2019 Preview: 99 Films To Watch This Year

2019 Preview: 99 Films To Watch This Year

    By Ben Travis Posted 17 Jan 2019

    The new year is here, and it’s set to be jam-packed with gigantic series-ending blockbusters – Endgame and Episode IX to name but two – exciting original movies from the likes of Tarantino and Scorsese, and a spate of spooky horrors, searing dramas, and even the odd high-profile rom-com. Empire has pulled together a list of the 2019 films you need to keep an eye on over the coming 12 months.



    Release Date: 25 Jan

    Nicole Kidman goes dark and wild-eyed in Karyn Kusama’s intense crime drama. She’s an LAPD cop forced to confront the undercover gang mission in her past that changed her forever.

    The Mule

    Release Date: 25 January

    No, not the cinematic follow-up to Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey?, but Clint Eastwood’s latest crime drama. He directs and stars as Earl Stone, a 90-year-old Korean War vet who becomes a drug mule for a Mexican Cartel to avoid financial ruin. We’re going to go ahead and guess that crime doesn’t pay.


    Release Date: 25 January

    Adam McKay follows up The Big Short with another comedy-inflected drama, tackling a Weighty Topic with style, levity, and genuine anger and despair. This time it’s a Dick Cheney biopic, charting the influence of George W. Bush’s Vice President and the world-changing power-plays he made during his time in office.



    Release Date: 1 February

    Steven Yeun stars in the the latest from acclaimed Korean director Lee Chang-Dong, based on a Haruki Murakami short story. He’s Ben, a wealthy and successful young man who admits his habit for burning down greenhouses to Yoo Ah-in’s Lee Jong-su. A drama-thriller that caught fire at last year’s festivals.

    Can You Ever Forgive Me?

    Release Date: 1 February

    Melissa McCarthy trades brash comedy for crime-inflected biographical drama in the new film from The Diary Of A Teenage Girl director Marielle Heller. She fronts the story of writer Lee Israel, who turns her hand to vintage letter forgery in order to pay her bills with a little help from Richard E. Grant’s Jack Hock.

    Green Book

    Release Date: 1 February

    Peter Farrelly’s comedy-drama has already won a handful of Golden Globes, so keep an eye on this one in the Oscar race. Viggo Mortensen is Italian-American chauffeur Tony, who drives African-American pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) through the American south in the 1960s – a culture-clash road movie based on a true story.

    How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

    Release Date: 1 February

    The coming-of-age story of Hiccup and his adorable Night Fury dragon Toothless has always been one of Dreamworks’ best offerings. Expect tears in this closing chapter, with a love interest for Toothless teasing an emotional conclusion to the fantasy trilogy.

    Alita: Battle Angel

    Release Date: 6 February

    Never bet against James Cameron. He’s not directing here, but he’s worked with Robert Rodriguez to bring his long-mooted manga adaptation to the big screen. Expect epic post-post-apocalypse-meets-cyber-punk world-building, cyborg brawls, and – as ever with Cameron – an unapologetic love story to bring it all together.

    All Is True

    Release Date: 8 February

    This was always Kenneth Branagh’s ultimate destiny: to eventually graduate from acting in and directing most of Shakespeare’s oeuvre, and actually play the man himself. He’s directing too, from a screenplay by Ben Elton – the scribe behind BBC Shakespeare sitcom Upstart Crow. Throw in Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Judi Dench, and this is screen royalty.

    Boy Erased

    Release Date: 8 February

    Joel Edgerton returns with his second film as director – a gay conversion therapy drama, starring Lucas Hedges, Russell Crowe, and Nicole Kidman. Oh, and Edgerton himself.

    If Beale Street Could Talk

    Release Date: 8 February

    Moonlight director Barry Jenkins is back with another emotionally-intimate drama, this time based on a novel by author James Baldwin. It’s a story of love, racial oppression and inequality in 1970s Harlem that’s already bagged rave reviews and awards buzz on release in the US.

    The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

    Release Date: 8 February

    Everything is awesome! Again! Emmet, Wyldstyle and Batman are back in a new space-bound LEGO adventure with added Tiffany Haddish. Expect the good kind of non-stop nonsense from Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, back as writer-producers.

    Instant Family

    Release Date: 14 February

    Ignore director Sean Anders’ underwhelming filmography – including the Daddy’s Home movies – this family comedy-drama about Mark Walhberg and Rose Byrne adopting three kids received strong reactions in the US last year for its heartwarming story and genuine laughs.

    The Kid Who Would Be King

    Release Date: 15 February

    Eight years after Attack The Block, Joe Cornish is finally back – this time with another film about supernatural forces emerging in South London. This time it’s a family fantasy-adventure, with a contemporary school kid discovering Excalibur – aka the Sword in the Stone – and triggering an Arthurian apocalypse.

