Each year Hollywood promises us the best in entertainment, and 2014 is no exception. Like 2013 we see the return of huge franchises set in the wonderful worlds of Panem, Middle Earth, and the Marvel Universe.

Heart-pounding epics look to suspend our reality and whisk us away on life-changing adventures, as romantic comedies reflect on the lighter side of life. There are even some great options for the little one’s this year.

For the full list of must-see movies, check out our Top 20 Most Anticipated Films of 2014:

That Awkward Moment (Jan. 31)
Zac Efron continues to prove that he’s come a long way from that kid in High School Musical with his latest film project, That Awkward Moment. Under the direction of Tom Gormican, Efron teams up with talented young actors Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station), and Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now) for this quirky romantic comedy.

The Lego Movie (Feb. 7)
Enter the world of America’s favorite construction toys in The Lego Movie. Directed by the creative geniuses behind Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, the computer animated film features the vocal talents of Chris Pratt, Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Will Ferrell, Channing Tatum, Liam Neeson, and Jonah Hill.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman (March 7)
A history lesson never looked so good. You take a talking dog, add his human adopted son, and throw in a time machine—talk about fun for the entire family! Can’t wait to see this one!

Rio 2 (March 20)
Blue and the crew are flying in for 2014. The original Rio gave us a great storyline, music, and unforgettable characters. And by the looks of it the second installment promises to do the same!

Divergent (March 21)
Billed as the next Hunger Games, Divergent catapults us into a futuristic dystopian version of Chicago where society is divided into factions based on psychological traits. Based on Veronica Roth’s Young Adult novel of the same name, Divergent stars Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) reluctant heroin Tris Prior.

Muppets Most Wanted (March 21)
The Muppets are Back! And kids big and small couldn’t be happier. In 2014 our favorite zany group of puppet characters find themselves caught up in an international crime caper! James Bobin (The Muppets 2011) returns to direct this new film that features hilarious stars like Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, and Ty Burrell.

Noah (March 28)
The big book comes to the big screen thanks to prolific director Darren Aronofsky. Based on the biblical story of Noah’s Ark, the film stars Russell Crowe (Gladiator) as Noah a man who builds an ark to protect his family and replenish the earth in the wake of an apocalyptic flood.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4)
Chris Evans is back for round two! 2014 finds Evans reprising his role as Steve Rogers in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Riding high on the success of 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, the subsequent The Avengers film, and not to mention a hilarious cameo in Thor: The Dark World, this latest installment from Marvel Studios promises to be a hit.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (May 2)
According to Marvel Comics the “Greatest Battle Begins” on May 2. Andrew Garfield swings back into the role of Peter Parker to battle Paul Giamatti and Jamie Foxx—and the latter two have NEVER looked scarier. You don’t need Spidey Senses to know that this film is a box office sure thing.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (May 23)
James McAvoy rolls back onscreen followed by a team of actors extraordinaire in X-Men: Days of Future Past. A follow-up to X-Men: First Class, the old meets the new as you see both the younger versions of Professor X (Patrick Stewart, McAvoy) and Magneto (Ian McKellen, Michael Fassbender) join forces to fight for the state of mutant and man-kind alike!

Maleficent (May 30)
How scary can Angelina Jolie be? Pretty scary if you’ve seen her dressed as Disney’s “Mistress of All Evil”, Maleficent. It’s going to be interesting to see Sleeping Beauty retold from the villainess’s point of view. This film truly has a lot of potential, with Jolie in the role; and what a role. Talk about evil, I mean Maleficent summons “all of the powers of hell” in the 1959 classic—can you imagine what she’s doing in 2014!

22 Jump Street (June 13)
The dynamic duo, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are back, but instead of pretending to be high schoolers, they’re undercover as college students this time around. If the sequel is anything like its 2012 predecessor, prepare to laugh your head off.

How To Train Your Dragon 2 (June 13)
The delightful How To Train Your Dragon returns in 2014. The story of best friends Hiccup and Toothless continues as we journey to Viking country once again. The film begins five years later with humans and dragons coexisting peacefully. However, that peace is soon threatened with the discovery of wild dragons. Can Hiccup and Toothless preserve their relationship and the relationship of dragons and humankind? You can find out this summer!

Transformers: Age of Extinction (June 27)
It’s Prime Time! That’s right Michael Bay’s band of Cybertron refugees are returning to theaters in 2014! But don’t look for any more familiar faces. Gone are franchise regulars Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, and Tyrese Gibson. As a matter of fact, even the Transformers have been changed. Now in the lead is Mark Wahlberg (The Italian Job) and the only Transformers confirmed so far are Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. The official trailer is not currently available but here is a brief synopsis of what the Transformers camp has in store for the 2014 release…

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 11)
The world is being taken over by apes and Caesar is at the helm. That phrase alone gets me excited. If you saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes or if you are a fan of the original Planet of the Apes series then you understand why. However, even if you are not up to speed with all that monkey business, the war of evolutionary domination is one that cannot be missed. See it this summer!

Jupiter Ascending (July 18)
Channing Tatum sports a new look in the Wachowski Brothers’ new sci-fi film, Jupiter Ascending. As a genetically engineered albino with wolf DNA—Whoa! Can he keep Mila Kunis safe? Ultimately saving the world—that is after they fall in love.

Guardians of the Galaxy (Aug. 1)
Beside the background from the hit Marvel comics, little to none is currently known about the underpinnings of this new superhero flick, Guardians of the Galaxy—well except for the fact that they have a pretty awesome cast; Lee Pace, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Djimon Hounsou, Bradley Cooper, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, and Benicio Del Toro. Unfortunately, no trailer is currently available, but to catch up on all your Guardian facts check out the following clip.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1 (Nov. 21)
We revisit “the girl on fire” in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1. Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen leads the districts of Panem in a rebellion against the Capitol. Adapted from the final book in the series, 2014 sees the first part, of the end of the juggernaut franchise. A fan of the books, I have to say that each film gets better and better. There is no current trailer available for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1.

The Hobbit: There and Back Again (Dec. 17)
All good things must come to an end. Unfortunately, that is also true of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit film series. The final installment hits theaters this December. There is no trailer currently available, but check out what the cast had to say about the upcoming film.

Annie (Dec. 19)
Adorable Quevenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) plays little orphan Annie in 2014 thanks to producers Will Smith and Jay-Z. The Oscar nominee promises that “the sun will come out tomorrow” in this modern-day adaption of the popular Broadway musical that also features Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, and Rose Byrne. There is no trailer currently available, but here Wallis talks to Variety about her upcoming role.

There are so many great films coming out in 2014. Here are our Top 20 Runners Up…

Ride Along (Jan. 17)
Robocop (Feb. 12)
Godzilla (May 16)
Interstellar (Nov. 7)

-Jennifer Hall, CBS Radio Charlotte


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