While some films were tactically moved to avoid the onslaught (hello Batman Vs Superman), 2015 still remains one hell of an exciting year in film. From the book-ending Oscar contenders to the franchise reboots, there's pretty much something for everyone. Even your mum (The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel opens February 27).
From January 1st to December 26th, here are the 30 films you really need to be aware of in 2015.
Starring: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone
We can't imagine a better way to spend New Year's Day than watching this smart, funny and inventive tale of an actor trying to rebuild his reputation. It's already a hot favourite for some Oscar love, deservedly, as the stellar cast, led by a career-high performance from Michael Keaton, are owed some statuettes.
Released: January 1
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Melanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon
Strangely shifted around the schedule (it originally premiered at Toronto in Seotember 2013), this creepy thriller reunites Prisoners director Denis Villeneuve with star Jake Gyllenhaal (althouigh technically it was made before) for a tale of a man who finds his double. It's a menacing nightmare of a film and ends with one of the scariest codas we can remember. Worth tracking down.
Released: January 2
Starring: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo
After a sudden date change, we were expecting the worst for this true crime drama but we needn't have worried. Director Bennett Miller, of Capote and Moneyball brilliance, has provided his cast, including an unrecognisable Steve Carell, with plenty to chew on in this story of an unstable millionaire and his obsession with wrestling.
Released: January 9
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Max Charles
Patchy as his career might have been of late (Jersey Boys, anyone?), Clint Eastwood is returning to form with this adaptation of Chris Kyle's first-hand account. Kyle, in case you're not a militarist, is the most lethal sniper in American history and, if you've seen the agonising trailer, you'll see just how difficult that pressure can be.
Released: January 16
Starring: Miles Teller, JK Simmons, Paul Reaser
On paper, Whiplash sounds like a safe, faux-spirational tale of a tough teacher breaking through to an ambitious student. But underneath the potentially tired concept, there's something wonderfully unique at play. Firstly, the tough teacher in question is more Full Metal Jacket than Dangerous Minds and secondly, there's more blood, sweat and tears in this music school-based masterpiece than most sports films. One of the most thrilling experiences you'll have this year at the cinema.
Released: January 16
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Reese Witherspoon
The release of a new film from Paul Thomas Anderson is always a major event in any cinephile's calendar. From Boogie Nights to Magnolia to There Will Be Blood to The Master, his work is varied to say the least. Which means that his latest is a psychedelic detective story based on a novel by Thomas Pynchon. Obviously.
Released: January 30
Starring: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson
Set to be one of the front-runners for next year's Best Picture Oscar, this stirring tale of the voting rights marches in 60s America and the influence Martin Luther King had on US politics has already received some rapturous reviews. British breakout star David Oyelowo is also tipped for some deserved awards for his portrayal of the civil rights leader.
Released: February 6
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Viola Davis, Tang Wei
Michael Mann hasn't made a film since 2009's Public Enemies and, well, that wasn't exactly his finest two hours. So it's with a mixture of excitement and trepidation that we approach this, a thriller starring Chris Hemsworth as the world's least believable hacker.
Released: February 20
Starring: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto
Will this be 2015's greatest horror film? Early word suggests a resounding yes. A smart concept (an evil force that is only transferred through sexual intercourse), an adept young cast, including The Guest's Maika Monroe, and a stream of enthused reviews has us excited for this one. Oh and this creepy new French trailer too.
Released: February 27
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Sharlto Copley, Sigourney Weaver
After impressing with District 9 and disappointing with Elysium, things could go either way with Neill Blomkamp's third film. It's a sci-fi comedy that focuses on a robot with the ability to think and feel for himself. The trailer looks rather charming although we hear it's darker than it looks.
Released: March 6
In The Heart Of The Sea
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Ben Whishaw
A reteam here with Rush director Ron Howard and lead Chris Hemsworth, who'll be having a very busy year, taking charge of this waterlogged adventure about a whaleship that faces disaster. We're hoping for something epic, especially after watching this trailer.
Released: March 13
Starring: Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Kevin Hart
We've missed Chris Rock. For too long, he's been wasting his considerable talents on films like Grown Ups 2 and What To Expect When You're Expecting. But he's back, writing, directing and starring in this semi-autobiographical comedy as a comedian trying to regain his reputation. Early word suggests it's a real winner, with Paramount forking out a whopping $12.5 million to distribute it.
Released: March 20
Starring: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman
Based on Tom Rob Smith's acclaimed crime thriller, we included this in our list of books to read before they become movies, as the source novel is such a great read. We've high hopes for the adaptation, given the cast as well, and for newcomers, the plot concerns a disgraced MGB agent investigating a gruesome series of child murders in the Soviet Union.
Released: April 17
The Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans
The blockbuster season kicks off in city-demolishing style with the much-anticipated next chapter in the Avengers universe. The gangs all back, along with newcomers in the shape of Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver, Elizabeth Olsen as White Witch and James Spader as the evil Ultron. Marvel chief Kevin Feige and director Joss Whedon have both hinted that not all the Avengers may survive...
Released: April 24
Mad Max: Fury Road
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult
Tom Hardy is another man who'll be extremely busy in 2015. But this will be arguably his biggest risk. We'll see him take the lead in a reboot of the post-apocalyptic franchise Mad Max, which, despite delays, has us hooked, thanks to a superb trailer. Interestingly, the film is supposed to be extremely light on dialogue with the visuals telling the story.
