If you feel like you're seeing double when it comes to this year's movie lineup, you're not the only one. We've noticed a plethora of films opening or shooting in 2014 that bear a striking resemblance to other films opening or shooting this year. But don't worry, we're here to break them down for you. We'll let you decide which ones are worth seeing (love Neverland and all, but how many "Peter Pan" re-dos can you really stomach?), but we're here to guide you along the way. Consider us your Conflicting-Movie Senseis.
"The Legend of Hercules": Originally titled "Hercules: The Legend Begins," the Kellan Lutz vehicle is one of two abs-boasting epics about the demigod to barrel into theaters this year. "The Legend of Hercules" is an origin story that chronicles the title hero battling his way back into his kingdom after being sold into slavery. Jan. 10; directed by Renny Harlin ("Die Hard 2," "Exorcist: The Beginning").
"Hercules": Swap out Lutz for Dwayne Johnson and you get the year's second big-budget Hercules flick, which takes place years after its predecessor. "Hercules" picks up after Hercules has finished his 12 Labors. He's turned his back on the gods but is called to rebuild his army to fight a warlord. Or, "Abs: Part 2." July 25; directed by Brett Ratner ("Rush Hour," "Tower Heist").
Rudyard Kipling's tale will get the Disney treatment once again, this time in the form of a new live-action adaptation that Deadline labeled a "priority project"
for the studio. Production on the movie, which is said to incorporate "certain mythic elements," is slated to begin early this year. Oct. 9, 2015; directed by Jon Favreau ("Elf," "Iron Man").
Steve Kloves, who wrote the "Harry Potter" movies, is producing a second live-action "Jungle Book" that's being written by his daughter. Oscar-nominated director Alejandro González Iñárritu ("21 Grams," "Babel") was once at the helm, but he has since moved off the project
. No release set.
"Peter Pan Begins":
Here's the big-budget spectacle that just about every childhood classic has received recently (think in the vein of "Oz the Great and Powerful," "Snow White and the Huntsman" and Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland"). Or at least it would be -- we haven't heard much about this movie since it was first announced in 2011. Channing Tatum pitched it as a revisionist history to "Peter Pan," but he told Vulture
he won't be taking on the role himself. No release set; director not announced, but we do know there's a script by Billy Ray ("The Hunger Games," "Shattered Glass").
This one's an origin story as well, but it has a more clear-cut path to theaters (a release date, for example). We don't know who will play Peter Pan yet, but we're pretty stoked about the possibility of Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard
. June 26, 2015; directed by Joe Wright ("Pride & Prejudice," "Atonement").
"Peter and the Starcatchers":
The adaptation of the best-selling YA novel started kicking around in 2005, and in 2012, Disney announced that filming was expected to begin the following year. We have yet to glean any casting scoop, but "Starcatchers" could be the most reliable of the three movies, given the popularity of the book and its Broadway production. No release set; Gary Ross ("Pleasantville," The Hunger Games") is attached as director.
"Son of God":
In the second coming of "The Bible," this condensed version of the colossal History miniseries zeroes in on Jesus' life, tracing from his birth through the resurrection. It mostly comprises scenes from the miniseries but will throw in never-before-seen moments as well. All hail 20th Century Fox for latching onto what could be a moneymaking machine, if its success is anything like that of "The Bible."
Feb. 28; directed by Christopher Spencer ("The Bible").
"Son of God" is a New Testament epic, but "Noah" takes us back to Genesis and the parable of that guy who built an ark. You know the one. He'll be played by Russell Crowe, who stars alongside Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson and Logan Lerman. Crowe seems like an obviously choice for a burly biblical hero like Noah; what isn't so obvious is the director -- Oscar nominee Darren Aronofsky is known for dark, brooding movies like "Requiem for a Dream" and "Black Swan." Whether his approach will have biblical purists crying blasphemy is yet to be seen. In the meantime, the visual effects in the trailer
Another A-list director will tackle the Old Testament this year when Ridley Scott ("Alien," "Gladiator") brings his take on Moses leading the Hebrews out of Egypt to the big screen. Christian Bale heads up the cast as the big man on Mount Sinai, with Aaron Paul, Ben Kingsley, Sigourney Weaver and Joel Edgerton also starring. Oscar voters are firing up their ballots already.
"Dark Places": Gillian Flynn is a rarity in that every novel she writes is both a massive best-seller and a critical victory. That brings us to the first of two adaptations on the horizon. "Dark Places" stars Charlize Theron as a woman who must confront her family's brutal murder years later when a secret investigative group known as The Kill Club wants to explore the case. Nicholas Hoult, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christina Hendricks and Drea de Matteo co-star.
Sept. 5; directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner ("Sarah's Key").
"Gone Girl": "Dark Places" looks promising, but it's "Gone Girl" that has everyone talking. The novel arrived in 2012 and remained No. 1 on the New York Times Best Seller list for eight weeks. It's the story of a strained couple whose move from New York City to the Midwest unravels them, until Amy (Rosamund Pike) disappears on the day of their wedding anniversary and hubby Nick (Ben Affleck) may or may not be the perpetrator. Missi Pyle, Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry co-star.
Oct. 3; directed by David Fincher ("Se7en," "The Social Network").
("Sharp Objects," Flynn's 2006 debut novel, also has a film adaptation in the offing, but details have remained scant.)
Blame the whole villain-backstory thing on "Wicked" and the profitability of hiring gifted actresses to ham it up for Disney revisions. We don't yet know who will play "101 Dalmatians" libertine Cruella de Vil (hopefully one of our suggestions
), but with a script from Aline Brosh McKenna -- who adapted Miranda Priestly to a T in "The Devil Wears Prada" -- we have high hopes.
No release or director yet.
Angelina Jolie is the perfect actress to take on the horned "Sleeping Beauty" adversary. Production designer Robert Stromberg ("Avatar," "Oz the Great and Powerful") is in the director's seat for the first time, working on a movie developed by Brad Bird and co-starring Elle Fanning as Princess Aurora.
Houghton Mifflin/Dutton Books
"The Fault in Our Stars": Expect both of these books to make huge splashes at the box office. First up is "Stars," John Green's celebrated 2012 novel about two teenage cancer patients who fall in love. It unites "Divergent" stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort for their second movie this year.
June 6; directed by Josh Boone ("Stuck in Love").
"The Giver": A film adaptation of Lois Lowry's classic 1993 dystopian novel has been in the works for years, and at last it's headed for our eager doorsteps. Australian actor Brenton Thwaites plays Jonas, who learns there's more to the world than the diluted society to which everyone conforms since birth. Jeff Bridges stars as The Giver, Meryl Streep as the Chief Elder, and Katie Holmes and Alexander Skarsgard as his parents. Oh, and Taylor Swift's in it, too.
Aug. 15; directed by Phillip Noyce ("Patriot Games," "The Bone Collector").
"That Awkward Moment": Michael B. Jordan's girlfriend dumps him, so his pals (Efron and Miles Teller) agree to stay single with him. But what happens when they meet great women and can't keep their promise? Damn you, adulthood!
Jan. 31; directed by first-timer Tom Gormican.
"Neighbors": Efron's infancy is a smidge more understandable in this one. He's a college student whose rowdy fraternity moves in next door to a couple (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) with a newborn. No, these boys don't want to quiet down, and no, they don't appreciate having the cops called on them. Take that, adulthood! May 9; directed by Nicholas Stoller ("Forgetting Sarah Marshall," "Get Him to the Greek").