Superhero movies are big business. As this is being written, Captain Marvel - the latest film from Marvel Studios - has scored the sixth-highest worldwide box office opening of all time. This isn't a surprise (except maybe to the vocal minority opposed to a female-led Marvel movie) nor is the news of a superhero movie making box office records particularly new. In fact, the nine top-grossing films of the 2010s are superhero movies. And for the most part, these films are great, especially if they've come from Marvel Studios, who have been scoring hit after hit for over 10 years. But what about the other films; the films that don't feature men and women in capes, the sort of films that came before the superheroes took over the world? Well, they still exist, read on to find out about the ten movies to look forward to this year that don't feature superheroes.
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10 Doctor Sleep
Based on King's sequel book to his original 1977 novel The Shining, Doctor Sleep is directed by horror movie veteran and Stephen King adaptor extraordinaire Mike Flanagan (Flanagan directed Gerald's Game, one of the best Stephen King adaptations in recent years). King's book saw a grown-up Danny Torrance dealing with his psychic powers as well as the same alcoholism that plagued his father.
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Throw in a creepy cult that feeds on children and you've got the makings of a King classic. Whether the film will follow the plot of the book exactly or deviate from the source material as The Shining did, is yet to be seen. But with Flanagan behind the camera and Ewan McGregor playing the adult Danny, this one is not to be missed.
9 Gemini Man
Gemini Man has been in production for a long time now, going back as far as the late '90s when it was going to be directed by Tony Scott or Curtis Hanson. Now it's in the hands of Life of Pi director Ang Lee and stars the inimitable Will Smith. The plot is absolutely wild. It sees Smith playing an ageing hitman whose attempts to get out of the game are put on hold by an attack from a younger, clone version of himself. With this and Aladdin, 2019 will be a big year for Smith.
The latest from funny-man turned horror movie master, Jordan Peele (following the groundbreaking and record-breaking Get Out) is the ominously titled Us. Described as a psychological horror-thriller, Us sees an ordinary family's vacation turned upside down when they are confronted with a group of red jumpsuit wearing strangers who look exactly like them. Whether it will have the same impact socially as Get Out did, remains to be seen. But with a 100% RottenTomatoes score and a cast that includes Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke and Tim Heidecker (yes, of Tim & Eric fame) it's definitely going to one to remember.
Last year, writer and director Ari Aster showed even the most jaded and desensitized horror fan can still be scared senseless with the right movie - Hereditary. Now Aster is back with his follow up, the Swedish-set nightmare Midsommar. The teaser trailer is the only glimpse we have of the film so far but from that alone, it's clear Aster is filling Midsommar with the same creepy characters and nightmarish imagery as his previous film.
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Unusually, the film seems to be set completely in the brightly-lit Scandinavian daytime, unlike most horror films which instead opt for dark and gloomy settings. Although if the trailer is any indication, this won't make the film any less frightening. The cast this time includes up-and-comers such as Jack Reynor and Florence Pugh, as well as the always fantastic Will Poulter.
6 Ip Man 4
Biopics don't always have to be completely accurate retellings of their subject's lives, and this is no more evident than with the Ip Man trilogy (soon to be quadrilogy). After starting by telling the story of how the titular wing chun grandmaster (the superb Donnie Yen) survived during the Japanese invasion of WWII, the films have slowly progressed to greater and wackier heights. This culminated with a fight between Yen and Mike Tyson; something nobody asked for yet everyone cheered for. The fourth film is set to go further still, having Ip Man travel to the US in search of his pupil, Bruce Lee, who has set up his own school. Along the way, Yen will undoubtedly punch and kick his way through numerous bad guys, including Scott Adkins and Jackie Chan.
5 IT: Chapter 2
Nobody expected 2017's IT to be as big a hit as it turned out to be. Stephen King adaptations can be a mixed bag; for every Misery or Gerald's Game, we have The Dark Tower or Dreamcatcher. But It was a revelation, a funny and scary romp through '80s nostalgia that unlike a lot of films, genuinely warranted a sequel.
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The sequel sees 'The Losers Club' all return to Derry to fight Pennywise once more after he returns to haunt the town. Director Andy Muschietti returns, meaning we should get some of the refreshing humor and original scares that made the first film so successful. The young versions of The Losers Club are still in this one too, but for the modern scenes that make up the majority of the movie, A-listers like James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain have been cast. But perhaps most importantly, Bill Skarsgård returns as Pennywise; everyone's favorite killer clown.
Music biopics are on the up after the controversial Queen flick Bohemian Rhapsody did big business at both the box office and the Oscars. However, the upcoming Elton John biopic Rocketman (whose director Dexter Fletcher stepped in to oversee Bohemian Rhapsody after the Bryan Singer scandal) seems a lot less cookie cutter. Perhaps due in part to the fact that Rocketman's lead subject is still alive and contributing to the film, it looks to tell the warts and all story of one of Britain's biggest musical stars. As well as this, the film includes dreamlike fantasy elements in its retelling of John's life, promising to stand out from the overcrowded biopic genre. And just as Rami Malek turned in a career-best performance as Freddie Mercury, Rocketman looks to do the same for Taron Egerton as Elton John.
3 Ad Astra
Now, not much is known about this one. Despite its impending release date of May 24th, a trailer still hasn't been released. But what we do know is that it stars Brad Pitt as a man determined to find his father (Tommy Lee Jones) after he left on a one-way mission to Neptune 20 years earlier. We also know it's directed by one of the most underrated directors working today, James Gray. His previous film was the painfully underrated The Lost City of Z, so if he can bring a similar mix of psychological terror and intelligence to the sci-fi genre then audiences will be in for a real treat.
2 2: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
The release of a new Quentin Tarantino movie is more than your standard film release; it's an entire event. The man is a movie genre all to himself. His new movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, set in the weeks surrounding the Manson murders, has one of his best plots yet. It follows television actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double and best friend Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) as they set out to make a name for themselves in the New Hollywood film industry. Whatever your opinion on Tarantino's output over the years it can't be argued that his films aren't a hell of a lot of fun. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood doesn't seem any different.
1 1: John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
The 16th of May cannot come soon enough. Because, on that date, we get the third installment in what has quickly become the best action franchise of the decade. The success of the John Wick franchise rests squarely upon the shoulders of it's leading man Keanu Reeves and director Chad Stahleski. The third in the series sees them reunite and picks up not long after the end of John Wick 2, which saw John get a bounty on his head and kicked out of the only safe space he knew (the assassin haven; the Continental hotel). From trailers and photos, John somehow finds himself fighting assailants from the back of a horse, in the desert and with his new partner, Halle Berry. We know the action will be fantastic and we know Reeves will be once again the most badass man in cinema.