2017 was quite an interesting year on several fronts, with original movies finally showing their mettle at the box office, while a great number of franchise sequels tanked. The Star Wars franchise proved dominant once again, with Star Wars: The Last Jedi well on its way to being the top-grossing movie of the year. When that happens, it will be the third Star Wars movie in a row to take the top spot domestically, but that streak may be in danger this year with the controversial Solo: A Star Wars Story, which just wrapped production in late October after extensive reshoots. As of now, it's still slated for release on May 25, 2018, and if it still hits that date, the movie will have to be rushed, which would likely result in the movie suffering in quality, which could mean the movie fails to put up the same numbers its Star Wars predecesors have. If that happens, it'd be a pretty big headline, but you won't find that on the list below.
The 10 "headlines" I've presented below are still merely "guesses," but they are in fact educated guesses, based on what we've reported on over the past year. I wouldn't be surprised if none of these come to fruition, but I also wouldn't be surprised if any of these did actually happen too. While we delve through popular topics like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is shaping up for another big year with Black Panther (February 16, 2018), Avengers: Infinity War (May 4, 2018) and Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 6, 2018), and the DCEU, which is very much in flux. We also explore some of the big potential headlines coming out the Star Wars universe, explore how the dearth of sexual misconduct allegations will impact the industry as a whole, along with a few curveballs along the way.
2018 certainly has the potential to be quite the huge year, both in terms of box office receipts and in terms of how the industry will respond to this widespread epidemic of sexual misconduct. Hopefully at least some of these headlines could represent at least a fraction of what happens in the new year, but we'll have to wait and see. Without further adieu, here are my picks for the top 10 potential headlines for 2018.
Infinity War Breaks Force Awakens Opening Weekend Box Office Record
Remember what I said earlier about Solo: A Star Wars Story being in jeopardy of losing the three-year running streak of Star Wars movies dominating the box office? I believe it will in fact be Avengers: Infinity War to put that streak to an end, even if LucasFilm does move their Solo spin-off to December. While Star Wars: The Last Jedi didn't have what it takes to best the $247.9 million opening weekend record, I'm very confident that Avengers: Infinity War does, simply because it will basically unite EVERY character that resides within the massive Marvel Cinematic Universe. The first Avengers movie still holds the MCU records for opening weekend ($207.4 million) and domestic gross ($623.3 million), with both Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War falling quite short. Still, fans know that this movie is basically the beginning of the end for Phase 3 and, basically, the MCU up until this point, and I think they'll come out in droves in theaters moreso than any other MCU movie to date.
Avengers 4 Title Finallly Revealed
OK, we don't know what the title actually will be, but it has been confirmed that the Avengers 4 title is a huge spoiler for Infinity War, so it seems likely that the title will be revealed directly after Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters. At the end of every Marvel movie, there is a brief tag that states the charcter/charcters you just saw "will return" either in a specific movie that has already been announced, or just that they will return, and that's that. It's entirely possible that this brief tag at the end of Avengers: Infinity War could state, "The Avengers Will Return In (Insert Avengers 4 Full Title)." That hasn't been confirmed by any means, but it certainly would make sense, and have fans leaving the theater wanting to find out more about Avengers 4. There were rumors that the title would be Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet, but those were ultimately shut down. Whatever the title will be, it will become one of the biggest stories of 2018.
Jon Hamm Replaces Ben Affleck in The Batman
This one could be more wishful thinking than reality, ever since a report from earlier this month claimed Jon Hamm was gunning for the Batman role, even though it technically still isn't up for grabs yet. There have been countless rumors about how unhappy Ben Affleck is as Batman, and when Matt Reeves took over as director, some were surprised that Ben Affleck stayed on as Batman, but it's possible that may be changing. It really wouldn't be that surprising either, given the underwhelming results of Justice League, which posted the lowest debut of all the DCEU movies, and it will likely finish as the lowest grossing domestic and global movie in the franchise. This could also be a part of, or lead to, an even bigger potential headline.
Justice League 2 Canceled, DCEU Gets a Reboot
Earlier this month at the Comic Con Experience in Brazil, Warner Bros. unveiled their superhero slate, and there were a few projects that were surprisingly absent, such as Cyborg and Justice League 2. There was a report in October that the Justice League 2 script is already being written, but that was before Justice League put up the worst box office numbers for the DCEU to date, so it wouldn't be surprising if this sequel was canceled, with the entire DCEU going through a massive overhaul, after just four movies, only one of which (Wonder Woman) was a verifiable hit, critically and commercially. A "soft reboot" would allow the studio to keep the elements they like, such as Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Superman (Henry Cavill) and either recast the existing heroes or form a completely different superhero team. Whether or not the studio feels the need to go through with such a massive undertaking remains to be seen.
LucasFilm Confirms Yoda, Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi Spin-Offs
Admittedly, this is kind of a cheat, since there have been no shortage of rumors about any of these spin-offs, none of which have been confirmed yet... but how damn cool would it be if LucasFilm just confirmed all three of them sometime next year? After all, the studio isn't holding a Star Wars Celebration this year, which is probably a very wise move, given all of the crazy controversy swirling around Solo: The Star Wars Story. So, without that big event, it's possible that this could lead the studio to make a very big announcement to keep the fans happy, since there likely won't be much to officially report on Star Wars 9, with production starting in the summer of 2018. An announcement like this could go a long way towards securing the goodwill of fans, especially after Star Wars: The Last Jedi proved to be much more divisive than anyone thought, and all of the Han Solo controversy.