It has been a long while since there has been a science fiction movie with this level of grand ambitions. The Director, Christopher Nolan, lists various movies that have inspired him for Interstellar, including Metropolis, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner. For me the more obvious comparison however is with Contact.
There clearly is a trend of science-fiction more and more aspiring to enter the mainstream. Transcendence is another such attempt, using several big name stars like Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany and Morgan Freeman to reach a broader audience for its story.