If you liked the movies you saw this year, you are going to love 2018.
That’s because almost all of the films from the major studios are prequels, sequels, or remakes of popular franchises. The suits at Marvel (owned by Disney, of course) have picked mid-February to reveal the lessons they learned from their DC competitor’s $821.9 million box office smash “Wonder Woman.” They figure that if a woman-directed female superhero “origins movie” made so much money, shouldn’t an African-American-directed film about a superhero named “Black Panther”* have the same results?
I hope so.
And I’m looking forward to it.
(See note below about asterisks)
I’m especially anticipating “Black Panther” since “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed” director Ryan Coogler is on board with a cast that includes Chadwick Boseman — as Wakanda’s new ruler, T’Challa — Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker and Andy Serkis.
And so a year of remakes and reboots begins.
The “oldest” remake of the year is mid-May’s “A Star Is Born.”
Bradley Cooper sits in the director’s chair for his first time, and the unknown actress Steffani Germanotta has been cast in the talented ingénue role previously played by Janet Gaynor (in 1937), Judy Garland (1954), and Barbra Streisand (1976).
(FYI: You may know Germanotta by her stage name — Lady Gaga.)
Characters with familiar names, but played by different actors, will be everywhere in 2018.
Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander adroitly propels Lara Croft into the 21st Century in mid-March’s “Tomb Raider.”
In the Star Wars prequel “Solo,” the young Han is played by Alden Ehrenreich, Chewbacca by Joonas Suotamo and Lando Calrissian by Donald Glover.
With four changes of directors so far, expectations are muted on this one, and the release date keeps changing.
In the June release “Ocean’s Eight,” the famous gang of robbers are now females led by Danny Ocean’s estranged sister (Sandra Bullock). The other “molls” include Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina and Dakota Fanning.
Continuing in the theme of new actors in older roles, it seems that pretty much everyone wants to play Sherlock Holmes these days.
In March, Johnny Depp gets his chance. In “Sherlock Hnomes,” Depps contributes the voice of a famous garden gnome detective helping his buddies Gnomeo (voiced by James McAvoy) and Juliet (voiced by Emily Blunt) to track down the whereabouts of kidnapped London garden ornaments.
In November, Will Farrell plays the same famous detective as a simpleton, while John C. Reilly is a very clever and very smart Dr. Watson in (what else?) “Holmes and Watson.”
It appears that popular dystopian novels continue to inspire filmmakers this year.
Ava DuVerney (“Selma”) directs March’s movie version of Madeline L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle In Time.” The classic set-up involves three children searching for their missing scientist father (Chris Pine) by utilizing wormholes for inter-dimensional time traveling. Along the way, they have close encounters with strange beings played by Reese Witherspoon, Zach Galifianakis and Oprah Winfrey.
Steven Spielberg is a perfect match for Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One,” a fan favorite crammed with ’80s nostalgia. Arriving at the end of March, Tye Sheridan plays a boy living in a garbage heap, who competes for the golden key allowing him to visit a dead inventor’s carefully-constructed virtual reality kingdom.
Release month Title Cinematic Universe
Feb. “God Particle” Cloverfield
March “Pacific Rim: Uprising” Pacific Rim
April New Mutants” X-Men
May “Avengers: Infinity War” * Marvel
June “Jurassic World” Jurassic Park
July “Ant Man and the Wasp” Marvel