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WATCH: 12 movies coming to theatres in 2015

Chris Pratt in a scene from 'Jurassic World.'. Handout

TORONTO — Hollywood long ago figured out that the easiest way to make money is to put out movies that have familiar stories and characters — remakes, reboots, sequels and movies based upon popular novels or comic books.

The biggest movies of 2014 fell into these categories. So, it’s little wonder the most talked-about movies coming out in 2015 also feature characters and stories audiences know well.

Never mind the well-aged James Bond (he’s 62!) and those space adventurers from 1977 named Han, Luke and Leia. Cinderella goes back three centuries; Paddington is 57 years old; and The Jungle Book’s Mowgli delighted children 121 years ago.

Below are 12 movies — one for each month — that are getting plenty of buzz and are almost certain to be box office hits.

January – Paddington

This family comedy, which has already been released in the UK — where it has earned more than $84 million so far — comes to our theatres on Jan. 6. It is based on Michael Bond’s popular character from 1958 and features Ben Whishaw (Skyfall) as the voice of the titular bear. Live actors include Julie Walters, Nicole Kidman, Jim Broadbent and Peter Capaldi.

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Runner-up: Taken 3 (Jan. 8). Liam Neeson is back for more butt-kicking action.

February – Fifty Shades of Grey

The highly anticipated big screen adaptation of E.L. James’ erotic novel comes to theatres a day before Valentine’s. Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson star as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in the steamy love story directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson (Nowhere Boy) in Vancouver.

March – Cinderella

Charles Perrault’s 1697 fairy tale has been told and retold many times in many different ways but Kenneth Branagh’s live-action adaptation, opening March 13, brings the story to a whole new generation. Lily James stars as Ella (Eloise Webb plays the younger version) in a romantic fantasy that features Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter and Richard Madden.

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April – Furious 7

The Fast & Furious movie franchise has a built-in audience — the films have raked in a whopping $2.4 billion since 2001 — but the seventh chapter is sure to bring out people anxious to see Paul Walker’s final movie. (Director James Wan used Walker’s lookalike brothers to complete some scenes.) The movie opens April 3.

May – Avengers: Age of Ultron

The latest Marvel movie opens May 1 with Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and Scarlett Johansson (and others) reprising their superhero roles. Considering 2012’s reboot grossed more than $1.5 billion, Age of Ultron is sure to be the year’s first blockbuster.

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Runners-up: There’s also big buzz about Mad Max: Fury Road (May 15) and the comedy sequel Pitch Perfect 2 (May 15)… and we’re anxious to see how Tomorrowland (May 22), the B.C. sci-fi fantasy starring George Clooney, turned out.

June — Jurassic World

Based on the characters created by Michael Crichton and executive produced by Steven Spileberg, the first Jurassic movie since 2001 opens June 12. Chaos ensues when a man-made dinosaur escapes from a theme park and goes on the run.

July – Magic Mike XXL

Canada Day weekend gets off to a hot start in the G-string-rated sequel to 2012’s male stripper flick. Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello and Matt Bomer are back to strut their stuff.

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Runners-up: If Magic Mike XXL is too much man, check out Ant-Man (July 17) starring Paul Rudd and Canada’s Evangeline Lilly, or Pan (July 24) with Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard.

August – The Fantastic Four

A decade after Chris Evans (now Captain America) played Human Torch in Fantastic Four, the Marvel franchise gets a reboot with this Aug. 7 release starring Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell and Toby Kebbell.

September – The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials

Last year’s The Maze Runner ended with a set-up for a sequel, so luckily the movie was a $340 million success. The dystopian story continues in Scorch Trials, which is due to open Sept. 18. Dylan O’Brien (Teen Wolf) is back as Thomas.

October – The Jungle Book

Rudyard Kipling’s tale is retold by Walt Disney (the studio that released a version in 1967) in this animated adventure directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man) and featuring the voices of Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o and Christopher Walken. It’s in theatres Oct. 9.

November – Spectre

The latest chapter in the James Bond series — the 24th — has Daniel Craig back as 007 and Sam Mendes (Skyfall) back in the director’s chair. The Nov. 6 release features Christoph Waltz, Monica Bellucci and returning stars Ralph Fiennes as M and Ben Whishaw as Q.

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Runner-up: Nov. 20 signals the end of The Hunger Games movie franchise. Mockingjay – Part 2 brings the series to an end.

December – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Perhaps the most highly-anticipated release of 2015 is the seventh Star Wars film, opening Dec. 18. Directed by J.J. Abrams, it reunites some of the cast from the original trilogy and adds John Boyega, Adam Driver, Andy Serkis and others. This is going to be one big movie opening.

Runner-up: Tom Cruise is back in one of the few roles audiences really want to see him in anymore — as Ethan Hunt. Mission: Impossible 5 opens Christmas Day.

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