Considering what a strong year we just had at the movies, 2018 has a tough act to follow. It will try with all kinds of superhero movies (a staggering eight major releases, from Avengers: Infinity War to X-Men: Dark Phoenix; nine if you count Incredibles 2), several sequels (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Pacific Rim Uprising, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald), and a boatload of movies with badass female action stars (Ocean’s 8, Red Sparrow, Tomb Raider, Alita: Battle Angel, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, Mortal Engines).
On the less, um, explosive side, look for new films from Damien Chazelle (First Man), Steve McQueen (Widows), Clint Eastwood (The 15:17 to Paris), Spike Lee (Black Klansman), Wes Anderson (Isle of Dogs), and Alfonso Cuarón (Roma).
From murderous Muppets to Bohemian rhapsodies and super-troopers to wrinkles in time, here are our 50 most anticipated movies on the way in 2018. — By Ethan Alter, Kevin Polowy, Nick Schager, and Gwynne Watkins
Release date: Dec. 21
Directed by: Travis Knight
Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, and Pamela Adlon
The scoop: The Transformers movies have jumped the shark, oh, three or four times now already (see The Last Knight’s ludicrous Middle Ages plot line). But darn it if there aren’t a few things tempting us in this spinoff. One, it stars sensational Edge of Seventeen actress Hailee Steinfeld (now 18 in 1987, when she meets the titular yellow whip in its classic VW form). Two, John Cena told us that he plays the Big Bad. And three, it’s helmed by Laika animation pro Travis Knight, who makes his live-action debut. Here’s hoping we don’t get stung again.
49. Fifty Shades Freed
Release date: Feb. 9
Directed by: James Foley
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, and Kim Basinger
The scoop: Color us 50 shades of curious to see how Hollywood’s kinkiest trilogy wraps up, particularly now that on-again, off-again lovers Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele are man and wife. If anyone can overcome the seven-year itch, it’s these two — particularly if the “seven-year itch” is a new sex position.
48. Untitled Cloverfield Movie
Release date: April 20
Directed by: Julius Onah
Starring: David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris O’Dowd, and Ziyi Zhang
The scoop: Often — but not officially — called God Particle, this untitled J.J. Abrams-produced sci-fi thriller is the third part of his Cloverfield franchise. Yet how it connects to the previous two films is anybody’s guess. Where Cloverfield (2008) documented a giant monster’s attack on New York City, and 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) took place in an underground bunker, this one is set aboard an international space station where a team of astronauts make a terrifying discovery.
47. Tomb Raider
Release date: March 16
Directed by: Roar Uthaug
Starring: Alicia Vikander, Hannah John-Kamen, Walton Goggins, and Kristin Scott Thomas
The scoop: Does the world need another Tomb Raider only 17 years after Angelina Jolie first strapped on Lara Croft’s boots and holsters? Hey, that’s four times as long as it took the Spider-Man universe to be rebooted, and it’s not as if this one will be ruining anyone’s childhood (see what we did there?). Plus, how could you not want to see Danish Girl Oscar winner Alicia Vikander get her own action franchise? Raid on.
Release date: June 15
Directed by: Jeff Tomsic
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Isla Fisher, and Rashida Jones
The scoop: Sure, 2018 will bring us biopics about Mary, Queen of Scots; Freddie Mercury, and Neil Armstrong (more on those below), but the most surprising “based on a true story” tale will likely be this broad comedy about a crew of former classmates who continue the world’s most epic game of tag deep into adulthood, traveling around the country to “catch” each other by surprise. Jeremy Renner got so into the game that he fractured both arms during production.
Release date: April 20
Directed by: Brad Peyton
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Naomie Harris
The scoop: Dwayne Johnson’s stats for video-game-inspired movies stands at one win (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) and one loss (Doom). We’ll soon see which column Rampage — based on the mid-’80s arcade game where giant monsters punch buildings really, really hard — falls into. Sadly, Johnson isn’t playing one of the plus-sized creatures; instead, he’s a primatologist who is trying to stem the destruction with the help of Harris’s genetic engineer.
44. I Feel Pretty
Release date: June 29
Directed by: Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein
Starring: Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams, and Tom Hopper
The scoop: A normal, insecure woman (Schumer) gains outrageous confidence after a head injury, temporarily believing she is prettier and smarter than everyone else, in the directorial debut of veteran rom-com writers Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein (Never Been Kissed, He’s Just Not That Into You). If anyone can make the most of this premise, it’s Schumer, while Williams will have a welcome chance to showcase her lighter side as Schumer’s perfect-seeming boss.
