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01.23.2014by: Paul Shirey

2014 Universal Pictures Preview!

Universal Pictures had a banner year in 2013, raking in $3.67 billion in domestic and international box office combined, thanks to hits like FAST & FURIOUS 6, DESPICABLE ME 2, and lower budget breakouts like IDENTITY THIEF, MAMA, THE PURGE, and BEST MAN HOLIDAY. They weren't without their losses, however, especially with the long-delayed 47 RONIN, which tanked. The tragic loss of Paul Walker has left the studio without it's guaranteed money-making franchise in 2014 (but, will return in 2015), and instead will shift to an Angelina Jolie directed WWII film, a Dracula revival, a much-anticipated comedy sequel, a ScarJo actioner, a romantic remake, a James Brown biopic, a quickly turned around horror sequel, a comedy western, another long-delayed thriller, and of course, Liam "Neesons!"

Take a gander at what Universal Pictures is serving up this year and let us know what you think of their crop. Will they have another banner year in 2014 without a FAST & FURIOUS or DESPICABLE ME?

Endless Love (February 14)

Alex Pettyfer (Magic Mike) and Gabriella Wilde (The Three Musketeers) in the story of a privileged girl and a charismatic boy whose instant desire sparks a love affair made only more reckless by parents trying to keep them apart.

Directed by Shana Feste (Country Strong), the romantic drama co-stars Robert Patrick, Bruce Greenwood, Rhys Wakefield, Dayo Okeniyi, Emma Rigby and Joely Richardson.

Non-Stop (February 28)

Global action star Liam Neeson stars in Non-Stop, a suspense thriller played out at 40,000 feet in the air. During a transatlantic flight from New York City to London, U.S. Air Marshal Bill Marks (Neeson) receives a series of cryptic text messages demanding that he instruct the airline to transfer $150 million into an off-shore account. Until he secures the money, a passenger on his flight will be killed every 20 minutes.

Starring Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Corey Stoll, Michelle Dockery, Scoot McNairy, Bar Paly, Anson Mount, and Lupita Nyong'o. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra.

Neighbors (May 9)

A couple with a newborn baby face unexpected difficulties after they are forced to live next to a fraternity house.

Starring: Seth Rogen, Zach Efron, Rose Byrne, Dave Franco, Jake Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Lisa Kudrow. Directed by Nicholas Stoller.

A Million Ways To Die In The West (May 30)

Seth MacFarlane directs, produces, co-writes and plays the role of the cowardly sheep farmer Albert in A Million Ways to Die in the West. After Albert backs out of a gunfight, his fickle girlfriend leaves him for another man. When a mysterious and beautiful woman rides into town, she helps him find his courage and they begin to fall in love. But when her husband, a notorious outlaw, arrives seeking revenge, the farmer must put his newfound courage to the test.

Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Giovanni Ribisi, Sarah Silverman and Neil Patrick Harris. Directed by Seth MacFarlane.

The Next Chapter of The Purge* (June 20)

The New Founding Fathers of America invite you to celebrate the annual Purge. The sequel to 2013's runaway sleeper hit will be released on Friday, June 20, 2014. Returning alongside writer/director/producer James DeMonaco to produce the next chapter of the thriller are Blumhouse Productions' Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity and Insidious series), alongside Sébastien K. Lemercier (Assault on Precinct 13, Four Lovers) and Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay (Pain & Gain, Transformers franchise), Brad Fuller (The Amityville Horror, A Nightmare on Elm Street) and Andrew Form (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th).

Starring: Frank Grillo, Michael K. Williams, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, and Carmen Ejogo. Directed by James DeMonaco.

*Working title, not final.

Get On Up (August 1)

In his follow-up to the four-time Academy Award®-nominated blockbuster The Help, Tate Taylor directs 42's Chadwick Boseman as James Brown in Get on Up. Based on the incredible life story of the Godfather of Soul, the film will give a fearless look inside the music, moves and moods of Brown, taking audiences on the journey from his impoverished childhood to his evolution into one of the most influential figures of the 20th century.

