50 Plus 2018 Films Either Produced, Directed By Or Featuring Black Talent In Prominent Roles

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50 Plus 2018 Films Produced, Directed By Or Featuring Black Talent In Prominent Roles
Posted by Wilson Morales

January 12, 2018

While 2017 didn’t quite produced the same amount of Oscar caliber films that the previous year had when Moonlight, Hidden Figures, Fences, and 13 were in the mix, it still had some films that made an impact on the industry. Not only did 2017 have three Black filmmakers who had films that grossed over $100M at the box office, but we also saw a record amount (6) of Black female directors who had feature length films distributed by a studio or major independent label.

As 2018 gets underway, there are a lot of films that are already highly anticipated, including Marvel’s Black Panther and Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle In Time. Those two films has been heavily promoted in social media for nearly a year and should do well at the box office but there are a great number of films that will hopefully garner some talk.

We have a great deal of Black directors back on the scene with Spike Lee, Antoine Fuqua, and George Tillman Jr having films set for this year. At the same time there are a number of studio produced films that will garner some talk for next year’s Oscar race if all goes well.

Here’s a list of at least 50 films that are slated for a 2018 theatrical release that are either produced, directed by or featuring Black talent in prominent roles. Included in the group are independent films that are completed that should appear at festivals with the hope of getting a distribution deal for this year as well.

The following are films with confirmed release dates in theaters

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Proud Mary

Release Date: January 12, 2018
Studio: Screen Gems (Sony)
Director: Babak Najafi
Screenwriters:John Stuart Newman, Christian Swegal, Steven Antin
Starring:Taraji P. Henson, Billy Brown, Jahi Di’Allo Winston, Neal McDonough, Margaret Avery, Xander Berkeley, Danny Glover

Taraji P. Henson is Mary, a hit woman working for an organized crime family in Boston, whose life is completely turned around when she meets a young boy whose path she crosses when a professional hit goes bad.

Jahi Di’Allo Winston (Feed The Beast) is Danny, a streetwise kid unaware of what prompts Mary to come to his aid; Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon) plays Benny, Mary’s fatherly but brutally unforgiving boss; Billy Brown (How To Get Away With Murder) is Tom, Benny’s son, a fellow professional who was once romantically involved with Mary; Neal McDonough (Captain America: The First Avenger) is a well-manicured killer primed to be sacrificed to maintain peace; Margaret Avery (The Color Purple) is Benny’s wise, refined wife; and Xander Berkeley (The Mentalist) is the drug-dealing sadist Mary eradicates, provoking an all-out turf war.

Saturday Church

Release Date: January 12, 2018
Studio: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Director: Damon Cardasis
Screenwriter: Damon Cardasis
Starring: Luka Kain, Margot Bingham, Regina Taylor, Marquis Rodriguez, MJ Rodriguez, Indya Moore, Alexia Garcia, Kate Bornstein, Jaylin Fletcher

SATURDAY CHURCH tells the story of 14-year-old Ulysses (Luka Kain), a shy and effeminate boy, who finds himself coping with new responsibilities as “man of the house” after the death of his father. Living alongside his mother (Bingham), younger brother, and conservative Aunt Rose (Taylor), Ulysses is also struggling with questions about his gender identity. He finds an escape by creating a world of fantasy filled with dance and music. Ulysses’ journey takes a turn for the better when he encounters a vibrant transgender community, who take him to “Saturday Church,” a program for LGBTQ youth. Ulysses manages to keep his two worlds apart; appeasing his aunt and discovering his passion for the NYC ball scene, and voguing, until his double life is revealed. Ulysses must find the courage to be who he truly is, all while risking losing those he cares about most.

Den of Thieves

Release Date: January 19, 2018
Studio: STXfilm
Director: Christian Gudegast
Screenwriter: Christian Gudegast
Starring: Gerard Butler, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Pablo Schreiber, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Evan Jones, Dawn Olivieri, Mo McRae, and Max Holloway

Based on true events, Den of Thieves is a bold action thriller in the tradition of Heat. Every day, $120mm in cash is taken out of circulation and destroyed by the Los Angeles Branch of the Federal Reserve – unless a notorious, elite crew of bank robbers can pull off the ultimate heist and get to the money first… right under the noses of LA’s most feared division in law enforcement.