43. A Quiet Place
Release date: April 6
Directed by: John Krasinski
Starring: John Krasinski and Emily Blunt
The scoop: We’ve been wondering when John Krasinski and Emily Blunt (Krabluntski?) would team up for a film. The real-life husband and wife play onscreen husband and wife in this intense and terrifying-looking horror film about what appears to be a postapocalyptic world where the only surviving humans live in silence or risk being attacked by a mysterious threat (Monsters? Zombies? Spider monkeys? We don’t know yet.). Behind the camera, meanwhile, Krasinski (The Hollars) looks for a Jordan Peele-esque crossover genre hit.
42. Super Troopers 2
Release date: April 20
Directed by: Jay Chandrasekhar
Starring: Jay Chandrasekhar, Steve Lemme, Kevin Heffernan, Paul Soter, and Erik Stolhanske
The scoop: It has been 16 years since the debut of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe’s cult hit Super Troopers, so we’re definitely ready for more highway hilarity from the crew. This time around, the troopers will find themselves in a battle with American officials over the precise location of the U.S.-Canada border, although we’re sure that premise will be just a vehicle for all manner of weirdo insanity.
41. Boy Erased
Release date: Sept. 28
Directed by: Joel Edgerton
Starring: Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Joel Edgerton, and Russell Crowe
The scoop: Following up his underrated thriller The Gift, Joel Edgerton directs and co-stars in this adaptation of Garrard Conley’s novel about a boy (Lucas Hedges) who’s outed as homosexual to his Baptist pastor father (Russell Crowe) and mother (Nicole Kidman), and is promptly sent to a gay conversion center. To us, it sounds like the sort of timely, heartbreaking drama that Oscar voters adore.
40. The Happytime Murders
Release date: Aug. 17
Directed by: Brian Henson
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Elizabeth Banks, Maya Rudolph, and Bill Barretta
The scoop: Frankly, we don’t get enough Muppet movies. And we definitely don’t get enough Muppet murder mystery movies. Here to solve that is Brian Henson (son of the late, great puppeteer Jim Henson) with this “puppet comedy thriller film” about a puppet P.I. (Bill Barretta) who teams up with a human cop (Melissa McCarthy) to solve a rash of killings targeting the cast of an ’80s television show.
39. The Predator
Release date: Aug. 3
Directed by: Shane Black
Starring: Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, Jacob Tremblay, and Keegan-Michael Key
The scoop: Thirty years ago, writer-director Shane Black was killed by the titular intergalactic trophy hunter. Now, he’s been tasked with resurrecting the long-dormant Predator franchise as writer and director, and has assembled a diverse ensemble to complete that mission. While Holbrook takes points as a Predator-hunting commando, look for scene stealers like Keegan-Michael Key, Jacob Tremblay, and Moonlight’s Trevante Rhodes to be an integral part of the movie’s ultimate success or failure.
38. The Girl in the Spider’s Web
Release date: Oct. 19
Directed by: Fede Alvarez
Starring: Claire Foy, Sverrir Gudnason, Sylvia Hoeks, and Claes Bang
The scoop: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo director David Fincher and star Rooney Mara are out, and Fede Alvarez (Don’t Breathe) and Claire Foy (The Crown) are in for this adaptation of the fourth novel in the best-selling series about hacker extraordinaire Lisbeth Salander. It should be an exciting change of pace for Foy, and if nothing else, we know that Alvarez will make the proceedings look stunning.
37. Bohemian Rhapsody
Release date: Dec. 28
Directed by: Bryan Singer and Dexter Fletcher
The scoop: This is one of two movies on our list to endure major directing shakeups (see also Solo: A Star Wars Story); Bryan Singer was replaced with Dexter Fletcher (Eddie the Eagle) after reportedly clashing with star Rami Malek. The behind-the-scenes drama only slightly tempers our expectations, however, for this Queen biopic that could turn Mr. Robot star Malek (who headlines as frontman Freddie Mercury) into the movie star that he also deserves to be.
Release date: TBD
Directed by: Duncan Jones
Starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux, and Seyneb Saleh
The scoop: After going big with the box-office flop Warcraft, the director of Moon and Source Code returns to the kind of small-scale sci-fi that first put him on Hollywood’s radar. Backed by Netflix, Jones’s Blade Runner-inspired film takes place four decades in the future, when the mute hero (Skarsgård) tries to piece together what happened to his lady love (Seyneb Saleh) with the assistance of Rudd and Theroux’s kooky surgeons. But are they friends, foes, or something else entirely?