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Nelsan Ellis, Lennie James, Tika Sumpter, Jill Scott and Dan Aykroyd. Directed by Tate Taylor.

Lucy (August 8)

From La Femme Nikita and The Professional to The Fifth Element, writer/director Luc Besson has created some of the toughest, most memorable female action heroes in cinematic history. Now, Besson directs Scarlett Johansson in Lucy, an action-thriller that tracks a woman accidentally caught in a dark deal who turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.

Starring Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman. Directed by Luc Besson.

The Loft (August 29)

Karl Urban (Star Trek Into Darkness) and James Marsden (2 Guns) star in the tense psychological thriller The Loft, the story of five married guys who conspire to secretly share a penthouse loft in the city—a place where they can carry out hidden affairs and indulge in their deepest fantasies. But the fantasy becomes a nightmare when they discover the dead body of an unknown woman in the loft, and they realize one of the group must be involved. Paranoia seizes them as everyone begins to suspect one another. Friendships are tested, loyalties are questioned and marriages crumble as the group is consumed by fear, suspicion and murder in this relentless thriller.

Starring: Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonestreet, and Matthias Schoenaerts. Directed by Eric Van Looy.

Search Party (September 12)

24 hours ago, Nardo (Thomas Middleditch) was standing at the altar next to the love of his life. Now he's shivering in just a pair of gold leggings in the Mexican desert, and the only men who can save him are his best friends (TJ Miller, Adam Pally). Writer Scot Armstrong (Road Trip, Old School and The Hangover: Part II) makes his directorial debut in a comedy that follows a rescue by the guys you call when you've run out of all other options.

Starring: Alison Brie, Krysten Ritter, Shannon Woodward, Adam Pally, and T.J. Miller. Directed by Scot Armstrong.

Dracula Untold (October 17)

Luke Evans (Fast & Furious 6, Immortals) stars in Dracula Untold, the origin story of the man who became Dracula. Gary Shore directs and Michael De Luca produces the epic action-adventure that co-stars Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper, Diarmaid Murtagh and Samantha Barks. Directed by Gary Shore.

Dumb & Dumber To (November 14)

Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels reprise their signature roles as Lloyd and Harry in the sequel to the smash hit that took the physical comedy and kicked it in the nuts: Dumb and Dumber To. The original film's directors, Peter and Bobby Farrelly, take Lloyd and Harry on a road trip to find a child Harry never knew he had and the responsibility neither should ever, ever be given.

Starring Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Laurie Holden, Kathleen Turner, and Rob Riggle. Directed by The Farrelly Brothers.

Unbroken (December 25)

Academy Award® winner Angelina Jolie directs and produces Unbroken, an epic drama that follows the incredible life of Olympian and war hero Louis "Louie" Zamperini (Jack O'Connell) who, along with two other crewmen, survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash in WWII—only to be caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.

Adapted from Laura Hillenbrand's ("Seabiscuit: An American Legend") enormously popular book, Unbroken brings to the big screen Zamperini's unbelievable and inspiring true story about the resilient power of the human spirit.

Starring alongside O'Connell are Domhnall Gleeson and Finn Wittrock as Phil and Mac—the airmen with whom Zamperini endured perilous weeks adrift in the open Pacific—Garrett Hedlund and John Magaro as fellow POWs who find an unexpected camaraderie during their internment, Alex Russell as Zamperini's brother, Pete, and in his English-language feature debut, Japanese actor Miyavi as the brutal camp guard known only to the men as "The Bird."

Academy Award® winners Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men) rewrote the screenplay from earlier drafts by William Nicholson (Les Misérables) and Richard LaGravenese (HBO's Behind the Candelabra).

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1:34PM on 01/31/2014
cool, sounds like a funny cast
cool, sounds like a funny cast
Your Reply:



12:23PM on 01/23/2014

Wow. Looks great.

