Get Hyped: The big movies of 2019 (part one)

Every year it seems we say “this year is going to be incredible for movies” but this year…hoo baby. This year looks like nothing cinemas have seen since the magical year of 1982. There are so many potentially huge films coming out this year, we can’t even fit them all in one article.

So let’s just look at SOME of what’s coming in the first half of 2019…

JANUARY

GLASS

After a string of embarrassing features, M. Night Shyamalan bounced back in 2015 with The Visit, a solid (maybe a bit too panache, but that’s expected considering the director) horror movie that retained his patented twist ending but dispensed with the pretension that ruined films like The Village, The Happening, or The Lady in the Water. This one had more of a homespun, almost indie feel to it. Audiences received it warmly (that they gave it a chance at all is probably because the director’s name was downplayed in advertising).

He parlayed that success into releasing a movie that was marketed as an M. Night movie, the way his movies used to be before he flew off the rails. Split was a fine enough film with a great leading performance and not much else…until M Night did his thing and pulled the rug out from us in the end: Split is a film set in the universe of Unbreakable (the director’s second major movie) and his follow-up will bring the two films together.

Shyamalan took a lot of heat back in 2000 when he released Unbreakable. It was an era before “comic book” movies were mainstream so that aspect of the movie was kept from audiences before release. Upon seeing it, many left frustrated at what seemed to be only half a movie. That was by design: M. Night planned for the movie to be just the origin story of the hero (played by Bruce Willis). He intended to come back to the universe again but his aforementioned box office disasters nixed that.

Now he gets to revive the old idea and release the movie he wanted nearly twenty years ago, in an era where the original has had a chance to be appreciated and in a climate where comic book movies are the bread and butter genre in Hollywood.

The stars are aligning, later this month we’ll see if he can stick the landing and score a third-straight “good” movie.

BOX OFFICE PREDICTION: $450mm

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FEBRUARY

THE LEGO MOVIE 2

The first LEGO Movie is easily one of the most surprising “great” films of the past decade. Before its release the expectations for the movie were low. Most expected a bland cash-in, with writing and tone reminiscent of schlock like the Madagascar movies or the Despicable Me films. Instead, Lord and Miller, fresh off the also-better than expected 21 Jump Street, solidified themselves as it-names with a movie that combined genuine humor with an ending so poignant you’d think you were watching Pixar.

A sequel was inevitable and after LEGO Batman adequately tided us over, the time has come for a proper follow-up to the 2015 surprise hit. Lord and Miller aren’t directing this time but they are producing and did write the screenplay, leaving the directing to veteran animation helmsman Mike Mitchell.

The surprise of the first one (that the movie is basically a representation of a kid playing with his dad’s vintage LEGOs) can’t be duplicated. Most have already guessed what’s happening behind the scenes with this one, but the ads have been on point and there’s nothing to indicate a drop in quality or a “sell-out” feel to the film.

This should be great. It won’t break the box office, but it will bring Warner Bros. a nice chunk of change before Disney dominates the next five months.

BOX OFFICE PREDICTION: $500mm

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MARCH

CAPTAIN MARVEL

The ads have been kinda bland, if we’re being honest. But after ten years and twenty films, if anyone has earned the benefit of the doubt it’s Kevin Feige. Captain Marvel is being positioned as the next face of the MCU, with Robert Downey Jr. and his Iron Man persona clearly being phased out, one way or another, so there’s a lot of pressure on this movie to leave audiences not only wanting more but confident in the future of the whole Marvel franchise.

Fortunately, Feige and co. have never failed to stick the landing. When they had to start strong, they gave us Iron Man. When the first team-up movie had to succeed, they gave us Avengers. When a bizarre unheard of property like Guardians of the Galaxy needed simply to work, it blew everyone away. When Infinity War released with years of hype and expectations that couldn’t possibly be reached, it exceeded them. I think we can rest easy that Captain Marvel will be juuuust fine.

BOX OFFICE PREDICTION: $800mm

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DUMBO

Disney has a whole Infinity Gauntlet at their disposal, any digit on which is more than capable of keeping their tremendous business expenditures rolling along. They have Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, in-house Animated films, the recently acquired Fox, and also their “animated remakes” division.

It’s an idea so stupidly simple you have to just laugh at their ability to pull it off so easily: Take their beloved animated classics and update them, giving them a fresh CGI coat of paint. Cinderella did well. The Jungle Book made serious bank. Beauty and the Beast was huge. Now 2019 brings a trio of tales back to the big screen.

First up is Dumbo, directed by Tim Burton. It’s a movie tailor-made for the dark director of films like Edward Scissorhands and The Corpse Bride. The dark and sometimes disturbing visuals of the original (the separation from Dumbo’s mother, the pink elephants, the jive-talking crows…hmm…maybe not that last one) will be right at home with Burton. As a life-long fan of the director, I can’t wait to see what he does with it. If he’s more inspired than he was with Alice in Wonderland (let’s not speak of it) then this should be magic.

BOX OFFICE PREDICTION: $600mm

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See page 2 for April-June…

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