Blockbuster titles moviegoers can look forward to from now till year-end

From the new instalment of Star Wars to the sequel of Blade Runner, there should be something to suit every moviegoer's taste on the big screen

What blockbuster titles do moviegoers have to look forward to from now till the end of the year?

Well, the usual: mostly sequels, reboots and remakes.

Major franchises are releasing new instalments, including Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the latest film in the Star Wars film franchise; and Thor: Ragnorak, the newest Marvel Universe comic book movie.

If you are a Hong Kong action movie fan, a big release to look out for is Chasing The Dragon, a period thriller that pairs two of the biggest Chinese-language film stars - Donnie Yen and Andy Lau - in a project for the first time.

If you are fretting over where to take the kids on the weekend, there is a new Pixar film, Coco, an animated feature film adventure through the Land Of The Dead.

And if you prefer a cerebral thriller, there is Blade Runner 2049, the highly anticipated sequel to Ridley Scott's seminal 1982 sci-fi title Blade Runner.

So whip out the popcorn and soft drinks, and start planning your year-end viewing schedule with The Straits Times' guide.

•Follow Yip Wai Yee on Twitter @STyipwaiyee


For a dose of drama

Murder On The Orient Express


Kenneth Branagh directs and stars in Murder On The Orient Express. PHOTO: DISNEY PIXAR, GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES, LUCASFILM, SONY PICTURES, SHAW ORGANISATION, TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX, WARNER BROS, WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

Directed by: Kenneth Branagh

Stars: Branagh, Penelope Cruz, Daisy Ridley, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp

What: Based on the classic Agatha Christie mystery novel, the film tells the story of a mysterious murder on a train, where every passenger is a suspect.

Watch it because: This is already the fourth adaptation of the book, but with the award-winning Branagh at the helm and a huge A-list cast at his disposal, this looks set to bag a number of awards in the coming awards season.

Reportedly, Branagh, who refuses to shoot in digital, also insisted on using the last four 65mm Panavision cameras in the world to make this film.

Opens: Nov 30

The Greatest Showman


The Greatest Showman is a biographical film about P.T. Barnum, who founded the Ringling Bros circus. PHOTO: DISNEY PIXAR, GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES, LUCASFILM, SONY PICTURES, SHAW ORGANISATION, TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX, WARNER BROS, WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

Directed by: Michael Gracey

Stars: Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams

What: A biographical film about P.T. Barnum, who founded the famous travelling Ringling Bros circus.

Watch it because: The casting alone is fantastic, given how great a showman Jackman himself is known to be. All of the large-scale, colourful set pieces showcased in the trailers alone already recreate the joy and wonder of a child going to the circus for the first time.

Opens: Dec 28


For family time

Coco


In Coco, singer wannabe Miguel goes on an adventure in the colourful and fantastical Land Of The Dead. PHOTO: DISNEY PIXAR, GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES, LUCASFILM, SONY PICTURES, SHAW ORGANISATION, TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX, WARNER BROS, WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

Directed by: Lee Unkrich

Stars: Voices of Benjamin Bratt, Gael Garcia Bernal, Anthony Gonzalez

What: Miguel (Gonzalez) dreams of becoming a musician like his idol, singer Ernesto (Bratt), but his family has banned music for generations. He somehow lands in the colourful and fantastical Land Of The Dead, where he learns more about the reasons behind the ban.

Watch it because: When news of this project was first released, some viewers felt like it was a rip-off of the animated film, The Book Of Life (2014), which is also based on the Day Of The Dead festival.

But the storyline has since been revealed to be completely different - this one is more about family and ambitions than romance.

And knowing Pixar, this should prove to be a heartwarming affair.

Opens: Nov 23

Paddington 2


Paddington the bear is voiced by actor Ben Whishaw. PHOTO: DISNEY PIXAR, GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES, LUCASFILM, SONY PICTURES, SHAW ORGANISATION, TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX, WARNER BROS, WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

Directed by: Paul King

Stars: Hugh Grant, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, voice of Ben Whishaw

What: Based on the iconic bear from the beloved children's book series, this film is a direct follow-up to the acclaimed 2014 film Paddington.

Here, the cuddly bear has settled in with the Brown family and is finally accepted by the rest of the human community.

Watch it because: The first Paddington film was as sweet and charming as the titular bear. Here is hoping that the sequel is equally warm and fuzzy.

Opens: Dec 7


For popcorn nights

Blade Runner 2049


Harrison Ford, Blade Runner 2049. PHOTO: DISNEY PIXAR, GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES, LUCASFILM, SONY PICTURES, SHAW ORGANISATION, TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX, WARNER BROS, WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

Directed by: Denis Villeneuve

Stars: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Robin Wright, Dave Bautista, Jared Leto

What: After uncovering a dark secret, a young blade runner (Gosling) needs to track down veteran blade runner Rick Deckard (Ford), who has gone missing for three decades, for help.

Watch it because: Getting reboot rights is tricky, but in director Villeneuve's (Arrival, 2016) hands, this could just work.

Ford is reprising his iconic original Blade Runner role, so that should be enough to please long-time fans of the original film.

Opens: Oct 5

Geostorm


Daniel Wu, Geostorm. PHOTO: DISNEY PIXAR, GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES, LUCASFILM, SONY PICTURES, SHAW ORGANISATION, TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX, WARNER BROS, WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

Directed by: Dean Devlin

Stars: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Daniel Wu

What: Climate-controlling satellites malfunction, causing several minor weather disasters around the world. The problem escalates when the satellites threaten to create a gigantic storm that could potentially wipe out the planet.

Watch it because: Everyone loves a good disaster film because of the usually mind-blowing special effects. Looking at the movie trailer, some of the stormy winds and tsunamis created are so epic, they make apocalyptic film 2012 look like child's play.

Opens: Oct 12

Ah Boys To Men 4


Tosh Zhang, Ah Boys To Men 4. PHOTO: DISNEY PIXAR, GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES, LUCASFILM, SONY PICTURES, SHAW ORGANISATION, TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX, WARNER BROS, WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

Directed by: Jack Neo

Stars: Apple Chan, Tosh Zhang, Wang Weiliang

What: Neo's hit Ah Boys film series is back with another instalment, this time focusing on the Singapore Armed Forces' armour formation and with women soldiers in the mix.

Watch it because: Neo has always been known to be good at spotting young male talents, so it will be interesting to see how a woman will fare as the lead this time.

And say what you will about the obvious product placements and lowbrow humour in his films, Neo's movies will continue to sell because Singaporeans can relate to them.

Opens: Nov 9

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle


From left: Nick Jonas, Dwayne Johnson and Karen Gillan in Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle. PHOTO: DISNEY PIXAR, GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES, LUCASFILM, SONY PICTURES, SHAW ORGANISATION, TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX, WARNER BROS, WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

Directed by: Jake Kasdan

Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart

What: Four teenagers discover an old video game version of Jumanji and somehow get sucked into a wild and dangerous jungle when they play it.

Watch it because: The original Jumanji (1995), directed by Joe Johnston and starring the late Robin Williams, was a huge hit and was considered revolutionary at the time for its visual effects.

Let us see how the adventure thriller is updated for the digital age. With the likes of Johnson, Black and Hart in the cast, it should be pretty funny too.

Opens: Dec 21


For some gongfu kicks

Chasing The Dragon


Andy Lau, Chasing The Dragon. PHOTO: DISNEY PIXAR, GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES, LUCASFILM, SONY PICTURES, SHAW ORGANISATION, TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX, WARNER BROS, WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

Directed by: Wong Jing, Jason Kwan

Stars: Donnie Yen, Andy Lau

What: Set in 1970s Hong Kong, this action flick pits drug lord Ho (Yen), who is lame in one leg, against dapper detective Lee (Lau).

Watch it because: Yen and Lau are two of Hong Kong's biggest film stars, but this is the first time they will be acting together. That pairing alone is enough to justify the price of admission.

Director Wong's films have been hits and misses, but knowing his manic sense of humour, this should at least be a fun outing, with energetic action sequences.

Opens: Oct 5

Manhunt


Ha Ji Won, Manhunt. PHOTO: DISNEY PIXAR, GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES, LUCASFILM, SONY PICTURES, SHAW ORGANISATION, TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX, WARNER BROS, WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

Directed by: John Woo

Stars: Tao Okamoto, Ha Ji Won, Zhang Hanyu

What: A remake of the 1976 Japanese thriller of the same name, the film follows an innocent man, (Zhang), who is accused of robbery and rape. He sets out to clear his name, but faces numerous obstacles, including a dangerous female assassin (Ha).

Watch it because: After making epic period films in recent years, such as Red Cliff (2008 and 2009) and The Crossing (2014), Woo marks his return to his old-school action movie roots with this film. Reportedly, he made this film to commemorate the late Japanese actor Ken Takakura, who had starred as the lead in the Japanese original.

Opens: Nov 23


For geeking out

Thor: Ragnarok


Chris Hemsworth (right) and Tom Hiddleston, Thor: Ragnarok. PHOTO: DISNEY PIXAR, GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES, LUCASFILM, SONY PICTURES, SHAW ORGANISATION, TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX, WARNER BROS, WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

Directed by: Taika Waititi

Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins

What: Thor (Hemsworth) is imprisoned and finds his loyalties torn when he is forced to duel his fellow Avenger and friend, Hulk (Ruffalo), in order to be released. Meanwhile, the evil Hela (Blanchett) is threatening to destroy his home of Asgard.

Watch it because: At this point, there have been so many movies in the Marvel universe that it is hard to get excited over every new release.

The earlier two Thor films have also been criticised for being slow and draggy, but this one appears to finally let loose a little and make things fun. The exchanges between Thor and Hulk have been hilarious, as shown in the trailers. Also, Blanchett looks completely bad*** as the villainous Hela.

Opens: Oct 26

Star Wars: The Last Jedi


Adam Driver, Star Wars: The Last Jedi. PHOTO: DISNEY PIXAR, GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES, LUCASFILM, SONY PICTURES, SHAW ORGANISATION, TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX, WARNER BROS, WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

Directed by: Rian Johnson

Stars: Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, John Boyega

What: The Star Wars saga continues in this film, where heroine Rey (Ridley) travels to a remote land to train with reclusive Jedi master Skywalker (Hamill).

Watch it because: In the last Star Wars movie The Force Awakens (2015) - not counting the spin-offs - Skywalker appeared only for a brief scene at the end. This is the film where he will get his long overdue screen time, and fans will finally learn why he has gone into hiding on an isolated island.

This is also the last time the late Carrie Fisher appears onscreen as the iconic Princess Leia.

Opens: Dec 14

Justice League


Justice League stars (from left) Ezra Miller as Flash, Ben Affleck as Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. PHOTO: DISNEY PIXAR, GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES, LUCASFILM, SONY PICTURES, SHAW ORGANISATION, TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX, WARNER BROS, WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

Directed by: Zack Snyder

Stars: Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ciaran Hinds

What: A film that puts all the biggest DC Comics superheroes in a single film as they band together to fight the evil Steppenwolf (Hinds).

Watch it because: Compared with the Marvel films, the DC Comics movies, such as Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2016), have generally been panned for taking things too seriously.

That is, until the light-hearted Wonder Woman (2017) saved the day - here is hoping this takes cues from that and keeps things fun.

Opens: Nov 16

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 30, 2017, with the headline 'Hang out at the movies'. Print Edition | Subscribe