    A Private War

    Release Date: 15 February

    Rosamund Pike plays embattled, hardened, eyepatch-wearing war correspondent Marie Colvin in a biopic that depicts her assignment in Syria with photographer Paul Conroy (Jamie Dornan).

    Happy Death Day 2U

    Release Date: 15 February

    Last time she was stuck reliving the same day over and over and over again while being pursued by a masked killer. Now she’s doing it, er, again, in the hilariously-titled sequel to Blumhouse’s Groundhog Day horror.


    Release Date: 22 February

    Already receiving rave reactions and awards chatter, this Lebanese film from director Nadine Labake follows a 12-year-old boy whose life is so tough and miserable that he attempts to sue his parents in retaliation for them giving him life.

    Cold Pursuit

    Release Date: 22 February

    AKA The Liam Neeson snowplough movie. Director Hans Petter Moland remakes his own 2014 Norwegian film In Order Of Disappearance, this time with added support from Big Liam – a father seeking revenge (hence his casting) against the drug dealer who killed his son. That name again? Mr. Plow. Sorry, Cold Pursuit.

    On The Basis Of Sex

    Release Date: 22 February

    Felicity Jones is Ruth Bader Ginsberg – left-wing American political hero and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court – in a courtroom biopic following her early cases. The first film in 10 years from director Mimi Leader, with Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux and Kathy Bates also among the cast.


    Fighting With My Family

    Release Date: 1 March

    An unlikely but wonderful marriage of people and subject matter: Stephen Merchant writes and directs a family-drama biopic of WWE wrestler Paige, based on a Channel 4 documentary. Florence Pugh plays the teen from a wrestling-obsessed family who gets a shot at the big time – while her brother notably doesn’t. With support from Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, who also produces, as well as Nick Frost and Lena Headey.


    Release Date: 1 March

    Sorry, Browncoats – this one’s nothing to do with Joss Whedon’s Firefly. Steven Knight’s Locke follow-up stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Jason Clarke in a twisty thriller of murder plots, romantic betrayal, and psychological trickery.

    The Hole In The Ground

    Release Date: 1 March

    Lee Cronin writes and directs an Irish horror movie pitched somewhere between The Hallow and The Babadook. Sarah is a mum ready for a new start – but when she moves to the edge of a large patch of woods, her son Chris wanders in one night. When he emerges, is he the same? And what’s with the giant sinkhole that’s just opened up in the trees?

    Captain Marvel

    Release Date: 8 March

    The MCU’s latest recruit is Carol Danvers, a former US fighter pilot who’s forgotten her Earthly past and received a host of cosmic powers from alien race the Kree. Drawn into a galactic conflict with the shape-shifting Skrulls, she returns to our humble planet to team up with a young Nick Fury, and… who knows. This one’s being kept highly secretive – but rest assured, Brie Larson’s hero will be a significant player in future Marvel movies.

    Thunder Road

    Release Date: 8 March

    Jim Cummings writes, directs, and stars in this buzzy indie – a hard-edged comedy-drama about an American cop suffering a breakdown in the wake of his mother’s death and his divorce.

    Fisherman’s Friends

    Release Date: 15 March

    A heartwarming Brit com in the Full Monty vein, but swapping bare bums for sea shanties. Based on the true story of a group of Cornish fishermen who ended up signed to a major label and making a dent on the charts with their old-school folk songs.


    Release Date: 15 March

    After his incendiary, instant-classic, Oscar-winning debut Get Out, director Jordan Peele is back with another horror that looks just as unapologetic. Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke are parents who take their kids on a beach getaway – only to find their holiday house under attack from their terrifying doppelgängers. This looks more explicitly horror-y than the satire of Get Out, with Peele claiming it’s all about how our own worst enemy is… us. Crikey.

    Under The Silver Lake

    Release Date: 15 March

    David Robert Mitchell, the director behind instant horror classic It Follows, is back with a neo-noir mystery starring Andrew Garfield. He’s Sam, a listless young man whose neighbour Sarah (Riley Keough) seems to disappear overnight. Cue a trippy trek to try and find her that spirals into obsession, conspiracies and unreliability.

    Happy As Lazzaro

    Release Date: 15 March

    This Italian drama from writer-director Alice Rohrwacher was a hit at Cannes, earning plaudits for its unique tone and story of Lazzaro – a tobacco farmer who gets involved with fellow youngster Tancredi’s plot to set up his own kidnapping.


    Release Date: 22 March

    Not a film about Very Good Dogs, but a World War II film co-written by and starring Tom Hanks as a navy officer in command of a destroyer ship called Greyhound. Also starring Elisabeth Shue and Stephen Graham.

