Minecraft’s Better Together Update Could Yet Come to PS4

Fortnite wasn’t the first game to start the cross-play conversation: it was actually Minecraft. You may remember Microsoft announcing the Better Together update for every system but the PlayStation 4, because back then the Japanese giant wasn’t playing ball. It’s slowly opening up its doors, and while it’s currently only running a beta test in Epic’s behemoth Battle Royale, the expectation is that more third-party titles will eventually utilise the feature.

So what’s the deal with Minecraft, then? Here’s what a spokesperson told Windows Central this week: “We are supportive of new scenarios that enable more people to play and have fun together while gaming. We would love to bring players on PS4 into our Minecraft ecosystem as well but have nothing further to share at this time.”

It’s a bit of a non-statement, and to be honest there may still be sticking points with this series in particular. Microsoft, rightly or wrongly, requests that anyone playing Minecraft’s big cross-play focused Bedrock Edition signs into an Xbox Live account, which Sony could very well reject. The company does accept third-party logins for EA Sports and Ubisoft titles, but this is a direct competitor and thus a different kettle of fish.

We’ll see.

Minecraft still going strong; has 90m-plus monthly players

Minecraft is still going, still strong, and still relevant – the creative playground sees over 90 million monthly users, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft’s $2.5 billion (£1.9bn) purchase of Mojang back in 2014 was a huge sum to pay for what was, in essence, a one-game studio. But it’s paying off: in 2018 alone the monthly player count has increased by around 20 million.

With all this ongoing success, talk inevitably turns to a sequel – but Microsoft’s head of Minecraft, Helen Chiang, told Business Insider it doesn’t make sense for the game or community: “It’s something that always fractures the community,” she said.

“We don’t want to ask [players] to move from Minecraft 1 to Minecraft 2,” she explained, “We want them to just enjoy Minecraft. And there’s other ways that we can expand that are more meaningful and authentic to what we want to be, rather than just releasing another iteration in the way that most other franchises do.”

Said ‘other way’ refers to Minecraft: Dungeons, the first new game developed in-house at Mojang since the original Minecraft’s release in 2011. It’s not a sequel, and it’s not the sort of thing Mojang would expect to eat into the 90m-plus player base.

While Minecraft’s numbers are still gigantic and it is managing to maintain interest even as it approaches a decade in age, the relative new kid on the block Fortnite is hot on its heels with dozens of millions of players a month for Epic’s battle royale.

Fortnite still has a royal battle to fight with Minecraft

Although a bit slowing as of late, the Fortnite effect is still very much in full swing and although the game’s contemporaries have long left the proverbial board, there’s still one name that can take Epic’s beast head on – Minecraft.
Epic recently revealed that Fortnite racked up almost 80 million players in a single month, which is truly a number to behold. Trudging along behind the hype scenes is Minecraft, which has more than 90 million monthly players.

Minecraft’s track record speaks for itself – the best selling PC game of all time and second best selling game ever, second only to Tetris, the mother of all best selling games ever. To be fair though, if someone could count the number of pirated Tetris games, we’d probably never even come close to that record but I digress.

Unlike Fortnite, Minecraft runs on everything and can be a pretty soothing experience, so it’s easy to see where the popularity comes from. Epic are trying something similar with the Playground mode and while it’s very fun, expecting it to mimic Minecraft would be a tall order.

Nevertheless, Fortnite is approaching 80 million fast and I wouldn’t put it past Epic to see this record broken by the end of the year. After all, the game’s frequent and flashy tournaments can actually change your life fortunes in a match, a carrot that Epic’s been dangling for a while now and to great success if I may add.

Minecraft’s fortunes are a bit mixed and the Story Mode will be the last thing the troubled Telltale Games will pull off before officially closing its doors. Not that it will affect the game though, as Minecraft is sure to trudge along for many a year more.

Epic GamesA glowing cube propping up an island in the air from FortniteFortnite: Battle Royale, Season 6

With many players enquiring as to the possibility of Minecraft 2, the game’s head honchos stressed that the community is growing ever closer and that the game is still where it needs to be. No need to change the winning formula we guess, especially if it runs on potatoes as well – fun doesn’t care.

Boundless Review: It’s Minecraft meets No Man’s Sky, but in desperate need of a community

Let’s get this out of the way, because it’s a comparison that so many will use and honestly, it’s pretty fitting; Boundless is Minecraft meets No Man’s Sky.

If the two games got together for an illicit affair and spawned a love child, this is the game that would appear in the delivery room.

