The search is on for the box-office hero of 2014

With few heavy-hitters due out next year, it looks like the movie industry is saving it all up for 2015, writes Tara Brady

 

Which releases are going to take the most money here and worldwide in 2014? Those are two different questions. At time of writing – before Hobbits and Anchormen make their mark – Iron Man 3 is way ahead at the world’s box office, but Despicable Me 2 heads the Hibernian hit parade.

Maybe, in 12 months’ time, the year’s official post-Avengers flick will again be the global No 1 and the year’s biggest animation will take the Irish spot. The former seems a tad unlikely. Chris Evans’s Captain America (returning as “the Winter Soldier”) doesn’t have quite the same resonance as Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man. If it’s to be a Marvel film, it’s more likely to be one of the projects being managed outside the Disney stable: Fox’s X-Men: Days of Future Past or Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

As for that animated slot, we are, next year, short a Pixar film. So we’re looking at Rio 2 (could be top five in Ireland, but an unlikely No 1), How to Train Your Dragon 2 (see Rio 2), Planes: Fire and Rescue (oh please!) and Mr Peabody & Sherman (what’s that?). The Disney-Marvel collaboration Big Hero 6 ventures out with little helpful baggage.

In truth, the 2014 slate promises a much less predictable money tussle than we faced at the same point last year. We know that certain franchises will figure in the worldwide top 10 – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and Transformers: Age of Extinction spring to mind. Still, with no top-level Avenger about the place, it’s hard to guess what will place where. (Hunger Games still slightly underperforms outside the US, whereas, to our shame, Transformers has always done spectacularly well in “rest of world”.)

It is more worthwhile to seek this year’s Gravity. Which film unattached to a franchise will break into the top reaches of the global charts? If we allow remakes into that category, then, despite the stink from Roland Emmerich’s 1998 reboot, Gareth Monsters Edwards’s Godzilla probably has the edge on José Elite Squad Padilha’s Robocop. Just savour the buzz surrounding the recent unveiling of a trailer to the big lizard film.

Adaptations of James Dashner’s The Maze Runner and Veronica Roth’s Divergent will look with white-knuckled fear towards the catastrophic performance of this year’s The Mortal Instruments. The Wachowski brothers will have to break a decade-long duck if they are to succeed with Jupiter Ascending.

Who are we kidding? The “new entry” slot is Christopher Nolan’s to lose. His Interstellar will need to be a lot more boring than Prometheus to keep itself out of the top three.

None of which bothers the industry as much as it might. Next year is, you see, merely a holding pattern for 2015. In that year we will see Avengers 2, Star Wars VII and James Bond 24 (not to mention Jurassic Park 4 and the last Hunger Games). Expect 12 months of throat-clearing.

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