    The Informer

    Release Date: 22 March

    Joel Kinnaman, Rosamund Pike, and Clive Owen star in a crime drama following an ex-convict who gets sent down again in order to infiltrate the mob for the FBI.

    The White Crow

    Release Date: 22 March

    Ralph Fiennes returns behind the camera for the third time, this time to tell the story of Rudolf Nereyev, the Russian ballet dancer who defected from the Soviet Union in the 1960s.

    What Men Want

    Release Date: 22 March

    Jettisoning Mel Gibson, Nancy Meyers’ 2000 mind-reading rom-com gets a gender-flipped follow-up with Taraji P. Henson in the lead. She’s a sports agent who loses out on a promotion to a male colleague, only to find herself imbued with the ability to hear men’s thoughts – something she uses to try and get the jump on her privileged co-workers.


    Release Date: 29 March

    In the first of 2019’s trio of ‘live-action’ Disney remakes, Tim Burton reunites some of his iconic performers – Michael Keaton and Danny DeVito in a pleasing Batman Returns revival – for an expanded take on the flying elephant story. Expect subtly creepy circus imagery, emotional battery and a starry cast, rounded out by Colin Farrell, Eva Green, and Alan Arkin.


    Missing Link

    Release Date: 5 April

    Laika, the stop-motion animation studio behind Kubo and the Two Strings and Coraline, returns with a more light-hearted comedy-adventure. Zach Galifianakis voices ‘Mr. Link’, a sophistication bigfoot-like creature who ends up on an adventure with Hugh Jackman’s explorer Sir Lionel Frost. Chris Butler, who previously helmed Laika’s ParaNorman, directs.

    Pet Sematary

    Release Date: 5 April

    The Stephen King renaissance continues with a remake of his intensely creepy, ultra-bleak resurrection horror. Jason Clarke and John Lithgow lead the story of a family who discover the ‘pet semetary’ (bad spelling intentional) at the back of their house can bring things back from the dead. Directed by Starry Eyes duo Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer.


    Release Date: 5 April

    After the tidal wave of cash brought in by Aquaman, the DCEU shifts gears again with the introduction of a new character. Asher Angel is Billy Batson, an unassuming fostered teen who is gifted the ability to turn into a Superman-like hero on command. Expect a comedic tone and Big-like wish fulfillment, with Zachary Levi goofing it up as the ‘grown-up’ Shazam.

    The Sisters Brothers

    Release Date: 5 April

    The Western revival continues – John C. Reilly and Joaquin Pheonix are the titular Sisters brothers, a pair of assassins chasing down Riz Ahmed’s gold prospector in 1850s Oregon. A dark comedy based on Patrick deWitt’s novel, from Rust and Bone director Jacques Audiard.

    Captive State

    Release Date: 12 April

    Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes director Rupert Wyatt returns to apocalyptic sci-fi territory in this story of an alien invasion. John Goodman is a Chicago Police Officer mounting an opposition to the extra-terrestrial intruders, with the help of Ashton Sanders’ young rebel.


    Release Date: 12 April

    We’re not getting a third part of Guillermo Del Toro’s adaptation, but this reboot – co-penned by comic creator Mike Mignola, and directed by Neil Marshall – is set to bring a darker, horror-infused take on the material. Stranger Things’ David Harbour is the new owner of the Right Hand of Doom, taking on Milla Jovovich’s Blood Queen with the help of Ian McShane, Sasha Lane, and Daniel Dae Kim. Oh, and Big Mo from EastEnders is in it too.


    Release Date: 12 April

    Jonah Hill makes his directorial debut with a coming-of-age skate drama set in, you guessed it, the mid-1990s. Sunny Suljic, the kid from The Killing Of A Sacred Deer, is LA pre-teen Stevie who falls in with a crowd slacker daredevils and avoids beatings from his violent big brother, played by Lucas Hedges.


    Release Date: 12 April

    Italian auteur Paolo Sorrentino, behind the Oscar-winning The Great Beauty, returns with an epic Silvio Berlusconi biopic starring Toni Servillo in the lead. Released in two parts in Italy, a 145-minute combined cut also exists – it remains to be seen which version hits UK shores.

    Dragged Across Concrete

    Release Date: 19 April

    Recovered from the unflinching violence of Bone Tomahawk and Brawl In Cell Block 99? Well strap in, because S. Craig Zahler is back with a bloody, murky, 160-minute crime epic. Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn play disgraced policemen, ousted from the force for their use of, well, force, who choose a life of crime instead.


    Release Date: 19 April

    Irish filmmaker Neil Jordan returns with a stalker-thriller. Chloë Grace Moretz is Frances, a young woman who finds a lost purse belonging to Isabelle Huppert’s titular Greta. Upon returning it, the pair strike up a friendship – until Frances discovers that Greta’s lost property might not have been accidental.

