The 15 Most Anticipated Movie Soundtracks and Scores of 2014

By  · Published on January 16th, 2014

Even though “Please Mr. Kennedy” is probably still stuck in most people’s heads, it is officially a new year full of films with music that will move us to tears, make us cheer, make us smile, or simply introduce us to something different. Sometimes a movie won’t hit all the marks, but the music will be unforgettable and other times the music ends up being the element that makes a film by tying all the other elements together. After looking over the titles set to hit theaters this year, the following 15 are the ones to keep your ears open for.

From well-known composers embarking on new collaborations to popular artists once again taking to the stand to musicians stepping away from their usual genres into something new, the upcoming year is poised to deliver films boasting an eclectic array of tunes.

If you are still looking for something to use those holiday iTunes gift cards on, get ready to add these upcoming scores and soundtracks to your playlists for 2014.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Alexandre Desplat has a busy year ahead of him having, true to form, composed music for an array of films – The Monuments Men, Godzilla, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. But it is Desplat’s collaborations with director Wes Anderson that seem to produce some of his most interesting work.

Having worked with Anderson on Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moonrise Kingdom, Desplat has proven he understands how to create music for Anderson’s unique worlds by making sure the music delivers the right amount of heart without being too serious.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is set to come out Friday, March 7th.

Mr. Peabody and Sherman

Danny Elfman is usually heard collaborating on the latest Tim Burton project, but when he steps away from Burton and branches out into other movies, the results have been wildly entertaining (see: Silver Linings Playbook, Men In Black). Elfman’s ability to convey emotion while still keeping things light and fun makes him the perfect composer to create the music for Mr. Peabody and Sherman — a story about a boy, his dog, and a WABAC machine that helps them travel through time and get into madcap adventures with historical figures (naturally).

Mr. Peaboy and Sherman is set to come out Friday, March 7th.


More and more YA books are being adapted for the big screen and the majority of these films have ended up delivering a solid slate of music. While the focus is usually on the placed songs and popular artists featured on the soundtrack, the score for Divergent brings together Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL, which should make for an interesting collaboration between the veteran composer and electronica artist. Just as Divergent tells the story of a girl (Shailene Woodley) who does not fit inside a certain box or category, the score looks play outside that box as well.

Divergent is set to come out Friday, March 21st.

Muppets Most Wanted

The Muppets have long been synonymous with good music – from the catchy songs they break into to their hilarious band Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. The Muppets saw Bret McKenzie take home the Oscar for Best Original Song for “Man or Muppet” and that film’s follow up, Muppets Most Wanted, should give audiences ever more good music with Christophe Beck returning as the film’s composer plus a new song, “Something So Right,” from Celine Dion (who did pretty well the last time she contributed a song to a film).

Muppets Most Wanted is set to come out Friday, March 21st.


Noah will pair director Darren Aronofsky with his long-time collaborator Clint Mansell and that should be enough to grab your ear. After the stunning and off-putting score Mansell created for their last film together, Black Swan, it should be interesting to hear what they have in store when taking on this epic biblical tale. You can count on envelope-pushing visuals from Aronofsky, but you can also count on a unique score from Mansell, the master at combining many different elements into a singular score that not only works, but stays in your mind long after a film ends.

Noah is set to release Friday, March 28th.

Dom Hemingway

A lovable felon? Sounds like an oxymoron, but who better to create the music for the story of a safecracker searching for a re-do on the life he lost while in prison than someone who has experience composing for rule breakers living by a certain code. Rolfe Kent won an Emmy for the iconic, tongue-in-cheek theme he created for Dexter and should bring that talent and style to Dom Hemingway, a film that still looks to deliver dark laughs amongst all the drama.

Dom Hemingway is set to release Friday, April 4th.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Yes – Zimmer is on this list more than once, but after his score for Man of Steel last year, Zimmer has proven he knows how to compose for superheroes. The Amazing Spider-Man was infused with a good sense of humor, but Zimmer will ensure the narrative to its sequel still has the intensity needed for a superhero, even if it is one still in high school. (You can even enter for a chance to watch Zimmer work on the score and get a first hand preview of what is to come.)

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is set to come out Friday, May 2nd.

Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return

Bryan Adams has not created music for a film since 2005 with Colour Me Kubrick, but returns to the big screen with Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return. New music from Adams is definitely a big draw, but knowing it will also be performed by broadway stars like Lea Michelle, Megan Hilty, and Bernadette Peters should have audiences excited to sing along with these well-known characters (along with some new ones) throughout this animated musical extension of the classic Wizard of Oz story.

Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return is set to come out Friday, May 9th.

Million Dollar Arm

After winning the Oscar for his work on Slumdog Millionaire, A.R. Rahman has been a composer to perennially watch as he infuses his scores with a sense of fun and hope – two things necessary for a story about a down-on-his-luck sports agent (John Hamm) who travels to India to try and recruit cricket players to play major league baseball. Rahman has proven he knows how to seamlessly convey joyous optimism through his music, whether writing for a young boy using memories of his difficult past to win a game show or a young man trying to free himself from a seemingly impossible situation. Rahman’s score for Million Dollar Arm should once again have audiences smiling through their tears.

Million Dollar Arm is set to come out Friday, May 16th.

How To Train Your Dragon 2

Animated features are sometimes dismissed as “kid fare,” but these films often have some of the year’s best music, and composer John Powell proved this fact with his score for How To Train Your Dragon. In How To Train Your Dragon 2, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Toothless face new adventures and challenges and Powell’s experience and understanding of how to create an epic score that does not speak down to its audience, instead elevating the action on screen, should make the second chapter of this tale just as compelling and moving as the first.

How To Train Your Dragon 2 is set to come out Friday, June 13th.

Jersey Boys

Bringing a successful stage musical to the big screen is no easy task, and one of the major elements that has to translate is the music that drives the story. But at the hands of Clint Eastwood, who has composed many of his films, the story and the music propelling it should play just as well on screen as they have on stage. Not to mention the fact that one of The Four Seasons own members, Bob Gaudio, will be composing the music for the film, making it difficult to hit a wrong note here. Again – this is Clint Eastwood directing a musical.

Jersey Boys is set to release Friday, June 20th.

Jupiter Ascending

Lana and Andy Wachowski are known for creating elaborate, fully realized worlds that take viewers into the unknown future, but infuse it with enough recognizable elements that it does not seem so far fetched. For a film about interplanetary warriors and rulers of the universe that have to blend with “normal” life, the music needs to help the fantastical elements and visuals pop while still keeping the emotion genuine. Having worked on films like Star Trek and Super 8, as well as shows like Lost and Fringe and video games like Call of Duty and Medal of Honor, Michael Giacchino knows how to compose music that feels otherworldly while being relatable to those of us living in this world.

Jupiter Ascending is set to release Friday, July 18th.


The latest film from Christopher Nolan is on many film fans’ radars, but it should be on music fans’ radars, too. Nolan is once again pairing up with Zimmer – a duo that consistently creates memorable music together. From the Dark Knight films to Inception, Zimmer understands how to elevate what is happening on screen while never losing site of the story Nolan is looking to tell. Nolan is skilled at telling complex stories that are not always what they first seem and Zimmer has proven he can keep step, composing equally layered scores that take viewers along these journeys without losing them along the way. And with Interstellar taking on the idea of wormholes, Zimmer’s score will need to keep things steady more than ever before.

Intersellar is set to release Friday, November 7th.

The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1

The Hunger Games have consistently had some of the best soundtrack compilations over the past few years featuring songs from Arcade Fire, The Civil Wars, The National, and Santigold. The soundtrack for the third film, The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1, is sure to continue that trend. The music for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire certainly took a darker turn with Lorde singing a stripped down, almost sinister version of Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” and as Mocking Jay takes its tributes outside of the arena and into new, uncontrolled danger, the film’s music is likely to get even darker. But just as Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) represents hope for the people of Panem, the series’ soundtracks wisely included songs that also convey a brighter future, working as a fantastic contrast against the grittier tunes.

The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1 is set to release Friday, November 21st.

Inherent Vice

This will be Johnny Greenwood’s third collaboration with director Paul Thomas Anderson (having also composed the score for There Will Be Blood and The Master) and it should be interesting to see the Radiohead guitarist’s take on the sound of the 1970s. Greenwood is no stranger to working on period pieces with There Will Be Blood set in the late 1890s and The Master in the wake of World War II, and he has proven he knows how to play to a sense of deep melancholy, a skill and talent he will surely bring to the underlying emotion of Inherent Vice.

Inherent Vice does not have a set release date yet.

What soundtracks and scores are you most looking forward to this year?