Cinema, like sport, can be a little difficult to predict so far in advance; that’s why everyone loves to read back and laugh at the pre-season predictions from the so-called experts once the season has come to a close and their predicted title winner has been relegated.
With that chilling vision in mind, I’ve picked out some of the films that I think will be the cinematic highlights from 2019 – now save this prediction, and watch all of them end up nominated for Worst Picture at next year’s Razzie Awards.
Almost certainly nailed on to be the most successful film of 2019 financially (and probably my favourite, too) Avengers: Endgame will be the culmination of 11 years of tireless planning for Marvel, and quite possibly, the final appearances of Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America and Chris Hemsworth as Thor.
Forming a conclusion to the explosive, world-halving storyline of 2018’s Infinity War, Endgame is sure to be an all-action superhero blockbuster, as well as being equal parts funny and upsetting.
Expect big roles from Ant-Man, Hawkeye and the as yet unseen Brie Larson as Captain Marvel this time around as the Avengers come head to head with the titan Thanos for the last time.
The reign of Thanos will come to an end on the 26th of April, 2019.
The Lion King/Aladdin
Aladdin, Dumbo and The Lion King will all get the live-action remake treatment in 2019, but I’ve ignored Tim Burton’s elephant tale for my best of 2019 list.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Snatch. Aladdin.
When you think of the first two on that short list, your mind almost certainly doesn’t jump to the third – yet that’s what Disney have done, as they are banking on the man most famous for Cockney gangsters, Madonna and Vinnie Jones, Guy Ritchie, to re-invent one of their greatest animated accomplishments. Will Smith is taking on the unenviable task of filling the space in the lamp left behind by Robin Williams, while Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott will take the leading roles of Aladdin and Jasmine, respectively. As things stand, details from the film are scarce (although an Entertainment Weekly cover recently gave the first look at Smith’s Genie, which was met with ridicule) but no matter how bad it is perceived to be, it is sure to make the House of Mouse a lot of money.
The Lion King is arriving on much surer pawed footing – directed by Jon Favreau, the director behind the first Iron Man as well as the recent live-action remake of The Jungle Book, it also boasts an incredible voice-cast which includes Beyoncé, Donald Glover, Seth Rogen and James Earl Jones, who returns as Mufasa once more. The trailer had over 220 million hits within the first 24 hours of it’s release, making it the second most watched trailer within that time period at the time, and has every chance of becoming Disney’s biggest live-action remake financially. One thing is for certain – there will be new generations of fans having their childhood’s ruined by Scar all over again.
Aladdin will be released on May 24th, 2019 while The Lion King comes out on the 19th of July.
IT: Chapter Two
Finally, an anidote to the musicals and superhero smash-em-ups; the sequel to 2017’s biggest horror film, and the menacing return of Pennywise the Clown.
This time, we’ll follow the adult members of The Losers’ Club (played by James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain and Bill Hader amongst others) as they return to Derry 27 years after the events of the first film to take on Pennywise once again. It’s got a long way to go to match the runaway success of the original, but with such a talented cast and with another hopefully eerie performance from Bill Skarsgard in the clown suit, IT: Chapter Two hopefully should be able to fill the huge clown shoes that the first one left behind.
IT: Chapter Two will crawl out of Derry’s sewers on the 6th of September, 2019.
Once Upon A Time in Hollywood
This has the potential to be the most polarising film on this list as it takes place around a very difficult event (The Charles Manson murders in Los Angeles, 1969) and has one of the World’s most polarising directors – Quentin Tarantino.
Tarantino’s 9th feature film, and his first since 2015’s The Hateful Eight (which I didn’t enjoy at all and haven’t watched since the cinema), Once Upon A Time in Hollywood will follow a TV actor and his stunt double as they attempt to make it big in the film industry around the same time as the Manson murders are taking place. While we don’t know an awful lot about the premise, the cast speaks for itself – Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie and Al Pacino are just some of the names set to star in the film, with Robbie playing the doomed Sharon Tate, famously murdered by the Manson family.
It’s sure to be a difficult film, but we all know that Tarantino doesn’t like to stray away from tough subject matters, whether it be Nazi’s or slavery. Done well, it could be Tarantino’s best since Inglourious Basterds and could set him up for one last hurrah – the tenth film which he has often said he would retire after.
If it hits the wrong note, it could see a man with such public connections to Harvey Weinstein and on the wrong end of negative headlines surrounding Uma Thurman, hounded out of Hollywood.
Once Upon A Time in Hollywood rides in, possibly on a wave of negative publicity, on the 26th of July.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve even been remotely interested in a DC Comics release (Suicide Squad is one of the worst films I have ever paid money to watch) but I am quietly confident that Joker could be the film that changes everything for DC.
Rather bizarrely directed by The Hangover’s Todd Phillips, better known for slightly sleazy late-night comedies, Joker will be the first ever live-action film based entirely around Batman’s greatest villain and the origin story which sees him become the deranged psychopath that Gotham comes to fear. What makes this iteration so exciting is the casting – the excellent Joaquin Phoenix will take on the title role, and if you have taken on my recommendation to watch You Were Never Really Here, you will understand just why that casting is so perfect. Also featuring, as well as producing, is Robert De Niro – playing a talk show host, who you can’t help but feel will come in contact with Phoenix’s Joker at some point. Joker has a tiny budget for a film based around a comic-book character – $55 million dollars – which suggests there will be less emphasis on action, and more focus on character.
Come the end of the year, Joker could quite easily be yet another DC critical flop in the vein of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice or Justice League – but as long as Phoenix is allowed to do what he’s good at in the titular role, I am confident DC could have a permanent grin painted across their faces come the end of the year.
Joker will arrive in cinemas on October 4th 2019.
Disney’s stranglehold on 2019
Whatever happens in 2019, Disney is sure to make a lot of profit with an incredible roster of films set aside. Over the course of 2019, Disney will release:
Captain Marvel Marvel Studios 8th March 2019
Dumbo Walt Disney Pictures 29th March 2019
Avengers: Endgame Marvel Studios 26th April 2019
Aladdin Walt Disney Pictures 24th May 2019
Toy Story 4 Pixar/Walt Disney Pictures 21st June 2019
Spiderman: Far From Home Marvel Studios 5th July 2019
The Lion King Walt Disney Pictures 19th July 2019
Artemis Fowl Walt Disney Pictures 9th August 2019
Frozen 2 Walt Disney Pictures 22nd November 2019
Star Wars: Episode IX Lucasfilm/Bad Robot 20th December 2019
That means that over the course of 2019, Disney will be releasing sequels to the highest grossing films of 2018 (Avengers: Infinity War), 2017 (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), 2013 (Frozen) and 2010 (Toy Story 3) as well as releasing re-makes of the highest grossing films of 1992 (Aladdin) and 1994 (The Lion King). It’s not unbelievable to think that, given the previous takings that these films have taken, Disney could take in over $10 billion dollars world-wide in 2019.