Since reinventing the way people watch television, Netflix has become a real power player in the motion picture business. They’ve made an effort to acquire the rights to ambitious independent films and, more importantly, to produce original films of their own. Each year, they release a handful of carefully-chosen theatrical-quality movies onto their streaming service. Several past titles have earned rave reviews, big buzz in the film community, and millions of subscribers eagerly pressing the “play” button. Some of their most popular works include Beasts of No Nation, Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday, and Okja.
Next year is shaping up to be another banner one for Netflix. Their 2018 slate is filled with new projects from big stars and major directors. All kinds of genres are covered. They’ve got intense dramas, action pictures, comedies, sci-fi, a Western, and more. To help you prepare for those twelve months of movie-viewing, we’ve got the lowdown on what they’ll be offering to stream. Keep in mind that releases are subject to change, so there’s always a possibility that one of these could move up or be pushed back. Otherwise, get ready to generate some excitement for an impressive line-up. And if, for some reason, you don’t already have Netflix, you might want to get on that.
Here are 15 Netflix Original Movies You Didn’t Know Were Coming In 2018.
15. The Irishman
In what may well be the most impressive Netflix original movie news to date, the service announced that legendary director Martin Scorsese will be making his next film, The Irishman, exclusively for them. It’s the story of mob hitman Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, who is alleged to have been involved in one of America’s most infamous unsolved mysteries: the disappearance and death of Jimmy Hoffa.
Scorsese has an all-star cast, including Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, and Harvey Keitel. He even convinced Joe Pesci to come out of retirement for a role. Netflix is helping to pony up the reported $100 million budget, some of which will be used on a CGI process to make DeNiro look several decades younger. Of course, Scorsese is notoriously exacting in getting his final cut just right, so there’s a chance that he’ll miss the planned 2018 release date. If he makes it, though, The Irishman could end up being the cinematic event of the year.
14. The Babysitter
The Babysitter has the kind of wacky premise that makes you sit up and take notice. It’s the story of a lonely 12-year-old boy who develops a serious crush on his super-attractive babysitter. One evening, he decides to spy on her, only to make the horrifying discovery that she’s a member of a satanic cult. Even more troubling is that her cult wants to kill him.
Bella Thorne will play the hot babysitter in the movie, which also stars Leslie Bibb, Ash vs Evil Dead‘s Samara Weaving, and The Flash‘s Robbie Amell. This off-kilter comedic thriller, which Netflix picked up after New Line Cinema put it into turnaround, is directed by McG, the man who brought us the Charlie’s Angels pictures and Terminator Salvation. As of press time, no specific release date has yet been announced. We just know it’s on the 2018 slate. Whenever it starts streaming, we’ll be eagerly watching to see how this crazy story plays out.
Cargo looks as though it’s going to be a post-apocalyptic story with some heart and intelligence, set in rural Australia in the wake of a devastating pandemic. Martin Freeman plays an infected father who, knowing that he only has about 48 hours to live, desperately seeks to find a safe new home for his infant daughter.
The movie, which comes from the producers of The Babadook, is based on a short film that garnered over 13 million views on YouTube. (You can watch that short right here.) Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke are returning as directors. Perhaps the most appealing aspect, though, is the participation of Freeman. He’s an unusual choice to star in a genre picture of this sort, and his immense talents should help maximize the plot’s drama-heavy approach.
12. Game Over, Man!
If you’re a fan of the TV series Workaholics, you’ll definitely want to catch Game Over, Man! when it premieres on April 20. It’s from the same creative team, including director Kyle Newacheck. The movie is about three friends who have come up with a killer idea for a video game. They’re close to securing the financing when trouble strikes. The person who was going to invest in their game is kidnapped by terrorists. Guess who tries to save him?
Adam DeVine, Anders Holm, and Blake Anderson bring their unique chemistry to Game Over, Man! The supporting cast includes Neal McDonough, Aya Cash, and Sugar Lyn Beard. It’s safe to say that the film will contain the same sort of off-the-wall humor that has made Workaholics such a success, while also allowing the team to work on a slightly bigger canvas. If you can’t wait until April, you can go ahead and peep the trailer now.
11. The Kissing Booth
Joey King is a rising teen actress who you may have seen in pictures like Going in Style, The Conjuring, and Wish Upon. It’s a small stroke of genius to pair her up with one of the all-time great cinematic teen queens, Molly Ringwald. The two will star in The Kissing Booth, an adaptation of Beth Reekle’s young adult novel of the same name.