Butler stars as Los Angeles cop Nick Flanagan, who goes balls-to-the-wall in trying to stop a group of equally excessive thieves from robbing a seemingly un-robbable bank. Pablo Schreiber (American Gods, Orange Is the New Black) plays the leader of this pack of criminals, which also includes O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Outta Compton) and rapper 50 Cent.

Small Town Crime

Release Date: January 19, 2018
Studio: Saban Films, Lionsgate
Director: Eshom Nelms and Ian Nelms
Screenwriter: Eshom Nelms and Ian Nelms
Starring: John Hawkes, Anthony Anderson, Octavia Spencer, Clifton Collins, Jr., Michael Vartan, Daniel Sunjata, Don Harvey, Jeremy Ratchford, James Lafferty, Dale Dickey, Caity Lotz, Stefanie Scott, Robert Forster

Alcoholic Ex-cop Mike Kendall (John Hawkes) discovers the body of a young woman and, in an act of self-redemption, becomes hellbent on finding the killer. While his un-couth and quirky detective style helps break open the case, his dogged determination unwittingly puts his sister (Octavia Spencer) and her husband and his best friend (Anthony Anderson) in danger.

Spencer is an an executive producer on the film and her third time working with the Nelms. The first time was back in 2002 with a short titled Chicken Party. That movie was made by Tate Taylor, who would go on to direct the actress to an Oscar with The Help. In 2013, she starred in the Nelms’ feature Lost on Purpose.

Bilal: A New Breed of Hero

Release Date: February 2, 2018
Studio: Vertical Entertainment
Directors: Ayman Jamal and Khurram H. Alavi
Screenwriters: Ayman Jamal, with screenplay by Alex Kronemer, Michael Wolfe, Yassin Kamel and Khurram H. Alavi
Cast: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, China Anne McClain, Ian McShane, Cynthia Kaye McWilliams, Jacob Latimore & Michael Gross

1,400 years ago, Bilal, a seven-year-old boy, with a dream of becoming a great warrior, is abducted into slavery with his sister and taken to a land far away from his home and thrown into a world where corruption and injustice rule all. Throughout his life he undergoes many hardships, through which he discovers an inner strength he did not realize he possessed. Through these experiences, Bilal comes to realize that if he is brave enough to raise his voice and choose his own path – everything becomes possible. It is through his courage, that he frees himself and ultimately his community; It is through the power of his voice and faith that his lifelong dream of freedom comes true. Bilal grows into a man who will inspire the world.

Black Panther

Release Date: February 16, 2018
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel Studios
Director: Ryan Coogler
Screenwriters: Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole
Starring:  Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Sterling K. Brown, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba, Shaunette Renée Wilson, Isaach de Bankolé, and John Kani.

Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.

Honor Up

Release Date: February 16, 2018
Studio: Lionsgate
Directed by: Damon Dash
Story by: Damon Dash and Kevin Bennett
Written by: Stuart Acher, James Dubose
Produced by: Damon Dash
Executive Produced by: Kanye West
Starring: Damon Dash (Narrator/OG), Stacey Dash (Tara), Cameron “Cam’Ron” Giles (JR), John “Murda Mook” Ancrum (Mike), Daniel Jenkins (Primo), Smoke DZA (Dee), Blackface (Black)

State Property producer Damon Dash and executive producer Kanye West present this epic, explosive crime saga that stars rappers Cam’ron, Murda Mook, Blackface, and Smoke DZA. Dash stars as OG, a drug lord’s lieutenant struggling to maintain the code of honor—protect the family—within his unruly crew after a Harlem shootout. Also featuring Nicholas Turturro and Stacey Dash, this film reveals a deadly underworld where beats pound as bullets fly and even outlaws must live by the code.