Release date: Oct. 19
Directed by: Andy Serkis
Starring: Rohan Chand, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Naomie Harris
The scoop: Think you’ve seen The Jungle Book before? Think again. Performance-capture pioneer Serkis — who also plays jovial bear Baloo — promises that his long-delayed, nonmusical adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale is a more “Mowgli-centric story” than previous versions, populated by richly realized versions of jungle dwellers such as Benedict Cumberbatch’s Shere Khan and Cate Blanchett’s Kaa. We don’t know about you, but we trust in Serkis.
Release date: Oct. 5
Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, and Jenny Slate
The scoop: A Spider-Man spinoff seems, in theory, a misbegotten idea. Nonetheless, Venom has always been one of the wall-crawler’s most compelling adversaries, and the decision to cast Tom Hardy — a master at exuding menace — as the alien-symbiote-powered villain is truly inspired. Having Michelle Williams along for the ride is also a very encouraging sign.
Release date: Oct. 19
Directed by: David Gordon Green
Starring: Judy Greer, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Andi Matichak
The scoop: After a string of ever-more-underwhelming sequels, followed by two underrated grindhouse reboots from Rob Zombie, the Halloween franchise now goes back to the beginning with this direct followup to John Carpenter’s legendary original. Though spearheaded by the unlikely (to say the least) duo of David Gordon Green and Danny McBride, it does have Jamie Lee Curtis back in the fold — as well as Carpenter’s blessing — which bodes well for its prospects.
32. Mortal Engines
Release date: Dec. 14
Directed by: Christian Rivers
Starring: Hera Hilmar, Hugo Weaving, Robert Sheehan, Jihae, and Stephen Lang
The scoop: Peter Jackson “presents” (meaning he co-wrote the screenplay and produces) this “epic saga” based on Philip Reeve’s beloved series of books about a postapocalyptic world where giant authoritarian mobile cities travel on wheels and swallow up anyone who dares to roam free. Judging from the first trailer, director Christian Rivers (an Oscar winner and longtime visual-effects ace for Jackson) and company are looking to out-size and out-speed the dizzying desert chases of Mad Max: Fury Road.
31. A Star Is Born
Release date: Oct. 5
Directed by: Bradley Cooper
Starring: Stefani Germanotta (Lady Gaga), Bradley Cooper, and Sam Elliott
The scoop: Lady Gaga has star power to burn, but does she have the acting chops to carry a film? And is longtime leading man Bradley Cooper cut out for the director’s chair? A Star Is Born should answer both questions. The film tells the story of an up-and-coming singer (Germanotta) whose star eclipses that of her celebrity lover (Cooper), with tragic effects; previous versions have starred Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand, and one was almost made by Clint Eastwood and Beyoncé.
30. Pacific Rim: Uprising
Release date: March 23
Directed by: Steven S. DeKnight
The scoop: It’s Round 2 in the Jaeger vs. Kaiju bout, and this time a tried-and-true resistance fighter is leading the charge. Star Wars star John Boyega follows onscreen dad Idris Elba into the family business in Uprising, which picks up a decade after Guillermo del Toro’s original 2013 blockbuster with a new generation of giant robot pilots squaring off against a new generation of giant monsters. At least a few familiar faces are still in the mix, most notably Kikuchi’s fan-favorite butt-kicker, Mako Mori.
29. Holmes and Watson
Release date: Nov. 9
Directed by: Etan Cohen
Starring: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Ralph Fiennes, and Rebecca Hall
The scoop: For their first reunion since Step Brothers — one of the best comedies of the new millennium — Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly will play legendary detective duo Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in this period-piece mystery farce. That premise alone is enough to get us into the theater, and with a stellar supporting cast, this one is destined to be a late-year must-see.
28. Alita: Battle Angel
Release date: July 20
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, and Michelle Rodriguez
The scoop: Directed by the tech-savvy Rodriguez and co-scripted by James Cameron, this long-in-development adaptation of the popular Japanese manga has already turned heads with its first trailer, which revealed Rosa Salazar’s CGI-eyed protagonist. Those facial effects will possibly be a make-or-break proposition for fans, but we remain optimistic that this will be a far more engaging piece of cyborg-struggles-with-her-humanity sci-fi than last year’s Ghost in the Shell.