King plays a 16-year-old girl who has never kissed a boy. Her fate changes when she ends up manning the kissing booth at a carnival. There, she gets the chance to plant one on her longtime crush, who also happens to be her best friend’s brother. The story documents what happens afterward, as things don’t turn out quite as magically as she thought they would. Ringwald plays Mrs. Flynn, the mother of her friend and would-be suitor. Although aimed at teens, The Kissing Booth‘s clever casting may well draw some curious adults, too.
10. The Land of Steady Habits
Nicole Holofcenter has established herself as one of the most interesting voices on the independent film scene. Among her acclaimed works are Walking and Talking and the Julia Louis-Dreyfus/James Gandolfini romantic comedy Enough Said. She has also done some significant television work, directing episodes of shows as diverse as Parks and Recreation, Gilmore Girls, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Holofcenter’s Netflix movie, The Land of Steady Habits, is about a fifty-something man (Rogue One‘s Ben Mendelsohn) who experiences a midlife crisis. After leaving his wife, he realizes what a grave mistake he’s made and tries to turn himself into a better man, personally and professionally. Co-starring in the film is Nashville‘s Connie Britton, as a divorcee with whom he forms a bond. With two solid actors in the lead and a personable plot that’s right in her wheelhouse, it’s likely that Holofcenter will deliver another winner.
9. How It Ends
The screenplay for How It Ends was originally on the Black List, an annual poll of Hollywood insiders to identify the best unproduced screenplays in town. It remains unproduced no longer. Production on the action-thriller commenced in July, with the final product slated to hit the streaming service sometime late in 2018.
The story takes place in the middle of an apocalyptic event that has left the nation’s roads virtually unusable. Theo James plays a young man desperate to make his way to his pregnant wife. The only hitch is that she’s on the other side of the country. Accompanying him on this journey is his ex-military father-in-law — and the two don’t particularly like each other. As you might expect, they’ll face a lot of danger in their travels. How It Ends, which co-stars Forest Whitaker, sounds like it will be a real nail-biter.
8. Happy Anniversary
Noel Wells and Ben Schwartz are not household names yet, but both are incredibly funny performers with devoted fan bases. Wells is a former Saturday Night Live cast member who also appeared on Netflix’s hit series Master of None, while Schwartz notably played Jean-Ralphio Saperstein on Parks and Recreation. The pair is teaming up for the romantic comedy Happy Anniversary.
Directed by The LEGO Batman Movie writer Jared Stern, the film is about a couple whose marriage of three years is already on the rocks. They have to decide whether to stay together or split up. Most intriguingly, the story takes place over the course of a single day, with flashbacks showing how the couple ended up on the verge of separation. Annie Potts and Joe Pantoliano round out the cast for a film that promises a mixture of laughter and heart in its examination of modern-day marriage.
7. Eggplant Emoji
Of all the movies on this list, Eggplant Emoji is easily the one with the most mind-blowing premise. We’ll tell you what it is in just a second, so that you have a moment to prepare yourself. In the meantime, you need to know that this raunchy comedy is produced by Ben Stiller and Workaholics stars Adam DeVine, Anders Holm, and Blake Anderson. Netflix took part in a bidding war to win the rights to make the movie, which they hope will be in the same vein as Superbad.
Are you ready for the crazy now? Okay, here goes. Eggplant Emoji is about a teenage boy who accidentally severs his penis during a camping trip. He and his goofball pals scramble to save the appendage so that it can be reattached. See, we told you the premise would blow your mind! Also, take note that the movie’s title is a sly reference to how the male anatomy is usually represented in texts.
6. Set It Up
Netflix has another rom-com in store in the form of Set It Up. Taking place in New York City, it centers around two stressed-out assistants who feel taken advantage of by their workaholic bosses. Seeking a little down time for themselves, they hatch a plan to fix their employers up with one another, using all sorts of personal and professional inside knowledge to help. In the process, the assistants find that they’re the ones falling in love.
Set It Up has two appealing young stars in the lead roles. Scream Queens actor Glen Powell plays one of the assistants, and Zoey Deutch of Why Him? and Everybody Wants Some!! plays the other. The horrible bosses, meanwhile, will be portrayed by Taye Diggs and Lucy Liu. Director Claire Scanlon should bring just the right comic touch to the material, having previously helmed episodes of TV comedies such as Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and The Last Man on Earth.
5. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Netflix has worked very hard to nurture relationships with A-list filmmakers as part of its plan to deliver high-quality original movies to subscribers. To that end, the company recently signed Joel and Ethan Coen — the siblings behind beloved films like Fargo, No Country For Old Men, and The Big Lebowski — to write and direct The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. And in true Coen fashion, it’ll be anything but conventional.
Ballad is a sprawling idea: a six-part anthology film about the American West. Each part will tell a different story, and all of them will add up to an epic work. Tim Blake Nelson, a veteran of several Coen brothers pictures, will play Buster Scruggs, the character who helps tie all the individual sections together. What they plan beyond that remains a mystery, not that it matters. Anything the Coens do automatically qualifies as “must-see,” especially when it’s a potentially groundbreaking effort like this.
4. The Other Side of the Wind
The late, great Orson Welles spent six years in the 1970s trying to make The Other Side of the Wind, a Hollywood satire about legendary film director Jake Hannaford (played, appropriately, by legendary actor/director John Huston) struggling to make his comeback picture. In other words, it was Welles making a movie about himself. A variety of production problems plagued the shoot, forcing him to abandon the film before it could be completed.
Forty years later, Netflix comes to the rescue. The company has secured the rights to the existing footage and is financing its completion. This is happening under the watchful eye of super-producer Frank Marshall, with input from longtime Welles confidante — and accomplished director in his own right — Peter Bogdanovich. Orson Welles fans will finally have the chance to see one more work from this true cinematic genius.
3. Hold the Dark
If you’re a fan of genre movies, you undoubtedly know the name Jeremy Saulnier. He gained substantial acclaim with the 2013 thriller Blue Ruin, and his follow-up, 2015’s Green Room, was even more popular. Next year, Saulnier re-teams with a frequent collaborator, actor/writer Macon Blair, for Hold the Dark. If it’s anything like his previous works, the movie will be as intelligent as it is exciting.
In the film, a wildlife naturalist comes to a remote Alaskan village where a young boy has been killed by a wolf. He ends up becoming entangled with the child’s grieving parents, setting off a chain of dramatic — and violent — events as he tries to hunt down the bloodthirsty creature responsible. Saulnier has assembled an enticing cast for this intense drama, including Alexander Skarsgard, Riley Keough, and Jeffrey Wright. We can’t wait for him to rattle our nerves.
Duncan Jones launched his career in high fashion with the mind-bending sci-fi picture Moon, followed by the equally trippy thriller Source Code, which starred Jake Gyllenhaal. He stumbled pretty badly with last summer’s muddled Warcraft, though. In fairness, any director can pump out an occasional turkey. Jones looks like he might get his groove back in a big way with Mute.
Alexander Skarsgard plays a bartender who lost his ability to speak after a childhood accident. When his girlfriend disappears under mysterious circumstances, he goes looking for her in the seediest parts of a near-future city. The search causes him to cross paths with two surgeons (Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux) who prove vital. The plot sounds appropriately tense, and Jones has shown a knack for science-fiction, while the casting of Rudd and Theroux suggests that there may also be an element of humor in Mute. Originally set to be released this year, Netflix’s press website indicates that the film will be held until next year, making it one of the most intriguing titles the service has lined up for 2018.
1. The Week Of
We all know that Adam Sandler made a multi-million dollar deal with Netflix that resulted in soul-crushing “comedies” like The Ridiculous Six and The Do-Over. If nothing else, the deal keeps Sandler’s dumb-dumb comedies out of theaters. (We’re okay with him when he tries to make smarter comedies and dramas which, frankly, isn’t often enough.) The comedian will have a brand new movie hitting the service in 2018, and it’ll re-team him with old pal Chris Rock.
The Week Of looks at two men planning for a wedding, with Sandler’s daughter set to marry Rock’s son. The story follows the future in-laws as they navigate a lot of what we can only assume will be wacky preparations for the big event. On the plus side, the director/co-writer here is Robert Smigel, whose Triumph the Insult Comic Dog is one of the current funniest things on the planet, so maybe there’s hope that this will be a notch or two above Sandler’s typical fare.
Which of these Netflix original movies are you most excited about? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.
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