The Skinny: A teenager finds herself transported to a deep forest setting where a battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil is taking place. She bands together with a rag-tag group characters in order to save their world — and ours.
Starring: Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Christoph Waltz, Aziz Ansari, Chris O’Dowd, Pitbull, Jason Sudeikis, Steven Tyler and Beyoncé Knowles
The Buzz: Last summer’s Brave showed that there is an audience for female heroines in animated film. This story has enough overtones that many of the audience that supported that film could get behind this latest version as well. Doesn’t hurt that one of the largest pop stars on the planet (Beyonce) and a two-time Oscar winner (Waltz) also round out the cast.
Opening: May 24
The Skinny: Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan are an inseparable pair, but that wasn’t always the case. From the moment these two mismatched monsters met they couldn’t stand each other. “Monsters University” unlocks the door to how Mike and Sulley overcame their differences and became the best of friends.
Starring: Billy Crystal, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi
The Skinny: This long-awaited sequel has been kicked around since 2005 and will be Pixar’s 14th feature film. The studio, which has made tons of money from EVERY film they’ve produced as well as critical acclaim, will be taking a risk with a story that although popular did not achieve the cult level of other releases such as the Toy Story franchise or other films from Pixar’s catalog. Can Crystal and Goodman make magic again? Our hunch is that the power of the Pixar brand will not be denied!
Opening: June 21
The Skinny: Gru (Steve Carell) is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to help them fight a villain named Eduardo (Al Pacino).
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Al Pacino, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Steve Coogan and Ken Jeong
The Buzz: For the latest installment of this animated moneymaker, the producers are bringing out the big guns with Oscar winner Pacino joining the cast. Wiig and Coogan also come aboard to increase star power. The producers are planning a spin-off feature film titled Minions, featuring the Minions as the main characters, that is scheduled for release Christmas 2014.
Opening: July 3
The Skinny: A freak accident might just help an everyday garden snail achieve his biggest dream: winning the Indy 500.
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Michael Peña, Maya Rudolph, Paul Giamatti, Luis Guzman, Bill Hader, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez, Snoop Dogg and Samuel L. Jackson
The Skinny: First there was Cars, now DreamWorks hopes to take it to the next level. The story was inspired by director David Soren’s six year old son’s fascination with race cars and the snails inhabiting his front yard. The studio partnered with IndyCar, to sure make the racing was as authentic as possible. Dario Franchitti, a four-time IndyCar Series champion, is a technical consultant on the film. Impressive!!!
Opening: July 17
The Skinny: Dusty is a cropdusting plane who dreams of competing in a famous aerial race. The problem? He is hopelessly afraid of heights. With the support of his mentor Skipper and a host of new friends, Dusty sets off to make his dreams come true.
Starring: Val Kilmer, Gabriel Iglesias, Brad Garrett
The Skinny: This Cars-spinoff is a gamble for the studio. Originally set to be released in the U.S. as a direct-to-video, Disney was impressed enough to add the film to the release calendar. Despite the fact that Pixar isn’t producing the film, John Lasseter, chief creative officer of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, and director of Cars and Cars 2, will be one of the producers. That is winning pedigree!
Opening: August 9