We're more than a quarter of the way through 2018, and in terms of cinema, there's already been a mix of huge hits, critical smashes, and inevitably, a few disappointments. Black Panther has smashed records, and there's another Marvel movie--Avengers: Infinity War--hitting theaters this week. The second Star Wars spin-off soon arrives in the shape of Solo: A Star Wars Story, which will focus on the early adventures of the iconic space smuggler, and Tom Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt in the sixth Mission: Impossible movie, Fallout.
Beyond these big tentpole franchises, other crowd-pleasing favourites are set to return. There's more dinosaur action in the Jurassic World sequel, the much-anticipated Deadpool 2, DC's Aquaman, and several movies from cinema's busiest star, Dwayne Johnson. The first of Sony’s Spider-Man spin-offs arrives in the shape of Venom, we'll find out if there's life in the Predator franchise, and the classic Halloween series returns just in time for, well, Halloween. So here's what you can look forward to over the rest of the year...
Avengers: Infinity War
Black Panther is amazing and Ant-Man and the Wasp looks like huge fun, but it's Avengers: Infinity War that promises to be the defining Marvel movie of 2018. The culmination of a decade of interconnected superhero storytelling, the movie will feature every major hero from the MCU to date in a fight to stop the evil Thanos and the universe-threatening Infinity Stones. Captain America: Civil War proved that directors Joe and Anthony Russo are adept at juggling multiple characters, and if the first trailer is anything to go by, this will easily be the most spectacular Marvel movie to date. Until Avengers 4 arrives in 2019 that is.
Release date: April 27
Fantasy and comic book fans know Martin Freeman for a number of important roles, including Bilbo Baggins in the Hobbit trilogy and Everett Ross in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Freeman takes on the lead role in Cargo, an Australian post-apocalyptic survival thriller that hits Netflix in May. He plays a man who becomes infected with a pandemic that will transform him into a terrifying creature within 48 hours, leaving him little time to find someone to look after his young child. The tense first trailer was released recently, and it looks like the blazing heat and barren landscapes of the Outback are a perfect setting for this post-apocalyptic drama.
Release date: May 18
How To Talk To Girls at Parties
While Neil Gaiman's classic comic book Sandman seems to be getting no closer to the screen, fans of the iconic writer will want to check out this adaptation of his 2007 short story. It's a romantic sci-fi comedy, in which a teenager falls in love with a girl from an alien world, set against the backdrop of the punk scene in late-'70s London. It features rising star Alex Sharp (To the Bone) and Elle Fanning (The Neon Demon, Super 8) and is directed by John Cameron Mitchell, who made the equally extravagant musical comedy Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Expect a wild mix of music, romance, comedy, and some outlandish visuals.
Release date: May 18
Deadpool was one of the 2016's biggest cinematic surprises--not only was it the most successful R-rated movie of all time, it outgrossed every other movie in the X-Men universe. So expectations are high for the sequel. The movie lost original director Tim Miller early on due to creative disagreements with star/producer Ryan Reynolds. But with John Wick co-director David Leitch on board and a cast that includes the return of Morena Baccarat, T.J. Miller, and Brianna Hildebrand, including the much-anticipated movie debuts of Josh Brolin's Cable and Zazie Beetz's Domino, everything is in place for bigger, badder, and more outrageous follow-up. The marketing campaign has refused to play by the rules; expect the movie to do the same.
Release date: May 18
While HBO are best known for lavish TV shows such as Westworld and Game of Thrones, it also produces its own movies. Ray Bradbury's classic sci-fi novel Fahrenheit 451 is getting a new film adaptation, which is set to hit the channel in May, following a premiere at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. It stars Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Black Panther) and Michael Shannon (Man of Steel, Boardwalk Empire), and imagines a dystopian future in which books are made illegal and firemen burn them to restrict their knowledge. Jordan plays Guy Montag, a young fireman who starts to doubt their mission and comes into conflict with his mentor, fire captain Beatty (Shannon).
Release date: May 19
Solo: A Star Wars Story
The second Star Wars spin-off has been marked by much behind-the-scenes turmoil, with original directors Chris Lord and Phil Miller being replaced during production by Ron Howard, leading to months of extensive reshoots. But last year's Rogue One emerged unscathed after similar production problems, and Howard is an experienced veteran of dozens of crowd-pleasing movies. The adventures of a young Han Solo is something that Star Wars fans have wanted to see for decades, and with a hugely talented supporting cast (Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton) backing up Alden Ehrenreich (Han) and Donald Glover (Lando), we're excited for this one.
