The lights go down, the popcorn comes out, and every film gets a fair shake. If you’re a true movie lover, you hope that every film you see is worth it, and that if you’re dealing with filmmakers with certain track records, they just might surprise you. Every year has a couple of films that beat the odds and are, at worst, pleasant diversions, and at best crafty pop art mini-masterpieces.

We’re going to go ahead and assume these 10 aren’t going to be the films that surprise us all that much. The writing seems to be on the wall as far as talent involved, quality of promotional material, and behind-the-scenes gossip. There is that window of hope, however, and until the movie is released the window remains open, granting us the possibility that our preconceived notions are wrong, that there’s a great movie hidden underneath all that negative chatter. We keep hope alive, but that pessimism is too strong to ignore.

Here are 10 of the most dubious-looking films of 2014.

Worst Case Scenario: This is a potential franchise starter for Dwayne Johnson, who previously had found success latching on to installments of the G.I. Joe, Journey To The Center Of The Earth and Fast And Furious series. But why was Brett Ratner entrusted with this gig? Ratner is the sort of guy you hire for your franchise when you have no idea what to do, as evidenced by his last two sequels: both Red Dragon and X-Men: The Last Stand operated at the level of a Saturday morning cartoon, the latter a particularly bad one. It’s telling that once Ratner made those films, each series felt the need to follow them up with prequels, producers eager to make audiences forget what just happened. Ratner’s exactly the type to have no idea how to deliver a no-brainer of a concept, as the beauty of Johnson as Hercules is bogged down by this being an adaptation of a comic book called The Thracian Wars, an attempt to make a more "grounded" and "realistic" version of, you know, the strongest man who could ever lived. Because Hercules is the one concept that NEEDS a dose of reality.

Best Case Scenario: You don’t get to Ratner’s position by being a complete and total moron. Well, hopefully. Maybe Ratner, considerably far into a surprisingly prolific producing and directing career, is able to get out of the way of the material and let Johnson do the heavy lifting. We’re all adults here: we all like Johnson, the giant with the hundred watt smile who has shed his pro wrestling baggage to be an engaging and likable performer. Coming in mid-summer, maybe this will generate the b-movie thrills we all crave.

Release Date: July 25

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