With 2018 almost over, it is time to look ahead to my 30 most anticipated films of next year…..
As expected, Disney are very dominant with at least ten films making the 2019 lineup including the live-action remakes of Dumbo, Aladdin and Lion King plus the conclusions to Avengers AND Star Wars.
“There’s more to be seen, than can ever be seen….”
RELEASE DATE: TBC
Helmed by Philip Noyce, the crime drama depicts the chilling true story of a newly married FBI agent who embarked on a passionate affair with his informant which would lead to shocking consequences for both. Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire, Ben-Hur) and Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones, Solo: A Star Wars Story) portray the tragic lovers with support coming from Thora Birch and Johnny Knoxville. First announced back in 2016, the film has gone through a troubled production and has still yet to have an official release date. However the gritty plot and talented lead duo are solid enough reasons to see it especially if you’re an Emilia fan like me!
RELEASE DATE: 24th May
One of THREE animated Disney classics to get the live-action remake treatment, Aladdin has plenty going for it with British director Guy Richie (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Sherlock Holmes) behind the camera. Newcomer Mena Massoud tackles the role of the heroic street boy Aladdin as he sets out to retrieve a magic lamp which carries the flamboyant Genie (now voiced by Will Smith). Like the beloved 1992 original, Aladdin gets the chance to pose as a prince in order to win the heart of Jasmine while also facing threats from the sinister Jafar. Naomi Scott (Power Rangers) and Marwan Kenzari (The Mummy) also feature in the musical adventure which is set to include two new songs to add to the iconic classics “Friend Like Me”, “Prince Ali” and of course, “A Whole New World”.
RELEASE DATE: April 26th
After the devastating climax of Infinity War, the depleted Avengers will be looking to bounce back quickly in Marvel’s hugely anticipated follow-up Avengers: Endgame. Set to be the biggest film of 2019, the story sees the survivors of Thanos’s Infinity Snap rally together in order to seek revenge on their powerful enemy while figuring out a way of saving those who were lost. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) are amongst those back in action with Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Marvel newcomer Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) also involved in this outing after sitting out Infinity War. Fans can expect this film to bring about the changing of the guard as we face saying goodbye to a couple of our beloved heroes while also looking ahead to the future.
RELEASE DATE: 8th March
On the subject of Marvel, there is the small matter of introducing one more significant superhero whose role could prove vital when Endgame arrives. Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson (Room, Kong: Skull Island) takes on the role of Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races. Set many years before the Avengers, the film is set to feature a ‘youthful’ Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury with Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn and Gemma Chan also involved in the origin flick.
RELEASE DATE: 20th December
With the likes of Mamma Mia! and Les Miserables making the great transition from stage to screen, the moggy ‘mews-sical’ Cats is set to be one of the big Christmas films of next year. Having previously helmed Les Mis in 2012, Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper takes responsiblity for this adaptation which centres on a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the night they make what is known as “the Jellicle choice” as they decide which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life. The film boasts a star-studded cast which includes Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, James Corden, Idris Elba, Ian McKellen and Judi Dench. Plenty of ‘memories’ could well be made by fans of the West End classic.
RELEASE DATE: 13th September
As one the most beloved television series of all time, ITV’s Downton Abbey finally makes the leap to the big-screen via a new feature-length film which continues to follow the wealthy Crawley family. Not much is known about the plot but fans of the multi award-winning programme can expect a number of big names to return including Hugh Bonneville (Robert Crawley), Elizabeth McGovern (Cora Crawley), Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crawley), Joanne Froggatt (Anna Bates), Allen Leech (Tom Branson), Jim Carter (Charles Carson) and of course, Dame Maggie Smith (Violet Crawley). How exciting!
RELEASE DATE: 29th March
2019 is a huge year for Disney with Dumbo being the first of THREE live-action remakes of cherished animated classics. Directed by the eccentric Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Alice in Wonderland), the family adventure follows a baby elephant born with big ears who helps save a struggling circus only to then be used as the company’s main attraction. Though the plot has undertaken a couple of notable changes, you can still expect tears of joy and sadness from audiences as we root for the young elephant to succeed. Colin Farrell (Saving Mr Banks, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) leads the film with former Burton actors Michael Keaton (Beetlejuice, Batman), Eva Green (Dark Shadows) and Danny DeVito (Batman Returns, Big Fish) also starring.