However, for all the gorgeous planet hopping and interesting resource collecting, the game suffers from feeling sterile and empty. This is primarily because Boundless is a community game and, so far, there’s not much of a community in sight.

There are lots of seemingly abandoned houses, some with crafting tables set up, some with only a beacon flickering a lonesome flame.

When you first enter into the world of Boundless you’re instructed to craft a beacon which acts as your homestead.

This is where you’ll buy plots and place them to ensure that other players don’t wreck your stuff and, interestingly, it also makes sure that the procedural generation doesn’t mess up your creations.

This all happens after you sign up for an account and create an alien to be your avatar, which is sadly a pretty dull affair. There are too few options and one can only imagine that everyone will look similar except maybe with variations in skin colour or horns.

Right from the off, the game holds your hand, telling you what to craft and how to establish a home.

Using a very different system to Minecraft, it’s helpful, but of course once you get going Boundless falls into the tropes so well established by Mojang.

I was mining seams of iron and copper before I knew there were quests for doing so, I’d found ancient buried technology and killed a set number of lifeforms before the game even urged me towards those goals.

I found myself pinning quests to my HUD half-finished and while it was helpful being guided to certain milestones, it removes any sense of self-discovery.

The only recipe I figured out myself was glue, used to make storage chests.

If you’ve played Minecraft, you’ll know what Boundless wants you to do. Make an axe, chop down trees to make a hammer which allows you to mine for precious metals, which makes a better axe or hammer or shovel.

You’ll build a little house and fill it with machines to craft more interesting items such as warp gates or, most interestingly, gems that teleport you to other planets.

Because so much of Boundless is procedurally generated, all of the worlds are different, while not in quite the extensive fashion of No Man’s Sky.

Look up from your house and you’ll see several planets, each one you can visit to mine more elusive materials or hunt different animals. There may be some players already there, but it’s unlikely you’ll find them.

When launching to a different planet the game displays co-ordinates of where you’ll land and while you might choose to land near an already built house or a landmark, it doesn’t mean you’ll find life outside of local fauna.

What you will find is genuinely pretty landscapes crafted from bold colour palettes, plenty of opportunity to explore and discover new creatures. Of course, the game has often told you to find a “rugged planet” so the natural feeling of exploration is muted.

Yes, you’ll still find excitement in seams of coal which reward you with XP and new opportunities or discovering vistas brimming with lolloping animals and these lend the game a sense of scale. However, there’s always a lingering feeling that the developers are sitting on your shoulder guiding your progress.

A game like this needs to be a free form and sprawling experience of discoveries that link to new discoveries.

Recipes are shown to you by selecting the crafting table, precise burn times of fuel in your furnace are displayed and items you craft will come with a build time much like a free to play iPhone game.

For some this will be a welcome inclusion, but part of the joy that makes Minecraft and No Man’s Sky is the idea of setting out into a universe or world where you know nothing and make small steps forward.

Death is all too easy as well. Dying might come from an alien you didn’t hear creep up on you or from falling a few blocks. And once you’re dead you end up back in the Sanctum where you started the game with a portal back to your initial spawn point.

You can pay credits to bump the portal to a safer spawn, but I never discovered a need to do so. Everything is too sparse, from other players to native dangers.

And those credits are a little troublesome too, earned by completing tasks they’re delivered to you loot box style and used for various reasons; buying more plots of lands, cosmetic items that you’ll never see because the game is played in first person, or you can reset your character skills.

Because there’s also an extensive skill tree that urges you to put points into health, speed, stamina. Also damage, how proficient you’ll be with a hammer, axe or shovel. You can assign points into certain techniques and you suddenly realise that a lot of effort was put into an RPG element of the game that only muddies the waters further. It seems as if Boundless is unsure of exactly the kind of game it wants to be.

For all the flaws, Boundless does get a lot right. The combat is surprisingly enjoyable and building anything from cubed blocks is always going to unleash creative potential.

And while I spent time in the game without meeting another person, stumbling across their dwellings often left me with a feeling of something larger happening around me.

There’s no denying the beauty of the game and the potential that lies within the concept. Travelling to distant planets, establishing bases and common goals with friends or strangers makes for a charming idea, but Boundless needs a driving force. It needs a community.

It needs people making outlandish creations. It needs servers full of people noodling about, visiting each other and exploring together. Every single flaw can be overlooked with the right amount of people by your side.

Boundless needs to find its niche, Minecraft had YouTube and a lower price point which pulled in interested parties, Boundless, at the moment, asks a lot of players with a muddled experience that many of us have played before.

The Verdict – 3/5
THE GOOD

Lovely visuals and design
There’s a lot to do within the game
The concept is genuinely exciting and interesting
THE BAD

There’s hardly anyone online
Character creation is bland
Exploration is forced rather than natural
We’ve seen a lot of the game elsewhere

Goodbye modh coinníollach, hello Minecraft? The future of education

The way we live is changing fast. Every fortnight in our Future Focus series, supported by Volkswagen, we’ll look at how one aspect of everyday life could change in the coming years. This week: education.

TRADITIONAL PRIMARY, secondary and third level education hasn’t changed that much for most students in the last 20 years.

Sure, there are smart whiteboards instead of chalk and blackboards, and in some cases students work from tablets or laptops instead of books. But all in all, we’re generally still being taught in groups of 25 or so with a teacher at the top of the classroom. Unlike many other sectors, education hasn’t taken a leap forward as technology has improved. But does that mean the biggest changes are still to come?

Education is intrinsically linked with the working world, and going forward it may be even more so. Although it may not always seem like it when you’re learning the Modh Coinníollach, the goal of education is generally to prepare yourself for adult life. But now, the world of work is changing and some of the skills needed previously are no longer required.

Already, AI can do manufacturing work, and will likely take on many more administrative and computational tasks, which will change some of the things we’ll need to learn in school and college.

At the Learnovate conference in Croke Park this week, Learnovate Centre Director Owen White said:

The future worlds of education and work will be very different to those we experience today. The ongoing emergence of new research in psychology and the learning sciences are driving change in the way our society views teaching and learning… In the workplace, artificial intelligence is primed to change the balance of jobs carried out by humans and machines. This rebalancing will precipitate a shift in the skills required by organisations.
Already we’re seeing changes in primary and secondary school curricula, with the roll-out of Computer Science as a Leaving Cert subject having begun in September. The Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020 plan outlines how the use of ICT in schools should increase and improve in the coming years. It is also expected that coding will be taught at more primary schools – a clear indicator of how even early education is becoming more linked to the world of work.

How students are taught, as opposed to what they are taught, may also change as new technology and learnings are implemented. Group and project work, which is essential in the workplace, is also impacting classroom layouts and teaching methods. More interestingly, the idea of ‘gamifying’ learning to increase students’ attention and motivation, as well as their ability to problem-solve, is also making headway – in Shireland Academy in the UK, Minecraft has been included on the curriculum.

As we move away from humans doing more manual and administrative tasks, creative problem-solving is becoming a key skill. This is at odds with the way that currently in primary and secondary schools, students follow the curriculum with limited personal choice. But aided by AI and other technologies, teachers will be able to offer students more personalised learning experiences which are tailored to their needs and abilities.

Already, Abdul Chohan’s well-renowned work in the UK with The Olive Tree Free School has shown how technology can be a time-saver and improve the quality of teaching. At the Olive Tree, children aged five and up take photos of their homework and upload it to send to their teachers. The teachers can then look at various parts of the work and give direct voice feedback, rather than correcting copy books, which improves the quality of the feedback.

Even this may change in the coming years, as it’s expected that before long, schools will be able to use AI to mark and grade homework and other classwork, as machine learning and language processing improve. AI will also be able to co-create individual syllabi for students according to their interests and needs.

But while we’ve heard about fears of AI taking our jobs, in most cases – like with teaching – it will play a secondary role. Speaking at Learnovate, Jim Butler of Fishtree said:

Teachers are teachers for a reason. Automation can’t make all the detailed social decisions that are needed in the classroom, but it can certainly help with creating classes, correcting homework, and with students and their parents struggling with homework.
Where the legwork is already done, teachers will have more time to focus on their students individually.

Although teachers won’t be replaced any time soon, it is possible that robots will form part of their back-up support. In Singapore, humanoid robots Pepper and Nao have been working as robotic teaching aides. Nao has even been working at a primary school in Birmingham, where it was used to support children who had autism by helping them to learn social cues. Robots could make social exchanges easier for children with autism by adjusting and simplifying their interactions.

Pepper and Nao are one example of how accessibility to education may improve in the coming years, but as learning moves increasingly online, today more people across the world are able to access as much free education as they could ever need. As access to internet improves both in Ireland and elsewhere in the world, so too will the ability to learn.

The quality of this education is also likely to improve as trainable AI will be able to observe a physical class and then create a template for the online version of the course. This could also include immersive AR and VR experiences, such as those offered by Google Expeditions, which take a class on school tour without ever leaving the classroom. Now that we are living and working for longer, online lifelong learning is more likely to become a requirement rather than an option to keep up in the workplace.

