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A look at major Hollywood films in the second half of 2014

Even by Hollywood standards, 2014 has been a big budget year. Here's a look at the big daddies:

Hollywood churns out some of the most expensive films every year. And one of the reasons why American films can afford to be extravagant is that they are usually products of collaborations between big banners.

And interestingly enough, the budget keeps rising. This year is no different with several ambitious movies in the pipeline and all set to release before the end of the calendar year.

With the USD 170 million film Captain America: The Winter Soldier hitting the marquee last Friday, hitlist points out a few of the costliest productions:

Maleficent
Maleficent

Director: Robert Stromberg
Star: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Brenton Thwaites
Estimated budget: USD 200 million
Lowdown: Remember the good ol' Sleeping Beauty? Good. This film, however, focuses on the evil woman who put her to sleep in the first place.
Release date: May 30

Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy

Director: James Gunn
Star: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper
Estimated budget: USD 150 million
Lowdown: Superheroes usually save the planet. Here, the stake is a bit higher — quite literally. They'll have to save the galaxy itself.
Release date: August 1

X-Men: Days of Future Past
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Director: Bryan Singer
Star: Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy
Estimated budget: USD 225 mn
Lowdown: The story comes a full circle with a relentless fight against time and history. Of humans as well as mutants.
Release date: May 23

The Amazing Spider-Man 2
The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Director: Marc Webb
Star: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx
Estimated budget: USD 200 million
Lowdown: He'll be back. And for a change, the superhero shall have a slew of interesting supervillains to fight — all at the same time.
Release date: May 2

The Hobbit: There and Back Again
The Hobbit: There and Back Again

Director: Peter Jackson
Star: Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace
Estimated budget: USD 250 million
Lowdown: Can Bilbo hold on to the treasure? The simple answer is yes. The not-so-simple answer is this ambitious film.
Release date: December 17

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

Director: Francis Lawrence
Star: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Budget: USD 125 million
Lowdown: Jen-Law's pivotal character has become the ray of hope. One thing's for sure: she won't take a fall in this mighty venture.
Release date: November 21

Godzilla
Godzilla

Director: Gareth Edwards
Star: Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe
Estimated budget: USD 160 million
Lowdown: The film traces the life of a mutated monster in the present era. Terror is the key word here.
Release date: May 15

How to Train Your Dragon 2
How to Train Your Dragon 2

Director: Dean DeBlois
Star: Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill, Cate Blanchett
Budget: USD 180 million
Lowdown: The adventure only gets better this time around, with the Viking and the dragons back to give us company as well as goosebumps.
Release date: June 13

Transformers: Age of Extinction
Transformers: Age of Extinction

Director: Michael Bay
Star: Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor
Estimated budget: USD 165 million
Lowdown: Imagine the biggest of marvelous, violent machines that could function on their own. Now think bigger.
Release date: June 27

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