RELEASE DATE: 1st January
Directed by visionary filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster), the witty historical biopic centres on a frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) as she struggles to lead her country in 18th Century England. Her close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governs in her absence but the arrival of a new servant girl (Emma Stone) leads to a power struggle and an unlikely love triangle. Hailed as a big awards contender, the royal flick has already earned five Golden Globe nominations (including mentions for its trio of talented actresses) and is also expected to perform well with BAFTA and the Oscars.
FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY
RELEASE DATE: 1st March
As one of Britain’s most sought-after stars, Florence Pugh (Lady Macbeth, The Little Drummer Girl) turns to wrestling for the upcoming sports biopic Fighting With My Famiy. Helmed by comedian Stephen Merchant, the film sees Florence play real-life wrestler Paige as she finds herself getting the opportunity to join the WWE. Nick Frost and Lena Heady co-star as Paige’s parents with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson popping up as he always seems to do these days….
RELEASE DATE: 22nd November
As the film that sparked the ridiculously-popular “Let it Go”, Frozen finally returns with a new animated adventure though no plot is known as of yet. Original characters Anna (Kristen Bell), Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel) and Olaf (Josh Gad) are back for the sequel with Evan Rachel Wood (Across the Universe, Westworld) and Sterling K. Brown (The People vs. O.J., Black Panther) being the high-profile names to join. The animation is set for release towards the end of November so it should be another festive one.
GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS
RELEASE DATE: 31st May
Warner Bros. are hoping for bigger and better things from their upcoming action epic which follows on from the 2014 blockbuster. This time around, the giant sea monster finds himself going up against a group of new foes in Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. Having had prior experience of dangerous creatures in Stranger Things, Millie Bobby Brown takes on the lead role of young heroine Madison alongside Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, Charles Dance and the returning pair of Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins.
RELEASE DATE: 30th January
Cited as another awards contender early in 2019, the light-hearted biopic centres on the true story of a tough Brooklyn bouncer who reluctantly agreed to become a driver for a renowned classical musician. Despite their differences, the pair would forge an unlikely friendship during a tour of events in the 1960s American South. Viggo Mortensen (Lord of the Rings trilogy, Captain Fantastic) and Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, Hidden Figures) have already landed recognition for their performances with the film being directed by Peter Farrelly (There’s Something About Mary).
RELEASE DATE: 12th April
Over ten years after his last big-screen outing, Hellboy finally returns in a new film which sees Stranger Things star David “Sheriff Hopper” Harbour take over from Ron Perlman as the half-demon superhero. Based on the graphic novels by Mike Mignola, the plot sees Hellboy caught between the worlds of the supernatural and human as he finds himself having to battle an ancient yet vengeful sorceress. Deemed more violent than the Guillermo del Toro films, the comic-book blockbuster also stars Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil series), Thomas Haden Church (Spider-Man 3) and Ian McShane (Deadwood).
RELEASE DATE: TBC
Following a lengthy delay, Martin Scorsese’s long-awaited crime epic finally makes its bow on Netflix next year. The film bolsters one of the strongest casts of 2019 with cinematic heavyweights Robert De Niro and Al Pacino taking centre stage as former mob hitman Frank Sheeran and ill-fated ‘Teamster’ Jimmy Hoffa respectively. Additionally, the biopic also sees the legendary Joe Pesci (Home Alone, Goodfellas) make only his third appearance on the big screen in twenty years with the rest of the strong ensemble including Harvey Kietel, Jesse Plemmons, Bobby Cannavale, Anna Paquin, Ray Romano and Stephen Graham.
