Ready Player One
Steven Spielberg’s long-awaited big-screen adaptation of Ernest Cliine’s modern sci-fi classic novel is set to arrive in theaters on Mar. 28. The book and film are set in the near future in a time when rampant poverty and chaos have the world’s societies on the brink of collapse. James Halliday (Mark Rylance) is the creator of OASIS, a vast virtual world that has the real world enthralled with the ability to escape into a digital world much like an immersive 3D video game.
Halliday is also the real world’s wealthiest and most powerful person. When he dies, he leaves the virtual world, and its immense wealth and power, to the first player to find an Easter Egg in the virtual environment. Gamers along with government and corporate interests spring into action to sieze control of OASIS and they’ll stop at nothing to win.
Tye Sheridan (“X-Men: Apocolypse”), Olivia Cooke (“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”) and Simon Pegg (“Star Wars”) also star.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard made a splash with 2015’s “Jurassic World,” making Pratt one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars. The pair return to Isla Nubla in June, with director J.A. Bayona at the helm on Jun. 22. This will be Bayona’s first blockbuster. He’s been given a massive $260 million budget (“Jurassic World” had a $150 million budget) so expectations will be high. Jeff Goldblum and B.D Wong also return.
Alita: Battle Angel
Admittedly, this movie made it on the list because of its connections to Austin. Local director Robert Rodriguez and a local crew handled the adaptation of Yukito Kishiro's “Battle Angel Alita” manga. James Cameron and Jon Landau are producing the film, which is set to be released July 20. Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly and Jackie Earl Haley star.
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Spinoffs rarely go as well as “Rogue One.” It was a gamble that paid off big, producing what is now thought of as one of — if not THE — best film in the nine-film Star Wars franchise.
Whether Disney can follow up the success of “Rogue One” with a highly anticipated spinoff delving into the backstory of one of the Star Wars universe’s most beloved characters, Han Solo, remains to be seen. It is, perhaps, an even bigger gamble than “Rogue One,” and is scheduled to be the first of a trilogy set before we first met the character in 1976’s “A New Hope.”
Ron Howard directs and Alden Ehrenreich has the title role. Donald Glover plays Lando Calrissian. Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton and Emilia Clarke round out the cast. The production endured significant reshoots, bringing into question whether it will live up to the hype when released on May 25.
The 15:17 to Paris
Action-dramas involving real-life terrorist plots have been hit-or-miss, often scoring high with critics while failing to turn in big numbers at the box office. Still, Oliver Stone’s “World Trade Center” brought in a respectable $165 million worldwide the Paul Greengrass-directed “United 93” is widely considered one of the best films of 2006, scoring a 91% “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. “United 93” turned a profit, garnering $76.3 million on a $15 million budget.
Here, Clint Eastwood takes on the true story of a three Americans who stopped a terrorist attack on a Paris-bound train from Amsterdam in 2015. The film, due Feb. 9, stars the real-life heroes playing themselves.
That Deadpool was a massive success is unquestionable. The first R-rated comic book superhero-based blockbuster broke numerous records at the box office, racking up more than $750 million against a budget of just $58 million. That success is due largely to the casting of Ryan Reynolds, who for years lobbied to make a movie based on the character and campaigned for the lead role.
Like with many sequels, the budget — and expectations — are higher, but writer Paul Wernick has said the budget wouldn’t be astronomically higher than “Deadpool’s” $58 million, because “That wouldn’t be Deadpool.”
Reynolds and Morena Baccarin return, along with MMA star Gina Carano. “Deadpool 2” is due June 1.
The New Mutants
The eleventh installment in the X-Men franchise, due out Apr. 23, will be a departure from the previous ensemble films, this time focusing on a group of children held captive in a secret facility. The film’s trailer plays more like a horror movie than a superhero action story. Josh Boone co-wrote and directs a cast that includes Anya Taylor-Joy (“The Witch”), Maisie Williams (“Game of Thrones”) and Alice Braga (“I am Legend”).
Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”) was a somewhat controversial choice to play Freddie Mercury, the charismatic frontman of the classic rock band Queen. The production has also been spotted with controversy, including the firing of director Bryan Singer most of the way through filming.
Due in theaters on Christmas Day, “Bohemian Rhapsody” focuses on the 15-year period starting with the formation of the band and leading up to their performance at Live Aid in 1985, six years before Mercury’s death due to resulting from complications of AIDS.
A Wrinkle in Time
Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved children’s adventure book is getting a big-screen adaptation, due in theaters Mar 9. Ava DuVernay (“Selma”) directs and Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine star.
Martin Scorcese returns to the world of mobsters with a ready-made cast including Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci in this story of Frank Sheeran, a labor union official with mob ties who recalls his involvement in the slaying of Jimmy Hoffa.
Bobby Cannavale, Harvey Keitel and Anna Paquin also star. A release date for the film, which is set to be released by Netflix, has bounced around and could be late in 2018.