The mixed bag that has proven to be the 2017 box office has seen theaters across the globe fluctuate with a variety of reactions. Audiences have either been delirious with joy, exasperated with frustration or bored into submission.
Hollywood can’t always keep us happy, yet the drop in cinematic revenue as the trend heads towards home entertainment illustrates how much work studio’s have ahead of them to convince us of their worth.
Titles like Wonder Woman, Logan, War for the Planet of the Apes, Baby Driver, Get Out and Dunkirk have restored our love for film, reinvigorating old characters and revitalizing genres we believed to be stale.
Our gaze however has already headed towards the New Year to forecast 18 pictures that promise to deliver the goods. Whether the cast is jam-packed with A-list talent or the filmmaker has a track record of success, there is hope that next year’s offerings will prove more fruitful than the class of 2017.
18. Ocean’s Eight
It might be a movie that actually cost actress Olivia Munn money to be involved in a cameo, but no one will care if Ocean’s Eight happens to be a smash hit. The heist comedy has replaced the likes of Matt Damon and George Clooney with an all-female ensemble and if the set photos have been any guide, this should be a fun romp to watch on the big screen.
There are serious heavy hitters via the likes of Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna and Sarah Paulson leading the installment. Then there will be the cameos including Munn, Maria Sharapova, James Corden and more.
This sequel will debut on June 8 just in time for the summer.
17. Ant-Man and the Wasp
2018 is set to be a defining year for Marvel titles, yet one of the blockbusters that continues to fly (or shrink) under the radar is Ant-Man and the Wasp. The 2015 original with Paul Rudd was a surprise hit on many levels, proving that a light-hearted PG-13 action comedy could work amid a string of serious, straight-laced installments.
We have been given a few helpful hints about the direction this sequel will take, including a potential romantic comedy bend as well as exploration into the Quantum Realm. Scott Lang and the gang will return on July 5.
16. The New Mutants
Can an edgy, low-budget psychological horror/thriller really work as part of a Marvel cannon? Well we are about to find out when The New Mutants drops on April 13. Director Josh Boone will take a fresh batch of mutants under his wing with the likes of Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Henry Zaga, Blu Hunt, Alice Braga and Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams taking the X-Men series to weird, wonderful and scary lengths. The groundwork is there for a New Mutants trilogy and if Boone’s picture is warmly received by fans and critics, we could be seeing much more horror on the horizon.
15. The Nun
Speaking of things that go “boo” in the night, what about The Nun? James Wan’s cinematic horror universe would start off with the spine-chilling installment The Conjuring before the likes of Annabelle, The Crooked Man and The Nun would expand that mythology of terrifying creatures.
Englishman Corin Hardy has overseen this Warner Brothers title as the Australian gave him his blessing to give the spinoff a genuine standalone taste and texture. Watch this one behind your bucket of popcorn on July 13.
14. Black Panther
It is well overdue to have a fully-fledged African American superhero lead in the MCU and now we have that with the February 9 premiere of Black Panther just weeks away. The character was showcased in a cameo for Captain America: Civil War, but this will be the first opportunity Chadwick Boseman has to explore Wakanda, his family dynamics and his origin story.
The trailer indicates that director Ryan Coogler is striving for a hard-nosed action installment that fuses a hip-hop soundtrack with incredible visuals. Moviegoers might be feeling some Marvel fatigue at this point, but the slate of 2018 titles from the label is enticing. Black Panther kicks it all off.
13. The Predator
Not quite a sequel, reboot or prequel of any note, Shane Black’s The Predator is attempted the impossible – to make a Predator movie beloved again that doesn’t include an 80s jungle setting or Arnold Schwarzenegger. Cast member Thomas Jane offered a snippet of what we can expect on August 3 as the studio attempt to get a property back on track after years of false restarts and failed storylines.
Fortunately for diehard fans, the IMAX option will give viewers a chance to see the action on the biggest of big screens as the summer draws to a close. The director is a smart choice, the cast is solid and the villain is iconic. Don’t let us down Fox.
If talking a big game was a prerequisite to a stunning picture, then Soldado is primed to be an Oscar winner. Star Josh Brolin has promised the sequel to 2015’s Sicario will be a seriously bad-ass R-rated extravaganza, hyping the violence and tension to new levels.
That might sound over-eager given what took place two years previous, but filmmaker Stefano Sollima’s feature will adapt a script from Taylor Sheridan that cast and crew members are salivating over. Soldado will open on June 29.
11. Alita: Battle Angel
Classic manga stories from Asia do not always receive the best treatment in Hollywood, take Netflix’s Death Note as a case in point. Yet Alita: Battle Angel could flick the switch on that trend as B movie specialist Robert Rodriguez takes his unique style to apply it to the source material.
The title has been pushed back to July 20 to accommodate to producer James Cameron’s Avatar schedule, but with Jennifer Connelly and Ed Skrein joining a cast that includes Christoph Waltz, Mahershala Ali, Michelle Rodriguez and Rosa Salazar, the signs point to a stellar adaptation.
