Hollywood may be hoping for a little less drama in 2014. 2013 was a tale of two cinemas. Blockbusters like "The Lone Ranger" and "After Earth" flopped spectacularly while many in the industry (including Steven Spielberg) bemoaned the increasingly commercial trajectory of the studios. And yet by the end of the year, Hollywood had set a record with nearly $11 billion in revenue, while critics hailed the year's crop - from "Gravity" to "12 Years a Slave" to "Inside Llewyn Davis" - as one of the best in years.
The movie business remains, as ever, an incomprehensible Jekyll and Hyde act of up and down, hit and bomb.
How will 2014 unfold? The plot, at least, will be unchanged. However much some would like to see a new rhythm to Hollywood's seasonal cycle, the year will move to the familiar pattern of sketchy spring releases, summer superhero blockbusters and fall awards-contenders.
Here are 10 things to look for at the movies in 2014:
Anticipation runs especially high for "Interstellar" (Nov. 7), Christopher Nolan's deep space travel adventure starring Matthew McConaughey. Nolan, the director of "Inception" and "The Dark Knight," is one of few directors whose name alone makes fanboys salivate. His imprimatur promises a cinematic experience (he likes to shoot with IMAX cameras) that few today can match. Nolan's name also looms large in "Transcendence" (April 18), which he produced. The artificial intelligence tale, starring Johnny Depp and Rebecca Hall, is the directorial debut of Nolan's longtime cinematographer Wally Pfister. Other science-fiction entries in 2014 include a reboot of "Robocop" (Feb. 12), a futuristic, time-traveling war film with Tom Cruise; "Edge of Tomorrow" (June 6), the Wachowskis' latest fantasy oddity, "Jupiter Ascending" (July 18); and Ryan Gosling's directorial debut "How to Catch a Monster" (no date yet), a less effect-heavy domestic drama that tunnels into an underwater realm.
HOLD-OVERS FROM 2013
This year will benefit from last year's unusually good leftovers. George Clooney's World War II art rescue tale "The Monuments Men" will open Feb. 7 after being delayed from December. James Grey's Ellis Island drama "The Immigrant" (undated), starring Joaquin Phoenix and Marion Cottilard, could emerge as an Oscar dark horse after earning acclaim on the festival circuit. Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher," featuring a dark turn from Steve Carell, will bow sometime in 2014. "Grace of Monaco," with Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly, opens March 14. The schedule for 2014 will doubtless contain