IT: CHAPTER 2
RELEASE DATE: 6th September
After scaring audiences silly in his comeback film IT (2017), the spooky clown Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) is back to cause more terror in the upcoming follow-up IT: Chapter 2. Set 27 years after the events of the previous flick, the story sees the Losers Club now grown up and living in different places. However a devastating phone call soon brings them back to confront their nemesis. Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy and Bill Hader portray the older versions of Beverly, Bill and Richie with the original child actors also involved via flashbacks. Expect plenty of scares once again!
RELEASE DATE: 4th October
The idea of a Joker film being directed by The Hangover’s Todd Phillips sounds unusual but when you have the formidable Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator, Walk the Line) playing the iconic role, you know it could turn out special. Following in the footsteps of Jack Nicholson and the much-missed Heath Ledger seems a daunting task for Phoenix but early stills and footage look promising with the story focusing on the transition of a humble man to becoming Batman’s most notorious foe. Let’s hope this film puts a smile on all our faces….
RELEASE DATE: 15th November
Directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Ghostbusters), the festive rom-com stars the exquisite Emilia Clarke as a struggling shopworker who finds herself falling in love with a handsome man who sees through her barriers. After his breakthrough role in 2018’s hit rom-com Crazy Rich Asians, Henry Golding portrays the male lead with Asians’ co-star Michelle Yeoh and Emma Thompson also involved. George Michael fans can also look forward to hearing unreleased music from the late icon be used in the film which is sure to be a hit over Christmas!
THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART
RELEASE DATE: 8th February
Years after ‘everything was awesome’, our LEGO heroes are back for a new action-packed adventure which sees Emmet and co. face a new threat when LEGO DUPLO invaders from outer space proceed to wreck havoc. Original cast members Chris Pratt (Emmet), Elizabeth Banks (Wyldstyle) and Will Arnett (Batman) are back for the new film with Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Tiffany Haddish (Girl Trip) and Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad, I, Tonya) amongst the new cast additions. Let’s hope there’s plenty to ‘build on’ for this sequel!
THE LION KING
RELEASE DATE: 19th July
Disney have saved the best till last with their third live-action remake of 2019 which is sure to overshadow the successes of Dumbo and Aladdin. The new take on the beloved 1994 animation once again centres on young lion cub Simba as he relishes the opportunity of becoming the future king of Pride Rock. However when tragedy strikes, Simba flees and goes into exile before returning years later to challenge his sinister uncle to the throne. Just like the original, the film boasts a magnificent voice cast which includes Donald Glover as Adult Simba, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Seth Rogen as Pumba and the much-loved Beyonce Knowles-Carter as Nala. Throw in the returns of James Earl Jones as Mufasa and the music of Elton John and you have a surefire contender for film of the summer. Now all together….”It’s the Circle of Life.”
MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL
RELEASE DATE: 14th June
The Men in Black series gets a new look with this upcoming reboot which sees Thor: Ragnorak duo Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson reunite as the new leading agents of the MIB team. Loyal fans of the original trilogy will be disappointed about the absence of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones but Hemsworth and Thompson already have great experience working together and should have no problem kicking alien arse in this new outing. Liam Neeson, Rebecca Ferguson and Emma Thompson also feature in the sci-fi blockbuster.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD
RELEASE DATE: 26th July
The horrific Manson Murders are given the big-screen treatment by controversial filmmaker Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained) in his upcoming Netflix drama Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The biopic stars Hollywood icons Leonardo Di-Caprio and Brad Pitt as two actors who embark on an odyssey to make a name for themselves in the industry during the Helter Skelter reign of terror in 1969 Los Angeles. Margot Robbie tackles the role of tragic actress Sharon Tate while Kurt Russell and Al Pacino also feature in a film that is sure to produce many talking points!
POKEMON: DETECTIVE PIKACHU
RELEASE DATE: 10th May
“Gotta catch them all! Gotta catch them all!” The Pokémon series has been a major success for millions of fans on various formats though not so much on the film front. However that is looking set to change in 2019 with the upcoming Pokemon: Detective Pikachu which centres on a world where people collect Pokémon to do battle. Fresh from his wise-cracking roles in the Deadpool series, Ryan Reynolds gets to deliver his usual comedy flavour as the cute Pikachu who desires to become a detective as he teams up with a young man to find his missing father.