27. Mary Queen of Scots
Release date: Nov. 2
Directed by: Josie Rourke
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, David Tennant, and Jack Lowden
The scoop: Thought Margot Robbie looked barely recognizable in the new Tonya Harding biopic I, Tonya? Wait until you get a load of her as Queen Elizabeth I. This drama follows the game of thrones behind the failed attempt of Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) to overthrow her cuz Elizabeth for the crown of England. Before they clash here, though, co-stars Ronan (Lady Bird) and Robbie could first battle for an Oscar this year.
26. Mary Poppins Returns
Release date: Dec. 28
Directed by: Rob Marshall
Starring: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, and Ben Whishaw
The scoop: Just in time for the jolly holidays, Blunt flies into cinemas playing the irreverent, magical nanny originally played by Julie Andrews in 1964. Naturally, it’s a musical, and Into the Woods director Rob Marshall has assembled plenty of tuneful talent — including Hamilton mastermind Lin-Manuel Miranda in his first Hollywood starring role.
25. Black Klansman
Release date: TBD
Directed by: Spike Lee
Starring: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace, and Corey Hawkins
The scoop: There’s always reason to be excited about a new Spike Lee joint, and the premise for this one is not only topical but captivating. Ballers star John David Washington plays Ron Stallworth, a real-life Colorado cop who managed to infiltrate his local chapter of the KKK. Add Jordan Peele to the mix as a producer for his first film project since Get Out, and we’re getting in.
24. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Release date: Nov. 16
Directed by: David Yates
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Johnny Depp, Ezra Miller, Zoë Kravitz, and Jude Law
The scoop: 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a box-office hit, but its reviews were hardly rapturous and it never quite resonated in the zeitgeist like a true Harry Potter pic. But don’t fret; the boy wizard’s first outing, Sorcerer’s Stone, was far (really far) from being the best installment in that franchise. So maybe the spinoff series just needs to catch its groove, which it could by introducing Johnny Depp as its new rogue (assuming his casting doesn’t alienate fans) and Jude Law as its young Dumbledore.
23. Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2
Release date: Nov. 21
Directed by: Rich Moore and Phil Johnston
Starring: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, and Jack McBrayer
The scoop: Everyone’s favorite 8-bit bad guy joins the internet age, riding the wi-fi highway to the wide, weird world of the World Wide Web. Naturally, he’s joined by speed racer Vanellope and Mario stand-in Felix. And speaking of Mario, expect even more cameos from video game royalty along with Disney royalty. All of the Disney princesses — from Ariel to Tiana — will appear in the sequel to the 2012 hit.
22. The 15:17 to Paris
Release date: Feb. 9
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, and Judy Greer
The scoop: As with his prior Sully, Eastwood’s latest directorial outing concerns an act of real-life heroism — in this case, three Americans’ successful attempt to thwart a terrorist attack aboard a train headed to Paris in 2015. Making the project even more intriguing? Eastwood has cast the actual heroes as themselves.
21. X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Release date: Nov. 2
Directed by: Simon Kinberg
Starring: Sophie Turner, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jessica Chastain
The scoop: Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) gets her time to shine in the ever X-panding X-Men universe when dangerous new powers threaten to turn her into the much nastier Dark Phoenix. A couple of other exciting developments this time around: The film marks the directorial debut of longtime series writer-producer Simon Kinberg, and Jessica Chastain enters the X-Men universe as a villain … we just don’t know which one yet.
Release date: Feb. 23
Directed by: Alex Garland
Starring: Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Oscar Isaac, and Jennifer Jason Leigh
The scoop: Having scripted 28 Days Later, Sunshine, and Dredd, and then written and directed Ex Machina, Alex Garland has become international cinema’s foremost purveyor of intelligent, incisive sci-fi. His latest looks like it’ll continue that trend, given that it’s a stylish, star-studded tale about a team of scientists who venture into an ecological disaster zone to find out what happened to their missing comrades.
19. M:I 6 – Mission Impossible
Release date: July 27
Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Michelle Monaghan, and Henry Cavill
The scoop: Every new installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise has featured a new, distinctive director, but for its sixth outing, star Tom Cruise has re-enlisted Rogue Nation’s Christopher McQuarrie to handle behind-the-camera duties. Considering their prior effort’s sturdiness, we’re willing to bet the duo knows what they’re doing — and having Henry Cavill (with his now-famous mustache) along for the ride can’t hurt.
