The best films to make sure you catch on the big screen in 2018

The Darkest Hour, The Post, Phantom Thread, Early Man. Photos: Focus Features/Universal/Aardman

The Darkest Hour, The Post, Phantom Thread, Early Man. Photos: Focus Features/Universal/Aardman - Credit: Focus Features/Universal/Aardman

Mary Poppins, Han Solo, the Mamma Mia ensemble and a host of Marvel superheros are among the famous characters due to return to the big screen in 2018. Simon Parkin highlights some of the films that will have us heading to cinemas this year.

Mary Poppins Returns, Avengers: Infinity War, Isle of Dogs, Three Billboards Outside Of Ebbing Misso

Mary Poppins Returns, Avengers: Infinity War, Isle of Dogs, Three Billboards Outside Of Ebbing Missouri. Photos: Disney/Marvel/Fox Searchlight Pictures - Credit: Disney/Marvel/Fox Searchlight Pictures


Darkest Hour

January 12

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Gary Oldman is utterly transformed and Oscar-worthy as Winston Churchill in Joe Wright's gripping retelling of the days after he becomes Prime Minister in May 1940 and is thrust into a baptism of fire.

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Three Billboards Outside Of Ebbing Missouri

January 12

Frances McDormand as a foul-mouthed, tough-as-nails grieving mother, Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson are at their best in this blistering pitch-black comedy from Martin McDonagh (In Bruges) that has been getting rave reviews.

The Post

January 19

Steven Spielberg directs Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks in drama about the unlikely partnership between The Washington Post's Katharine Graham and editor Ben Bradlee. All three are Golden Globe nominated for film garnering Oscar buzz.


January 19

Pixar goes Mexican for its latest animation about 12-year-old guitarist Miguel who dreams of becoming a musician and sets out to confronted with his family's ancestral ban on music, enters the Land of the Dead to find his great-great-grandfather, a legendary singer


January 24

Shades of Charlie Kaufman to writer-director Alexander Payne's quirky story of a couple (Kristen Wiig and Matt Damon) who decide to take the plunge when scientists discover a way to shrink humans to live in utopian villages. However, downsizing has unexpected downsides.

Last Flag Flying

January 26

Richard Linklater follows his much acclaimed Boyhood with this road movie and knowing tribute to Hal Ashby's 1973 classic The Last Detail, with Steve Carell looking for his buddy Sal (Bryan Cranston), whom he hasn't seen since the Vietnam War.

Early Man

January 26

Wallace and Gromit creators animate the story of caveman Dug (voiced by Eddie Redmayne), and his best friend, Hognob. The film marks the long-awaited return of four-time Oscar winner Nick Park, first feature since 2008.


Phantom Thread

February 2

Oscar-magnet Daniel Day-Lewis, in supposedly his final film appearance, teams up again with director Paul Thomas Anderson to play a celebrated couturier at the centre of the 1950s London fashion world, who, seeking only companionship and inspiration, meets a lowly hotel waitress.

The Mercy

February 9

Man On Wire director James Marsh helms this biopic of yachtsman Donald Crowhurst's disastrous attempt to win the 1968 Golden Globe Race that ends up with him creating an outrageous account of travelling the world alone by sea. Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz star.

The 15:17 to Paris

February 9

He may be 87 but Clint Eastwood is back directing this thriller based on a thwarted terrorist attack on a French train in 2015, that follows three Americans en route to Paris who overpowered an Islamist terrorist.

Black Panther

February 16

One of the most eagerly anticipated comic book films of the year starring Chadwick Boseman in the title role as Marvel's first black superhero who returns to his isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to succeed to the throne.

The Shape of Water

February 16

Guillermo del Toro's dreamy cold war fantasy emerged as the frontrunner for the Oscars after picking up a total of seven nominations for the 75th Golden Globes Sally Hawkins plays a mute cleaner at a governmental research facility who falls in love with a captured sea creature.

Lady Bird

February 16

Frances Ha star Greta Gerwig's very idiosyncratic directorial debut is this Oscar-tipped semi-autobiographical coming-of-age drama starring Saoirse Ronan as a spirited 17-year-old who yearns to escape Sacramento.

I, Tonya

February 20

Margot Robbie plays disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding in real life story of how, with her ex-husband, she hired someone to break the leg of a competitor with a hammer.


Red Sparrow

March 2

Jennifer Lawrence plays a ballerina turned Russian spy who falls for a CIA officer and is forced against her will to become a trained seductress and double agent.

You Were Never Really Here

March 9

British director Lynne Ramsay dark, brutal adaptation of Jonathan Ames's novel with a bulked up Joaquin Phoenix channelling Travis Bickle to play Joe, a hit-man hired to free Nina (Ekaterina Samsonov) from a pedophile ring.

The Square

March 16

Force Majeure director Ruben Östlund's Cannes Palme d'Or winning satire about an art museum curator who falls down a rabbit hole of bizarre consequences after he seeks revenge for a mugging.

Mary Magdalene

March 16

Rooney Mara takes on the role the woman who followed Jesus, witnessed the crucifixion but became known as a fallen woman, in Lion director Garth Davis Bibical film. Joaquin Phoenix plays Jesus and Chiwetel Ejiofor is Peter.

Tomb Raider

March 16

Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander takes on the role that made Angelina Jolie a superstar. This time Lara Croft leaves everything to search for her eccentric adventurer father's last-known destination before he disappeared - a tomb on a mythical island off the coast of Japan.

Peter Rabbit

March 16

An animation-live action hybrid nominally based on the 115-year-old Beatrix Potter character, voiced by James Corden. Potter famously refused to sell the Peter Rabbit rights to Walt Disney, so whether she'd approve is doubtful.

