25 Most Anticipated Movies of 2014

In an age where hype is non-stop and films claim release dates two years away and viral marketing can sometimes eclipse the actual film it is advertising, what does it mean to say that a film is “anticipated”?

In many cases, there haven’t even been official stills or images from some of the films that are on this list, and to the best of my knowledge, no one is preparing to camp outside for a month to be at the first show for any of them. We’ve seen moments in pop culture where the anticipation for something becomes an event all its own, almost always followed up by a moment where people realize the thing they waited for wasn’t what they wanted after all, and it can be amazing to see the passions that anticipation stirs up in people.

Sometimes, it’s a matter of a track record. If Bennett Miller is making a film, that’s interesting to us automatically. There are two films on this list by the same team, Phil Lord and Chris MIller, and while they sound like totally different movies in the end, there are reasons in both cases for us to optimistic.

Sequels are often among the most anticipated films of the year because audiences grow attached to the things they love. People get excited to see Captain America again or the way Godzilla is coming back to the bigscreen because they have affection for earlier incarnations. That’s the whole reason studios are in the remake and sequel business right now. They are building brands more than they’re making movies more often than ever, so when we made this list, we tried to gauge just how excited people actually are about these films.

I like that every list the HitFix staff submitted when we were voting for these inevitably had one oddball choice that was unique to that list. It speaks to the way we all look for different things in movies, and while I doubt all of you reading this are going to agree on all 25 of the films we have on this list, I think you’ll agree that there are reasons we picked these movies, and there’s a diverse slate of material for people to sift through in the year ahead.

Mainly it comes down to satisfying the audience. Anyone can make a promise or cut a trailer. And every trailer now is the same. “Come see this movie! With movie stars! And explosions! And tits! Did we mention the explosions? And here’s a CGI shot of something we could never film in the real world at any price, just so you know HOW MUCH COMPUTER. SO MUCH COMPUTER. All the computer. Summer 2015.”

And the whole time, it just goes “BWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAA” on the soundtrack.

We wanted to cut past that for you. Yesterday we mentioned 11 films that you won’t see on this list because of our hesitations or our questions about what to expect, and today, it’s time for 25 films we’re eager to see, as well as a poll about which movies matter the most to you. The bigger the noise you make to let us know what you want covered, the more likely it is that we’ll hear you and respond.