Release date: TBD
Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón
Starring: Marina de Tavira, Daniela Demesa, and Marco Graf
The scoop: It’s Gravity and Children of Men director Alfonso Cuarón’s first film in four years, and that’s all we need to know — which is good, because we know next to nothing about it otherwise. We know it’s a much more intimate drama, chronicling a year in the life of a middle-class Mexican family in the 1970s. We know it’s a passion project Cuarón has wanted to make for at least a decade. We know his crew was robbed. Other than that, let’s see … there’s this photo from the set of him directing a bunch of people in the street.
Release date: Dec. 21
Directed by: James Wan
Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, and Willem Dafoe
The scoop: No matter that Justice League was something of a hot mess (thanks to all manner of production problems) — we’re still eager for this first standalone adventure featuring Momoa’s king of the high seas. Directed by James Wan and featuring a superb supporting lineup, it looks like a unique superhero epic that’s likely to swim rather than sink with audiences.
16. Bad Times at the El Royale
Release date: Oct. 5
Directed by: Drew Goddard
Starring: Chris Hemsworth and Jeff Bridges
The scoop: Like Roma, there’s very little intel available thus far about this thriller beyond its basic premise — or really, its time and place setting: a dilapidated hotel in 1960s Lake Tahoe. And it has a winning team in Chris Hemsworth and Jeff Bridges. But considering it’s the sophomore directorial effort of Drew Goddard, who gave us the deliciously twisted Cabin in the Woods six years ago, we’re itching for a reservation.
15. The New Mutants
Release date: April 13
Directed by: Josh Boone
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Maisie Williams, Henry Zaga, and Blu Hunt
The scoop: The X-Men movies are following the MCU’s lead in starting to branch out to other genres in mixing up the superhero formula (see Logan’s dark and violent road trip odyssey), which makes sense because they’re soon to be one and the same. The New Mutants, however, may be the most extreme example we’ve seen yet: It’s a true horror film about five young supes held in a secret facility against their will. And it looks excellent.
14. Isle of Dogs
Release date: Mar. 23
Directed by: Wes Anderson
Starring: Koyu Rankin, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum, Greta Gerwig, and Liev Schreiber
The scoop: For his second foray into stop-motion animation, the fastidious auteur behind Fantastic Mr. Fox takes a page from Akira Kurosawa rather than Roald Dahl. Set in a near-future Japan that’s been forcibly cleansed of supposedly disease-carrying dogs, the film follows the efforts of a young boy (Koyu Rankin) to retrieve his four-legged best friend. Anderson regulars such as Edward Norton, Bill Murray, and Jeff Goldblum join newcomers Bryan Cranston and Liev Schreiber.
13. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Release date: June 22
Directed by: J.A. Bayona
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeff Goldblum, and B.D. Wong
The scoop: Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and company return after their monster (er, dinosaur) 2015 reboot … and so does original Jurassic Park megastarus Jeff Goldblum! In the years since Jurassic World, there have been questions both answered (yes, Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire Dearing will have more appropriate footwear this time around) and raised (where do they plan to evacuate all those dinosaurs to?) as Isla Nublar faces extinction because of its erupting volcano.
Release date: Nov. 16
Directed by: Steve McQueen
Starring: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Colin Farrell, and Liam Neeson
The scoop: The year’s most jaw-dropping cast (in addition to the names above, it also features Daniel Kaluuya, Jon Bernthal, Robert Duvall, Jacki Weaver, and Carrie Coon), in a female-led heist film directed by 12 Years a Slave Oscar winner Steve McQueen. This could be the best genre film of the year, as well as a legitimate award-season contender when it arrives in mid-November.
11. Ant-Man and the Wasp
Release date: July 6
Directed by: Peyton Reed
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer
The scoop: Marvel’s newest super-team confronts a new villain, Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), and the a long-missing hero, Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), returns. With only Captain Marvel left before the fourth and final Avengers film puts a universe-altering end to phase three of the MCU, all eyes will be on Ant-Man and the Wasp to see how this seemingly small adventure will have giant-sized implications for what’s to come.
10. Red Sparrow
Release date: March 2
Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Mary-Louise Parker
The scoop: Who can resist a sexy spy film, especially when it reunites Jennifer Lawrence with three-time Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence? The actress plays a Russian ballerina turned intelligence agent on her first mission as a trained seductress. Edgerton plays her target — a CIA agent. Could things get tricky between these two? Count on it.
