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The 25 Most Anticipated Movies of 2018

Here’s a taste of what we’re most excited about in the year to come

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As we put a 2017 behind us that offered an embarrassment of riches onscreen and a great deal of professional embarrassment and shame behind the scenes, it’s time to look ahead to what the new year has to offer. We’re still talking about Hollywood, so a number of familiar titles and would-be franchises abound, but as always, that’s not all that lies in wait for the year ahead. Prestigious filmmakers will make long-awaited returns, old stories will get fresh spins, and new voices will get their shot at distinguishing themselves in an increasingly crowded marketplace. And, yes, Thanos is finally here to actually do something. Some of these films will garner praise, others disappointment. Such is the natural ebb and flow of life as a moviegoer. But we’re in one of the most exciting periods of the year now: the one where everything still offers such promise on paper. Here’s a taste of what we’re most excited about in the year to come.

–Dominick Suzanne-Mayer
Film Editor

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A Futile and Stupid Gesture

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Release Date: Jan. 26th

Why We’re Excited: If anyone was destined to make a biopic about National Lampoon, it’s David Wain. He’s an auteur of meta comedy, and, really, this movie can only exist with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. Too many iconic comics walked in and out through the publication’s doors — from Chevy Chase to Gilda Radner to Bill Murray — that nobody was ever going to take this too seriously. Now, part of the fun will be watching today’s heroes basically break the fourth wall with their over-the-top impersonations and trademark Wainian humor. Can’t wait. Gunga galunga. –Michael Roffman

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Black Panther

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Release Date: Feb. 16th

Why We’re Excited: Blade may have kicked off the comic book adaptation trend way back in 1998, but there’s been no other bankable black superhero leading their own blockbuster in the ensuing 20 years. Enter Chadwick Boseman, who held his own as Black Panther in the crowded Captain America: Civil War, and director Ryan Coogler, who looks to have given the character a fittingly epic adventure to claw through. A cast rivaling the talent of Disney’s upcoming Lion King reboot (Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Martin Freeman, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis) only further points towards this being a film worthy of its cultural significance. And for MCU diehards, this has to be where the Soul Gem finally shows up. –Ben Kaye

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Annihilation

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Release Date: Feb. 23rd

Why We’re Excited: Alex Garland’s directorial follow-up to the surprise hit Ex Machina has already made quite a bit of noise in advance of its release. The subject of a producer wrangle over its heady, ambitious storytelling in the wake of some contentious test screenings, Annihilation follows Natalie Portman as a biologist tasked with leading a team into an environmental bubble where the natural species have become genetically spliced to horrifying ends. If it turns out anything like Garland’s last feature, expect this to be the kind of movie you’ll be talking about weeks after walking out of the theater. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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A Wrinkle in Time

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Release Date: Mar. 9th

Why We’re Excited: Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time was first adapted in 2004, but suffice it to say, the direct-to-ABC release didn’t exactly sate the cravings for a film version of the beloved sci-fi novel. But bringing aboard Ava DuVernay to direct and a cast including Oprah Winfrey, Zach Galifianakis, and Mindy Kaling should return the childlike wonder and awe to the grandiose tale. –Lior Phillips

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Isle of Dogs

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Release Date: Mar. 23rd

Why We’re Excited: Not gonna lie — the idea of another stop-motion Wes Anderson film isn’t exactly ideal, especially as a follow-up to 2014’s Academy Award-nominated epic, The Grand Budapest Hotel. But then, you remember Fantastic Mr. Fox and realize that the Texas filmmaker is just as awesome playing with models as he is with veteran comics. This one also has dogs — an isle full of them, no less — and there might be nothing cuter in this world than the simple equation of Wes Anderson + dozens of dogs. So, let’s not woof woof all over this one. Let’s run to it like Pavlov’s pooches at the sound of a dinner bell. –Michael Roffman

