The 2017 Oscar’s are approaching, celebrating the best pieces of cinema released in the last 12 months in Film with what is shaping up to be a 3 way fight between La La Land, Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea. As the rest of the world prepares to celebrate the last year of Cinema, CelebMix takes a look ahead at some of the the most eagerly anticipated upcoming films we should expect to hit our screens in the next 12 months.
Star Wars Episode 8
Star Wars came roaring back to relevance – though it was never really irrelevant to begin with – this time last year, when the eagerly anticipated 7th outing of the Space Opera Saga, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, was released to critical acclaim and commercial success, becoming the second highest grossing film ever. The 8th episode – which is as yet untitled, though given the title of The Force Awakens was announced approximately a year before its release date, we could expect the same from Episode 8 any time now – will be directed by Rian Johnson, director of Looper, with The Force Awakens director J J Abrams staying on board as a producer. Not much is known about the plot, though it is assumed Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker will play a much bigger part this time around, after making little more than a cameo in The Force Awakens. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscaar Isaac have been confirmed as returning, as has Adam Driver, with new additions in the form of Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benico Del Toro. Again, their roles are shrouded in secrecy, but before the official announcement of Del Toro’s casting was made, it had been long rumoured he would be on board as an antagonist.
The film will mark the last Cinematic appearance of the late great Carrie Fisher, returning once again in the iconic role of General Leia Organa.
The last film ended on a bit of a cliff hanger, so expect as much, if not more, hype to be surrounding the second instalment, and queues around the block for tickets!
There’s still a long way to wait just yet, though, as the film is not scheduled for release until December 15th, having previously been pushed back from its original date of May 26th to ensure that Star Wars and the Star Wars spin off films, like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story released later this month, dominate the December box-office for the next few years.
An Abundance of Comic Book Movies
Despite worries that the Comic Book Movie trend that has dominated the box office in recent years might be coming to an end, the Super Hero movie seems to still be in style. No fewer than Six major Comic Book adaptations will be released next year, and though chances are that Star Wars 8 will be the biggest film of 2017, it is in this category you will find its biggest competition.
After an appearance in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman will be making her Solo Cinematic Debut on June 2nd after decades of being a Pop Cultural icon, whilst Thor will be back for his third outing in Thor: Ragnarok, released November 3rd. This being Wonder Woman’s first outing will surely guarantee success, given that she is that all too rare of an occurrence – a prominent, well known Super Hero who has yet to make it to Cinemas – and any audience fatigue for Thor will be fended off by his joining up with Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk in the film, after both The Hulk and Chris Hemsworth’s Thor were noticeably absent from 2016’s mega-hit Captain America: Civil War.
Despite a negative reaction upon release for his eagerly awaited Batman Vs Superman film, and the complicated financing system surrounding the film industry meaning it didn’t make as much money as expected (the film grossed 800 Million on a 200 Million dollar budget, but with Cinema chains keeping on approximate average 50% of ticket sales, and with an additionally 200 million approximated to have been spent on marketing and advertising, many analysts say the film will just about have broken even), Zach Snyder is back directing Justice League, the first of 2 parts being release on November 17th. This one might seem more of a risk given Batman vs Superman under performed (Warner Bros. were surely expecting to gross over a Billion, at least, as Disney did with its own Super-Hero-Super-Group The Avengers in 2012), but the novelty of some of the most iconic Super Heroes of all time joining together not to fight each other but a common enemy, could propel it to success. On the downside, after 2 Avengers film, one Suicide Squad and a Captain America: Civil War that all explored similar concepts, Justice League might be too little, too late, though it is worth being excited for regardless!
Hugh Jackman will make his final appearance as Wolverine in Logan, expected March 3rd, James Gunn will return with the sequel to the most surprising of Marvel’s mega hits, The Guardians of the Galaxy on May 5th, and July 7th will see a new take on Spiderman, the first as a Marvel Property, when Spiderman: Home Coming hit screens.
If that doesn’t float your boat, then an animated adaptation of the kids book Captain Underpants will also hit screens next year, courtesy of Dreamworks Animation, with release scheduled for June 2nd. That totally counts as a Super Hero Movie, right?
The line up of Comic Book films to be released in 2017 is unprecedented in its strength, and it’s unlikely that any will fail, but with such high expectations before them, each and every one of them has the potential to under perform.
