Why the movie world now belongs to Disney

2015 will be a year of princesses, superheroes and space battles—and the occasional movie for grown-ups
In this image released by Disney, a scene is shown from the upcoming film, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," expected in theaters on Dec. 18, 2015. LucasFilm/Disney/AP
Jasin Boland/Warner Bros. Entertainment
Jasin Boland/Warner Bros. Entertainment

This will be a year of expensive fantasy movies, comic book franchises, and adaptations of proven properties. So pretty much like every year. But watch out for these 10 films, because they do raise some interesting questions: can superheroes beat an evil robot? (Probably yes.) Will Star Wars be better without George Lucas? (Also probably yes.) How many feminist think pieces will we see about the problems of a new version of Cinderella? Will Jian Ghomeshi think 50 Shades of Grey is too unrealistic? And most important, how many of these movie studios will Disney eventually buy?

Jan. 9 , Selma: The story of the famous 1965 civil rights marches in Alabama, this is the latest in a line of recent movies—including The Help and The Butler —that allow viewers to feel like racism is a relic of the past.

Feb. 13, Fifty Shades of Grey: Hollywood makes a sexy adaptation of the controversial bestseller. The original male lead was replaced before filming, but no one will look at his face anyway.

March 13, Cinderella: Kenneth Branagh (yes, really) directs a blockbuster Disney live-action movie of the fairy tale. That’s right, having ruined all the fairy tales in animation, Disney’s doing it again in live action.

Giles Keyte/Disney
Giles Keyte/Disney

May 1, Avengers: Age of Ultron: In the sequel to Marvel’s big superhero team movie, the six heroes are joined by three other heroes from the comics. That seems like a lot of people to fight one killer robot.

May 15, Mad Max: Fury Road: George Miller, the writer-director who created this famous series, returns to it for the first time since the ’80s, but without star Mel Gibson. Some may see his absence as a good thing, given his reputation for inappropriate comments. Others may wonder if Tom Hardy can play a part so closely associated with Gibson.

May 22, Tomorrowland: Director Brad Bird (The Incredibles), one of the most acclaimed directors in the world of geeks, teams with Lost creator Damon Lindelof and star George Clooney for a science fiction movie set in a scary version of Disneyland, produced by Disney. Basically, a scary Disney self-promotion.

July 24, Trainwreck: Judd Apatow, the most powerful writer-director in comedy, makes a film co-written by and starring comedian Amy Schumer, one of the great hopes in the “funny women” movement. Expect a lot of dirty jokes followed by a heartwarming moment or two, because that’s what all Apatow’s movies are like.

Oct. 16, St. James’ Place: A Cold War thriller directed by Steven Spielberg, written by the Coen brothers, and starring Tom Hanks? With names like this, anything less than a huge success will be a huge disappointment.

Nov. 25, The Martian: Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon, it’s of those survival stories about a man stranded in the desert who must survive—only the desert is Mars!


Dec. 18, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens: J.J. Abrams’s film is the most important nerd event so far in a very nerdy decade: it’s the first Star Wars film since creator George Lucas sold the rights to Disney. Many fans think the franchise will be better off without Lucas. But they also thought Star Trek would be better off with Abrams.