Well, it's finally over, as with the upcoming release of Elysium, the summer blockbuster season is almost behind us. If you thought that this year felt like it was filled to the rafters with one mega-movie after the other, then you're absolutely right. Every week there was another huge tentpole release vying for your attention - and money - and sometimes there were more than one a week. Blockbusters were piling up on top of each other like buses in traffic. With that there were some consequences and, worse still, some casualties.
The Lone Ranger cost somewhere in the region of $230 million (before promotional costs) and to date has only made back $195 million, marking another big box office loss for Disney after last year's John Carter. Pacific Rim cost $200 million to make (and probably another $150 million on promotional costs) and has made $295 million to date worldwide, but having made only $95 million of that in the States, its being seen as something of a flop. Meanwhile R.I.P.D., yet to be released here, cost $130 million to produce, and has made only $50 million back so far.
Not every movie can be a blockbuster, but this summer hasn't even had as many outright hits as last year. 2012 saw four movies pass the billion dollar mark, while so far this year only Iron Man 3 has passed the nine figure mark, with its closest competitor being Fast & Furious 6, way back at $770 million. Looking forward to the rest of the year, the only other movie likely to join the billion dollar club is The Hobbit 2, and even then it's not a guarantee in the way a new Marvel movie might be.
More and more hugely budgeted blockbusters are getting released every year, so there's less money to be spent on each one, meaning more will flop and less will become legitimate hits. However, it looks as if 2015 will likely be the saturation point for this kind of onslaught of cinematic releases, as we've counted no less than TWENTY FIVE movies that are already staking their claim for a piece of that money pie:
From the director of The Cornetto Trilogy and Scott Pilgrim VS The World, this is another Marvel film that is sure to make Disney even more money. Release Date: November 6th
Based on the best-selling video-game about a man sent back in time to relive his ancestor's lives, Michael Fassbender is the only name attached to this at the moment. Release Date: June 19th
THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
Marvel again, with the return of writer/director Joss Whedon, all of the old Avengers are back as well as some new ones. Will make all of the money. Release Date: May 1st
B.O.O.: BUREAU OF OTHERWORLDLY OPERATIONS
This is a Dreamworks movie about a ghost that needs to return to ghost school to improve his scaring skills. Voices include Melissa McCarthy and Seth Rogen. Release Date: June 5th
Kenneth Branagh's live-action telling of the girl who lost her glass slipper will likely be something in the vein of Snow White & The Huntsmen, with Lily James as Cinderella. Release Date: March 13th
THE FANTASTIC FOUR
A reboot for the stretchy guy, the invisible girl, the on-fire guy and the one made out of rock. From the director of Chronicle. Release Date: March 6th
Sequel to the much-loved Finding Nemo, this time round the clown-fish must find the forgetful Dory and reunite her with her equally scatterbrained family. Release Date: November 25th
HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2
One of the few Adam Sandler vehicles lately that critics didn't openly despise, Hotel Transylvania made nearly $350 million worldwide, so here comes part two. Release Date: September 25th
THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2
The final part of The Hunger Games quadrilogy, so it'll be a race for distributors to find the Young Adult gap that this series filled once Twilight was over and done with. Release Date: November 20th
I.D. FOREVER: PART ONE
This is the first of the two part sequel to Independence Day. None of the cast are confirmed to return yet, but director Roland Emmerich will be back. Release Date: July 3rd
Based on the Dan Brown novel, with Tom Hanks returning to the role, it looks like Sony have decided to ditch The Lost Symbol adaptation in favour of this one. Release Date: December 18th
Pixar's big release after next year's The Good Dinosaur, this tells a story told from the point of view of emotions inside a young girl's head. Sounds “Inception-y”. Release Date: June 19th
JAMES BOND 24
Sam Mendes has confirmed that he will be back to direct the follow-up to Skyfall, and rumour has it will be based on the novel Devil May Care. Release Date: November 6th
KUNG FU PANDA 3
Kung Fu Panda made $631 million. The genuinely great Kung Fu Panda 2 made $665 million. So here we are. All original voice cast returning, plus a few new ones. Release Date: December 23rd
JURASSIC PARK IV
On and off for fourteen years, part four will finally hit the big screens thanks to director Colin Trevorrow of little seen Safety Not Guaranteed. Release Date: TBC 2015
MAN OF STEEL 2: BATMAN VS SUPERMAN
We know Batman will be in it, but we don't know yet who'll be playing him. Director and star of Man Of Steel will be returning, which made a healthy-but-not-exceptional $650 million. Release Date: TBC 2015
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 5
Everyone thought Cruise was passing the mantle to Jeremy Renner in Ghost Protocol, but he's back front and centre here, with Jack Reacher director Christopher McQuarrie behind the camera. Release Date: TBC 2015
THE PENGUINS OF MADAGSCAR
A spin-off of the Madagscar animation trilogy, focusing on those spy-like Penguins. Benedict Cumberbatch providing a voice, further infiltrating every aspect of Hollywood. Release Date: March 27th
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 5
From the directors of little known boat-based drama Kon-Tiki, this will have Johnny Depp return before his proposed retirement. Release Date: July 10th
Perhaps titled Paradise, with survivors Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender's head jetting off to the Engineers' home planet. Release Date: TBC 2015
THE SMURFS 3
The first sequel is yet to make of a fifth of what the original did, but the threequel has already been ordered. Release Date: July 24th
STAR TREK 3
Zachary Quinto says it will be shooting in 2014, director Rupert Wyatt (Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes) is almost a dead-cert, but will it want to clash with Wars? Release Date: TBC 2015
STAR WARS EPISODE VII
Star Trek reinvigorator JJ Abrams behind the wheel, and perhaps the absence of George Lucas will help reinvigorate fan-boys appetites for more adventures from far, far away. Release Date: TBC 2015
Producers are looking to bring back Arnie in a key role (though not necessarily as a Terminator), as well as a more adult-aimed level of violence. Fingers crossed. Release Date: June 26th
Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) directs this adaptation of World Of Warcraft, one of the biggest and most played video games of all time. Could be our generation's Lord Of The Rings. Release Date: TBC 2015
For those not keeping score, that breaks down as the following…
Reboots / Spin-Offs: Two
Comic Book Movies: Four
Original Animation Movies: Two
Original Live-Action Movies: Zero
That's not to say that 2015 won't have any big budget blockbuster films that are based on an original screenplay, but this is also not a definitive list of all of the sequels and reboots and spin-offs of what may come that year.
We're not trying to rain on anyone's parade either, and we sincerely hope that each and every one of these movies turn out to be fantastic and blow us all away and it's the greatest year of cinema since it began.
But between these twenty five movies, and the countless others that may end up joining the ranks, such as the smaller budgeted but highly profitable comedies and horrors that will swell out the schedule til 2015's cup runneth over, the biggest sacrifice seems to be originality. Aside from Christopher Nolan's Inception, and possibly his 2014 release Interstellar, production companies don't seem to be taking any chances on the new properties anymore. Pacific Rim is this year's prime example: a new idea that wasn't greeted by cinemagoers with arms wide open, and more Americans went to see Grown Ups 2 than they did a massive sci-fi epic original.
With 2015 already jam-packed with old properties, it will truly be the litmus test for whether or not an original idea with a big budget behind it can survive any longer in the world of movies.