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Ready Player One

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Release Date: Mar. 30th

Why We’re Excited: Ernest Cline’s hit novel Ready Player One is a frequent subject of heated debate in geek circles. To some, it’s a delightful celebration of all things neo-retro; to others, it’s a grating long-form barrage of pop-culture references. In any case, it feels oddly appropriate that Steven Spielberg would adapt Cline’s story of a dystopic, gamer-centric future, given the debt that it owes to the filmmaker’s ’80s classics. Whether he can make something transcendent out of the novel remains to be seen, but if nothing else, it’ll be a spectacle like only Spielberg can deliver. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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You Were Never Really Here

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Release Date: Apr. 6th

Why We’re Excited: It’s been seven years since Lynne Ramsay last traumatized audiences with We Need to Talk About Kevin, and now she returns with a similarly despairing mood piece about a veteran and hired gun (Joaquin Phoenix) who specializes in recovering young women from being sold into sex slavery. Though the film will arrive in theaters nearly a year after its Cannes premiere, the early reception suggests that You Were Never Really Here is paranoid, haunting, and brutally violent in equal measures. Be on the lookout for this as soon as the winter movie doldrums are over. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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The New Mutants

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Release Date: Apr. 13

Why We’re Excited: Like so many other superhero franchises, the X-Men movies have fallen into something of a predictable pattern. Josh Boone throws away all the standard motifs with The New Mutants, however, turning in the first horror film starring mutants. Picture everything you love about insane asylum psychological/body horror scare flicks and add in a Scottish werewolf and a human cannonball from Kentucky. Who knows if it’ll be good enough for Disney to keep the story going now that they own Fox, but at least it’ll shake up the monotony. –Ben Kaye

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Cloverfield Movie

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Release Date: Apr. 20th

Why We’re Excited: Even now, there’s a lot we still don’t know about the latest entry in the secretive, lower-budget Cloverfield cycle. Julius Onah’s film follows a team aboard an international space station, who have to survive after an experiment with a particle accelerator results in the disappearance of the Earth. It’s a wild premise, if one that situates it as yet another exercise in people trying not to die in orbit in a recently long line of them. But given that neither of the Cloverfield experiments so far have been anything less than a rousing success, we’re already aboard the hype train for this one. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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Avengers: Infinity War

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Release Date: May 4th

Why We’re Excited: And now, a small independent production based on a hit off-Broadway play. In all seriousness, Infinity War is about as big a movie as Hollywood can offer these days, the culmination of a full decade of Marvel productions. Thanos is finally on the way, the Guardians are headed to Earth, and every damn character you can think of will be getting together for what’s sure to be a cacophonously loud, every-dollar-on-the-screen exercise in printing Disney a ridiculous amount of money. Everyone you know is getting ready for this, and c’mon, you know you are too. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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Solo: A Star Wars Story

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Release Date: May 25th

Why We’re Excited: At this point, Solo: A Star Wars Story will be fun for all the wrong reasons. Recent reports suggest that Disney has a total piece of garbage on their hands, which wouldn’t be all that surprising given that it’s likely an a.) origin story for a hero who doesn’t need an origin and b.) a film that was robbed from its original visionaries about 78% of the way through production. It also doesn’t help matters that the ol’ Mouse House replaced Phil Lord and Christopher Miller with Ron Howard, whose recent trajectory is anything but swell. So, yeah, the odds of this — eh, never tell me the odds. –Michael Roffman

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Deadpool 2

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Release Date: Jun. 1st

Why We’re Excited: Two years ago, Deadpool redrew the map for where superheros could go in a way that no one save for Logan has been able to follow. Now it’s time to see if Ryan Reynolds’ pet project can repeat its success while continuing to subvert expectations and also making good use of the obligatory new characters. Both Cable (Josh Brolin) and Domino (Zazie Beetz) have major implications for not only the future of Deadpool but the X-Cinematic Universe as a whole, and their introduction will be subject to even more exacting scrutiny now that Disney controls the franchise’s destiny. –Ben Kaye

