Hoping for a reliable 2015 in movies

Published 5:17 pm Saturday, January 10, 2015

For the first time in several years, I have big expectations for 2015 movies.

I can sum up the reason in two words: Star Wars.

Yes, this is the year J.J. Abrams will reboot the classic series with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which picks up after the original 1977-1983 series and is due out Dec. 18.

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While I’m hoping the force will be strong with 2015, I’m not expecting many classic when it comes to blockbusters. I’ve tempered my expectations to one simple thing for the big movies of 2015: I just want reliable, entertaining movies.

Most of the big, talked about movies coming this year are remakes, sequels or reboots. Hollywood is ripe with regurgitating what’s worked over, and over, and over, and over.

Part of the reason is simple: These known commodities sell. And Hollywood needs some hits in 2015 after a down year at the box office. Box-office firm Rentrak estimated the total 2014 earnings atabout $10.4 billion, a 5.2 percent drop from the record $10.9 billion of 2013.

Star Wars and “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” are driving much of the movie buzz — and they have studios licking their chops for big paydays.

But let’s all take a breath and lower our expectations to realistic levels. No one expects Academy Award-caliber films and Daniel Day-Lewis level performances from Marvel Studios and the much anticipated Star Wars reboot. By the way, both studios are series are owned by Disney. However, we should come to expect the consistency that Marvel has found with films like “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “The Avengers.”

If anything, it’s becoming harder and harder for a movie to reach “classic” status, since everyone under the sun issues opinions on films, music and just about everything online. Many are just itching to hate these films. People were eager to jump all over the Star Wars teaser trailer, which was actually pretty cool, over complaints about a new lightsaber.

Settle down, people. “The Force Awakens” will likely never reach the level of the original trilogy. But after many painful moments in the prequel trilogy, let’s hope for something up to par with the Marvel movies and of Abrams’ Star Trek films.

Marvel has set a standard of consistency that all movie-lovers should hope will spread to other studios. We can only hope that rings true with Marvel’s “Ant-Man” and the latest dinosaur flick “Jurassic World,” though my expectations for both are considerably lower than they are for “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Star Wars: Force Awakens.”

Movie-lovers should especially hope this precedent continues with Star Wars. Since both Star Wars and Marvel are now owned by Disney, we should expect Star Wars to follow that Marvel model. Similar to Marvel’s Avengers, Iron Man and Captain America movies, plans are in the works for spin-off Star Wars films between the upcoming trilogy.

 Movies due out in 2015

•“Inherent Vice,” Jan. 9 (limited release in 2014)

•“Taken 3,” June 9

•“Jupiter Ascending,” Feb. 6

•“The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Our of Water,” Feb. 6

•“Fifty Shades of Grey,” Feb. 13

•“Hot Tub Time Machine 2,” Feb. 20

•“Chappie,” March 6

•“The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” March 6

•“Cinderella,” March 13

•“Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension,” March 13

•“The Divergent Series: Insurgent,” March 20

•“Furious 7,” April 3

•“Child 44,” April 17

•“Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2,” April 17

•“Rock the Kasbah,” April 24

•“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” May 1

•“Mad Max: Fury Road,” May 15

•“Pitch Perfect 2,” May 15

•“Tomorrowland,” May 22

•“Entourage,” June 5

•“Insidious: Chapter 3,” June 5

•“Jurassic World,” June 12

•“Ted 2,” June 26

•“Magic Mike XXL,” July 1

•“Terminator Genisys,” July 1

•“Minions,” July 10

•“Ant-Man,” July 17

•“Pan,” July 24

•“Poltergeist,” July 24

•“Point Break,” July 25

•“Grimsby,” July 31

•“The Fantastic Four,” Aug. 7

•“Sinister 2,” Aug. 21

•“Hitman: Agent 47,” Aug. 28

•“Black Mass,” Sept. 18

•“Everest,” Sept. 18

•“Hotel Transylvania 2,” Sept. 25

•“The Jungle Book,” Oct. 9

•“Vacation,” Oct. 9

•“The Peanuts Movie,” Nov. 6

•“Spectre,” Nov. 6

•“Friday the 13th,” Nov. 13

•“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2,” Nov. 20

•“The Martian,” Nov. 25

•“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Dec. 18

•“Alvin and the Chipmunks 4,” Dec. 23

•“Mission Impossible 5,” Dec. 25