Stay in and binge watch? Or go out to the movies?
It’s the burning question of our time — at least for movie lovers — and Option No. 2 is proving surprisingly popular. So far, the 2018 box office is about 6 percent ahead of the 2016 record of $11.3 billion in domestic ticket sales. Credit goes to such major hits as the near-wordless horror film “A Quiet Place,” Marvel’s record-breaking “Black Panther” and the $1.2 billion monster “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” More recently, Tom Cruise’s acclaimed “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” passed the $500 million mark, while “Crazy Rich Asians” met with a better-than-expected $35 million opening weekend.
With blockbuster season behind us, though, and the chilly months of fall and winter ahead, what else will Hollywood offer to lure movie fans out of their Netflix-connected houses?
The answer? Plenty. With most of the attention-hogging movies out of the way, there’s more room in the second half of 2018 for new stars, original stories and smart concepts to flourish. Tiffany Haddish, of “Girls Trip,” makes her next splash in a comedy with Kevin Hart; Ryan Gosling and his “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle are back with a space-race saga; Viola Davis leads a female cast in the crime thriller “Widows”; and in a case of uncanny timing, the political drama “Front Runner” casts Hugh Jackman as Gary Hart, the 1988 presidential hopeful whose dreams were dashed by news of an extramarital affair.
Here are 27 movies that could make 2018 a box-office bonanza.
'The Predator' (Sept. 14)
The Arnold Schwarzenegger classic from 1987 gets an update, and a “The,” from director Shane Black. With Olivia Munn and Sterling K. Brown.
'A Simple Favor' (Sept. 14)
Henry Golding, of “Crazy Rich Asians,” and Anna Kendrick star in a noirish mystery about a woman looking for her missing best friend (Blake Lively). Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”) directs.
'White Boy Rick' (Sept. 14)
The story of Rick Wershe Jr. (Richie Merritt), a Detroit street kid with criminal connections who, though barely in his teens, reportedly became a valuable FBI informant. With Matthew McConaughey.
'Bel Canto' (Sept. 14)
An opera performance in a South American country turns into a hostage situation. Julianne Moore and Ken Watanabe star in this long-awaited adaptation of Ann Patchett’s novel.
'Night School' (Sept. 28)
Tiffany Haddish, the breakout sensation of “Girls Trip,” stars alongside Kevin Hart in this comedy about high-school dropouts trying to get their GEDs.
'The Old Man & The Gun' (Sept. 28)
Robert Redford, in what is reportedly his goodbye performance, plays Forrest Tucker, a real-life career criminal and prison escape artist. With Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek and Danny Glover.
'A Star is Born' (Oct. 5)
The fourth version of this show-biz fable finds Lady Gaga stepping into a role played previously by Janet Gaynor, Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand. Gaga plays a talented but struggling singer, Ally, who falls for a famous country star and then begins to eclipse his fame. “A Star Is Born” not only marks Gaga’s first leading film role, it’s also the directorial debut of Bradley Cooper, who plays the hard-drinking Jackson Maine. Featuring live recordings of Gaga’s original songs, this update of an 80-year-old property could become a hit all over again.
'Venom' (Oct. 5)
A journalist (Tom Hardy) shares his body with what looks like a snake-lizard-virus creature in this Sony-Marvel superhero entry.
'Bad Times at the El Royale' (Oct. 12)
Seven strangers gather at a Lake Tahoe hotel for what proves to be an action-filled evening. Written and directed by Drew Goddard (“The Cabin in the Woods”). With Chris Hemsworth and Dakota Johnson.
'First Man' (Oct. 12)
Ryan Gosling and his “La La Land” director, Damien Chazelle, reteam for this film about Neil Armstrong’s preparation for the Apollo 11 moon mission in 1969.
'Halloween' (Oct. 19)
A sequel to John Carpenter’s landmark 1978 slasher film, with Jamie Lee Curtis returning as onetime baby sitter Laurie Strode. David Gordon Green (“Pineapple Express”) directs.
'The Hate U Give' (Oct. 19)
A black teenager at a mostly white prep school finds her dual identity tested when she witnesses a police shooting. Based on the young-adult novel. With Amandla Stenberg and Regina Hall.
'Bohemian Rhapsody' (Nov. 2)
Rami Malek, of television’s “Mr. Robot,” plays Freddie Mercury, the flamboyant singer of the muscular rock band Queen. Bryan Singer, of the “X-Men” franchise, was replaced during production but retains sole credit as director.
'The Nutcracker and the Four Realms' (Nov. 2)
Disney’s version of the classic E.T.A. Hoffman tale stars Mackenzie Foy as Clara, a girl searching for a one-of-a-kind key in a parallel world.
'The Front Runner' (Nov. 7)
Hugh Jackman plays charismatic politician Gary Hart, whose hopes for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination were destroyed by news of an extramarital affair. With Vera Farmiga and J.K. Simmons. Jason Reitman directs.
'The Girl in the Spider’s Web' (Nov. 9)
A reboot of the dark mystery franchise (based on Stieg Larsson’s novels) with Claire Foy replacing Rooney Mara as the Gothy hacker Lisbeth Salander.
'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald' (Nov. 16)
Not even a Change.org petition could stop Johnny Depp from returning as the title villain in this sequel. Also back are Eddie Redmayne as magizoologist Newt Scamander, Katherine Waterston as wizarding cop Tina Goldstein and Dan Fogler as plain old Jacob Kowalski.
'Widows' (Nov. 16)
Four women whose late husbands left them in crime-related debt decide to pull a job of their own. With Viola Davis and Michelle Rodriguez. Directed by Steve McQueen and written by Gillian Flynn.
'Ralph Breaks the Internet' (Nov. 21)
In this animated sequel to “Wreck-It Ralph,” two video game misfits go in search of a replacement part. With the voices of John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman.
'Second Act' (Nov. 21)
Jennifer Lopez returns to the comedy genre as Maya, an underemployed 40-year-old who uses a phony resume to land a plum gig at a Madison Avenue agency.
'Creed II' (Nov. 21)
In 2015, Sylvester Stallone gave his seventh “Rocky” movie, “Creed,” to a team of rising African-American talents: actor Michael B. Jordan, who played the son of Rocky’s rival Apollo Creed, and director Ryan Coogler, of “Fruitvale Station.” The result was a critical and commercial smash, and one that surely helped lay the box-office groundwork for “Black Panther” (another Coogler-Jordan collaboration). Expectations for this sequel are high: Steven Caple Jr. takes on directing duties while Jordan’s Creed battles the son of “Rocky IV” villain Ivan Drago.
'Mary Poppins Returns' (Dec. 19)
The magical nanny heeds the call of a new generation of Banks children in this sequel to the Disney classic. Tampering with such a much-loved movie is always a gamble, but the casting of Emily Blunt in the Julie Andrews role seems like a good start, and surely Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Jack, a London lamplighter, will have a better British accent than Dick Van Dyke’s Bert. With proven talents like director Rob Marshall (“Chicago”) and Broadway composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman on board, Disney is clearly hoping this holiday release will be practically perfect in every way.
'Bumblebee' (Dec. 21)
In 1987, a California girl (Hailee Steinfeld) discovers a Volkswagen Bug that is clearly more than meets the eye.
'Aquaman' (Dec. 21)
The king of the undersea nation Atlantis (Jason Momoa) anchors his first stand-alone film. James Wan, of the horror film “Saw,” directs.
'Holmes & Watson' (Dec. 21)
Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly of “Talladega Nights” and “Step Brothers” reteam as the famous sleuthing duo.
'Welcome to Marwen' (Dec. 21)
A traumatized man finds self-expression in an unusual art form: elaborate dioramas with Mattel-style dolls. With Steve Carell and Leslie Mann. Robert Zemeckis directs. Based on a true story.
'On the Basis of Sex' (Dec. 25)
Felicity Jones plays a pre-Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg as she works on a landmark case for women’s rights. With Armie Hammer and Kathy Bates.