There’s no denying that 2017 was a great year for film, but 2018 is already stacking up some big-hitters to give yesteryear a run for its money. We’ve lined up our most anticipated releases for the year:
The Shape of Water
Release date: 19 January 2018
Guillermo Del Toro is highly acclaimed for his often-whimsical fantasy projects and his knack for good, enthralling storytelling. He’s responsible for Pan’s Labyrinth, a highly celebrated Spanish-language fantasy film that weaves a gripping mythical world into a more prosaic historical environment, and Del Toro achieves something similar with his newest film: The Shape of Water. It follows a mute cleaner, Elisa, who works as a janitor in an American government department as discovers a strange, mermaid-like creature being kept at this facility. As the two become close, Elisa realises this new friend is in danger and tries desperately to help him. Billed as a romantic-fantasy-horror film, The Shape of Water bends and blends a lot of genres, but seemingly maintains all the idiosyncratic characteristics of Del Toro’s best projects.
The Disaster Artist
Release date: 9 February 2018
James Franco has become rather notorious in Hollywood for his quirky and adventurous sense of humour. After projects like Pineapple Express and The Interview, his comedic chops have become apparent for all to see, so his biographical adaptation of what is largely considered to be the worst movie ever produced (2003’s The Room) looks like it could prove to be a heartwarming yet side-splitting docu-comedy. James Franco plays the lead character, Tommy Wiseau, as he endeavours to produce his movie, and through some trials and tribulations, attempts to achieve his lifelong dream: becoming famous in Hollywood. All the critical buzz around this movie seems to point to a massive hit, so those with a penchant for quirky and offbeat comedies should keep an eye out for this release.
Release date: 16 February 2018
Black Panther will serve as an origin story of T’Challa that takes place mostly in Wakanda, the fictitious kingdom that has popped up in previous Marvel movies. The plot involves forces both external as well as within the kingdom trying to usurp T’Challa’s rule – and only by taking his rightful place as king and embracing the mantle of the Black Panther, will he be able to protect his people. The cast is quite star-studded, featuring Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, Michael B. Jordan as rival Erik Killmonger, and Andy Serkis as the villain Ulysses Klaw – but other talents include Angela Basset, Forest Whitaker and Lupita Nyong’o. Throughout Marvel’s comic book arcs, Black Panther comes into contact with many characters, so a positive reaction to this film could see T’Challa getting more solo features – as well as perhaps facing off or teaming up with some of Marvel’s other greats.
Release date: 16 March 2018
Lara Croft, the Tomb Raider, is a gaming legend that has been established as one of the most iconic and famous video game franchises of modern history. The first attempts at the big-screen were moderately received, but the new adaptation seeks to build on the heroine’s return to video gaming fame after 2013’s Tomb Raider video game reboot. Alicia Vikander stars as a young Lara Croft, and following similar beats to the 2013 game. The movie’s plot chronicles the younger Lara’s initial journey to investigate her father’s disappearance, and which results in her evolution into the adventuring archeologist gamers have grown to know and love.
Pacific Rim: Uprising
Release date: 23 March 2018
If you’re a fan of giant robots and monsters (who isn’t!?), you’ll be ecstatic to know that that the sequel to Pacific Rim is arriving in March. The follow-up to the 2013 Guillermo del Toro action sci-fi picks up 10 years after the original, where the Jaeger program is called back into action to stop a new Kaiju threat. While Del Toro didn’t direct this sequel, he did act as a producer, with Steven S. DeKnight, known for his work on Buffy and Daredevil directing. Charlie Day and Rinko Kikuchi reprise their roles from the original, with John Boyega of Star Wars headlining the new cast and playing Jake Pentecost, son of Idris Elba’s character Stacker Pentecost from the original.
Ready Player One
Release date: 30 March 2018
Based Ernie Cline’s debut novel, Ready Player One is set in a dystopian world where almost everyone spends a majority of their time in a virtual reality system known as OASIS, where players can visit any conceivable world (allowing the book to mash up an incredible number of ‘80s pop culture references). X-Men: Apocalypse star Tye Sheridan stars as Wade Watts, a young man who enters OASIS to find three hidden keys left by the creator that will give the holder control of the entire system.
Avengers: Infinity War
Release date: 27 April 2018
Marvel’s grandest cinematic production will undoubtedly be when almost their entire roster of heroes must team up to take on their universal threat, Thanos. With his goal being the assembly of the Infinity Stones – which will allow him insurmountable power, the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy and other heroes all need to combine their efforts to stop him. The sheer scale of this movie will likely make the price of admission worth it, as the collection of actors and stars on screen will be something to behold. With dozens of characters making appearances it will be the team-up to end all team-ups in what will be a spectacular culmination of Marvel’s cinematic universe.
Release date: 11 May 2018
Warner Bros.’ big-budget, CGI-packed adaptation of the popular 1986 Midway arcade game stars Dwayne Johnson as the head of an anti-poaching unit that operates in Rwanda, who has to try and contain three genetically modified animals — a wolf, gorilla and alligator — who grow a little bigger than expected. It looks like a fun ride that should deliver the needed destruction and one-liners we’ve come to expect from Johnson flicks.
Release date: 18 May 2018
The merc with the mouth will be cussing his way into theatres with Ryan Reynolds reprising his breakout role as Wade Wilson/Deadpool. After 2016’s runway success, Fox Studios is continuing with the Deadpool universe by adding more characters to the story – starting with famed X-Men character Cable, the son of Cyclops and Jean Grey. He’s a super soldier with various mutant abilities including telepathy, telekinesis and the ability to manipulate technology; and Cable will be played by none other than Josh Brolin. The studio hasn’t released a huge amount regarding the plot, but Deadpool and Cable are likely to be at odds in whatever story unfolds, but they may not be traditional adversaries. The directors have confirmed that the overall comedic tone will be maintained and that they’re planning for a third Deadpool movie – signalling that they’re heavily invested in the success of the character.
