What Are 2018’s Most Anticipated Movies?

Last week at Adweek I published a piece about the top 10 movies of 2018. Here’s that list, which is based on marketing technology firm Amobee’s analysis of online conversations and engagement with those conversations.

  1. Black Panther
  2. Aquaman
  3. Avengers: Infinity War
  4. Deadpool 2
  5. Venom
  6. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  7. Ant-Man and the Wasp
  8. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
  9. X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  10. Mission: Impossible 6

As I note in the post, there are a few things going on with that list.

Black Panther is obviously a hotly-anticipated film for a number of reasons, including that he represents the first black super hero to get a starring role in an “official” film from either Marvel/Disney or DC/Warner Bros. Other movies have fans excited because of other factors. There’s also a bit of “watching NASCAR for the inevitable crash” going on, with people saying M: I6 makes the list because they want to see the Henry Cavill mustache that caused so much drama during Justice League reshoots.

But oh, hey, there’s another list of the “most anticipated films of 2018” out there, this one from ticket-selling service Fandango. Here’s what that one looks like:

  1. Avengers: Infinity War
  2. Black Panther
  3. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
  4. Untitled Deadpool sequel
  5. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  6. Incredibles 2
  7. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
  8. A Wrinkle in Time
  9. X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  10. Ocean’s 8

The methodology of this one was a simple survey of Fandango users and so comes with all the flaws inherent to the surveying process, most notably that it’s based on nothing more than what a respondent self-reports, not on anything more tangible such as actual behavior. Still, there’s some interesting stuff there, including how as in years past there’s at least a bit more of a nod to family films, something that is likely indicative of Fandango’s user base.

Lacking the analysis for Fandango’s list that Amobee provided for theirs’ (Fandango just wants you to buy tickets, not think about why), there are some interesting assumptions to pull out of the similarities and differences between the two. So let’s alphabetize the films from both lists and see what’s going on.

  • A Wrinkle In Time (#7 Fandango) – Interesting that this is only on the Fandango list, but I think that speaks less to the anticipation people feel than that there may just not be a ton of online buzz about it. My guess is that this is going to track pretty well and it’s certainly being given a full-court press by Disney with some major star power attached. If ticket-buyers are going to turn out, that’s great, but it is somewhat concerning there isn’t more chatter about it in general.
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (#7 Amobee) – Your guess as to why this is on either list is as good as mine. The first movie was fun enough but I don’t think it’s being held as an essential part of the MCU. Perhaps it’s that fans just want more Marvel heroes and are endlessly discussing Evangeline Lilly finally being able to suit up as Wasp.
  • Aquaman (#2 Amobee) – As I point out at Adweek, my take on this is that fans responded well to Jason Momoa’s turn as the character in Justice League and want him to get a whole movie all to himself.
  • Avengers: Infinity War (#1 Fandango, #3 Amobee) – This is the MCU’s big one, the culmination of the entire past 10 years and that’s exactly the message being conveyed in the marketing and publicity to date. So it’s not surprising it would rank highly on both lists, if a bit higher on the list that would seem to signal more definite buyer intent.
  • Black Panther (#1 Amobee, #2 Fandango) – #BlackPantherSoLit and #OkoyeSoFierce. I don’t know if that last one is a real thing but it should be. Whatever the case, inclusion matters and boy if audiences can show Marvel and Hollywood as a whole that super hero movies about women and people of color can be financially successful we just might be alright as a civilization.
  • Deadpool 2 (#4 both) – God I love cocaine. And audiences clearly can’t wait for more of the Merc With a Mouth’s cinematic exploits.
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (#7 Fandango) – People are going to buy tickets to this because it’s part of the “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” (a stated message in the marketing for the first one) and they’re going to hold their noses at the presence of Johnny Depp. It’s interesting that even the Depp controversy didn’t generate enough engagement to make Amobee’s list.
  • The Incredibles 2 (#6 Fandango) – As I stated before, this one showing up only on Fandango’s list may say more about the demographics of Fandango’s users than anything else.
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (#3 Fandango, #8 Amobee) – I don’t get this one at all. I thought the perception of the first Jurassic World had faded over time. Apparently not, as there’s still enough interest among likely ticket buyers to help this make one list, and just enough chatter to make the other, though I wonder how much of that was due to negative reactions to the prolonged lead-up to the teaser trailer release. My guess is the gap between its placement on the lists has a lot to do with that.
  • Mission: Impossible 6 (#10 Amobee) – People just want to see the ‘stache.
  • Ocean’s 8 (#10 Fandango) – Another Fandango-only entry that may provide insights into that site’s buyer demographics. If this is accurate, Warner Bros. could have a decent hit on its hand, but I’m surprised that with all the #metoo and other movements online the studio hasn’t done more to play up a movie featuring a group of women taking over for the guys. Perhaps they’re concerned doing so too heavily could lead to a Ghostbusters-like backlash, but we’re not talking about a decades-old beloved franchise from people’s childhoods.
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (#5 Fandango, #6 Amobee) – 100% I think the fact a Star Wars movie appears so far down both lists is because it’s 1) Not a “Saga” film and 2) Seen largely as inessential. Looking past the directorial drama, it may be that people will certainly go see a Star War but they’re not super-excited about this one, not even as much as they were about Rogue One.
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix (#9 both lists) – I’ll say the same thing here as I did at Adweek, that this making the list surprised me a bit, doubly so since it shows up on both lists. That’s largely because it seemed X-Men: Apocalypse seemed to do some serious damage to the franchise. Perhaps it’s the combination of *finally* getting an adaptation of a classic storyline from the comics and a female hero coming to the forefront.

We’ll have to see if either of these lists winds up reflecting the reality of what people are willing to shell out their money for. I’m sure there will be some surprise upsets come the end of the year.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Author: Chris Thilk

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist with over 15 years of experience in online strategy and content marketing. He lives in the Chicago suburbs.

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