    Wild Rose

    Release Date: 19 April

    Beast star Jessie Buckley returns in a fresh showcase for her talents – a drama about a Glaswegian country musician who dreams of striking it big in Nashville. From director Tom Harper, behind the BBC’s War & Peace miniseries.

    Avengers: Endgame

    Release Date: 26 April

    Really? We need to explain why we’re looking forward to the Infinity War follow-up? In brief: Thanos is still at large, half of the universe has gone missing, Hawkeye and Ant-Man are back, it could be the last stand for the OG Avengers, and it’s mark the end of an entire era in the MCU. Oh, and indeed, snap.

    Eighth Grade

    Release Date: 26 April

    We’ve been waiting for this indie smash for nearly a year – its summer release in the US earned rave reviews for the film and its writer-director Bo Burnham, as well as young star Elsie Fisher. A heartbreaking and heartwarming comedy-drama about the awkwardness and awfulness of adolescence, particularly among the social media generation.


    Detective Pikachu

    Release Date: 10 May

    Part Sherlock Holmes. Part Doctor Doolittle. Part… Deadpool? There’s a huge amount to unpack in this first live-action Pokémon movie, pitching an unlikely buddy duo in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s Justice Smith and a fuzzy yellow Pikachu that only he can understand – voiced by Ryan Reynolds. Partnering up to hunt down Smith’s missing dad, it’s such an unusual pitch that it just might work. Here’s hoping Goosebumps director Rob Letterman can catch ‘em all.

    The Hustle

    Release Date: 10 May

    Comedy classic Dirty Rotten Scoundrels gets the gender-flipped remake treatment with Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson in the Steve Martin and Michael Caine roles. The feature directorial debut of Brit comedian Chris Addison.

    John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

    Release Date: 17 May

    You’ve seen him chase down Theon Greyjoy. You watched him bump off Santino D’Antonio in the Continental hotel. Now, Keanu Reeves’ John Wick is ‘excommunicado’, on the run from every assassin in the world with a $14 million hit on his head. If that doesn’t already sound like the apex of cinema, this one also has Halle Berry and Anjelica Huston joining the cast, and a Latin title that literally means ‘prepare for war’. Yeah, we’re thinking he’s back.


    Release Date: 24 May

    Next up on the live-action Disney list: Guy Ritchie takes on the 1992 classic. Up-and-comer Mena Massoud is in the title role, with Naomi Scott as Jasmine – but the big name here is Will Smith, with the unenviable task of following up Robin Williams’ inimitable Genie. Expect all the hits, plus new tunes from Alan Menken and La La Land duo Pasek & Paul.

    Ad Astra

    Release Date: 24 May

    The Lost City Of Z director James Grey returns with a sci-fi movie he’s compared to Joseph Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness. Brad Pitt is an engineer voyaging through the solar system to find his father, played by Tommy Lee Jones, who undertook a one-way trip to Neptune 20 years previously. Elsewhere the cast includes Ruth Negga and Donald Sutherland, while cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema’s involvement means this should be visually stunning.


    Release Date: 24 May

    Thank goodness Superman turned out to be a good guy. If Kal-El was a baddie? Humanity would probably be doomed. That’s the premise of this James Gunn-produced superhero-horror, which sees Elizabeth Banks and David Denman adopt a baby that crash-lands from space in their back yard. Cut to a few years later, and young Brandon is using his powers for the very opposite of good.


    Release Date: 24 May

    After stepping in to finish up Bohemian Rhapsody, Brit filmmaker Dexter Fletcher steps into his own celebration of an iconic musician: Elton John. This one’s more of an outright musical, Fletcher claims, dubbing it a ‘true fantasy’ around John’s entire life rather than a straight-forward biopic. Taron Egerton takes the lead role, with Bryce Dallas Howard as his mother Sheila, and Jamie Bell playing Bernie Taupin.

    The Secret Life Of Pets 2

    Release Date: 24 May

    Illumination Entertainment follows up The Grinch with a sequel to their 2016 comedy, exploring what our furry friends get up to when we leave the house. The plot for this one is under wraps, but here’s hoping it capitalises more on that entertaining Toy Story-for-pets concept.

    Godzilla: King Of The Monsters

    Release Date: 31 May

    The world’s most iconic movie monster is back – and this time he’s bringing Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah with him. The human cast is mightily impressive too: Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, Sally Hawkins, Bradley Whitford, Charles Dance, Kyle Chandler, Ken Watanabe, O’Shea Jackson Jr… plenty of high-calibre squishing-fodder. Trick ‘r Treat and Krampus’ Michael Dougherty directs.