Beauty and the Beast
When the first full length trailer for this Live Action Adaptation of Disney’s animated classic – the latest in the trend – was released last month, it managed to beat out both “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Fifty Shades of Grey” for the record of most watched movie trailer within a single 24 hour period. The trailer was watched an enormous 127.6 million times within the first day, beating “Fifty Shades of Grey” by over 10 million views!
“Beauty and the Beast” stars Emma Watson and Dan Stevens as the two titular characters, and has enlisted the voice talents of Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Emma Thompson and Sir Ian McKellan.
Judging by the trailers and posters released thus far, it appears that the film is toeing the line between familiar and new; there have been minor, noticeable difference made to the visual aspects of the characters so as to make it a little bit more than a live action copy of the original, but without moving so far away as to become unrecognisable.
The film is set for release in March of next year.
Originally conceived as a sequel to the divisive “Alien” prequel “Prometheus”, Alien: Covenant hopes to further bridge the gap between the prequel and the first film of the “Alien” franchise. Directed by the legendary Ridley Scott – the man who helmed the original, launched the franchise and then later returned to it with Prometheus – the film takes play closer in time to Prometheus than it does to Alien, with Michael Fassbender’s android David returning as a survivor of the ill fated expedition from Prometheus, alongside Noomi Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw; Rapace’s involvement could be less straight forward than Fassbenders, given that she was originally announced as not being a character in the film, before being added months after the rest of the main cast. Though a sequel to Prometheus, the film serves as a Prequel to Alien, and will explore the origins of the Iconic titular Alien the Xenopmorph. Scott has said that it will be followed by two more sequels before the saga reconnects to the original Alien. Expectations for this one will be high, given it bears the Alien branding, but a fairly mixed reception to Prometheus might dim them somewhat. The production for this film lead to the producers delaying Neil Blomkamp’s Alien sequel, and its reception will likely determine whether it is delayed even further, or pushed in to production at once.
As of right now, Alien: Covenant is set for release on August 4th, 2017.
Blade Runner 2
2017 will be a big year for rebirths of classic 80s films directed by Ridley Scott, as he’s also producing a long rumoured sequel to his cult classic Blade Runner, a high acclaimed piece of cinema many consider to be one of the best films of all time. The book on which the original is based – Do Androids Dream of Electronic Sheep? – has 3 sequels, but it remains to be seen how much they will influence the second film. With Scott on board as an executive producer only, that left the Director’s chair vacant, to be filled by “Sicario” and “Arrival” director Denis Villeneuve. Harrison Ford will reprise his role of Deckard Shaw, though reportedly only in the third act, and is joined by Ryan Gosling and Jared Leto.
Despite an initial 2018 release date, the film was brought forward for a late 2017 premier.
Zac Efron is a bit of an all rounder, showing his skills in musicals and drama throughout his career, but in the last few years taking ample opportunity to show himself off in comedy roles. Baywatch will continue that comedy streak. Starring alongside Dwayne Johnson…the film seems to have taken a bit of a different tone to the original Baywatch series, but promises an abundance of topless Zac Efron, which is surely to be a draw in itself. 2016 was not a good year for comedy, with even “Ghostbusters” – the highest grossing comedy of the year – being deemed a flop, so “Baywatch” could struggle, however even though the 3 comedies in which Zac Efron starred this year can be said to have under performed, they all made a healthy profit. The key to “Baywatch” finding success could be budget – the main problem with “Ghostbusters” was that a healthy gross was undermined by extensive production and marketing costs in an effort to launch a franchise, so that a gross of $229 million that would have saw huge profit margins for most other comedies of the year meant that it, when all is taken in to account, “Ghostbusters” likely made a loss.
If “Baywatch” manages to keep to a more prudent, reasonable budget, and delivers enough laughs in the first trailer to stir excitement, then this film could fare better than most other comedies.
Produced by Ivan Reitman – the director of the original Ghostbusters and many other classic or cult comedies – and directed by Seth Gordon, an accomplished TV comedy director with a string of Movie comedies to his name, “Baywatch” could prove to be better than expected when its released on May 19th.
With “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2”, “Bad Santa 2” and “Zoolander 2” all proving that long awaited sequels to well received comedies can easily flop or under perform no matter how beloved they are, then the producers of “T2:Trainspotting” could be justified in feeling a little anxious ahead of the release of the anticipated sequel to “Trainspotting”, which hits screens in the UK on January 27th, 2017. However, with Oscar Winning Director Danny Boyle back at the helm, and a well received first trailer, it’s looking very likely that this is one comedy sequel that won’t under perform. A strong UK audience would be enough for this film to make a profit, and it is likely it will have that. Overseas it will likely fare less well, but the key for this film is not in how much profit it makes (so long as it doesn’t make a loss), but how well it adheres to the legacy of a beloved film now widely regarded as one of the best in British Cinema History.
