten, so there was little reason to think this wouldn't as well. Unfortunately, production delays mean this movie won't happen until 2015. So, yes, people will see the franchise's farewell to Paul Walker, just not for another year.
6. Guardians of the Galaxy
Here's my bet: Guardians of the Galaxy is going to make more money than Captain America: Winter Soldier. Let's be real: Captain America is kinda boring and he Chris Evans is better playing off with an ensemble. Also, GoG is going to feature a character named Rocket Raccoon — a walking, talking, raccoon, played by Bradley Cooper. That alone is more interesting than anything Captain America has done in the last couple of years.
5. Amazing Spider-Man 2
Amazing Spiderman 2 will also be more fun than Captain America. It will also make more money.
4. How to Train Your Dragon 2
Animated movies are a fixture on year-end box office lists (see: the Madagascar franchise). With no Pixar movie slated for 2014 and no Madagascar film either, the stage is set for the How to Train Your Dragon sequel to get the rightful attention and possibly critical acclaim it deserves.
3. X-Men: Days of Future Past
For some reason, the people in charge of the X-Men franchise firmly believe that people can't get enough (but we have!) of Wolverine's overwrought backstory — so much that they're willing to go away from everything good in First Class (a lot of it revolved around new characters and utter lack of Hugh Jackman) and seemingly turn DoFP into another Wolverine and The X-Men special (in the comic arc, it's actually Kitty Pride that gets sent back in time). But there are things that even another maybe-boring Wolverine-centric arc can't hold back. Like Ian Mckellan, Patrick Stewart, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, and ticket sales.
People are really excited about Godzilla. I cannot explain this. I don't know who is in this (an Olsen sister and the guy from Kickass apparently). I don't know what the new story line is. I don't think I care to know. I'm just, like plenty of other people, irrationally excited for this movie:
1. Mockingjay: Part I
Catching Fire is about to walk away with 2013's box office crown, and there's no reason that Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, the rest of the cast and newcomers like the one and only Julianne Moore won't be poised to do the same in 2014. With a solid improvement from the first to second movie, and additions like Jena Malone, the franchise is ensuring that the odds will be ever in their favor.
Other Contenders: With Fast 7 bumped to 2015, consider any of these a good bet to join the top 10: Maleficent (a movie ticket in exchange for endless discussion about Angeline Jolie's cheekbones); Rio 2 (animated movies make killings); Transformers (Transformer movies makes killings too); Neighbors (because Zac Efron).