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Release date: 25 May 2018
The resurgence of the Star Wars franchise has resulted in not only a planned third trilogy, the second of which sees its release in 2017, but also a range of spin-off movies focusing on certain characters. We’ve already been treated to the fantastic Rogue One, and the next project coming up is a space Western that is centred on Han Solo, famed smuggler and fan favourite, during his younger years and his adventures with his verbose Wookie partner, Chewbacca. Relative unknown Alden Ehrenriech has been cast to fill the boots of Han, while more recognised names like Thandie Newton, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, and Donald Glover are also on the project. If it’s anything as good as Rogue One, it will be a worthy addition into the expanding Star Wars canon.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Release date: 8 June 2018
The sequel to the highly-entertaining Jurassic World sees Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard reprising their roles from the first film, as they have to head back to the infamous island of Isla Nublar in order to save the remaining dinosaurs from a volcanic eruption. Of course, things go horribly wrong, but it wouldn’t be a Jurassic Park movie without some chaos. Jeff Goldblum, who played Dr. Ian Malcolm in the first Jurassic Park film, also makes an appearance and will play a role in the events of Fallen Kingdom.
The Incredibles 2
Release date: 15 June 2018
Before the rise of the superhero movie genre, 2004’s animated classic The Incredibles garnered a great reception, giving audiences a glimpse into the mundane lives of a suburban family whose parents are retired superheroes, before being called back into action. Fun and comedic, it featured all the humorous beats of a family sitcom while also tapping into our love for superhero action. It achieved resounding success, and 14 years later, we’ll be treated to its highly anticipated sequel – which will follow on directly from the first and sees the return of acclaimed director Brad Bird and the voice acting talent from the original, including Samuel L. Jackson returning as Frozone (coolest superhero name ever), Holly Hunter and Craig T Nelson as Mrs and Mr Incredible respectively.
Release date: 3 August 2018
Despite already having three movies in the Predator franchise (not including the two Alien vs. Predator spin-offs), the first is really the only one that has a truly positive reputation. 2018’s The Predator sees Shane Black (who had a supporting role in the first movie in 1987) as director, and according to him they’ll be returning to the roots of the original sci-fi action horror formula to try and replicate the mood and success of the first. The story is set between 1990’s Predator 2 and the mediocrely received Predators from 2010, with a completely new cast including Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane, and Olivia Munn. Hopefully this new foray into the franchise can bring what the studio says is a fresh take on the Predator universe to modern audiences, incorporating its mysterious horror elements, which have unfortunately gone lost over the years.
Release date: 5 October 2018
Tom Hardy will be taking on the role of Eddie Brock in the upcoming Venom movie, which is being directed by Ruben Fleischer, best known for helming Zombieland. Alongside the news that The Revenant actor will be taking on the role of the iconic Spider-Man villain, Sony also confirmed that they are starting their own cinematic universe, currently dubbed ‘Sony’s Marvel Universe’, which will not be connected to the current Marvel Cinematic Universe featuring the Avengers and Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. There are no plot details, but early images suggest that the film will follow Eddy Brock’s initial encounter with the alien symbiote and his transformation into Venom.
Release date: 21 December 2018
Arthur Curry, better known as his heroic persona Aquaman, featured fairly prominently in 2017’s Justice League – but Jason Momoa won’t just be playing the character only in team-up adventures as he’s been given the opportunity to develop in the role with an Aquaman origin story. It will likely follow the traditional Aquaman genesis, with Arthur Curry being the child of the Atlantean queen, Atlanna, and a human sailor Thomas Curry. As Arthur becomes more aware of his powers, and the fact that he also belongs to another world, he’ll have to choose which one he’s going to embrace. Jason Momoa is joined by Amber Heard as Mera and Nicole Kidman as Atlanna, with James Wan, of The Conjuring fame, in the director’s chair.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Release date: 2 November 2018
Dark Phoenix is the direct sequel to X-Men: Apocalypse, which may have been a slightly divisive and underwhelming movie to some, but performed the function of introducing the younger members of the traditional X-Men team quite well. The Dark Phoenix saga is a popular story arc both in the comic books and cartoons, with Jean Grey the central character. As her exceptional powers develop, a persona called Phoenix begins corrupting her good nature and posing a threat to the rest of the X-Men, and they must decide whether Jean Grey’s powers can be allowed to grow unchecked. The stars from Apocalypse will all make a return to form the X-Men squad people grew to love from the cartoons, with few new characters to be introduced. This story-arc is famed for being dramatic and delving deeply into the characters – hopefully the film adaptation can replicate that iconic atmosphere.
Release date: 21 December 2018
While you can’t see him, WWE star turned actor John Cena will be visible in the next Transformers film, which takes the form of a Bumblebee spin-off movie. Also on board is Hailee Steinfeld (Edge of Seventeen), Pamela Adlon (Better Things, Louie), Jorge Lendeborg Jr. (Spider-Man: Homecoming), Jason Drucker (Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul), and more emerging talents. The film is being directed by Travis Knight, who helmed the brilliant stop-motion films Kubo and the Two Strings and Coraline. Franchise veterans Michael Bay and Lorenzo di Bonaventura will produce the film, along with executive producers Steven Spielberg, Brian Goldner and Mark Vahradian. The film will take place in 1987 before the events of the first Transformers, where battle-scarred Bumblebee, finding refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town, encounters Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld).