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The year ahead in movies: Things to look for on the big screen in 2018

Chadwick Boseman in “Black Panther”
(Disney / Marvel)

If 2017 taught us anything, it was to expect the unexpected. A year in which the nightly news seemed farther fetched than anything a sci-fi screenwriter could dream up still gave us plenty of reasons to keep believing in the power of movies.

From “Get Out” to “Lady Bird,” fresh voices found their way into audiences’ hearts and minds. “Wonder Woman” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” helped rewrite the rules of how tentpole movies work — and who gets to play the leading roles. And horror, powered by the year’s most unexpected mega-hit, “It,” proved to be the breakout genre of a truly nerve-racking 12 months.

So what’s in store for the next dozen? Who’s to say? But we have a few predictions about what moviegoers will be buzzing about. Just bet on more than a few surprises along the way too.

Trend: From “Black Panther” to “A Wrinkle in Time,” “Crazy Rich Asians” to “Ocean’s 8,” major studio movies with diverse ensembles are set to make a splash all year long. Here’s hoping their success goes beyond mere trend and establishes a new normal in Hollywood casting.

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Breakout: She already has a Tony (for leading the 2015 revival of “The Color Purple”), but actress Cynthia Erivo is set to make an unusually grand screen debut co-starring with Viola Davis in “Widows,” the much-anticipated thriller from “12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen due out in the fall.

Prediction: 2017 was a dreadful year for studio comedies (only “Girls Trip” scored a true bull’s-eye with both critics and audiences), but in Hollywood everything is cyclical. And 2018 could be the year the genre makes a glorious comeback. From Tiffany Haddish to Kate McKinnon, the talent for a new crop of comedy all-stars is there. And as the recent horror revival proved, no genre stays dead for long.

geoff.berkshire@latimes.com

@geoffberkshire

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