Gringo

Release Date: March 9, 2018
Studio: Amazon Studios, STXfilms
Director: Nash Edgerton
Screenwriters:Anthony Tambakis, Matthew Stone
Starring: David Oyelowo, Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton, Amanda Seyfried, Thandie Newton, Sharlto Copley

An exhilarating mix of dark comedy, white-knuckle action and dramatic intrigue, “Gringo” joyrides into Mexico, where mild-mannered businessman Harold Soyinka (David Oyelowo) finds himself at the mercy of his back-stabbing business colleagues back home, local drug lords and a morally conflicted black-ops mercenary. Crossing the line from law-abiding citizen to wanted criminal, Harold battles to survive his increasingly dangerous situation in ways that raise the question: Is he out of his depth – or two steps ahead?

 

A Wrinkle In Time

Release Date: March 9, 2018
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Director: Ava DuVernay
Screenwriter: Jennifer Lee
Starring:Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, Storm Reid, Gugu Mbatha Raw, Chris Pine, Zach Galifianakis, Andre Holland, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, Bellamy Young, Rowan Blanchard, Will McCormack, Michael Pena

Meg Murry (Storm Reid) is a typical middle school student struggling with issues of self-worth who is desperate to fit in. As the daughter of two world-renowned physicists, she is intelligent and uniquely gifted, as is Meg’s younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), but she has yet to realize it for herself. Making matters even worse is the baffling disappearance of Mr. Murry (Chris Pine), which torments Meg and has left her mother (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) heartbroken.

Charles Wallace introduces Meg and her fellow classmate Calvin (Levi Miller) to three celestial guides—Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling)—who have journeyed to Earth to help search for their father, and together they set off on their formidable quest. Traveling via a wrinkling of time and space known as tessering, they are soon transported to worlds beyond their imagination where they must confront a powerful evil. To make it back home to Earth, Meg must look deep within herself and embrace her flaws to harness the strength necessary to defeat the darkness closing in on them.

The Forgiven

Release Date: March 16, 2018
Studio: Saban Films
Director: Roland Joffé
Screenwriter: Roland Joffé and Michael Ashton, and based on Ashton’s play “The Archbishop and The Antichrist”
Starring: Forest Whitaker and Eric Bana

In The Forgiven, when Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Forest Whitaker) is appointed to head a nationwide investigation, he’s summoned to a maximum-security prison by a notorious murderer seeking clemency (Eric Bana). Inside the brutal prison walls, Tutu is drawn into a dangerous, life-changing battle with the cunning criminal.

Love, Simon

Release Date: March 16, 2018
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: Greg Berlanti
Screenwriter: Isaac Aptaker, Elizabeth Berger
Starring: Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Miles Heizer, Keiynan Lonsdale, Logan Miller, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, Tony Hale

Everyone deserves a great love story. But for seventeen-year old Simon Spier it’s a little more complicated: he’s yet to tell his family or friends he’s gay and he doesn’t actually know the identity of the anonymous classmate he’s fallen for online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, terrifying and life-changing. Based on Becky Albertalli’s acclaimed novel, LOVE, SIMON is a funny and heartfelt coming-of-age story about the thrilling ride of finding yourself and falling in love.

Keiynan is playing Bram, Simon’s crush, while Alexandra Shipp & Jorge Lendeborg Jr. play Abby Suso and Nick Eisner, two of Simon’s other good friends.

Pacific Rim Uprising

Release Date: March 23, 2018 (3D/2D theaters and IMAX 3D)
Studio: Legendary Pictures, Universal Pictures
Director:Steven S. DeKnight
Screenwriters:Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder, Steven S. DeKnight, T.S. Nowlin
Starring:John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Jing Tian, Cailee Spaeny, Rinko Kikuchi, Burn Gorman, Adria Arjona, Charlie Day

The globe-spanning conflict between otherworldly monsters of mass destruction and the human-piloted super-machines built to vanquish them was only a prelude to the all-out assault on humanity in “Pacific Rim Uprising.”

John Boyega stars as the rebellious Jake Pentecost, a once-promising Jaeger pilot whose legendary father gave his life to secure humanity’s victory against the monstrous “Kaiju.” Jake has since abandoned his training only to become caught up in a criminal underworld. But when an even more unstoppable threat is unleashed to tear through our cities and bring the world to its knees, he is given one last chance to live up to his father’s legacy by his estranged sister, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi)—who is leading a brave new generation of pilots that have grown up in the shadow of war. As they seek justice for the fallen, their only hope is to unite together in a global uprising against the forces of extinction.