Release date: May 25
Writer and actor Leigh Whannell is best known for his association with director James Wan--together the pair created the Saw and Insidious series, two of the biggest horror franchises of the last two decades. Whannell made his directing debut with 2015's Insidious 3 and is now stretching out beyond that series with his second movie, Upgrade. It's a high concept sci-fi thriller, in which a quadriplegic man is given a chance to get revenge on those who killed his wife and left him paralysed, via a computer chip that not only allows him to walk again, but also unleash massive amounts of violence upon his enemies. Like Insidious, Upgrade is produced by horror specialists Blumhouse, and if the recent red-band trailer is anything to go by, it's going to be tons of unwholesome fun.
Release date: June 1
The long-awaited reboot of the hit heist comedy series, Ocean's Eight showcases an all-female team, led by Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), sister of George Clooney's Danny Ocean from the previous trilogy. She assisted by the likes of Cate Blanchett, Helen Bonham Carter, Rihanna, and Mindy Kaling, and the first trailer suggests that it will match the fast-moving funny style of the earlier movies. It's directed by Gary Ross (The Hunger Games).
Release date: June 8
A Quiet Place has become 2018’s first horror smash, and it could soon be joined by Hereditary. There's plenty of buzz about this tale of a family which move into the house of a dead grandmother and find themselves under threat from grandma's ghost. Which all sounds extremely generic, but early reports suggest that the movie is anything but, and uses its familiar set-up to deliver something truly unexpected and terrifying. The cast is led by Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne, and it’s directed by first-timer Ari Aster. We'll find out just how scary it is when it arrives in June.
Release date: June 8
The Incredibles 2
Pixar's long-awaited sequel to its 2004 superhero family smash The Incredibles was originally set for a 2019 release but having switched places with Toy Story 4, we now get it a whole year earlier. Although the first teaser gives little away, we do know a few plot details. At Disney's D23 convention this summer, director Brad Bird revealed that the movie take place immediately after the end of the first movie, and will focus more on Elastigirl's superhero adventures, while Mr. Incredible is now a stay-at-home dad, trying to deal with the increasingly powerful baby Jack-Jack. Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, and Samuel L. Jackson all reprise their roles, with Toy Story veteran John Ratzenberger playing the villainous Underminer.
Release date: June 15, 2018
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Jurassic World wasn't just the fourth part in a series of big dinosaur movies; it was an absolute box office monster, and currently stands as the fourth biggest film of all time. For the follow-up, acclaimed Spanish filmmaker J. A. Bayona takes over from Colin Trevorrow, who remains on-board as producer and co-writer. Meanwhile Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard reprise their roles. Trevorrow has described the movie as a "Spanish horror thriller"(in reference to Bayona's earlier hit Mama) but most exciting is the return of Jeff Goldblum, who starred in Steven Spielberg's original Jurassic Park way back in 1993.
Release date: June 22
Sicario: Day of the Soldado
The drug cartel thriller Sicario was one of the most gripping movies of recent years, and hopes are high for this follow-up. Director Denis Villeneuve and star Emily Blunt aren't returning, but the movie is in good hands. Director Stefano Sollima is best known for the brilliant Italian crime drama series Gomorrha, and Benicio Del Toro is set to reprise his role as a former undercover agent turned morally ambiguous enforcer Alejandro. This time the movie focuses on attempts by the CIA to incite an all-out war between rival drug gangs in Mexico; writer Taylor Sheridan has said that "if Sicario is a film about the militarization of police and that blending over, this is removing the policing aspect from it."
Release date: June 29
The First Purge
The Purge series has proved to be one of the most successful horror franchises of recent years, and expectations are high for this fourth entry. The First Purge looks set to continue the mix of scares, action, and biting social commentary. As the title indicates, it’s a prequel that looks at the creation of the single night of legalised crime known as The Purge, and the first trailer suggests that it's lost none of its gory, satirical bite.
Release date: July 4
Ant-Man and The Wasp
The first Ant-Man was a welcome contrast to the likes of The Avengers and Captain America: Civil War. As much of a heist comedy as a superhero movie, it featured a winning lead role from Paul Rudd and put the emphasis much more on character and humor than huge CG-driven action sequences. With Avengers: Infinity War due in May, Ant-Man and the Wasp should be a good follow-up two months later. Evangeline Lily reprises her role as Hope Van Dyne, who now fights alongside Ant-Man as The Wasp, with Michael Douglas and Michael Pfeiffer as her parents. We don't know what direction the movie will go in this time, just that director Peyton Reed promises "an entirely different genre template."