*fart sound*
*fart sound*
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8:43AM on 01/23/2014
im there
im there
Your Reply:



8:41AM on 01/23/2014
i love NPH so ya i want to see
i love NPH so ya i want to see
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8:39AM on 01/23/2014
i saw a tv spot for this the other day seemed sappy as hell
i saw a tv spot for this the other day seemed sappy as hell
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8:28AM on 01/23/2014
Not a movie about Vlad The Impaler then, who served as some sort of inspiration for the character?
I guess Dracula is a character you can reinvent and see what sticks - an origin story could be cool if done well.
Not a movie about Vlad The Impaler then, who served as some sort of inspiration for the character?
I guess Dracula is a character you can reinvent and see what sticks - an origin story could be cool if done well.
Your Reply:



4:02AM on 01/23/2014
That is a gorgeous picture of Alison Brie. She could probably convince me to watch anything.
That is a gorgeous picture of Alison Brie. She could probably convince me to watch anything.
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11:17PM on 01/23/2014
Check out Born, as featured on the Awfully Good column
Check out Born, as featured on the Awfully Good column
3:58AM on 01/23/2014
I'll probably see this purely for Charlize Theron .
I'll probably see this purely for Charlize Theron .
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3:58AM on 01/23/2014
Scarlett is awesome. I'm definitely seeing this.
Scarlett is awesome. I'm definitely seeing this.
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1:30AM on 01/23/2014
Been quite the wave of survival at sea films lately. I kinda want to see Ange direct something she acts in as well.
Been quite the wave of survival at sea films lately. I kinda want to see Ange direct something she acts in as well.
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1:29AM on 01/23/2014
Insert eye roll. But hey, I, Frankenstein turned out better than I expected, so maybe I should give this one a chance. And Sam Barks is ever so lovely. But as of right now, not interested.
Insert eye roll. But hey, I, Frankenstein turned out better than I expected, so maybe I should give this one a chance. And Sam Barks is ever so lovely. But as of right now, not interested.
Your Reply:



1:28AM on 01/23/2014
Saw the trailer for this a good two plus years ago, odd that it's only coming out now. It looks tense and suspenseful and we could always do with more locked room mystery thrillers. There'll also be some T&A in this.
Saw the trailer for this a good two plus years ago, odd that it's only coming out now. It looks tense and suspenseful and we could always do with more locked room mystery thrillers. There'll also be some T&A in this.
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1:26AM on 01/23/2014
ScarJo as a Besson femme fatale, with Morgan Freeman in a supporting role? Sounds like a winner.
ScarJo as a Besson femme fatale, with Morgan Freeman in a supporting role? Sounds like a winner.
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1:25AM on 01/23/2014
Is this really the title they're going with?
Is this really the title they're going with?
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9:59AM on 01/23/2014
Yeah, that was edited in. Wrote the comment before I saw that change. A fellow schmoe suggested "Purge-atory".
Yeah, that was edited in. Wrote the comment before I saw that change. A fellow schmoe suggested "Purge-atory".
9:38AM on 01/23/2014
The asterisk says working title.
The asterisk says working title.
1:25AM on 01/23/2014
Not particularly a fan of MacFarlane. Ted was okay if very indulgent, but I do love the cast he's wrangled up for this.
Not particularly a fan of MacFarlane. Ted was okay if very indulgent, but I do love the cast he's wrangled up for this.
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1:23AM on 01/23/2014
Looking forward to this. The premise does sound like it could have been done in the 90s with someone like Snipes (Passenger 57, anyone?) or Seagal, but Liam freaking Neeson in the lead more than seals the deal. Unknown was okay, it was stylish but had a really goofy third act. People are already calling Julianne Moore as the surprise villain, but we'll see.
Looking forward to this. The premise does sound like it could have been done in the 90s with someone like Snipes (Passenger 57, anyone?) or Seagal, but Liam freaking Neeson in the lead more than seals the deal. Unknown was okay, it was stylish but had a really goofy third act. People are already calling Julianne Moore as the surprise villain, but we'll see.
Your Reply:



1:21AM on 01/23/2014
This sounds like exactly the kind of film people are talking about when they roll their eyes and go "it's a Valentine's Day release".
This sounds like exactly the kind of film people are talking about when they roll their eyes and go "it's a Valentine's Day release".
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