The number of films tied to geek culture has expanded rapidly in recent years, accounting for a bigger and bigger percentage of Hollywood releases.  "Best in Shows" is the ICv2 list of geek films, arranged by quarter, with some context for each.  Dates and other information are updated until release with new info as we get it.  To see all the periods we’re covering, see the "Best in Shows Index."
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
April 4
Marvel Studios’ flexibility will be on display in this franchise as Cap swings from his debut in a WWII army film to this 1970s Cold War thriller.  For the first time Marvel Comics also has a single volume that relates directly to one of its major movies, so the film, if successful, could drive sales of a new hardcover of The Winter Soldier graphic novel collection (see "Brubaker Lauds ‘Winter Soldier Publishing Program").
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
May 2
Sony revived this franchise in 2012 with Marc Webb’s film that earned $750 million worldwide, and the sequel has what is perhaps the ideal debut date of the summer.  The difference between this second Spider-Man trilogy and its predecessor is far less than that of the typical superhero movie sequel and its predecessor in that Webb’s Spider-Man trilogy starring Andrew Garfield tells basically the same story as Sam Raimi’s earlier trilogy featuring Tobey McGuire (yeah there are different points of emphasis, but it is the same origin saga).  No question Spider-Man is an extremely popular character, but the “sameness” of the storylines between the two trilogies separated only by 5 years proved to be a limiting factor on attendance on Webb’s first Spidey film, particularly here in the U.S.  Will Webb be able to narrow the gap with his second film (see "Amazing Spider-Man International Trailer")?
May 16
This big-budget American kaiju film is one of 2014’s biggest gambles, especially given the fate of previous western versions of the Toho monster.  If this movie is a success it could drive sales of a lot of merchandise and IDW has an already popular Godzilla comic book and Diamond has made a deal with Toho to import lots of licensed merchandise (see "First Official Godzilla Trailer" and "Diamond Deal with Toho For Godzilla Merch").
X-Men: Days of Future Past
May 23
Anticipation is high as Bryan Singer returns to the X-Men franchise to film one of the best X-Men stories ever.  Recent X-Men films like last year’s Wolverine have done OK for Fox, but they have been “big” hits for quite some time now, and Days of Future Past, thanks to extensive reshoots, is a very expensive film with a budget second only to Avatar’s in the entire history of the Fox studio.  Fox has already set up the next X-Men film for 2016 and appears unlikely to abandon the franchise, but Days of Future Past is a very important film for the future of the franchise (see "Reshoots for X-Men: Days of Future Past" and "X-Men: Days of Future Past Trailer")
May 30
Disney’s live-action prequel to Sleeping Beauty features an all-star cast headed by Angelina Jolie, but will this fantasy adventure that targets the family audience find the same kind of success with real live actors as its animated counterparts have (see "First Glimpse of Angelina Jolie as Maleficent")?
How to Train Your Dragon 2
June 13
This sequel to a popular film should have a good shot to capture the family audience in the early summer, and unlike in 2013 this will not see as many animated films released after Pixar moved its dinosaur film to 2015 and Universal did likewise with its Despicable Me sequel (see "Animation Gap in 2014") .
Transformers 4
June 27
If ever a franchise appears to be ready for a fall it could be this one as the 4th Transformers film features major cast changes—but do humans matter in this robot saga?
Click here for Best in Shows, Q3 2014