Most Anticipated Movie Sequels of 2014
Sequels are made, most of the time, out of the success of the first one, although in some cases producers are confident enough to announce a franchise before the first one hit theaters. Come 2014, lots of them are a year apart from their previous installment, an idea that both moviegoers and producers favor because eagerness, interest, adrenalin and memory are still there. "The Hobbit" and "The Hunger Games" franchises, which became 2012 and 2013's most anticipated sequels, are back for their third consecutive year with "Games" splitting the ending for 2015 conclusion.
Two of the titles listed below came long overdue but loyal fans are always there. "300" and "Sin City" are like classics now that they debuted almost a decade ago. Fans have been nothing but patient to see more of short-handed army warriors and crime committed in black and white. Meanwhile, superhero and fantasy movies are still the annual creme de la creme of Hollywood movies. The appearance of "The Muppets" sequel in our annual list is to make it even for family audience.
[Read more Most Anticipated New Movies of 2014]
300: Rise of an Empire
Release Date: March 7
An eight-year span is not exactly favoring the success of a sequel, but for true fans it might be the answer to a very long wait. The story of 2006's "300" finally continues in "300: Rise of an Empire", no longer featuring Gerard Butler but bringing back Lena Hadey, Rodrigo Santoro, and David Wenham to reprise their roles. Zack Snyder who directed the first movie takes part in the screenwriting and production department but gives up the director's seat for the relatively new Noam Murro. Having a new creative team doesn't always hurt a sequel, rather fresh ideas and different perspective within the same scope have the potential to make the movie awesome. Sequel picks up where the last film left off, with a brand new character played by Australian actor Sullivan Stapleton, a different battle but the same gory concept and over-the-top special effects - which are what "300" film should be about. [More about '300: Rise of an Empire']
Muppets Most Wanted
Release Date: March 21
When it comes to "The Muppets", the true excitement lies on the celebrity guest cameos. The follow-up film features Tina Fey, Ty Burrell, Ricky Gervais, Tom Hiddleston, Stanley Tucci, Salma Hayek and God knows who else they keep under wrap. Although Jason Segel is no longer involved, James Bobin, who helmed the first movie, returns to direct the sequel and co-write the screenplay with Nicholas Stoller. This time, the entire Muppets gang embarks on a global tour after reclaiming their fame in the first movie. They get entangled in an international crime caper headed by Constantine and his dastardly sidekick Dominic, aka Number Two, portrayed by Gervais. [More about 'Muppets Most Wanted']
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Release Date: April 4
Hunky actor Chris Evans alone is a reason to watch the film, but as the movie's title suggested, this is about The Winter Soldier. In the comic books, Winter Soldier is the revived body of Captain America's sidekick, Bucky Barnes. The character along with the film's main villain, Crossbones, plays a huge part in the death of the Cap. [Spoilers warning] If producers plan to have a third movie, then the sequel could be the end of Evan's reign as the beloved hero and the rise of Barnes as the new Captain America. After all, Frank Grillo who plays Crossbones said this movie would be more like an introduction. "It's an origin film," he opened up. "You meet people who are going to be around for a while, so they introduce the characters." In addition, now that Captain America is dwelling mostly in the modern world, viewers get to see his new stealth uniform and his trademark shield. Also new to the Marvel cinematic universe is the appearance of Cap's high-flying partner, the Falcon. [More about 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier']
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Release Date: May 2
The first movie has created a world for young Peter Parker to explore any kind of new abilities as Spider-Man but it did not prepare him for the great responsibilities. A more emotional and personal approach to Parker's life will be the main focus of the sequel. Star Andrew Garfield admitted that they were missing something about the character in the first movie but they are going to pay it back. Just how personal? "I was crying. I was welled up. I'm an easy crier, but I was really emotionally moved," he said of his initial meeting with writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. In addition to battling his own worst enemy, Parker will be overwhelmed by one of his greatest enemies yet, Electro, and a Russian mobster, The Rhino. The movie will serve as yet another introduction to Spider-Man's main villain group, the Sinister Six, whose leader Norman Osborn was hinted at the end of the first film. [More about 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2']
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Release Date: May 23
Star James McAvoy promised that this would be "the biggest X-Men film yet, without a doubt," and to quote his co-star Hugh Jackman, "the stakes are definitely higher in this movie than ever before." Indeed the movie is notable for two things; it brings together the cast of "X-Men", "X-Men 2" and "X-Men: First Class", and adopts the story of John F. Kennedy assassination. Coincidentally, the past November was the 50th anniversary of the former United States President's death. Due to its blurry facts, "X-Men" is free to explore the killing plot. The comic the movie is based on considered the assassination as a catalyst of tensions between humans and mutants, and Magneto definitely has a role in it. The 20th Century Fox even launched a viral website TheBentBullet.com to display an extraordinarily detailed alternate history of the events following the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. [More about 'X-Men: Days of Future Past']