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Ocean’s 8

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Release Date: Jun. 8th

Why We’re Excited: Not content to have covered the numbers 11 through 13, the Ocean’s franchise is dipping into single digits — though, of course, the more notable fact here is that the gold-hearted criminal crew in Ocean’s Eight is all women. Rather than merely stopping there, director Gary Ross, producer Steven Soderbergh, and writer Olivia Milch recruited a diverse cast including Rihanna, Awkwafina, Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchette, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean, sister of George Clooney’s Danny Ocean. –Lior Phillips

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Incredibles 2

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Release Date: Jun. 15th

Why We’re Excited: In a way, you feel ever-so-slightly bad for Brad Bird that his last live-action effort, Tomorrowland, didn’t pan out. He clearly wanted to break from animation and deliver some tentpole goodies for the masses. On the other hand … we get an Incredibles 2, a sequel that actually raises the question: “Why didn’t this come out 10 years ago?” AND HERE COMES THE JACK-JACK ATTACK, FAM! –Blake Goble

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Sicario 2: Soldado

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Release Date: Jun. 29th

Why We’re Excited: Sicario was the sort of crossover effort that leapt beyond specialty and wowed folks with its brooding aesthetic and unflinching digital action. Sicario 2: Soldado just goes to show you can’t keep an action franchise down. Or rather, one from just kinda happening off the back of a popular indie progenitor. Taylor Sheridan, who scribed the original, drafted this puppy, and Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin are back and seemingly taking names. –Blake Goble

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Ant-Man and the Wasp

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Release Date: Jul. 6th

Why We’re Excited: Ant-Man may have followed a fairly standard blueprint, but it also introduced Paul Rudd as a quirky criminal/crimefighter who was instantly enjoyable to watch. It also broached wild concepts like the Quantum Realm, which along with Doctor Strange opened some intriguing interdimensional doors. Helping Rudd fly through them will be Evangeline Lilly as she finally takes on the mantle of the Wasp, the first female hero to have her name in the title of an MCU movie. Plus, we’ll see Michelle Pfeiffer (Janet van Dyne, aka the original Wasp) and Laurence Fishburne (Bill Foster, aka Goliath) introduced into the ever-growing ranks of superstars lending their talents to the MCU. –Ben Kaye

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Alita: Battle Angel

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Release Date: Jul. 20th

Why We’re Excited: The Hollywood adaptation of the Battle Angel Alita manga has been floating around for more than 15 years at this point. For some time, it was supposed to be James Cameron’s long-awaited follow-up to Titanic, but when he chose to instead spend the rest of his career making Avatar films, Robert Rodriguez stepped in to helm the project about a young cyborg (Rosa Salazar) finding her place in a dystopic future full of automatons. However, Cameron still has an active hand in both the CG used to animate Alita and the film’s screenplay, so here’s hoping that he and Rodriguez’s very different artistic sensibilities can mesh. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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M:I 6 – Mission Impossible

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Release Date: Jul. 27th

Why We’re Excited: Think about it — the Mission: Impossible franchise is the only spy series today that knows how to have fun and get away with it, too. In 2006, when JJ Abrams re-calibrated the mess John Woo made in 2000, who knew it would lead to two more exciting chapters like 2011’s Ghost Protocol and 2015’s Rogue Nation? Fortunately, that spirited action looks guaranteed to continue with the sixth entry in Christopher McQuarrie’s hands once again and both Henry Cavill and Angela Bassett joining the ever-expanding ensemble cast. Red light? Not so fast. Green light! –Michael Roffman

