If Okja, Mudbound, Bright, The Meyerowitz Stories, or I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore were on your top 10 list last year, good news! Netflix has more original movies planed — a lot more. Content chief Ted Sarandos, high off the release of the streaming monster's third-quarter earnings last October, announced Netflix would put a movie out every four and a half days on average in 2018, according to Deadline. That's over 80 films this year.
What's the future for Netflix? Will they someday battle Disney for world entertainment dominance? Perhaps, but for now they're still struggling to earn credibility. While TV series are a natural fit for an at home viewing experience like Netflix, new movies are another animal. People are used to seeing new films in theaters. A home premiere has always been a death knell for a film. "Straight to VHS/DVD" are ominous words in the film industry. Netflix is in the midst of changing that.
Sarandos also said users can look forward to a range of films this year, from the "million-dollar Sundance hit... all the way up to something on a much bigger scale such as Bright or The Irishman, which is currently in production." Netflix has already proven capable distributors. They've attracted major stars and won major festival awards. Netflix Original Mudbound is nominated for four Oscars in 2018, including Best Supporting Actress for Mary J. Blige and the first nomination for a female cinematographer (Rachel Morrison) ever. That's 90 years of Oscar history rewritten. The future, you could say, is "bright" over at Netflix.
So what can we look forward to this year? Here are our top five Netflix Original Movie picks for 2018:
**Release dates are for the United States.
1. 'The Irishman'
Starring: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Jesse Plemons, Anna Paquin, Bobby Cannavale, Stephen Graham, Jack Huston, Ray Romano
The movie Sarandos alluded to — Martin Scorsese's The Irishman, starring De Niro and Pacino, is rumored to be on the slate for 2019. But watch out for a December debut in time for awards season if Netflix thinks it's good. It's almost hard to believe a Scorsese/De Niro movie could end up on Netflix and not in the theaters, but that's exactly the kind of thinking Netflix wants to destroy.
Forget about the theater, Scorsese and De Niro — the legends who gave us Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, and Casino — are coming to Netflix! This is how you earn credibility. Based on a true story, The Irishman stars De Niro as mob hitman Frank Sheeran, the man who claims responsibility for murdering Jimmy Hoffa in the 1970s. Pacino plays Hoffa.
Release date: TBA 2018 or 2019
2. 'A Futile and Stupid Gesture'
Starring: Will Forte, Joel McHale (as Chevy Chase), Domhnall Gleeson, Jon Daly (as Bill Murray), Seth Green (as Christopher Guest), John Gemberling (as John Belushi)
The story of National Lampoon magazine comes alive in A Futile and Stupid Gesture. This movie will mainly be fun because it's going to star a lot of famous people playing a lot of other famous people. National Lampoon gave rise to some of the biggest names in comedy from the '70s onward. Hopefully, you've seen the documentary Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon. It's very funny stuff. A Futile and Stupid Gesture will basically be that film in fictional form.
Release date: Available now
Starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux
Director Duncan Jones' "spiritual sequel" to his brilliant 2009 film, Moon, is slated for a Netflix release on February 23. The sparse plot details of Mute are compelling: Set 40 years in the future, Skarsgård plays a speechless bartender with a violent past. He sets out to find his lost love in a sprawling city where he encounters two American doctors (Rudd and Theroux), who help him or not — it's unclear. Jones, who's coming off disappointing reviews for his last movie, Warcraft, is a premier director. If he's doing something, we're in. If he's doing something related to Moon, we're definitely in.
Release date: February 23, 2018
4. 'The Outlaw King'
Starring: Chris Pine, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Florence Pugh, Stephen Dillane
Remember that bearded turncoat, Robert the Bruce, who finally tells his old crusty dad to eff off at the end of Braveheart? Well, he's back with his own movie sans William Wallace. Robert, who was King of Scotland around 1306, is one of the country's most revered heroes. The Outlaw King will show us why. Expect some shades of Mel Gibson's film here as Pine (who plays Robert), Taylor-Johnson, and a slew of actors with awesome accents will go to battle with axes and spears against heavy English armor. It's directed by the talented David Mackenzie (Hell or High Water).
Release date: November 23, 2018
5. 'The Week Of'
Starring: Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Steve Buscemi, Rachel Dratch
We're sorry we're not sorry. We don't apologize for loving Sandler around here. The fourth and final movie in the comedian's current deal with Netflix is The Week Of, and it actually sounds like a semi-good idea. Kevin James is not in it. (We don't think.) The movie will star Sandler and old buddy Chris Rock as two fathers getting along in the week leading up to their kids getting married. Obviously, they're going to kill each other, and maybe team up by the end. Just a hunch.
Release date: TBA 2018