RELEASE DATE: 24th May
Still standing after all these years, the legendary Sir Elton John finally gets the biopic treatment via the much-anticipated Rocketman which arrives in May. Helmed by biopic expert Dexter Fletcher (Eddie the Eagle, Bohemian Rhapsody), the film focuses on the remarkable yet troubled career of Elton with Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Robin Hood) fully committed to the role in terms of appearance and vocal chords. Bodyguard’s Richard Madden, Jamie Bell and Bryce Dallas Howard also feature in what is sure to be a memorable experience for Elton fans who will certainly be looking to sing along as Queen fans did when Bohemian Rhapsody dominated the box-office in 2018.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG
RELEASE DATE: 26th December
Like Pikachu, Sonic the Hedgehog is another beloved game character to end up in a live-action flick this year. The speedy blue hedgehog (voiced here by Ben Schwartz) finds himself on the run from the government as he seeks help from a rural town cop. James Marsden plays Sonic’s law enforcement friend with Jim Carrey landing the role of Sonic’s nemesis Dr. Ivo Robotnik. We all know this hedgehog has got the need for speed but will the film turn out just as well when it’s released on Boxing Day?
SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME
RELEASE DATE: 5th July
Marvel’s decision to release this film shortly after Endgame effectively means that Peter Parker / Spider-Man won’t be gone for long after his ‘death’ at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. Nevertheless, the follow-up to the hit 2017 outing Homecoming already sounds promising as Peter and his friends face a new threat whilst spending their summer vacation in Europe. Tom Holland once again returns as Spidey alongside Zendaya, Marisa Tomei and Michael Keaton while Jake Gyllenhaal (Prisoners, Nightcrawler) takes on the role of new villain Mysterio.
STAN & OLLIE
RELEASE DATE: 11th January
“Well, here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into!”. The greatest comedy duo of all-time finally get the biopic treatment as Steve (A-HA!) Coogan and John C. Reilly tackle the roles of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in the light-hearted Stan & Ollie. The film focuses on the legendary pair in their later years as they find themselves embarking on a gruelling theatre tour of Britain and Ireland in the 1950s. Reilly has already earned himself a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of Ollie in what promises to be a fun and nostalgia-filled outing for different generations of audiences.
STAR WARS: EPISODE IX
RELEASE DATE: 20th December
After the diverse reaction to the The Last Jedi (2016), LucasFilm will be hoping for better things from the final film of the new Star Wars trilogy. The ninth installment of the epic sci-fi saga is finally set to bring the Skywalker story to an end as well as answering some key questions about various characters (*cough* Rey’s parents *cough*). Not much is yet known about the film’s story though we imagine it will involve a final showdown between Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). In what seems like a very bold move, the late Carrie Fisher is set to feature in CGI form as General Leia Organa while Billy Dee Williams makes a welcoming return to the series as the charming Lando Calrissian. Whatever happens, we can only hope that loyal Star Wars fans don’t vent their anger on the internet….
TOY STORY 4
RELEASE DATE: 21st June
Many have questioned Pixar’s decision to bring back the Toy Story following the near-perfect (and very emotional) ending of its third installment back in 2010. Nevertheless, Woody, Buzz and the gang are back for another adventure which sees them help a new toy as they embark on a road trip. Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and the other franchise veterans are back for this new outing with Keanu Reeves, Tony Hale and Patricia Arquette amongst the high-profile names lending their voices to the case. Here’s hoping that this film completely defies our expectations and continues to take the series to infinity and beyond!
RELEASE DATE: 25th January
Having previously worked together on the stock market flick The Big Short (2015), Christian Bale once again teams up with director Adam McKay for the upcoming political biopic Vice. The film focuses on the life of controversial vice-president Dick Cheney with Bale being tipped to land his fourth Oscar nomination. Additionally, the biopic also stars Amy Adams as Dick’s wife as well as Sam Rockwell (as former U.S. president George W. Bush) and Steve Carrell (as Donald Rumsfield).