We're coming to the end of a year that's brought with it some patchy results at the box office. It was a difficult summer and as a result, grosses are down compared to 2013. But, enough of this damn negativity. While attendance might have been weak, the quality of films released hasn't followed suit.
If you're in the mood for some rather recent nostalgia then here's a look at 30 things you might not know about some of the year's biggest movies.
12 Years A Slave
Did you feel as if Brad Pitt's late-in-the-day cameo was a bit jarring? Well, don't worry, he's well aware. But rather than being a self-indulgence, the actor, who also produced the Oscar-winning drama, revealed that he did it so that his star power would help fund the movie.
The Wolf of Wall Street
During the scene where Jonah Hill's character swallows a goldfish, PETA insisted that three goldfish handlers were present. Hill was allowed to keep it in his mouth for three seconds at a time.
Inside Llewyn Davis
While Llewyn's scene-stealing cat emerged as probably the most likable character in the film, things were less idyllic off-screen. Before filming, two cats were fired because of "temperament" issues. Oscar Isaac disliked cats due to a previous infection after a bite and during the shoot, one of the three cats used, hit him in the face. The Coens were also not fans. "I would take a vulture over a cat," Ethan Coen said, referring to True Grit. "The cat was just horrible."
Dallas Buyers Club
In the film, the character of Ron Woodruff, played by Matthew McConaughey, is painted as homophobic, at least in the earlier stages. But the real Woodruff was actually bisexual.
While the character of Samantha is now inextricably linked to Scarlett Johansson, she wasn't always going to play her. In fact, Samantha Morton originally recorded the entire character on set in a small soundproof booth, without interacting with Joaquin Phoenix in person. But when director Spike Jonze started to edit the movie he realised that it wasn't working and replaced her.
The Lego Movie
The leads were almost voiced by Robert Downey Jr and Emma Stone.
Only Lovers Left Alive
Michael Fassbender was originally cast but had to be replaced by Tom Hiddleston. "At first I was at a loss, because I love Michael, but I think there was a reason it became Tom," director Jim Jarmusch revealed. "Michael has a visceral quality, but Tom was able to bring something more cerebral."
Under The Skin
Adam Pearson, who played the disfigured man who Scarlett Johansson's character ultimately feels some sort of emotion for, was hit by a car on the way to the audition and broke his leg. He was auditioned in the hospital and got the part.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
During an early scene when Steve Rogers, aka Cap, pulls out his "catch-up" list of things he needs to check out, the contents change from country to country. You can see screengrabs of the various lists here.
Darren Aronofsky's 2D biblical epic was actually post-converted and released in 3D in 65 different countries, including Russia, most of Europe and all of South America. It cost an extra $10 million to do this.
The Raid 2
One of the most impressive scenes in the movie was the ambitious car chase/fight. A particularly difficult shot involved the passing of a camera through a car going 50 mph. To make it appear seamless, one cameraman was disguised as a car seat. Check it out here.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Dane DeHaan lost seven pounds in weight in one day when shooting the final battle scene. He had to wear a 50lb suit and prosthetics for 3 and a half hours, in 46 degrees celsius weather. They eventually had to rig a tubing system to cool him off because buckets of ice being hurled on the poor guy just turned to steam. "My brain was literally melting," he told Vanity Fair.
There was originally a sequence starring real-life married couple Nick Offerman (that's Ron Swanson of Parks & Recreation) and Megan Mullally (that's Karen of Will & Grace) playing the parents of Christopher Mintz-Plasse, aka McLovin. The scene was so risky that it was cut. Offerman's rather NSFW description of why is here.
An original version of the script featured a Godzilla carcass entombed in Siberia. But it was rejected as it was deemed too similar to a potential scene in Man of Steel.
X-Men: Days Of Future Past
There was originally set to be a romance between Storm and Wolverine, something which happens in the comics, but it was cut. You can see a blooper of their kiss here (cut to 3:23).
Edge of Tomorrow
Jeremy Piven was a last minute casting addition during reshoots as Col. Walter Marx. But ultimately, all of his scenes were cut anyway.
A Million Ways To Die In The West
The song If You've Only Got A Moustache is actually a period song written in 1864 by Stephen Foster.
Director Richard Linklater had originally wanted to call the film 12 Years but he renamed it as he was worried it would get confused with 12 Years A Slave.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
James Franco appears briefly in the film, in a scene where Caesar watches video footage of them together. But Franco wasn't informed by Fox. “Wait, I have a cameo?" he asked in an interview. "I didn't know that. You know, I don't even think they asked my permission for that.” Producer Dylan Clark claimed that Franco's character, along with Freida Pinto's, died of the infection in-between films.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Due to his commitment to Parks & Recreation during the shoot, the writers of the show created a two-episode London-based special so that they could work around his schedule. Pratt was filming Guardians at Shepperton.
Maps To The Stars
Viggo Mortenson and Rachel Weisz were originally going to play the leads but both dropped out because of scheduling issues. They were replaced with John Cusack and Julianne Moore.
Reese Witherpoon initially bought the rights to the book with the idea that she would play Amy. But when director David Fincher was onboard, he wasn't so sure so she just stayed behind the scenes. “I think it would be awkward to have somebody who is starring in a movie and producing it,” Fincher stated. Witherspoon herself added: “He told me a vision for what the characters were, and it was very clear that I was not right for his vision.”
Writer/director David Ayer wrote the script in just two weeks. "I shot Sabotage, and I took two weeks off while the editor was doing the first assembly," he explained. "I'd been wanting to do a World War II movie, I'd been researching it, my grandparents were in the war, so it was something that I had been exploring, so I wrote it in that time."
Mike Leigh asked Timothy Spall to paint for two years in preparation for the role although Spall has been a keen artist from a young age.
Rene Russo was initially unsure about the infamous date scene and wanted a rewrite. Writer/director Dan Gilroy, and husband to Russo, refused. “Not a word was changed,” Russo said. “Not one word. It was my problem! It took me a long time to discover her motivation and what made her tick. I'm not actually a horrible, step-on-everyone-to-get-where-I'm-going person, so I had to figure out how to draw from my own fear and desperation.”
While Paramount had the rights to make Interstellar, Nolan's relationship with Warner Bros meant that the studio wanted in. A deal that was struck meant that Warners agreed to give Paramount rights to co-finance the next Friday the 13th film and have a stake in a future South Park movie.
The Imitation Game
The character of Alan Turing was originally set to be played by Leonardo DiCaprio, with Ron Howard in the director's seat.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
The screenplay is co-written by Danny Strong, an actor best known for playing Jonathan in Buffy and Danny in Mad Men. He also wrote the screenplay for The Butler.
Exodus: Gods And Kings
The film was originally set to be called just Exodus but Fox couldn't obtain the rights from MGM, who had released an unrelated action drama called Exodus in 1960.
The rights to the story were originally purchased back in 1957 and over the years, both Tony Curtis and Nicolas Cage have expressed interest in playing the role.