Sequels continue their reign over the box office and Walt Disney Co (DIS) and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. have been treating superhero movie announcements like an Olympic event, which means moviegoers have no shortage of 2015 movies to look forward to.
Fortunately, with movie studios choosing to pour so much money into these productions, they can’t really afford for something to be a monumental flop. So, in most cases, viewers can have a reasonable expectation for quality. (Although some films seem determined to remind us that they can flop, no matter how much cash the studio pumps into them….)
But let’s focus on the positive and take a look at some of the most anticipated movies of 2015, which include everything from superheroes to starships to sexually charged thrillers.
Most Anticipated Movies of 2015 — Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
Release date: Dec. 18
Look, there was just no getting around this one. The Star Wars franchise stands among the pantheon of the most popular series of all time, and we’ve gone almost 10 years since the last film.
Of course, a few things are different, this time. George Lucas has handed the reigns over to J.J. Abrams for Star Wars Episode VII, the first in a new trilogy of movies. Luke, Leia and Han are all coming back, but there’s a whole cast of new characters arriving, as well, presumably so the original gang can pass the torch to the new crew.
The first teaser has already created plenty of buzz, and there’s no doubt that Star Wars Episode VII — The Force Awakens is one of the most anticipated movies of 2015.
Most Anticipated Movies of 2015 — Avengers: Age of Ultron
Release date: May 1
Trailing not far behind the next Star Wars, Avengers: Age of Ultron is another one of the most anticipated 2015 movies.
Joss Whedon managed the impossible with 2012’s Avengers, weaving together a new pantheon of movie heroes into one spectacular film. But, in a way, that was the easy part. Now we know the “bring a bunch of heroes into one movie” approach works.
Those expectations are set, and Avengers: Age of Ultron will have to overcome tremendous hype and the very high bar set by the first film.
In Avengers: Age of Ultron, the team of heroes faces a new threat in Ultron, a superintelligent robot who promises to make the Avengers face their pasts and the threat of a bleak future. Can the heroes stop Ultron? Well, sure, probably. Marvel Entertainment has already promised us more films for Thor, Captain America and others.
But it’s still going to be a lot of fun to watch.
Most Anticipated Movies of 2015 — Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
Release date: Nov. 20
The girl on fire has taken the world by storm, with the first three installments of the Hunger Games franchise hauling in more than $2 billion in total worldwide box office.
Here’s a glimpse at just how popular the series is: This year’s entry, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 was the easily worst performer of the three films released so far, making $277 million domestically. But that performance was still enough to make it the No. 2 movie of the year, as of this writing. A few upcoming movies, most notably The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, have a chance to knock it off, but Mockingjay is almost guaranteed to land in the top five for the year.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 will conclude the sci-fi series about Katniss and her stand against the oppressive Capitol. Given the fervor surrounding the books, the final installment is sure to be among the hottest 2015 movies.
Most Anticipated Movies of 2015 — Fifty Shades of Grey
Release date: Feb. 13
Fifty Shades of Grey and the other books in the series are such a phenomenon, there’s probably not much we can add to the discussion. But you can be sure that the Fifty Shades of Grey movie will rekindle the conversation.
The movie will star Dakota Johnston as the literature student who interviews powerful businessman Christian Grey (played by Jamie Dornan) and soon finds herself strangely attracted to him. The rest of the story is … well, let’s just say that the movie could easily wander into an NC-17 rating.
Fifty Shades of Grey is one of the most anticipated movies of 2015, and it releases just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Most Anticipated Movies of 2015 — Pitch Perfect 2
Release date: May 15
Anna Kendrick continues her quest for world box office domination with Pitch Perfect 2. The sequel follows the Bellas as they leave the small-stakes world of college competitions and wander into the bloodthirsty arena of international a cappella. It’s sure to be one of the hottest 2015 movies.
Brittany Snow and scene-stealer Rebel Wilson are back, along with most of the other Bellas, joined by new recruit Hailee Steinfeld of True Grit fame. The sequel is directed by Elizabeth Banks, who will also return to her role as one of the a cappella commentators.
If you liked the first film, all the elements are in place for a solid sequel.
Most Anticipated Movies of 2015 — Spectre
Release date: Nov. 6
Bond is back, and he’s bringing Sam Mendes, director of 2012’s Skyfall, with him.
The next Bond film will be titled Spectre, which long-time bond fans will recognize as the organization that plagued 007 for years, trying its best to plot interesting deaths for him. Christoph Waltz, Monica Bellucci and Lea Seydoux are joining the cast for the 24th installment. (No, Never Say Never does not count.)
Plot details are sparse so far, as the movie just started filming, but after the success of Skyfall, Spectre is an easy choice for the most anticipated movies of 2015.
Most Anticipated Movies of 2015 — Tomorrowland
Release Date: May 22
For those of you keeping drack, Tomorrowland is the only film on this list that isn’t a sequel or based on existing properties. So, what exactly is it?
Well, we don’t know a whole lot yet. The teaser trailer mostly gives us quick glimpses into the movie’s worlds, and doesn’t say much about plot. But we do know that it involves Tomorrowland, a fantastical world that seems to exist apart from our familiar, everyday world. The film stars Britt Robertson and George Clooney.
Tomorrowland is co-written by Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird. Lindelof was a co-creator of Lost and scripted Star Trek Into Darkness. Brad Bird wrote and directed The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Ratatouille, and returns to the director’s chair for Tomorrowland.
Sometimes, the best way to create buzz is to say as little as possible about a movie … which is exactly why Tomorrowland is one of the most anticipated movies of 2015.
Adam Benjamin is an assistant editor at InvestorPlace. As of this writing, he was very excited about 2015’s slate of films.