So, 2017 turned out to be a year with a lot of great cinematic surprises, from the scares of Get Out to the wonderful love story in Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water to the superheroine supersmash Wonder Woman. That means 2018 has a lot to live up to. Luckily, there’s a big whopping slate of great movies on the horizon—including these, the the 20 movies we think hold the most promise in the next year. Block out your opening weekends now.
Cloverfield Movie (February 2)
Considering this film—another chapter in the Cloverfield world first created by J.J. Abrams and friends in 2008—keeps getting pushed around, its prospects are dicey. Then again, maybe that’s all part of the ruse! Abrams and co. have a knack for pulling rabbits out of hats, so until we know more we’re going to hold out hope that this flick, about a team of astronauts that make an awful discovery, will be a wonderful surprise. As will, presumably, whatever its actual title ends up being.
Black Panther (February 16)
Anyone who saw director Ryan Coogler’s Rocky spin-off Creed will tell you: The man knows how to do action and drama in the same movie without missing a beat. So in his hands, Marvel’s Black Panther promises to be nothing short of stellar. Fans have been waiting a long time for a black superhero to get his own movie, so anticipation for T’Challa’s first solo flick is high, but based on the trailer and the ecstatically received footage Coogler showed at this year’s Comic-Con International, their expectations will be met.
Early Man (February 16)
The latest from Aardman Animations is about, yes, early cavemen and their battle to save their way of life from an evil lord (voiced by Tom Hiddleston) and the inhabitants of nearby Bronze Age City. (Subtle, no?) There’s no Wallace or Gromit in sight, but you can expect lots of wry humor and great stop-motion animation.
Annihilation (February 23)
First of all, this movie is directed by Alex Garland, who made Ex Machina. Second of all, it’s based on the first installment of Jeff VanderMeer’s beloved Southern Reach trilogy, which follows four women as they investigate what happened at a mysterious, cut-off location known as Area X. That’s all great, but the real reason to get excited about this is the cast, which includes Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, and Oscar Isaac. Despite what sounds like a colossal distribution cock-up by Paramount—the movie hits other countries’ Netflix a mere 17 days after release—the deck is stacked in favor of this one.
Red Sparrow (March 2)
Jennifer Lawrence re-teaming with her Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence (no relation) for a thriller about a former ballerina turned Russian spy? You had me at…well, every part of that sentence.
A Wrinkle in Time (March 9)
Many people have waiting many years for this: fans of Madeleine L’Engle’s sci-fi fantasy novel, fans of Oprah in great wigs, fans of movies for kids with young women as the hero. But maybe no one is as eagerly anticipating this movie as fans of Ava DuVernay, who is taking the sublime storytelling chops she showed off in Middle of Nowhere and Selma and bringing them to a massive Disney movie. Expect great things.
Tomb Raider (March 16)
Does anyone need another adaptation of the beloved videogame franchise Tomb Raider? Probably not. Do they also deserve anything with Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander kicking serious tail? Probably so! It might be dumb fun, but it’s still a good time.
Isle of Dogs (March 23)
After Fantastic Mr. Fox, it’s impossible to ever discount a stop-motion Wes Anderson movie with animals. This one, about a boy’s search for his cast-away dog in dystopian future Japan, is no exception.
Pacific Rim Uprising (March 23)
No Del Toro, no Charlie Hunnam, no Idris Elba. But yes giant kaiju, yes Rinko Kikuchi, yes John Boyega—and yes, opening night with popcorn.
Ready Player One (March 30)
When Ernie Cline released his book Ready Player One in 2011, virtual reality was still a pipe dream. Now VR is everywhere, and his dystopian tale of a world where most people spend their lives in goggles is the kind of book nearly everyone at Oculus has read. In other words, it’s as good a time as any for the release of Steven Spielberg’s adaptation. Want to surf through a world with more ’80s pop culture references than you could ever handle? Ready, set, go.
The New Mutants (April 13)
A horror movie about a group of mutants who discover their powers whle being held against their will in a clandestine facility? Starring Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams and The Witch‘s Anya Taylor-Joy? Sounds intriguing. Give it a shot.
Avengers: Infinity War (May 4)
OK, kids, this is the big one. Every hero. The biggest Big Bad of them all. And (presumably) more action and drama (and laughs) than most of the other Marvel films to date. Avengers: Infinity War is the movie all the other movies have been leading up to and for that reason alone it promises to be spectacular. The fact that it’s being made by Anthony and Joe Russo, who made the last two Captain America movies so great, is just a bonus. The summer won’t know what hit it.
Solo: A Star Wars Story (May 25)
The latest Star Wars standalone movie has been plagued with issues, up to and including original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller being replaced by Ron Howard midway through production. Regardless, it’s a prequel about the early days of Han Solo, so we—and presumably everyone else—will be lining up to see it. And, let’s face it, Donald Glover sporting a Lando Calrissian ‘stache will be worth the price of admission alone.
Untitled Deadpool Sequel (June 1)
The first Deadpool—a curse-laden, gun-heavy bloodfest—became a surprise hit at the box office and turned the cult-fave comic book character into a bonafide fan favorite. Its sequel promises to have (presumably) more cursing, blood, and guns than its predecessor. It also has Josh Brolin as Cable. And Atlanta‘s Zazie Beetz as Domino. And maybe chimichangas. OK, probably chimichangas.
Ocean’s Eight (June 8)
Steven Soderbergh set a pretty high bar for charismatic-famous-people-pulling-off-a-heist with the original George Clooney-fronted Ocean’s movies. But judging by the line-up assembled for this all-female version—Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling—it’ll hit that bar and skip right over it. All we really know about the job this time around is that it involves a heist during the Met Gala, but suffice to say, it’ll probably steal some film-lover hearts, too.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (June 22)
Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World completely reanimated a franchise that a lot of folks thought was extinct, and solidified Chris Pratt as his generation’s Harrison Ford. Its follow-up, Fallen Kingdom, directed by A Monster Calls’ J.A. Bayona, is up next to see if the franchise has legs. Expect more dinosaurs, more Pratt, and (finally) Bryce Dallas Howard not wearing high heels while running for her life.
Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 6)
For real, Evangeline Lilly’s Hope van Dyne was the best part of the original Ant-Man, and she was woefully underused. The movie’s sequel should rectify that problem—by letting her take up her mother’s mantle and become the Wasp. Get ready for more slapstick, Paul Rudd (Ant-Man) charm, and Lilly kicking airborne ass while rocking an A+ bob. Oh, and Michelle Pfeiffer as Hope’s mom.
The Jungle Book (October 19)
We know what you’re thinking: Didn’t we just get a new Jungle Book movie? And, yes, we did. That was Jon Favreau’s Disney version. This one is mocap master Andy Serkis’ version. (He’s directing, and playing Baloo.) It might be too soon to go back to Rudyard Kipling’s world, but perhaps the appeal of Cate Blanchett and Benedict Cumberbatch will help change your mind. It definitely got our attention.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix (November 2)
The X-Men movies may have had a great run, but after the epochal Logan (not to mention the subpar Apocalypse), they could easily have been sunsetted as a cinematic franchise. But considering
Fox Disney is probably going to keep making these movies for as along as they can, going with the Dark Phoenix storyline—you now, the one where Jean Grey goes all evil and threatens the entire world—is probably the best way to go. Also, Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner is due for a big ol’ Hollywood movie of her own. We’re ready for this.