    X-Men: Dark Phoenix

    Release Date: 7 June

    At long last, the Apocalypse sequel will finally make it to the big screen in the summer. This is Simon Kinberg’s second attempt at the X-Men’s most famous storyline after The Last Stand got it all wrong – and with that Disney / Fox merger looming, it could be the final traditional X-Men film before the mutant saga gets merged or rebooted into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender return as Professor X and Magneto, with Sophie Turner also back as Jean Grey – here caught up in a cosmic jam that turns her into an ultra-powerful intergalactic entity.

    Men In Black: International

    Release Date: 14 June

    Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson proved an endlessly watchable duo in Thor: Ragnarok – making them the perfect pair to reboot Men In Black. He’s the old-timer, she’s the rookie donning her shades for the first time in the MIB London branch, headed up by Liam Neeson’s High T. Throw in Emma Thompson as US head honcho Agent O, and you’ve got a top cast – and a promising director in Straight Outta Compton and Fast & Furious 8 filmmaker F. Gary Gray.

    Toy Story 4

    Release Date: 21 June

    It all ended so perfectly in 2010 with Toy Story 3 – but that nine year gap means there’s an entire generation of kids who never got to see a Toy Story film in the cinema. Woody, Buzz, Jessie and the gang are back, off on a road trip with owner Bonnie. The teasers so far have introduced us to new characters Forky – an existentially-freaked arts-and-crafts spork who isn’t really a toy, voiced by Tony Hale, aka Arrested Development’s Buster Bluth – and duo Ducky and Bunny, voiced by Key and Peele. Toy Story 4 is Josh Cooley’s feature debut, after helming Inside Out short Riley’s First Date. In Pixar we trust.


    Release Date: 21 June

    An American reboot of the American remake, Grudge (no ‘The’) goes back to the Japanese horror well – ideally not the one with Sadako from Ring in it. Produced by Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures and directed by The Eyes Of My Mother filmmaker Nicolas Pesce, this take stars the likes of Andrea Riseborough, Demián Bichir, John Cho, and Lin Shaye. It’s unknown how much Grudge will hew to the current mythology, but expect to hear more in the run-up to its summer release.

    Untitled Danny Boyle / Richard Curtis Comedy

    Release Date: 28 June

    Not the catchiest title, we’ll admit – but the combination of the Trainspotting director and the British rom-com legend is an intriguing one. This one shot in the UK last year, and is strongly rumoured to be about an up-and-coming musician, played by Himesh Patel, who’s the only person to remember the music of The Beatles – a situation that he mines for success. Also starring Lily James, Kate McKinnon and, erm, Ed Sheeran. Expect that holding-place title to change, unless they want to want to out-do The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society in the ‘Lily James films with difficult names’ stakes.

    Ford v. Ferrari

    Release Date: 28 June

    After nailing it (to a spiky branch) with Logan, James Mangold turns his attention to the rivalry between two iconic car brands at the Le Mans race in 1966. A biopic drama with a cast boasting Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Caitriona Balfe, and Jon Bernthal.


    Spider-Man: Far From Home

    Release Date: 5 July

    Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a… pile of dust can? Marvel Studios’ shared ownership of Spidey with Sony means we already know Tom Holland is returning, and his next solo adventure will kick off Phase 4 of the MCU. Heading off on a school trip across Europe, he attempts to leave web-slinging behind for a little while – until a bunch of elemental attacks begin, and a bloke with a fishbowl on his head purporting to be a hero (Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio) turns up to stop them.

    Annabelle 3

    Release Date: 5 July

    The expansion of James Wan’s Conjuring-verse continues – and considering how much fun Annabelle: Creation turned out to be, this sequel could be a welcome addition. Chronologically it takes place after the first Annabelle spin-off, with a big, fun, splashy concept – the evil doll is back in the Warrens’ house where it sets its sights on terrorising their young daughter, with Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga confirmed to reprise their Conjuring roles.


    Release Date: 12 July

    After playing an Uber driver in The Big Sick, Kumail Nanjiani is back as Uber driver Stu in the amusingly-titled action-comedy Stuber. When he picks up Dave Bautista’s hard-as-nails detective Vic, he ends up ferrying him around on the trail of a terrorist, hoping to maintain his app rating (and his life). A high-concept premise that promises a fun summer ride – for us, if not Stu.

    The Lion King

    Release Date: 19 July

    Considering how successfully he reimagined The Jungle Book, it’s no wonder Jon Favreau was handed the keys to perhaps the most beloved Disney film of the ‘90s renaissance era. He’s recruited a cracking cast – Donald Glover voicing Simba, Beyoncé playing Nala, Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as Timon and Pumbaa, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, John Oliver voicing the neurotic Zazu – and none other than James Earl Jones returning as Mufasa. These ‘live-action’ remakes are now part of the circle of life for all Disney classics.

    Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

    Release Date: 26 July

    Quentin Tarantino is back, and he’s leaving the Western genre in favour of the sun-kissed ‘60s in Tinseltown. Set around the time of the Manson Murders – and with Margot Robbie playing Sharon Tate, the actor killed by Charles Manson’s followers – there have been concerns around QT dredging up such a bleak and oft-told story, though reports have claimed that the Manson / Tate element is more in the background here. Leonardo DiCaprio is Rick Dalton, a TV actor trying to make the jump to movies alongside his stunt double Cliff Booth, played by Brad Pitt. Add in Al Pacino, Damian Lewis, Bruce Dern, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, Dakota Fanning, Michael Madsen and many more, and you’ve got a fittingly stellar cast for a film about the home of America’s movie industry.

    Horrible Histories: The Movie

    Release Date: 26 July

    The CBBC historical sketch show may be aimed at kids, but any adult who’s caught an episode here or there will rave about how funny it truly is. Hopefully that translates to this Roman-set big-screen offering, which comes from a different team but brings cast clout via Nick Frost, Kim Cattral, Derek Jacobi and Craig Roberts.


    Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

    Release Date: 2 August

    The Rock. The Stath. The people’s Elba. The co-director of John Wick. Do we know the plot? No. Does it need one? Probably not – just give us the big, smashy action, with glorious extended takes and the central trio growling nonsense at each other. Did we mention that Idris Elba’s baddie is called Brixton?

    The New Mutants

    Release Date: 2 August

    This horror-toned X-Men off-shoot was originally supposed to come out in April last year – delays and reshoots have currently landed it a late summer release, and it remains to be seen how much the finished product bears scars of a tricky development. Still, there’s an interesting team at work here – The Fault In Our Stars director Josh Boone, a cast including Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams, and Stranger Things’ Charlie Heaton – in a story of five powered-up teens being held captive in a secret facility.

    Artemis Fowl

    Release Date: 9 August

    Eoin Colfer’s 2001 young-adult fantasy novel was pitched as ‘Die Hard, with fairies’ – and Kenneth Branagh is the director bringing that concept to the big screen for Disney. The titular kid is a precocious criminal genius intent on extorting mythical gold from a fairy he captures. Newcomers Ferdia Shaw and Lara McDonnell are the leads, with support from Judi Dench, Josh Gad and more.

    Playmobil: The Movie

    Release Date: 9 August

    It was inevitable that The LEGO Movie would have its copy-cats – and rival toy company Playmobil are attempting to do, well, pretty much the same idea, going by the trailer. Anya Taylor-Joy is an older sister, venturing into a Playmobil world to find her little brother Charlie – meeting the likes of Daniel Radcliffe’s secret agent Rex Dasher and Megan Trainor’s fairy godmother along the way.

    Dora The Explorer

    Release Date: 16 August

    A live-action take on the popular kids’ cartoon, this one has Benicio Del Toro signed on (not playing Dora, FYI), as well as Eva Longoria, Michael Peña and Temuera Morrison. Isabela Moner – of Transformers: The Last Knight and Sicario 2: Soldado fame – is in the lead role, with Flight Of The Conchords and The Muppets (2011) director James Bobin at the helm.

    Angel Has Fallen

    Release Date: 23 August

    First fell Olympus. Then London. Now… Angel? As far as we know, this three-quel in Gerard Butler’s Mike Banning franchise isn’t exclusively set in Islington. This time Banning himself is framed for an assassination attempt on Morgan Freeman’s President Allan Trumbull, forcing him to go on the run from his own team.


    It: Chapter Two

    Release Date: 6 September

    Andy Muschietti’s 2017 It was just the beginning – the director returns for the portion of Stephen King’s iconic novel that finds the Losers’ Club all grown up. 27 years have passed, meaning Pennywise is back for another reign of terror, forcing the survivors to return to Derry and face their past trauma once more. The younger cast will pop up for new scenes, but the big draw here is the new adult cast – James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader and Jay Ryan among them. A true horror blockbuster.

    Spies In Disguise

    Release Date: 13 September

    If you haven’t seen the trailer for Spies In Disguise, go here and watch it right now for a twist you really, truly, honestly won’t see coming. The new animation from Blue Sky stars Will Smith as a smooth, suave super-spy who finds himself – FINAL SPOILER WARNING – transformed into a pigeon by Tom Holland’s young gadget creator. Also featuring the voices of Rashida Jones, Karen Gillan, and DJ Khaled.

    Downton Abbey

    Release Date: 13 September

    The beloved British period drama opens its doors once again for a big-screen outing written by original creator Julian Fellowes. The returning cast includes Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Michelle Dockery, and Maggie Smith – with fresh arrivals including Imelda Staunton, Tuppence Middleton and Geraldine James.