9. A Wrinkle in Time
Release date: March 9
Directed by: Ava DuVernay
Starring: Storm Reid, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, and Chris Pine
The scoop: Fifty-six years after its publication, Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved sci-fi fantasy novel is coming to the big screen — and this no-expense-spared Disney adaptation looks to be worth the wait. Newcomer Storm Reid plays Meg, an ordinary girl who must go on an interplanetary journey to rescue her scientist father (Chris Pine) from evil supernatural forces. DuVernay has assembled a magical cast featuring Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey, and Mindy Kaling as the otherworldly women who guide Meg on her quest.
8. Ready Player One
Release date: March 30
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Lena Waithe, and Mark Rylance
The scoop: Ernest Cline’s sci-fi novel about a teenage boy whose obscure ’80s pop-culture knowledge aids him on a scavenger hunt through a virtual world was always destined for the big screen. And what better director to take it there than Steven Spielberg, himself an ’80s pop-culture icon? The film promises to be a scavenger hunt in itself, with its living internet (called the OASIS) full of characters from three decades of film, TV, and video games.
7. First Man
Release date: Oct. 12
Directed by: Damien Chazelle
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Corey Stoll, Kyle Chandler
The scoop: Fresh off his Best Director Oscar win for La La Land, Chazelle is bringing us a different kind of American tale: the story of the 1969 moon landing. Given the success of recent NASA-inspired films like Hidden Figures and The Martian, the timing for this one seems just right. Ryan Gosling (you’re probably familiar with him) stars as Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, alongside up-and-comer Claire Foy (star of Netflix’s The Crown), who plays his wife, Janet, and Corey Stoll (Ant-Man) as Buzz Aldrin.
6. Incredibles 2
Release date: June 15
Directed by: Brad Bird
Starring: Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Sarah Vowell, Samuel L. Jackson
The scoop: This sequel picks up right where 2004’s The Incredibles left off, with Pixar’s beloved superfamily struggling to balance home life and fighting evil. Where the first film focused on the ultrastrong dad, Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), this one will spend more time with the superflexible mom, Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) — along with baby Jack-Jack, whose new powers throw his siblings a serious curveball.
5. Avengers: Infinity War
Release date: May 4
Directed by: Joe and Anthony Russo
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Josh Brolin, the Chrises (Evans, Hemsworth and Pratt), plus too many others to list
The scoop: Marvel has spent years building to this moment — the proper debut of world-conquering Thanos (Brolin), in a larger-than-life battle against just about every one of Earth’s mightiest heroes. We’re not sure how Joe and Anthony Russo are going to handle a story stuffed with so many superheroes, but we can’t wait to find out.
4. Ocean’s 8
Release date: June 8
Directed by: Gary Ross
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Helena Bonham Carter
The scoop: Who needs the Ocean boys when you’ve got the Ocean gals? A decade after her brother, Danny, pulled his last job, Bullock’s Debbie Ocean assembles a crack crew of wonder women — including Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling, and Rihanna — to pull off an impossible heist in the middle of the star-laden Met Gala. That awesome trailer has already stolen our heart.
3. Solo: A Star Wars Story
Release date: May 25
Directed by: Ron Howard
Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, and Woody Harrelson
The scoop: Just when we started to get (slightly) worried about Star Wars oversaturation, The Last Jedi came along and wowed us. So expectations remain exceedingly high for this origin story about everyone’s favorite intergalactic bounty hunter (Alden Ehrenreich), even if there’s some lingering doubts about the shocking ousting of co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller. But hey, if you’re in need of a replacement director, two-time Oscar-winner Ron Howard ain’t a bad choice. Plus, it’s got Young Lando (Donald Glover)!
2. Deadpool 2
Release date: June 1
Directed by: David Leitch
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Zazie Beetz, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller
The scoop: Deadpool’s brand of self-conscious smart-assery was a breath of fresh air in an increasingly stolid superhero-movie landscape, and we’re confident Reynolds has a few novel tricks up his sleeve to keep this highly anticipated R-rated sequel from simply rehashing the original’s gags. Plus, with Atomic Blonde’s David Leitch at the helm, we expect some seriously off-the-wall action.
1. Black Panther
Release date: Feb. 16
Directed by: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira
The scoop: After 10 years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is still going strong — but if it’s going to last another decade, it’s in need of a major shakeup. Black Panther, about hometown hero T’Challa’s struggle to rule the hidden nation of Wakanda, looks to be the start of the revolution. The film’s visually dazzling trailers don’t look or sound like any previous Marvel film, and the cast — mostly African-Americans, with a significant number of women — represents a long-overdue shift in the Avengers’ largely white, male-dominated world. This is the film that will show us just how far the Marvel universe can expand.
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