I think it's safe to say Marvel is going to dominate the box office this year.
The home of Spider-man, Captain America and Wolverine has a whopping six major motion pictures coming out in 2018 — three from Disney, two from Fox and one from Sony.
DC Comics only has one, live-action superhero flick on deck this year — “Aquaman” on Dec. 21. It's so late in the year, you might as well say it's coming out in 2019. Thankfully, my fellow fans of DC Comics will have some fine animated choices this year with the release of “Batman: Gotham by Gaslight,” “Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay” and “The Death of Superman.”
The bottom line is Marvel movies in 2018 will easily exceed $3 billion in worldwide ticket sales by my rough estimation.
Ticket sales for “Black Panther” are trending faster than any other superhero movie in history, “Avengers: Infinity War” will likely continue the billion-dollar-plus tally like the two previous entries did, and “Ant-Man and the Wasp” (the sequel to the surprise 2015 hit) will easily bank $500 million.
Sony's “Venom” will add another $500 million, as will “X-men: Dark Phoenix” by Fox. “Deadpool” (the first R-rated superhero movie) was a smashing success with fans and brought in nearly $800 million during its lengthy 18 week run. It's sequel, coming out in May, should rake in a comparable amount.
But enough about money. Let's get to the upcoming release schedule of the blockbuster movies coming out in 2018. This list is in no way definitive. It's just my must-see list for this year.
“Black Panther” (Feb. 16): Chadwick Boseman reprises his role of King T'Challa of the mysterious and high-tech African nation of Wakanda. This 18th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe picks up after the events of “Captain America: Civil War” and sees T-Challa returning home to find his sovereignty challenged by Wakanda exile Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” weapons dealer Ulysses Klaw (Andy Serkis).
“Avengers: Infinity War” (May 4): Simply put, this is going to the be mother of all superhero movies. Building on 10 years of previous Marvel movie history, “Infinity War” will finally see Thanos, the big bad of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, arriving on Earth in an attempt to collect all of the Infinity Stones for a gauntlet that will allow him to bend all of reality to his will.
“Deadpool 2” (May 18): The Merc with a Mouth is back, along with all of his old friends Vanessa, Weasel, Blind Al, Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead. New to the ensemble are comic book faithful versions of Cable (Josh Brolin), Domino (Zazie Beetz) and Black Tom Cassidy (Jack Kesy). I fully expect plenty of potty humor and headshots.
“Solo: A Star Wars Story” (May 25): I admit, this movie sneaked up on me. For whatever reason, I thought it was coming out later this year, just like the three previous “Star Wars” installments have done. This Ron Howard directed movie will finally reveal some of the back story of our favorite scoundrel Han Solo. And since it's co-written by Lawrence Kasdan (of “The Empire Strikes Back” fame), I have pretty high hopes.
“Ant-Man and the Wasp” (July 6): The trailer for the 20th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe dropped this past week, and it looks just as fun and over the top as the 2015 original. Who doesn't like giant Hello Kitty Pez dispensers? All of the main characters are back, along with a few newcomers: Laurence Fishburne as Bill Foster (Black Goliath), Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet van Dyne (the original Wasp) and Hannah John-Kamen as Ghost (a rather obscure villain from Marvel comics lore).
“Venom” (Oct. 5): I'm nervous about this one. Is Venom a strong enough character to carry a major motion picture all by himself? Tom Hardy has good name recognition and definitely has the range to play Venom, but do enough people know the character to fill up the theaters? Carnage and the Bride of Venom (Michelle Williams) are slated to appear, but as of this writing, Tom Holland's Spider-man has not been confirmed. I might have to take a pass here.
“X-men: Dark Phoenix” (Nov. 2): The previous entry in the X-men movie universe dealt with Apocalypse and his Horsemen raining death and destruction all across the planet in an attempt to usher in a new, better world. The final battle saw (once again) the birth of the Phoenix in X-men original Jean Grey. And unlike the adaptation in the 2006 movie “X-men: The Last Stand,” Sophie Turner's Phoenix will apparently be more faithful to Chris Claremont's epic “Dark Phoenix Saga” run in the comics. For you non-comic book geeks out there, this is a good thing. Trust me on this.
“Aquaman” (Dec. 21): My fellow DC fans, 2018 is going to be a long year. We'll have to endure endless amount of gloating from those pesky Marvel fans as they revel in all the praise and accolades their movies will likely receive. It's already started with “Black Panther.” Alas, we need to have hope, True Believers, that Jason Momoa's solo outing as the King of Atlantis will be well worth the wait.