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The Predator

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Release Date: Aug. 3rd

Why We’re Excited: Fun fact: Shane Black not only starred in the original Predator, but was also an uncredited script doctor. Now, he’s returning to the franchise as both writer and director, bringing some of his freewheelin’ magic that made Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and The Nice Guys such re-watchable roller coasters. Joining him for the ride is an unlikely cast that includes everyone from Olivia Munn and Keegan-Michael Key to Jacob Tremblay and Thomas Jane. It’s also taking place in the suburbs, so expect plenty of scorched lawns and broken windows. Yikes. –Michael Roffman

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A Star Is Born

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Release Date: Oct. 5th

Why We’re Excited: Cheers to yet another Star Is Born remake! This one has Bradley Cooper making his directorial debut as he shares lead with Lady Gaga. Clint Eastwood is producing, Dave Chappelle and Andrew Dice Clay have bit parts, and after a swath of writers and rewrites, we’re still somewhat starry-eyed and itching to take a look. Besides, would you rather get a version with Eastwood directing Beyoncé? We were close. Warner was down and put that version in to pre-production in 2011. So, yes, we’ll take the Cooper/Gaga thankyouverymuch. –Blake Goble

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Venom

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Release Date: Oct. 5th

Why We’re Excited: How the hell is this going to work? Sony doesn’t get to use Spider-Man/Peter Parker anymore, so how are they supposed to make a movie about his archenemy, a character whose very origin is inextricably connected to the hero? Getting Tom Hardy to star as Eddie Brock/Venom and Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) to direct is a good start, but this is all going to come down to execution. Sony also hopes to use this to launch their own mini-MCU focused on Spidey’s supporting characters, which may or may not cross over with the MCU Prime (prediction: it won’t). Talent aside, all the questions surrounding Venom certainly make it a production to keep an eye on. –Ben Kaye

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Halloween

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Release Date: Oct. 19th

Why We’re Excited: We don’t really need to go back to Haddonfield, Illinois. Seeing how Dimension Films rebooted the Halloween series two decades ago with the poorly titled Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later, the idea of a second reboot, which comes only 11 years after Rob Zombie’s remake, is both gluttonous and confusing. Having said that, when you have an independent filmmaker like David Gordon Green behind the lens, superfan Danny McBride behind the typewriter, John Carpenter doing the score, and Jamie Lee Curtis back (again) as Laurie Strode, well, um, trick or treat. –Michael Roffman

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Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2

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Release Date: Nov. 21st

Why We’re Excited: Let’s just start here: the title of the sequel to one of Disney’s best recent offerings is pretty brutal, especially when Super Wreck-It Ralph was right there. Regardless, of all the animated hits of the past few years, Ralph offers some of the most intriguing possibilities for its extended universe, especially now that John C. Reilly’s “bad guy” is going to end up on the internet. The possibilities are virtually endless, so get ready for a lot of branded characters and a lot of computer-animated memes. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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Mortal Engines

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Release Date: Dec. 14th

Why We’re Excited: Philip Reeve’s series of young adult novels envisions a world in which a steampunk engine-powered London goes around eating other cities, and, like any other great books for youngsters, features an underdog finding himself in the midst of a world-saving conflict. The adaptation of the first book of the series, Mortal Engines, stars Robert Sheehan (of The Mortal Instruments, no relation) in that role, Tom Natsworthy, a lowly historian fighting against all odds to change the future. Produced and co-written by Peter Jackson, the visuals should be dazzling and the scope massive. –Lior Phillips

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Bohemian Rhapsody

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Release Date: Dec. 25th

Why We’re Excited: It feels sort of inevitable at this point that Bohemian Rhapsody will forever be tied to Bryan Singer, even as the director has been run out of the production in favor of Dexter Fletcher. Singer disappeared from the film’s set after consistent disputes with Rami Malek, who’ll step into the near-intimitable shoes of Freddie Mercury. Yet, this Queen biopic has been plagued by buzz that it’s as much about the rest of Queen as it is Mercury and whether that’s something that can make for an engaging feature remains to be seen. Either way, Malek is a commanding enough screen presence to make this essential viewing when it arrives this Christmas. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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