Ready Player One

March 30

Steven Spielberg directs this futurist adventure based on the sci-fi scavenger-hunt novel by Ernest Cline. Tye Sheridan plays a teen in 2045, when the world has become a ruin due to overpopulation and economic collapse.

Isle of Dogs

March 30

Wes Anderson returns to quirky stop-motion animation for the first time since Fantastic Mr Fox with story of five dogs quarantined on a remote island in the Japan until a boy shows up looking for his dog, and they agree to help.



April 6

Julianne Moore stars in Todd Haynes's dreamy adaptation of Brian Selznick's novel centred on two stories in different historical times about hearing-impaired kids who run away from home, heading for the bright lights of the big city.

Avengers: Infinity War

April 27

After 17 films, the Marvel universe finally gets the long awited superhero showdown as heroes of the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy team up to battle Thanos in the biggest Marvel movie to date.

A Star Is Born

May 18

Lady Gaga steps into the shoes of Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand for a new version, the directorial debut for Bradley Cooper. Gaga has a Golden Globe for her role in American Horror Story: Hotel but will have some big shoes to fill in the retelling of the 1937 classic.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

May 25

Let's face it any new Star Wars film is a big deal. This latest spin-off will tell the origin story of anarchic pilot Han Solo, played by Alden Ehrenreich. While the plot is kept a closely guarded secret, it is known that he will be joined in a galaxy far, far away by Game Of Thrones star Emilia Clarke.

Deadpool 2

June 1

Ryan Reynolds will be back behind the mask in his second outing as the Marvel stable's gonzo superhero and biggest loudmouth, following up the surprise success of the original.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

June 7

The first rebooted devoured the box office, can the second chapter in a planned Jurassic World trilogy follow suit? The cast is familiar – with a recall for Chris Pratt's affable raptor-whisperer and Jeff Goldblum's rock-star mathematician.

Ocean's 8

June 22

An all-female Ocean's Eleven sequel, starring Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, Sarah Paulson and Helen Bonham Carter. The heist film centres around a plot to steal jewellery from the Met Gala.


The Incredibles 2

July 13

After a 14-year wait Pixar finally sees the covert superhero family back in the red spandex and repelling another global threat. Holly Hunter's butt-kicking domestic goddess Elastigirl is said to be the focus this time round.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

July 20

The long-awaited return to the Greek islands, 10 years after the original blockbuster musical. This prequel centres on Meryl Streep's character when she was younger, now played by Lily James. The core cast all return alongside newcomers including Cher.

Mission: Impossible 6

July 27

Tom Cruise back as lethal espionage agent Ethan Hunt once more. Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson and Alec Baldwin are all back from mission five and Henry Cavill also stars.

Ant-Man and the Wasp

August 3

Paul Rudd returns as Ant-Man in this sequel to the 2015 Marvel hit. Set after the events of Captain America: Civil War, it sees Scott Lang balancing being a father with being a mite-sized superhero.


Mary, Queen Of Scots

September 14

Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan play opposing royals in historical drama exploring the turbulent life of the charismatic Mary Stuart. Queen of France at 16 and widowed at 18, she sees Scotland fall under the rule of Elizabeth I.

Robin Hood

September 21

There has been no shortage of cinematic takes on Robin Hood and this latest efforts sees Taron Egerton don Lincoln green for that is promised to be a gritty new version.

The Kid Who Would Be A King

September 28

Attack the Block director Joe Cornish helms this fantasy adventure about a band of kids embarking on an epic quest to thwart a medieval menace after the discovery of the mythical sword Excalibur.


October 5

More Marvel mayhem with Tom Hardy playing Spider-Man's nemesis in comic book spin-off. Riz Ahmed and Michelle Williams co-star.

The Jungle Book

October 19

Director Andy Serkis is the latest to turn to Rudyard Kipling's story with live-action adventure starring Rohan Chand as Mowgli and motion capture performances from Serkis, Christian Bale, Benedict Cumberbatch and Cate Blanchett.

The Girl in the Spider's Web

October 26

The Crown's Claire Foy plays Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander who with journalist Mikael Blomkvist find themselves caught in a web of spies, cybercriminals and corrupt government officials.


First Man

November 2

Ryan Gosling teams up again with La La Land director Damien Chazelle to play Neil Armstrong. Timed to anticipate the 50th anniversary of the moon landings, it will start in 1961 and culminate in his one small step on the lunar surface in 1969.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

November 2

Keira Knightley, Mackenzie Foy and Helen Mirren head the cast in this live–action take on E.T.A. Hoffmann's tale, and Tchaikovsky's ballet, about a young girl transported into a magical world of gingerbread soldiers and an army of mice.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

November 2

Jean Grey begins to develop incredible powers that corrupt and turn her into a Dark Phoenix in the latest X-Men outing. Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Nicholas Hoult all return, with Jessica Chastain also joining the cast this time.


November 9

12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen's heist thriller about four women, including Viola Davis and Michelle Rodriguez, who team up to cash in on the failed caper of their late husbands, loosly based on the TV mini-series from the 1980s.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

November 16

The second installment of JK Rowling's sort-of Harry Potter origins series which follows the adventures of Newt Scamander. Eddie Redmayne is back, as is director David Yates, with a script by Rowling.

Mary Poppins Returns

December 25

More than 50 years after Julie Andrews' magical nanny first descended, Emily Blunt revives PL Travers' magical nanny in an umbrella-powered sequel. Support comes from Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Julie Walters and Ben Whishaw.

Bohemian Rhapsody

December 28

Rami Malek brings Freddie Mercury back to life in this troubled biopic of the Queen frontman, now being directed by Dexter Fletcher after Bryan Singer's enforced departure.

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