Oh yes Mr. Tony Montana, we do want to play rough. The remake of the 1983 gangster classic has hit a snag with director David Ayer departing the project to follow in the footsteps of Antoine Fuqua, but the August 9 premiere date is still locked in for a Scarface reimagining. Rogue One star Diego Luna will attempt the impossible of portraying a character that Al Pacino made infamous, yet the involvement of the Cohen Brothers for the screenplay would lend credence to the idea that this movie could be that R-rated action blockbuster we’ve been crying out for in 2018.
Many film buffs continue to keep tabs on the work of filmmaker Steven Soderbergh, a man whose 2017 heist comedy Logan Lucky received universal plaudits. While he has a hand behind the scenes with Ocean’s Eight, it is his role directing the upcoming psychological horror/thriller Unsane that has people most intrigued.
Coming to theaters on March 23, this is a picture that is said to take a fresh look at mental illness within the context of an institution. This small budget flick might very well arrive under the radar but much like Get Out did in 2017, Unsane could be that surprise we didn’t see coming.
8. X-Men: Dark Phoenix
OK it’s yet another Marvel movie – but hear us out. X-Men: Dark Phoenix has given long-time show runner Simon Kinberg the director’s chair to ensure the mistakes of X-Men: The Last Stand are not repeated. It will be set in the 90s in outer space and bring back a number of favorites including Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique) and much more.
If that isn’t enough, the prequel will be killing off a major character as well as teasing a plot twist of epic proportions. It is all speculation until the movie drops on November 2, but our hopes are high.
Writers Danny McBride and David Gordon Green have been passionately crafting a new Halloween story that will achieve John Carpenter’s dream of ensuring every sequel in the franchise never happened. Picking up where the original left off decades into the future in a parallel universe somewhere, the immortal slasher Michael Myers will return just in time for the festivities to being on October 19.
McBride’s comedy background might make him an odd choice to design the script, but the long-time horror buff is adamant that they won’t go for cheap thrills and kills this time around. That is frankly music to our ears.
Tom Hardy doesn’t do anything by half measures and if his training regime for Venom is any guide, he is about to kick some serious Marvel ass in 2018. Sony’s major casting acquisition illustrated that the studio is not messing around with this spinoff of the comic book anti-hero, hoping to make Eddie Brock as bankable a character as the loveable teen Peter Parker.
Hardy will attempt to make the city of San Francisco his own as he locks horns with the likes of Scream, Phage, Riot, Lasher, and Agony in an adaptation of the series Venom: Lethal Protector. Gear up for this in the fall on October 5.
Boy oh boy does the DCEU desperately need another win in the column right about now. Just when we thought Wonder Woman had cured the ills of the Warner Brothers franchise, Justice League flopped with an underwhelming box office take adding insult to injury as critics savaged the production.
One individual who emerged from the ensemble with a modicum of credit was Jason Momoa as he introduced the world to a modern version of Arthur Curry. James Wan’s standalone title Aquaman promises to return the feel good factor to proceedings right before the year closes out on December 21.
4. The Incredibles 2
3D animation features appear to be a dime a dozen these days, but back in 2004 a friendly little installment called The Incredibles broke out of the box to be a genuine smash hit. Much like the 1999 comedy Mystery Men, this was a picture from Pixar that poked fun at the superhero genre long before it was Meta and now some 14 years later we have a sequel.
Many of the same voices are back including Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson and Samuel L. Jackson while the same can be said of director Brad Bird. This will be great family filler for the summer when The Incredibles 2 opens on June 15.
3. Deadpool 2
More sequel shenanigans are in store as the Merc with the Mouth returns with a vengeance on June 1. Much has been made of Deadpool 2 with a directing change not slowing down the momentum of Ryan Reynolds’ favorite new Marvel alter ego.
The creator has likened the action comedy to a comic book version of Rush Hour, paving the way for Josh Brolin’s Cable to become an iconic member of the franchise. The teaser trailer was pure Deadpool with a host of dirty gags, pop culture references and set pieces to be a joyous couple of hours at the cinema.
2. Ready Player One
The shorts for Ready Player One are so fascinating; our curiosity levels are off the scales. Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the 2011 novel has already scored an amazing cast of characters from Simon Pegg to T.J. Miller, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn and Tye Sheridan.
The iconic filmmaker has been given a small fortune by Warner Brothers to make this near future setting come to life through the prism of video games, introducing new versions of Freddy Krueger, Knight Rider, Duke Nukem, Mad Max and The A-Team among others to cameo. Ready Player One to open on March 30.
1. Avengers: Infinity War
For sheer anticipation alone, it is almost impossible to go past this MCU blockbuster that finally brings Thanos out of the shadows. Never before has a trailer been in such hot demand with the leaking of that footage at the D23 expo proving great fodder for the Internet and tabloid press alike.
It is also a natural progression given our enthusiasm for other Marvel projects that the huge culmination of this series would be hyped to the max. The stage is set for May 4 to go to battle as Avengers: Infinity War brings our heroes together once more.
What do you make of our list? A couple of potentially great titles just missed out on their inclusion (Death Wish, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Purge: The Island, First Man), and we’re sure some of these candidates will prove us wrong in the long-term.
Hindsight is 20/20 after all, but we would love your take on the 2018 slate – what will be hot and what will flop?