Jake is joined by gifted rival pilot Lambert (Scott Eastwood) and 15-year-old Jaeger hacker Amara (newcomer Cailee Spaeny), as the heroes of the PPDC become the only family he has left. Rising up to become the most powerful defense force to ever walk the earth, they will set course for a spectacular all-new adventure on a towering scale.

Acrimony

Release Date: March 30, 2018
Studio: Lionsgate
Director: Tyler Perry
Screenwriter: Tyler Perry
Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Nicolet, Jazmyn Simon, Ajiona Alexus, Antonio Madison, Jason Vail, Brian Kayode-Patrick Johnson, Jay Hunter and Ptosha Storey

In the film, a faithful wife (Henson) tired of standing by her devious husband (Lyriq Bent) is enraged when it becomes clear she has been betrayed. This film marks the third collaboration between Perry with Henson after The Family That Preys and I Can Do Bad All By Myself.

Movieweb states the the trailer shows the beginning of their relationship, when a young Melinda (Ajiona Alexus) first meets a young Robert (Antonio Madison), showing the early days in their relationship, along with Robert’s proposal, their wedding, with Melinda telling her unseen therapist that their 18-year marriage seemed to pass by like days, as Melinda starts to suspect her husband of cheating on her.

After following her husband around, she realizes that he has been leading a double life, already engaged to another woman named Diana (Tika Sumpter), although her therapist adds that it’s possible she’s looking at this deceit from the wrong angle, which is paired with scenes featuring Melinda seemingly going off the deep end, stating that Robert “caused all of this,” showing scenes of Melinda losing it while Robert is with a moving company, seemingly moving all of his things out of their home, along with another scene in a courtroom where she has to be restrained once again.

Kings

Release Date: April 2018
Studio: The Orchard
Director:  Deniz Gamze Ergüven
Screenwriters:  Deniz Gamze Ergüven
Starring: Halle Berry, Daniel Craig, Douglas Spain, Lamar Johnson, Issac Ryan Brown, Kaalan Walker and Rachel Hilson

The film is a drama set during the 1992 Los Angeles riots that followed the acquittal of the police officers charged with the 1992 excessive beating of Rodney King, which was caught on tape.

Millie (Berry) is a hardworking single mom with a soft spot for strays. She already has eight children living in her house and will soon bring home another. Her neighbour Obie (Craig) is the local loose cannon, and the only white man in an area largely inhabited by African Americans, Latinos, and Koreans. With racial tensions running dangerously high, Millie and Obie would appear to be unlikely allies. Yet following the acquittal of four of the officers accused of beating Rodney King, these two must navigate the gathering chaos in the city of South Central, Los Angeles to bring Millie’s kids home safely.

God Particle

Release Date: April 20, 2018
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Director: Julius Onah
Screenwriters: Oren Uziel, Doug Jung
Starring: David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha Raw, John Krasinski, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris O’Dowd, Ziyi Zhang, Daniel Brühl

The plot of the film is said to revolve around an American space station that, after an accident with a particle accelerator, suddenly finds that Earth has vanished altogether. Things get stranger when they then they pick up traces of another space station nearby. “God Particle” is part of the “Cloverfield” movie franchise, following the “spiritual sequel” to 2008’s “Cloverfield” with “10 Cloverfield Lane.”

Rampage

Release Date: April 20, 2018
Studio: New Line Cinema (Warner Bros.)
Director: Brad Peyton
Screenwriters: Ryan Engle, Carlton Cuse, Ryan J. Condal, Adam Sztykiel
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Akerman, Jake Lacy, Joe Manganiello, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, P.J. Byrne, Marley Shelton, Breanne Hill, Jack Quaid, Matt Gerald, Jason Liles, Demetrius Grosse, Will Yun Lee

Primatologist Davis Okoye (Johnson), a man who keeps people at a distance, shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent, silverback gorilla who has been in his care since birth. But a rogue genetic experiment gone awry transforms this gentle ape into a raging monster. To make matters worse, it’s soon discovered there are other similarly altered alpha predators. As these newly created monsters tear across North America, destroying everything in their path, Okoye teams with a discredited genetic engineer to secure an antidote, fighting his way through an ever-changing battlefield, not only to halt a global catastrophe but to save the fearsome creature that was once his friend.

Traffik

Release Date: April 27, 2018
Studio: Codeblack Films, Summit Entertainment
Director: Deon Taylor
Screenwriter: Deon Taylor
Starring: Paula Patton, Omar Epps, Laz Alonso, Roselyn Sanchez, Luke Goss, Missi Pyle, and William Fichtner.

Investigative journalist Brea Stephens (Patton) goes on what is supposed to be a romantic getaway to a cabin in the woods with her boyfriend, John Wilson (Epps), but after a chance encounter with a suspicious gang at a secluded truck stop, they find themselves unknowingly in possession of a phone containing proof of the gang’s sex trafficking exploits. Caught in the crosshairs of the relentless crew, Brea and John are left with one mission….survival.

Avengers Infinity War

Release Date: May 4, 2018
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel Studios
Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Screenwriters: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Mackie, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Sebastian Stan, Don Cheadle, Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Pom Klementieff, Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict Wong, Sean Gunn, Tom Holland, Paul Rudd, Josh Brolin

An unprecedented cinematic journey ten years in the making and spanning the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” brings to the screen the ultimate, deadliest showdown of all time. The Avengers and their Super Hero allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

Breaking In

Release Date: May 11, 2018
Studio: Universal Pictures
Director: James McTeigue
Screenwriter: Ryan Engle
Starring: Gabrielle Union, Billy Burke, Richard Cabral, Seth Carr, Ajiona Alexus

Next Mother’s Day, Gabrielle Union stars as a woman who will stop at nothing to rescue her two children being held hostage in a house designed with impenetrable security. No trap, no trick and especially no man inside can match a mother with a mission when she is determined on Breaking In.

Slender Man

Release Date: May 18, 2018
Studio: Screen Gems
Director: Sylvain White
Screenwriters: David Birke, Victor Surge
Starring: Joey King, Julia Goldani Telles, Annalise Basso, Jaz Sinclair, Talitha Bateman and Alex Fitzalan

Written by David Birke and Mike Scannell, the film centers on a tall, thin horrifying figure with preternaturally long arms and a featureless face. He is thought to be responsible for the haunting, stalking, and disappearance of countless victims.

White directed dance drama “Stomp the Yard” in 2007 for Screen Gems starring Columbus Short, Meagan Good and Chris Brown. The film was a solid performer with $75 million in worldwide grosses on a $13 million budget. He also directed the 2010 film “The Losers,” which starred Idris Elba, Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Release Date: May 25, 2018
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures, Lucasfilm
Directors: Ron Howard
Screenwriters:Lawrence Kasdan, Jonathan Kasdan
Starring:Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, Michael K. Williams, Ian Kenny, Warwick Davis, Clint Howard, Paul Bettany

The movie will explore Han Solo and Chewbacca’s adventures before the events of “Star Wars: A New Hope,” including their early encounters with that other card-playing rogue from a galaxy far, far away, Lando Calrissian.

The Cinematographer of the film is Bradford Young, whose credits include Ava DuVernay’s Middle of Nowhere, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, DuVernay’s Martin Luther King film Selma , J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year, and Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival

Deadpool 2

Release Date: June 1, 2018
Studio:20th Century Fox
Director: David Leitch
Screenwriters: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Tim Miller, Drew Goddard
Starring:Ryan Reynolds, Zazie Beetz, Josh Brolin, Leslie Uggams, Jack Kesy, Shioli Kutsuna, Julian Dennison, Morena Baccarin, Brianna Hildebrand, Stefan Kapicic

After surviving a near fatal bovine attack, a disfigured cafeteria chef (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Mayberry’s hottest bartender while also learning to cope with his lost sense of taste. Searching to regain his spice for life, as well as a flux capacitor, Wade must battle ninjas, the yakuza, and a pack of sexually aggressive canines, as he journeys around the world to discover the importance of family, friendship, and flavor – finding a new taste for adventure and earning the coveted coffee mug title of World’s Best Lover.

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