Chris Nolan has proved himself to be one of the leading directors of his generation; there is not a bad film in his repertoire, but an abundance of greats. The man that relaunched Batman and brought us modern masterpieces like “Inception” and Interstellar” often finds his films amongst the years bests, and there’s no reason to believe that historical epic “Dunkirk” will be any different. They say every great director will make a war film, and this is Nolan’s. One of the most revered film makers of our time making a War Movie (a genre which is in itself “Oscar Bait”) is enough to generate a premature Oscar Buzz around the movie that won’t die out until the 2018 Oscar Nominations either rule it out, or make it a firm favourite, but its release date – July 19th – is a peculiar one for a film that seemed an Oscar Shoo-in. It is the perfect placement for a war epic that hopes to dominate the Summer blockbusters, but a release date later in the year – even late Summer – would have been ideal for an Oscar campaign; see “Fury” and this years “Hacksaw Ridge”, which had Oscar Season release dates in hopes to acquire a nomination. The fact that it has shunned a late Summer and Oscar Season release could suggest that the producers won’t pursue Oscar Nominations and that “Dunkirk” is more of a big scale blockbuster than Oscar Worthy Drama (Like it or not, the two are rarely mutually exclusive.) – either that or they think that they can have their cake and eat it too – not adhere to the typical Oscar Race in favour of a lucrative summer release, but still hope to have a chance of winning come award season – and with Nolan at the helm, that is entirely possible. See; Oscar Winning War Epic “Saving Private Ryan” (Released in July, too), or last years Oscar Race Dark Horse “Mad Max: Fury Road” (Released in May), which took home 6 Oscar’s, the most of the night.
However, a shift in release date is also possible, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see a 1 or 2 month delay in the films release.
The film has cast some big names, including Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy and Kenneth Brannagh, however it is One Direction star Harry Styles that has gotten the most headlines. One could assume he had been given his role purely for his fame and his ability to lure an an audience atypical for this kind of film, but Christopher Nolan is not that kind of director. With that in mind, it is fairly safe to say that Harry Styles was cast on his talent and ability, and the prospect of seeing this natural showman transition from stage to screen is an exciting one all on its own.
Murder on the Orient Express
Kenneth Branagh has managed to cement himself a reputation not just as one of the best British actors, but as a leading British Director, too, and he aims to display his talents at both in next years “Murder on the Orient Express”, in which he will star as the iconic Belgian detective Hercule Poirot undertaking his most famous case. Based on the most famous novel of British Murder Mystery writer Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express should be a more glamorous, stylish and quirky affair than the tense, nail-biting thrillers with which this genre is usually approached.
The film, set to be released on November 22nd, has yet to see a trailer released, but Branagh has recruited a stellar ensemble, including Star Wars star Daisy Ridley, Oscar Winner Cate Blanchett, Golden Globe award winning Olivia Coleman, Golden Globe winner Michelle Pfeiffer, Sir Derek Jacobi and Dame Judi Dench.
The Space Between Us
Asa Butterfield is one of the most exciting young actors in the business. Combine that with the exciting concept of a kid born on Mars making his first journey to Earth in his late teenage years, and The Space Between us could prove to be one of the best, and most unique, films of the year. The films trailer sets it up to be a film full of heart, soul and, hopefully, humour. The trailer shows a film that is visually striking and potentially life affirming, presenting itself as thoughtful and philosophical, but not to heavy on the hard hitting dramatic elements.
Britt Robertson stars opposite Butterfield, with Gary Oldman and B.D. Wong also in the cast, and Youtube Personality Joey Graceffa also making a cameo!
The Space Between Us will hit theatres on February 3rd.
Of course, we’re not suggesting that these are the only movies worth getting excited about for 2017; in fact, the year is shaping up to be a pretty awesome year for cinema, the best of the rest including a new Planet of the Apes film – whose trailer received a hugely positive reception, Kong: Skull Island, Lego Batman, John Wick 2, A new version of The Mummy, Tulip Fever, a follow up to 2014’s surprise hit Kingsman, Ghost in the Shell, World War Z 2, Cars 3, and a long awaited adaptation to the Stephen King novel The Dark Tower.
What movies are you looking forward to most this year? Let us know on Twitter @CelebMix