Transformers: Age of Extinction
Release Date: June 27
Although this time Shia LaBeouf won't be in the picture, the franchise has established a loyal fan base that will keep gorging on anything Transformers. This can, in fact, be what the sequels really need, a new perspective with a set of new characters within a different time frame. Mark Wahlberg, who has continuously delivered box office smashes, takes center stage as Cade, a single father and struggling inventor. "It's a completely different stand-alone movie. It takes place after the third one, after the battle of Chicago," the actor hinted. The autobots list, which is a joy on its own, may include Unicron as the villain now that Decepticons is dead. There are many speculations on which bots will make it into the film, including Dinobot Grimlock and Galvatron, but as long as Bumblebee is still involved, the movie will do well in the heart of fanboys. [More about 'Transformers: Age of Extinction']
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Release Date: July 11
So who will emerge as Earth's dominant species? After two movies, "Planet of the Apes" franchise remains one of the most exciting additions to a year in Hollywood. Ten years after "Rise of the Planet of the Apes", Andy Serkis' Caesar is now a father and husband charged with the leadership of a growing ape nation. "Simian Flu" has wiped out a massive portion of the human race, and representatives from a cluster of survivors reach out to contact Caesar as their civilization continues to fall. Judging by the "Braveheart"-like poster released for the movie, the negotiation between the human and the ape did not go smoothly. The first trailer also previewed Caesar commanding his troops to move forward. Plus, it should be interesting how the apes have evolved after a decade. The last time audience saw Caesar, he was able to utter a few words. This time, human makes an effort to speak to Caesar, meaning the apes could as well have developed their language skill. [More about 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes']
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Release Date: August 22
Back in 2005, "Sin City" grossed $74.1 million during its North American run. The movie and the comic it was based on quickly caught on a massive fan base that a movie sequel was soon planned. But it took almost ten years for the second installation to be confirmed in production with original directors and cast on board. Director Robert Rodriguez continuously fought for this movie to happen, including pursuing "Sin City" standout Mickey Rourke to return. Rourke did eventually sign up and Eva Green stepped in to fill the shoes of the dame, accompanied by Josh Brolin in her segment, while the late Michael Clarke Duncan is replaced by Dennis Haysber as Manute. Based on the "Dame to Kill For" graphic novel, part of the stories actually is newly written by Frank Miller specifically for the movie. The four segments include a continuation to Bruce Willis' Hartigan and Jessica Alba's Nancy story in the first film. [More about 'Sin City: A Dame to Kill For']
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
Release Date: November 21
This would be the third installment that wraps up the trilogy, meaning this could as well be the climax before everything goes down in Part 2. Since "Catching Fire" is arguably an easier book to adapt, it would be interesting to see how Francis Lawrence will take care of this one (he has gained fan's trust by directing the near-perfect "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"). "It's a weird thing," Lawrence told Wired. "Somehow I didn't feel nearly as much pressure starting Catching Fire as I do doing these Mockingjays. ...For me, [this] is the chapter that gives the entire series its meaning." The casting alone has gotten fans excited and confused at the same time with Julianne Moore taking the role of anti-Capitol rebellion leader Alma Coin and Robert Knepper in the role of Antonius who is not found in the book and whom nobody knows at this point what his significance is. [More about 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1']
The Hobbit: There and Back Again
Release Date: December 17
It's no secret that ever since "The Lord of the Rings" books were made into films, J. R. R. Tolkien's work became one of the most anticipated and fascinating cinematic treats. The third one, which is a conclusion, is not only darker than the already dark second installment, but also very emotional. "Next year's Hobbit film is the most emotional of the three," director Peter Jackson explained, "Everything that we have established in the first two movies is going to be played out in a very grand way in the third film. It's going to be full of action that's for sure. Full of action and very, very emotional!" Jackson wants this to be on the same level of "Rings" trilogy, therefore he's not going to make it any simpler. Fans of the books know that they haven't seen the last of Smaug, the dragon that became the centerpiece of the second movie. "There's a huge battle, that's no secret. I've got to find my way home. Dragons must be slayed," star Martin Freeman teased. [More about 'The Hobbit: There and Back Again']
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