The films you mustn’t miss this year

The Herald on Sunday - - FRONT PAGE -

DE­SPITE any num­ber of com­pet­ing at­trac­tions – the glo­ri­ous sum­mer, the World Cup, the con­tin­u­ing rise of Netflix and other stream­ing ser­vices – the UK cinema box-of­fice last year en­joyed its best year since 1971.

It was re­ported in the mid­dle of last month that to­tal cinema ad­mis­sions in 2018 were on course to reach the 176 mil­lion mark.

The end­less ar­gu­ments over Brexit may have played a part, too. In an in­ter­view with Screen Daily, the on­line home of Screen In­ter­na­tional, Phil Clapp, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the UK Cinema As­so­ci­a­tion, which rep­re­sents the in­ter­ests of more than 90% of UK cinema op­er­a­tors, spoke of “the feel­good fac­tor and the need to get away from watch­ing the coun­try tear it­self apart on the nightly news”.

Tom Li­nay, head of film at UK cinema ad­ver­tis­ing agency DCM, told Screen Daily that mu­si­cals, and films with a strong mu­sic com­po­nent, were cur­rently hav­ing a “golden pe­riod ... Peo­ple get swept up in that genre more than any other type of film and, as a re­sult, they’re huge”.

And for the year just be­gun? There is a com­pelling slate of films to look out for, from Frozen 2, the Dis­ney se­quel to the 2013 orig­i­nal, which grossed $1.2 bil­lion at the world­wide box of­fice, to Cap­tain Mar­vel, star­ring Brie Lar­son in Mar­vel’s first fe­maleled su­per­hero film.

Nearly four years af­ter his most re­cent film, The Hate­ful Eight, Quentin Tarantino re­turns with Once Upon A Time In Hol­ly­wood, in which Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt play an ac­tor and his stunt dou­ble in Los An­ge­les in 1969. The back­drop in­cludes the no­to­ri­ous mass mur­der of ac­tress Sharon Tate and four other peo­ple.

Tom Hooper, who scored ma­jor box-of­fice suc­cesses with The King’s Speech and Les Mis­er­ables, will re­turn to­wards the end of the year with a big-screen adap­ta­tion of the mu­si­cal Cats, with a cast that in­cludes James Cor­den, Dame Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hud­son, Sir Ian McKellen and Tay­lor Swift.

Star Wars: Episode IX, di­rected by JJ Abrams, will surely be one of the big­gest films of the year; Avengers: Endgame is al­ready stir­ring ex­cited spec­u­la­tion among fans of the fran­chise; and Pixar is bring­ing out the fourth in­stal­ment of Toy Story – 24 years af­ter first in­tro­duc­ing us to Woody and Buzz.

And, talk­ing of fam­ily movies, two of the year’s most an­tic­i­pated re­leases spring from ever-pop­u­lar Dis­ney an­i­ma­tions: Tim Bur­ton’s take on Dumbo, fea­tur­ing Michael Keaton, Eva Green, Colin Far­rell and Danny DeVito along­side a com­put­er­gen­er­ated ele­phant; and Jon Favreau’s The Lion King stars Don­ald Glover, Seth Ro­gen, James Earl Jones, Chi­we­tel Ejio­for and Bey­once.

Here we look at some of the most in­trigu­ing films over the next 12 months.

This is def­i­nitely a year when the block­busters are queu­ing up to smash the box of­fice. Main pic­ture: Toy Story 4; left, from top: Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time in Hol­ly­wood, live-ac­tion Dumbo, com­plete with CGI ele­phant, megase­quel Frozen 2; right: Brie Lar­son lead­ing the way in su­per­hero flick, Cap­tain Mar­vel

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