    The Woman In The Window

    © John Phillips/Getty

    Release Date: 27 September

    Not a remake of Fritz Lang’s 1944 noir, but a thriller from Atonement and Hanna director Joe Wright based on AJ Finn’s page-turning novel. Amy Adams is Dr. Anna Fox, an agoraphobic child psychologist who’s taken to spying on her new neighbours – and when she sees them commit a crime she’s left wondering what to do next. Also starring Gary Oldman, Julianne Moore, Anthony Mackie, and Wyatt Russell.


    Gemini Man

    Release Date: 4 October

    An idea that’s been circulating Hollywood since 1997, Ang Lee is bringing this Jerry Bruckheimer-produced sci-fi action thriller to fruition. Will Smith is an ageing assassin attempting to outrun his younger clone (thanks to that nifty de-ageing tech), while the cast also includes Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, and Benedict Wong.


    Release Date: 4 October

    An all-new take on Batman’s most famous adversary, this time set outside of the DC Extended Universe with Joaquin Phoenix playing the maniacal mastermind. Director Todd Phillips – primarily known for comedies like Old School, Starsky & Hutch and The Hangover – is pitching this one as a Scorsese-inspired crime drama, part Taxi Driver, part The King Of Comedy, with some influence from Alan Moore’s Killing Joke comic. Controversially, it’s pitting an origin story for the traditionally mysterious character, with an ‘80s-set story of failing comedian Arthur Fleck who turns to a life of crime.

    The Goldfinch

    Release Date: 11 October

    If you want an early heads-up on a potential Oscar nominee for next year, keep an eye on The Goldfinch. Brooklyn director John Crowley directs the adaptation of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer-winning novel, an epic American coming-of-age drama. It begins with 13-year-old Theo who survives a bombing in an art gallery, escaping with his life – and a small, famous Dutch painting that he pilfers in the aftermath. Baby Driver’s Ansel Elgort takes the lead, with Nicole Kidman, Sarah Paulson, Luke Wilson, Finn Wolfhard and more also starring.

    Zombieland 2

    Release Date: 11 October

    Ruben Fleischer’s rom-com is somehow a decade old this year, and he’s re-assembling that top cast – Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson and Abigail Breslin – for a sequel. It’s all under wraps for now, but early word has it that ‘super zombies’ will be a new threat for the post-apocalyptic gang.

    Charlie’s Angels

    Release Date: 25 October

    The spy series gets a McG-free reboot from writer-director-producer-star Elizabeth Banks. This time the Angels are Kristen Stewart, Power Rangers’ Naomi Scott, and British actor Ella Balinska, backed up by Patrick Stewart, Djimon Hounsou and Sam Claflin. Fingers crossed we get a new Beyoncé hit on the soundtrack.

    The Addams Family

    Release Date: 25 October

    The directors of Sausage Party will presumably be toning down the sexualised food puns for this animated Addams Family, arriving just in time for Halloween. Oscar Isaac and Charlize Theron will voice Gomez and Morticia, with Chloë Grace Moretz and Finn Wolfhard as Wednesday and Pugsley.


    Untitled Terminator Sequel

    Release Date: 1 November

    He’ll be back, again. But more importantly, so will she – Linda Hamilton is reprising her role as Sarah Connor in a sequel imagined as a direct follow-up to Terminator 2, ignoring all the other entries. Deadpool director Tim Miller is also introducing a new cast, including Blade Runner 2049’s Mackenzie Davis, Gabriel Luna and Natalia Reyes – though the plot is yet to be revealed.

    A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

    Release Date: 1 November

    Another potential Oscar hit – American TV icon Mr. Rogers get the biopic treatment, with Tom Hanks playing the beloved star. He’s being interviewed by Matthew Rhys’ journalist Lloyd Vogel, who finds himself inspired by his meeting with the great man. Diary Of A Teenage Girl and Can You Ever Forgive Me? filmmaker Marielle Heller directs.

    The Aeronauts

    Release Date: 1 November

    The Theory of Everything duo Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones reunite on screen as balloonists fighting for survival in the skies, in a drama from director Tom Harper and writer Jack Thorne.

    Kingsman: The Great Game

    © Jeff Spicer/Getty

    Release Date: 8 November

    Sneaking into the release date vacated by Bond 25, Matthew Vaughn’s hyper-violent spy saga is set to switch things up with an early 1900s-set spin-off exploring the agency’s origins. That means no Taron Egerton or Colin Firth in this one, but the cast is already shaping up nicely – Daniel Brühl, Charles Dance and Rhys Ifans are currently attached. Tally ho.