Released: May 15
Starring: George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie
While director Brad Bird's follow-up to Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol is shrouded in secrecy, what we do know is enough to keep us inordinately excited. The teaser trailer suggests that there'll be travel through time and space and a return to old-fashioned awe-inspiring science fiction.
Released: May 22
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins
While the two Jurassic Park sequels had the odd entertaining moment, they were ultimately huge disappointments for anyone as obsessed with the first film as we were. So this reboot, from Safety Not Guaranteed director Colin Trevorrow, had better deliver the damn goods. Its choice of leading man (2014's breakout star Chris Pratt) and attention-grabbing trailer suggest good things.
Released: June 12
Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly
One of Marvel's lesser-known characters, at least to the uninitiated comic book geek, this upcoming blockbuster (about a guy who can decrease in size but increase in strength) will officially conclude phase 2 of their cinematic universe. Edgar Wright famously left the project after "creative differences" and was replaced with Peyton Reed, of Bring It On fame. Hmmm. Regardless, Paul Rudd will make for a charming superhero.
Released: July 17
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong, Rebel Wilson
We've not heard much from Sacha Baron Cohen since his disappointing comedy The Dictator but we're cautiously optimistic about his latest. In it, he stars as a hair-brained football hooligan whose brother is a spy. Sounds fun and a supporting cast that also includes Ian McShane, Penelope Cruz, Gabourey Sidibe, Isla Fisher and David Harewood has us intrigued.
Released: July 24
Straight Outta Compton
Starring: Jason Mitchell, Corey Hawkins, Paul Giamatti
Music biopics are as predictable as found footage horror on a film release schedule but ones with a hip hop slant are rather less commonplace. Which makes this drama about the rise and fall of N.W.A. an exciting prospect. Dr. Dre and Ice Cube's involvement as producers could be a good or a bad thing.
Released: August 14
Starring: Amy Schumer, Tilda Swinton, Bill Hader
Arguably America's funniest new comedian, Amy Schumer has been amusing America with her risk-taking sketch show Inside Amy Schumer for two seasons and finally, Judd Apatow has taken note. He's directing her first big screen comedy, where she stars alongside an incredibly eclectic cast, including Daniel Radcliffe, Method Man, Marisa Tomei, John Cena and LeBron James.
Released: August 28
Starring: Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Edgerton
It feels like we've lost Johnny Depp over the years. The once-leftfield actor has become over-Pirated and Burtonised in a quest for cash and his more interesting career choices have been few and far between. But we've high hopes for this, where he plays infamous criminal head Whitey Bulger, a role that will hopefully help us to forget the fact that he's also making Pirates 5 and Alice In Wonderland 2.
Released: September 18 TBC
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley, Jason Clarke
A star-studded cast, which also includes Josh Brolin, Robin Wright, Emily Watson and Sam Worthington, topline this 3D adventure based on the 1996 Mount Everest disaster. It could be another banner year for Gyllenhaal with two other high-profile dramas on the way.
Released: October 2
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon
Anyone who watched acclaimed documentary Man On Wire will have left pondering just how long it would take Hollywood to turn the story of high-wire artist Philippe Petit into a dramatised movie. The answer? Seven years. Robert Zemickis has turned his incredible walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center into Oscarbait. Fingers crossed.
Released: October 2 TBC
St James Place
Starring: Tom Hanks. Amy Ryan, Mark Rylance
It's an unlikely combination but there's something undeniably intriguing about Steven Spielberg directing a script written by the Coens. Especially given that it's a 60s-set spy thriller. It stars Hanks as a lawyer trying to negotiate the release of a pilot shot down in the Soviet Union.
Released: October 16 TBC
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain
Thankfully stepping away from the machines vs monsters mayhem of the Pacific Rim franchise for a brief moment, Gullermo Del Toro is returning to his roots for this gothic thriller. Wasikowska headlines as a woman who finds that her new husband is not who he seems. Del Toro has referred to it as a "throwback" and cited The Shining as a key influence.
Released: October 16
Starring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Monica Bellucci
After the recent announcement, we can stop calling this Bond 24 and start saying Spectre, a word that carries plenty of meaning for 007 fans (it stands for Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion for everyone else). Waltz is onboard as Blofeld, despite no one wanting to admit it, and we're being promised a bigger scale than that of Skyfall.
Released: October 23
Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor
One of our favourite novels of late, this one is being pushed in a big, big way with Ridley Scott directing and an insane cast assembled (that also includes Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Donald Glover and Kate Mara). The plot is Gravity but longer with Matt Damon's astronaut stranded on Mars and forced into a terrifying struggle for survival.
Released: November 27
Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens
Starring: John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Harrison Ford
JJ Abrams, the weight of fanboy expectation hangs heavily upon you. After the disappointing prequels, all eyes are on the Lost creator and Star Trek rebooter for his much-anticipated Star Wars sequel which brings together old and new characters. The trailer has us expecting great things but then, that first Phantom Menace teaser was rather good too...
Released: December 18
Mission: Impossible 5
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Alec Baldwin
After the underwhelming third chapter, we would have been quite happy to have seen no more of Ethan Hunt but 2011's barnstorming Ghost Protocol had us eager for more. This time, we have the great English actor Sean Harris as the villain and locations ranging from London to Vienna to Marrakesh. Can Hunt out-Bond Bond?
Released: December 26