TORONTO —; The summer movie season fizzled when it should have sizzled so studios are hoping to reverse fortunes with a slew of buzzed-about films and potential blockbusters.
Here’s a look at 20 flicks opening before the end of the year that are getting plenty of attention.
GONE GIRL – Oct. 3
Ben Affleck stars in this thriller about a man suspected in the disappearance of his wife (Rosamund Pike). Based on the 2012 novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, the film was directed by David Fincher and boasts a cast that includes Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry.
ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY – Oct. 10
Judith Viorst’s acclaimed 1972 children’s book, which was adapted into an animated television special in 1990 and a stage musical in 1998, is now a feature film starring Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner. Among its producers is Montreal-born filmmaker Shawn Levy.
BIRDMAN – Oct. 17
Written, produced and directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (Biutiful), Birdman is the story of an actor (Michael Keaton) struggling to create a Broadway show. The film boasts an all-star cast that includes Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Emma Stone and Naomi Watts.
FURY – Oct. 17
Brad Pitt returns to the big screen in this World War II drama that also stars Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Jon Bernthal, Michael Pena, Jason Isaacs and Scott Eastwood. It’s the story of a U.S. Army sergeant (Pitt) who commands a Sherman tank and its crew on a dangerous mission.
ST. VINCENT – Oct. 24
The second runner-up for the People’s Choice Award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, St. Vincent stars Bill Murray as a hard-drinking, gambling war veteran who becomes an unlikely caregiver to the 12-year-old son (Jaeden Lieberher) of a single mom (Melissa McCarthy) who moves in next door. Naomi Watts is also in the cast.
Daniel Radcliffe, pictured in a scene from ‘Horns.’ Handout
Daniel Radcliffe, pictured in a scene from ‘Horns.’
HORNS – Oct. 31
Daniel Radcliffe stars in this made-in-Vancouver fantasy thriller based on Joe Hill’s 2010 novel of the same name. It’s the story of a man accused of rape and murder who uses his mysterious abilities to find the real killer. The film also stars Juno Temple, James Remar and Max Minghella.
NIGHTCRAWLER – Oct. 31
Jake Gyllenhaal transformed himself physically for his role as a freelance crime journalism who becomes involved in the Los Angeles underground scene. Rene Russo and Bill Paxton are also in the cast.
INTERSTELLAR – Nov. 7
Not many details about this Christopher Nolan-helmed science fiction film have been released but we know it stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Ellen Burstyn, Casey Affleck and many more. We also know much of the film was made in Alberta, including locations in Lethbridge, Fort Macleod, Nanton, Longview and Okotoks.
DUMB AND DUMBER TO – Nov. 14
Canada’s Jim Carrey is back as Lloyd Christmas and Jeff Daniels returns as Harry Dunne in this sequel to 1994’s Dumb and Dumber. It’s set two decades later and involves a search for Harry’s long lost daughter.
FOXCATCHER – Nov. 14
Based on the real-life story of Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and how coach John du Pont (Steve Carell) killed Schultz’s brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo), this film was directed by Bennett Miller (Capote) and earned critical acclaim after festival screenings in Cannes and Toronto.
THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 – Nov. 21
Hunger Games fans are anxious to see the first of two movies that will wrap up the popular movie series based on Suzanne Collins’ books. This chapter features one of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s final movie roles.
THE IMITATION GAME – Nov. 21
Winner of the People’s Choice Award for Best Film at the Toronto International Film Festival, The Imitation Game tells the true story of Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his team of British code-breakers during World War II. Turing was later convicted of gross indecency. The drama also stars Keira Knightley.
THE PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR – Nov. 26
The latest animated adventure in the Madagascar series, this family film features the voices of Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, John DiMaggio and Christopher Knights as four penguins involved in an inter-species task force trying to stop Dr. Octavius Brine (John Malkovich) from taking over the world.
HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 – Nov. 26
Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis reprise their roles from the 2011 original —; which grossed $209.6 million worldwide —; for this comedic kidnapping caper that also stars Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx, Chris Pine, Christoph Waltz and Kevin Spacey.
WILD – Dec. 5
Directed by Canada’s Jean-Marc Vallée, this drama stars Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed, who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail by herself. The screenplay by Nick Hornby is based on Strayed’s novel Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.
THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES – Dec. 17
The final chapter in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy relies on appendices J.R.R. Tolkien wrote to expand his Middle Earth fantasy. Fans will be flocking to this one.
ANNIE – Dec. 19
Another adaptation of the 1924 comic strip Little Orphan Annie? Yes —; but this one features an African-American Annie, played by Quvenzhane Wallis. Jamie Foxx plays the Warbucks character —; named William Stacks —; and the cast includes Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale and Cameron Diaz.
NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB – Dec. 19
Canadian director Shawn Levy presents the third Night at the Museum movie —; following the 2006 original and 2009’s Battle of the Smithsonian. Shot in Vancouver, the comedy marks the last role Robin Williams did before his suicide and the last film in which Mickey Rooney appeared. Ben Stiller is back as Larry Daley and the cast includes Rebel Wilson, Ben Kingsley, Owen Wilson and Ricky Gervais.
THE INTERVIEW – Dec. 25
Seth Rogen came home to Vancouver to make this comedy with his buddy James Franco. Rogen not only stars but co-produced and co-directed the film about two celebrity journalists who are commissioned by the CIA to assassinate the North Korean leader.
INTO THE WOODS – Dec. 25
Rob Marshall (Chicago) directed stars like Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick and Johnny Depp in this adaptation of the Tony-winning Broadway musical by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim that borrows characters from tales like Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel.