Movie Maniac

Old friends, new heroes coming soon in big films of 2019

It’ll be tough to beat 2018’s box office successes, but Hollywood is certainly going to try with lots of heavily anticipated titles coming in 2019. Here’s a look (as always, release dates are subject to change):

“Glass” — M. Night Shyamalan’s sequel to 2016’s “Split” is also a sequel to his 2000 outing “Unbreakable,” and has Bruce Willis returning as security guard David Dunn, who uses his supernatural abilities to track down Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), a disturbed man who has 24 personalities. Somehow tied to all this is Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price/Mr. Glass, who no doubt has an evil plan in place. (Jan. 18)

“Captain Marvel” — Oscar winner Brie Larson stars as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, who may be key in stopping big baddie Thanos in “Avengers: Endgame,” but before that we need to know her backstory. Set in 1995, this follows Danvers as she gets caught in the center of a galactic conflict between two alien worlds. (March 8)

“Dumbo” — Tim Burton directs this live-action/CG hybrid remake of the 1941 Disney hand-drawn classic about a young elephant whose oversized ears enable him to fly. I don’t know if I can handle that scene with his mother again, when she’s chained up and they lock trunks tenderly. I got dehydrated form crying so much! Eva Green, Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton and Danny DeVito star. (April 5)

“Shazam!” — Streetwise 14-year-old Billy Batson discovers he can magically transform into the adult superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi) simply by shouting out that name. His newfound powers get put to the test when he squares off against the evil Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong). Based on the DC Comic. (April 5)

“Hellboy” — David Harbour (the cop on Netflix’s “Stranger Things”) suits up as the red demon superhero to battle an ancient sorceress bent on revenge. Based on the graphic novels by Mike Mignola. (April 12)

“John Wick 3: Chapter 3” — Keanu Reeves returns as the legendary hit man, who must fight his way out of New York when a $14 million contract on his life makes him the target of the world’s top assassins. Hey, everyone needs a paycheck. (May 17)

“Rocketman” — Taron Egerton (“the “Kingsman” movies) stars as Elton John in this story about his life from his years as a prodigy at the Royal Academy of Music through his influential and enduring musical partnership with Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell). (May 17)

“Aladdin” — Guy Ritchie directs this live action/CG hybrid remake of Disney’s 1992 original, with rising talents Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott starring as Aladdin and Jasmine and Will Smith as a certain Genie who pops out of a magic lamp. (May 24)

“Avengers: Endgame” — Aw, life after The Snap! After Thanos wiped out half of all life in the universe in “Infinity War,” the remaining Avengers must pick themselves up from the debris to save mankind (once again) — and their superhero friends. (April 26)

“Toy Story 4” — Yep, Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the whole gang return for this fourth outing when a new toy called “Forky” joins the group and a road trip ensues. It looks like Bo Peep, the object of Woody’s affection, will also return (she wasn’t in “Toy Story 3”). (June 21)

“Spider-Man: Far From Home” — We can assume that Peter Parker survives the events that will happen in “Avengers: Endgame” since this movie even exists, as he and his friends go on a summer vacation to Europe, where Spidey finds himself having to battle a villain known as Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). Can’t the kid get a break? (July 5)

“The Lion King” — Jon Favreau directs this CGI re-imagining of the 1994 Disney classic about a young lion named Simba (voice of Donald Glover) who returns to his clan after the death of his father to take his rightful place as king. (July 19)

“Hobbs and Shaw” — This “Fast and Furious” spinoff has Dwayne Johnson’s Diplomatic Security Agent Luke Hobbs forming an unlikely alliance with Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw. Expect an overwhelming amount of testosterone. (Aug. 2)

“Joker” — Enough with the superheroes! Let a bad guy have the spotlight for a change, as Joaquin Phoenix dons the makeup to become Batman’s famed villain the Joker, who in 1981 starts out as a failed stand-up comedian ignored by society who turns to a life of crime and chaos in Gotham City. (Oct. 4)

“Frozen 2” — Let it go parents! Let all that waiting go, as Anna (voice of Kristen Bell), Elsa (Idina Menzel) and friends finally return for a new snowy adventure. (Nov. 22)

“Star Wars: Episode IX” — Well, this is it: The end of the Skywalker story that began a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, as Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac return for the finale. The late Carrie Fisher also returns, in footage shot from the previous two films. May the Force be with them all. (Dec. 20)

“Cats” — Yes, the long-running Broadway smash musical based on “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” by T.S. Eliot with music by Andrew Lloyd Weber is indeed being made into a feature film. And that is all that is known about it other than Oscar winner Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech,” “Les Misérables”) is directing and Steven Spielberg is an executive producer. Word is that they’re not casting actual cats. (Dec. 20)