Release date: July 6
James Wan's The Conjuring was one of most successful horror movies of recent years, inspiring not only a prequel, but two spin-offs focusing on spooky doll Annabelle. The latest movie in this horror series is The Nun. It's set before the other four movies in the series so far, and focuses on the investigation into the earlier life (and death) of Valak, the terrifying demon nun from The Conjuring 2. Wan co-wrote the screenplay, and it's directed by Corin Hardy, who previously helmed the acclaimed low-budget shocker The Hallow and is about to start shooting the remake of The Crow. Expect plenty of scares.
Release date: July 13
Another of Dwayne Johnson's 2018 action epics, this China-set thriller stars Johnson as a retired FBI hostage rescue agent who now works as a security assessor for the world's biggest skyscraper. While the first trailer doesn't reveal the specific dangers he must face while working in the world's most advanced building, we know they involve explosions, shooting, and lots of jumping. That said, it looks a bit less comedic than many of The Rock's other movies, as evidenced by the fact he has a prosthetic leg and a greying beard. All will be revealed in July.
Release date: July 13
The Equalizer 2
The Equalizer might not be one of Denzel Washington's most notable movies, but the gritty revenge thriller was nevertheless a big hit back in 2014. The Equalizer 2 arrives in July, and it's the first time that Denzel has ever appeared in a sequel. The first trailer delivers plenty of action, as Denzel's retired CIA operative sets out to avenge the death of a friend in suitably brutal style. We've seen a similar set up in many movies in recent years, from John Wick and Jack Reacher to the Taken series, but director Antoine Fuqua is hot from the massive success of The Fate of the Furious and is sure to deliver the violent goods.
Release date: July 20
Mission Impossible 6: Fallout
The Mission: Impossible series might be more than 20-years old, but on-set injuries aside, star Tom Cruise shows no signs of slowing down. Fallout sees Rogue Nation's Chris McQuarrie return to the directors chair, with Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, and Alec Baldwin all reprising their roles from previous movies. Superman star Henry Cavill joins the cast, as does his controversial moustache. Expect plenty of insane action.
Release date: July 27
Based on the best-selling 1997 novel, this big-budget shark thriller has been in development for several years and finally arrives this summer. Expendables star Jason Statham plays an expert diver who faces off against a 70-foot monster shark which is causing mayhem off the coast of China. The recent shark movie The Shallows was a great small-scale thriller with a limited location, but with a budget in excess of $150 million, expect The Meg to deliver something way more spectacular.
Release date: August 10
Slender Man is the fictional horror character that first appeared as a viral internet myth in 2009 and has gone onto become a notable part of modern pop culture. It's somewhat surprising that it's taken nearly a decade for an official Slender Man movie to be made, but 2018 finally sees Hollywood's take on this urban legend. The movie's first trailer makes it looks like a pretty traditional teen horror movie, with disappearing kids, freaky long-haired children, spooky woods, and lots of weird, quickly cut imagery. But there are plenty of horror fans who have been waiting a long time to see the character on screen, and director Sylvian White is not a newcomer to the genre, having previously directed such horror TV shows such as The Originals and Sleepy Hollow.
Release date: August 24
Although the original Predator is an '80s action classic, the movies that have followed have ranged from interesting but flawed (Predator 2) to completely terrible (Alien vs Predator). The Predator is writer/director Shane Black's attempt to get the franchise back on track. Black's impressive resume ranges from writing Lethal Weapon to directing Iron Man 3, and as a young actor he even had a role in original Predator. We're yet to see any footage from the movie, but the plot details we know so far suggest that it will focus upon a group of traumatised prisoners who do battle with Predators in a suburban setting. Black himself has said that he only agreed to make the film if he could do it on a big, blockbuster scale, while still delivering the sci-fi horror goods.
Release date: September 14
Although the deal between Disney and Sony has ensured that Spider-Man is currently part of the former's Marvel Cinematic Universe, the movie right to the character ultimately remain with Sony. As a result, the studio is launching its own interconnected universe of characters from the canon of Spidey comic-books. Venom is first up; it stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock, a photographer who ends up with superpowers after he is taken over by the alien parasite of title. It's directed by Zombieland's Ruben Fleischer, and the impressive supporting cast includes Michelle Williams, Woody Harrelson, and Riz Ahmed.
Release date: October 4
Given Neil Armstrong is the most famous astronaut ever, it's surprising that he's never had his own biopic until now. First Man is set between 1961 and 1969 and tells the story of Armstrong's preparations for his history-changing journey to the moon. It stars Ryan Gosling as the man himself and is helmed by Gosling's La La Land director Damien Chazelle. The impressive cast also includes Claire Foy, Kyle Chandler, Jon Bernthal, and Pablo Schreiber.
