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Ciara O'Hara, Wide Eye Media

Ciara O’Hara gives a run-down on some of the major movies coming to our cinema screens in 2017, including Michael Keaton in The Founder

With cinema awards season underway, 2017 starts with films targeting an older, more discerning audience. Director James Marsh (The Theory of Everything) tells the fascinating story of amateur yachtsman Donald Crowhurst’s 1968 attempt to circumnavigate the world in The Mercy. Oscar veterans Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz have the lead roles.

Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting gets a sequel in T2, reuniting the original characters. On a lighter note, Anna Kendrick has a nightmare wedding scenario in romantic comedy Table 19 when she finds herself at a table of misfits, including Stephen Merchant and Lisa Kudrow. The team behind Despicable Me and The Secret Life of Pets cartoons returns with Sing.

An X-Factor inspired animal talent show, it features the voices of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Saunders. February sees Love/Hate star Ruth Negga star in Loving. The half-Ethiopian actress grew up in Limerick. Loving is the story of a couple in 1950s Virginia when inter-racial marriage was banned.

The Herald reported that Negga was first actress director Jeff Nichols auditioned for the lead female role of Mildred. He first thought her too petite, but he was blown away by her acting.

Fifty Shades Darker, the follow up to the record-breaking Fifty Shades of Grey, brings a new director to the franchise – James Foley (Glengarry Glen Ross). Both of these films are custom-made for targeting females. The surprise success of The Lego Movie in 2014 led to a shortage of Lego bricks and its spin-off, Lego Batman, looks set to build on its popularity.

Another famous brand gets a big-screen treatment in The Founder which reveals how the McDonald’s fast food chain became a household name. Michael Keaton’s performance as the sinister Kroc has him marked for another Oscar. Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba star in the adaptation of Stephen King’s bestselling fantasy series The Dark Tower. It is the first in a new franchise and should appeal to fans of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

A team of explorers venture into the mysterious and dangerous home of King Kong in Kong: Skull Island. Set in the 1970s, Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L Jackson, John C  Reilly and John Goodman are among the cast breathing new life into the classic tale. Guy Ritchie directs a new ‘street’ version of King Arthur in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.


Tasty fare: Next year promises a strong line-up of drama, action, comedy and musicals on the big screen. Ruth Negga is being tipped for an Oscar for her role in Jeff Nichols’ Loving, the story of a couple in 1950s Virginia when inter-racial marriage was banned. Cillian Murphy stars in Free Fire, about an IRA arms deal in Boston that goes horribly wrong.

Charlie Hunnam allegedly modelled his portrayal of King Arthur on Ireland’s MMA fighter   Conor McGregor. Later in March, we get to see Brie Larson (Room) again in Free Fire. The high-octane action/comedy about an IRA arms deal that goes horribly wrong is set in Boston in 1978 and stars Irish actors Cillian Murphy (Peaky Blinders) and Jack Reynor.

All of these films are perfect for targeting largely male audiences. Another familiar beast gets a makeover in Disney’s live-action version of romantic fantasy musical Beauty and the Beast. The ‘tale as old as time’ stars Emma Watson and Luke Evans, with support from Emma Thompson, Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Kline and Stanley Tucci. If Cinderella in 2015 is anything to go by, it should prove a big draw for women and family audiences.

Come April, Helen Mirren joins the cast of Fast and Furious 8. Fast and Furious 7 was the seventh highest grossing film of 2015 in the Republic. Guardians of the Galaxy was one of the surprise hits of 2014 and climbed to No. 6 in the country’s top films of 2015. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 promises more top space adventure with an “awesome” 80s soundtrack.

May sees the big screen adaptation of Nineties TV phenomenon Baywatch. Starring Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron, with cameos from the beach show’s David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson. Also due to return to our screens in May are Johnny Depp and Javier Bardem as rival swashbucklers in Pirates of the Caribbean 5: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince gets her first solo outing in Wonder Woman. World War Z was one of the highest earning films of Brad Pitt’s career. With David Fincher rumoured to be directing World War Z 2, the June release may even eclipse the success of the first. The transformers are back for more high-powered action in Transformers: The Last Knight.

Computer-generated comedy Despicable Me 2 was the country’s top grossing film in 2013. In Despicable Me 3, Felonious Gru (Steve Carell) meets twin brother Dru. Kristen Wiig is Lucy Wilde and Trey Parker former child star Bathazar Bratt. These despicable creatures and action adventures provide a chance for brands to make an impact in cinemas next year.

Ciara O’Hara is a film specialist



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