Some film buffs scoff at franchise movies, but sequels featuring caped saviours, space rebels, escaped dinosaurs and giant robots make up the highest-earning movies in Malaysia and Singapore.
With how Avengers: Infinity Wars is currently tracking at the box office and how Black Panther tracked earlier this year (both are Marvel superhero movies), it looks as if they could stop, or even reverse, the decline in cinema viewership written about recently in this newspaper.
For fans of the big sequels, reboots or spin-offs, there is still a lot to look forward to almost every week until October. The battle of the Movies With Colons In The Title will peak between May 24 and June 7, when Solo: A Star Wars Story and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom go head to head. Which one will win the title of second-place box-office champ this year, after Avengers: Infinity War?
Chris Pratt’s dino trainer Owen in Jurassic Park is coming back to avert a scaly disaster while fan favourite Edna Mode, the scene-stealing half-German, half-Japanese costume designer, is returning in Disney/Pixar’s Incredibles 2. Some of the movies remix past stories (such as Ocean’s 8, which features an all-woman heist crew) or are spin-offs set in the same universe, such as Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Then there is that oddball category of movies that are technically sequels, but are actually reboots that tear up every movie that came before it. One example would be Halloween, the slasher flick that spawned a dozen copycats and almost as many sequels. Jamie Lee Curtis comes back as Laurie in a movie set 40 years after the original film.
Let us keep our fingers crossed that this summer’s big do-overs fare better than last summer’s. Anyone remember last year’s Tom Cruise turkey, The Mummy?
Solo: A Star Wars Story (May 24)
Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Woody Harrelson
So far, the rebooted series, beginning with The Force Awakens (2015), has not set a foot wrong, critically or commercially. This origin story of space rascal Han Solo (played by Ehrenreich) is predicted to be this year’s biggest box office smash after Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity Wars.
Solo and his furry buddy Chewbacca are fan favourites and all eyes will be on Ehrenreich – and director Ron Howard – to see if they can make this addition to the family as good as, or better than the first spin-off, Rogue One (2016).
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (June 7)
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeff Goldblum, BD Wong
The rebooted series kicked off in 2015 with Jurassic World. When a volcano threatens the island on which the destroyed former park stands, the animals are brought to mainland America. But disaster strikes and trainer Owen (Pratt) returns as the guy who will save the day.
Incredibles 2 (June 14)
Cast: Holly Hunter, Craig T Nelson, Sarah Vowell, Samuel L Jackson, Brad Bird
Since the first film came out in 2004, it has grown from being a minor Pixar hit (compared with out-of-the-park smashes such as Finding Nemo, 2003) to being considered one of the best animated works released by that studio, especially among adults.
Thankfully, everyone who worked on the movie about a superhero family forced to hide their powers has returned, including writer-director Brad Bird, who will also reprise his performance as the voice of Edna Mode, the designer who wants to make superheroes look great again – but minus the capes, of course.
Ocean’s 8 (June 14)
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina, Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson
This movie featuring a mostly-women heist team is a spin-off of a remake. Ocean’s Eleven (2001) starred George Clooney as Danny Ocean, a role that Frank Sinatra played in the original (1960). In this film, Bullock plays Debbie, Danny’s sister. Robbery is also in her blood and her team plans to hold up the Met Gala, the charity ball famed for outlandish outfits.
Ant-Man And The Wasp (July 5)
Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michael Pena
When 2015’s Ant-Man was released, it was a breath of fresh air: Here was a superhero who was more self-aware than others of the inherent silliness of being a superhero, compounded by the idea that his power – the ability to shrink – is less than intimidating. Let us hope that this sequel, which pairs Rudd’s Ant-Man with Lilly’s Wasp and looks more like a two-hander than the first film, has the same lightness.
Sicario: Day Of The Soldado (June 28)
Cast: Stars Josh Brolin, Jeffrey Donovan, Benicio Del Toro, Catherine Keener, Isabela Moner
This is the first franchise on the list that is not in the fantasy-science-fiction or animation genre. It began life in 2015 as a cartel thriller starring Emily Blunt and directed by Denis Villeneuve. The surprise critical and commercial hit earned three Oscar nominations for its atmospheric take on the bloody business of cross-border drugs trafficking.
Villeneuve and Blunt are gone. This time, the focus is on Brolin’s drug agent, working with Del Toro’s cartel assassin in a war that has grown more violent in the last three years.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (July 19)
Cast: Julie Walters, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski, Meryl Streep, Lily James, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard, Pierce Brosnan, Cher
Are there more Abba songs to cover and more dances to be had in the golden sand? You bet. This jukebox musical, a sequel to the 2008 surprise hit, will feature Waterloo, Dancing Queen and Fernando and many others will either be repeated or covered.
This movie will flash back to when Streep’s character of Donna (James) first appears on the Greek island and meets the three men (played in older years by Firth, Skarsgard and Brosnan), who might be the father of Sophie (Seyfried).
Mission: Impossible – Fallout (July 26)
Cast: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Henry Cavill
Not much is known right now about the plot of this, the sixth movie in the series anchored by Cruise’s Ethan Hunt, except that Pegg, Rhames and Ferguson will reprise their roles as members of the team of super-spies. What is known, however, is Cruise’s reveal on a talk show about how he broke his ankle filming a jump stunt, causing production to be suspended.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald (Nov 15)
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Jude Law, Dan Fogler, Johnny Depp
The follow-up to the origin movie Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (2016) picks up from where the last film left off, with the wizard-supremacist bigot Grindelwald (Depp) in prison. But Newt Scamander (Redmayne) and friends must mobilise their powers when the villain makes a breakout and builds a guild of magical beings intent on world domination.
Mary Poppins Returns (Dec 25)
Cast: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Colin Firth, Dick Van Dyke
This musical holds the interval time record for any sequel or franchise film – 54 years. The original was released in 1964 and this film, set in the 1930s and which carries on the story three decades after the events of the first movie, is appearing this Christmas.
Blunt takes over from Julie Andrews as the magical nanny to the Banks children, who are now adults with children of their own. She is called back into service when Michael Banks (Whishaw) suffers a crisis. No word yet on whether songs such as A Spoonful Of Sugar (Makes The Medicine Go Down) or Super-cali-fragil-istic-expi-ali-docious will also make a return.
Other sequels, reboots or spin-offs: Escape Plan 2 (July 5), Hotel Transylvania 3 (July 12), 2359: The Haunting Hour (Aug 9), The First Purge (Aug 22), Papillon (Aug 30), A Star Is Born (Oct 4), Halloween (Oct 25), Mowgli (Oct 18), The Grinch (Nov 6), Disney’s Ralph Breaks The Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 (Nov 22) and Creed 2 (Nov 29).