Release date: October 12
Johnny English Strikes Again
While it's unlikely that a third Johnny English film was high on anyone's most-anticipated movies list for 2018, the previous two spy spoofs were major box office hits, earning more than $320 million worldwide. Johnny English Strikes Again sees Mr. Bean actor Rowan Atkinson return as the inept superspy, who this time must thwart a master hacker. As the first trailer reveals, English travels to France with his loyal sidekick Bough to track his enemy down--and also launch missiles at French cyclists. Oscar winning actress Emma Thompson co-stars, alongside Olga Kurylenko, who appears to be parodying her role in the 2008 James Bond movie Quantum of Solace.
Release date: October 12
The Halloween series might be one of longest-running and most profitable horror franchises in movie history, but most fans would agree that every entry hasn't necessarily been a good one. The last time Michael Myers stalked the screen was in Rob Zombie's hugely divisive remakes a decade ago, but now, on the 40th anniversary of John Carpenter's original movie, the killer also known as The Shape is back. Plot details for this latest Halloween are under wraps, but it's got an impressive pedigree. It's directed by acclaimed indie auteur David Gordon Green and produced by Blumhouse Films, which has scored major successes in recent years with the likes of Get Out, Paranormal Activity, and the Purge movies. Original star Jamie Lee Curtis returns, and if that wasn't enough, Carpenter himself is creatively involved and potentially providing another iconic soundtrack. Could this be the Halloween reboot that finally gets it right?
Release date: October 19
The classic Dr. Seuss story How the Grinch Saved Christmas was adapted into a hit Jim Carrey movie 18 years ago, and a new animated version hits the screen in November. Doctor Strange and Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch will provide the voice of the Holiday-hating title character, and the first trailer arrived last week. The movie was actually meant to be released last year, but the trailer is colourful and fun and the movie will hopefully be worth the wait.
Release date: November 9
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
The Harry Potter series might have finished in 2011, but the wider movie universe goes from strength to strength. The success of 2016's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them led to the announcement of a further four movies, the first of which arrives in November. Eddie Redmayne returns as Newt Scamander, with Jude Law as the young Dumbledore, who enlists the help of Newt to help defeat the dark wizard Grindelwald (Johnny Depp). David Yates directs once more, from a screenplay by Potter creator JK Rowling.
Release date: November 16
Ocean's Eight isn't the only high-profile heist movie coming our way in 2018. Widows is the latest film from Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave) and is written by Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn. The movies focuses on four women whose husbands are killed in a failed heist, who then decide to finish the job themselves. It's based on a British TV show of the same name from the 1980s, and the star-studded cast includes Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Colin Farrell, Liam Neeson, and Get Out's Daniel Kaluuya. Films like 12 Years and Shame proved that McQueen can deliver prestigious, acclaimed dramas, so hopes are high that he is equally adept at making edgy crime thrillers.
Release date: November 18
While most thought that the legendary movie boxer Rocky Balboa had finally hung up his gloves, the 2015 spin-off Creed not only gave the character one of his finest movies, it paved the way for director Ryan Coogler to get the job of directing Marvel's wildly successful Black Panther. Coogler won’t be back for the sequel, but star Michael B. Jordan is, once again playing the son of the original movies' Apollo Creed. Rocky creator and star Sylvester Stallone is back too, as both co-star and co-writer. Steven Caple Jr. directs this time, and it's rumoured that Creed 2 will bring back another iconic character from the original series--Rocky IV's Russian powerhouse Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren).
Release date: November 21
Ralph Breaks the Internet
The 2012 animated comedy Wreck-It Ralph was a critical and commercial hit, and the sequel arrives in November. It focuses on the arcade game villain-turned-hero of the title, who this time enters the internet after the arcade his game lives in goes online. John C. Reilly is the voice of Ralph, with Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Taraji P. Henson, and James Corden also part of the voice cast.
Release date: November 21
The DC universe has had a bumpy ride so far, with only Wonder Woman connecting with both audiences and critics. But there's every reason to be hopeful that Aquaman could do the same. Director James Wan is a skilled genre operator, whether delivering crowd-pleasing horror (Saw, The Conjuring) or blockbuster action (Furious 7), and there's a killer cast that includes Patrick Wilson, Willem Defoe, Nicole Kidman, and '80s action icon Dolph Lungren, plus Jason Momoa as Aquaman and Amber Heard as Mera. Wan recently debunked the rumour that the film would be overstuffed with multiple villains, and promises an "emotional and powerful" origin movie.
Release date: December 21