    Release Date: 8 November

    Having already depicted 10,000 BC and 2012, Roland Emmerich turns to 1942 – specifically, the Battle of Midway in World War II, a naval battle between the US and Japan. The film will star Darren Criss, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Aaron Eckhart, Dennis Quaid and more.

    Last Christmas

    Release Date: 15 November

    Paul Feig is coming for Love Actually’s crown as the definitive festive rom-com. The plot is being kept secret, but he’s reuniting with A Simple Favour’s Henry Golding (already a proven rom-com star thanks to Crazy Rich Asians), likely to be in some kind of romantic entanglement with co-lead Emilia Clarke. With Emma Thompson and Michelle Yeoh also on board, and the music of George Michael involved, we could have a new Christmas staple on the way.

    Frozen 2

    Release Date: 22 November

    Just when the original Frozen generation had finally let it go (sorry), in comes the sequel – but can it out-do the surprise mega-smash business of the previous film? The full cast is back, as are directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee and songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, with new additions in Evan Rachel Wood and Sterling K. Brown. Good luck trying to out-do that earworm ballad, everyone.

    Knives Out

    Release Date: 29 November

    Rian Johnson has assembled an astonishing cast for his original murder-mystery thriller, channelling his inner Agatha Christie with long-time producer Ram Bergman. Daniel Craig. Chris Evans. Jamie Lee Curtis. Christopher Plummer. Toni Colette. Lakeith Stanfield. Michael Shannon. The list goes on.


    Jumanji 3

    Release Date: 13 December

    The surprisingly great Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle caught plenty of people off guard – and the box office power of Dwayne Johnson is so strong that he’s going up against the might of Star Wars for the sequel. Also back are Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan, teaming up once again for returning director Jake Kasdan.

    Star Wars: Episode IX

    Release Date: 20 December

    Rey’s embraced her Jedi powers and helped the remaining Resistance fighters live another day. Kylo Ren has made his power grab as new Supreme Leader of the First Order. Luke Skywalker is one with the Force. The Last Jedi’s final reel set a thrilling stage for the final part of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, and The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams is returning to bring it all safely home. Expect the conclusion of the galactic conflict to bring fireworks of both spectacle and emotion – especially with Carrie Fisher set to complete her role as Leia using previously unused Episode VII footage. Oh, and more Porgs please.


    Release Date: 20 December

    Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats will hit the big screen under the direction of Tom Hooper. What’s a Jellicle Cat? Honestly, we haven’t the foggiest. It’ll be fascinating to see how the Les Mis director handles the hazily-plotted narrative of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical – a trippy T. S. Eliot-inspired story about a group of cats making the ‘Jellicle choice’, choosing which of them will ascend to the ‘Heaviside Layer’ and be reborn. Ignore that and focus on the fact that Jennifer Hudson will be singing ‘Memory’, in a cast that also includes Taylor Swift, Ian McKellen, Idris Elba, Judi Dench, James Corden, Rebel Wilson, and Jason Derulo.

    Sonic The Hedgehog

    Release Date: 26 December

    This live-action take on the classic SEGA character is as yet an unknown quantity – so far we’ve only seen his terrifyingly buff legs in the poster. Ben Schwartz is voicing the blue hedgehog himself, with Jim Carrey cast as Dr. Robotnik.

    Release Date TBC

    Jojo Rabbit

    Taika Waititi is following up the goodwill he’s earned from, well, his entire career with his riskiest film yet. Based on Christine Leunens’ novel Caging Skies, it follows Jojo – a young boy growing up in World War II who pictures Adolf Hitler as his imaginary friend. And yes, Waititi is playing the fantasised-Führer. The filmmaker posted on Twitter during production to reiterate that the film is, of course, one big middle finger to the Nazis. Also starring Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, Stephen Merchant, and Rebel Wilson.

    The Irishman

    Martin Scorsese is back with a hugely ambitious crime saga from Netflix. Making full use of de-ageing tech and a considerable budget, the filmmaker has assembled a stupendous cast – Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, and Harvey Keitel to name but four – for this tale of trade union official Frank ‘The Irishman’ Sheeran and his ties with the mob. Based on Charles Brandt’s biographical book I Heard You Paint Houses, with a script from Gangs Of New York co-writer Steven Zaillian. Expect it towards the end of the year.

    High Life

    French filmmaker Claire Denis blasts off for an existential sci-fi starring Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche. The plot involves black holes, criminals in space, and sexual experimentation, and early festival word has it that this is a confounding, divisive viewing experience.

    The Nightingale

    The Babadook director Jennifer Kent is back with a period drama-thriller – the grueling tale of a young Irish convict, played by Aisling Francis, who ventures across the Tasmanian wilds with an Aboriginal tracker to seek revenge on Sam Claflin’s violent British officer.

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