As we know, education and learning are vitally important for making our way in the world. The content of that education as well as the way it is delivered is being impacted by technology and changes in our working lives.

However, it is likely that Ireland will have to mend some of the issues with the system we have currently – which include having some of the largest school class sizes in the developed world, patchy internet access, time-strapped teachers and high costs for parents and families – before we can start to fully realise the benefits of digitally-enhanced education.

Microsoft Just Open Sourced Parts Of Minecraft’s Java Code

Four years. That’s how long it’s been since Microsoft acquired Minecraft developer Mojang. A lot has happened in those four years — Minecraft on Switch, malware in Minecraft, open-sourcing some of the code… wait, what was that last one?
Yesterday, Microsoft and Mojang released two parts of Minecraft’s Java code in library form, so that “anyone can pick them up and use them in their own game”, according to Lead Engineer Nathan Adams.

Thanks to being MIT-licensed, anyone is free to “contribute and … help improve our game engine” and, by the same token, use the code freely in other projects, commercial or otherwise.

For now, there’s just the two libraries: “Brigadier”, a “command parser and dispatcher”; and “DataFixerUpper”, designed for “incremental building, merging and optimisation of data transformations … [to convert] the game data for Minecraft: Java Edition between different versions of the game”.

While the news doesn’t mean much for players, it will be a boon for interested programmers and developers, keen it see the guts of Minecraft.

Previously, the only way to see this code was via “decompilation” — turning machine code (well, bytecode) back into human-readable Java. Which is OK, but nowhere near as insightful or useful as the original code.

The plan is to open source more components in the future, though no time frame is specified. For now, if you want to check out Brigadier or DataFixerUpper, both can be found on Mojang’s GitHub page.

Programmers: Play with Minecraft’s Inner Workings! [Minecraft, via Reddit]

Why there won’t be a ‘Minecraft 2,’ according to the people in charge of ‘Minecraft’

With over 150 million copies sold, and over 90 million monthly active players, “Minecraft” continues to dominate.
Microsoft paid $2.5 billion for “Minecraft” back in 2014, and the game has grown tremendously since then.
Microsoft is looking to expand the universe of “Minecraft” with new games — and even announced one — but isn’t looking to create a sequel, according to Microsoft’s head of “Minecraft,” Helen Chiang.
Nearly 100 million people are playing “Minecraft” every month, and over 150 million copies of the game have been sold. It’s the second highest-selling game of all time, just below “Tetris.”

With all that success, it’s fair to assume that Microsoft might be interested in churning out sequels — the lifeblood of the entertainment industry. After all, Microsoft paid $2.5 billion for “Minecraft.” It’s realistic to expect new games from a property that cost so much to buy.

Not so, says Microsoft.

“I really don’t think that makes sense for ‘Minecraft,’ given the community,” Helen Chiang, head of “Minecraft” at Microsoft, told Business Insider in a phone interview. “It’s something that always fractures the community.”

Chiang was speaking to the community-driven approach “Minecraft” has always taken, ever since its first days as a PC-only work-in-progress. Many of its 91 million-plus monthly players are playing together, exploring mines and crafting in groups.

That’s part of the reason why the first new “Minecraft” game from Microsoft isn’t “Minecraft 2.”

Instead, the game is called “Minecraft: Dungeons,” and it’s a dungeon crawler game — along the lines of “Diablo” — set in the “Minecraft” universe. It was revealed over the weekend during a livestreamed fan event, known as “Minecon Earth.” The game’s being created by a group within Mojang, the Swedish game studio that was created to develop “Minecraft.”

One glimpse of “Dungeons” offers a strong clue of what to expect:

Though the game looks distinctly like the original “Minecraft,” it doesn’t contain the signature elements: Don’t expect to mine and/or craft very much.

“I would say that it’s a distilled version of ‘Minecraft’ in the sense that we wanted to focus on making sure that we made the dungeon crawler part as good as possible,” Mojang creative lead Jens Bergentsen told Business Insider in a phone interview. “Building in the game is something that we’ve talked about a lot, but we were concerned that it would distract from what the game was about. So in ‘Minecraft: Dungeons,’ it’s strictly an adventure game with a story attached to it.”

That’s right: A “Minecraft” game without building. Madness!

It’s these type of “Minecraft” games, like “Dungeons,” that Microsoft is interested in creating.

“The way that we’ve decided to expand — and I think ‘Dungeons’ is the first example of that — is a way that we’re trying to keep our community together,” Chiang said. “That’s why our updates our free. We don’t want to ask [players] to move from ‘Minecraft 1’ to ‘Minecraft 2.’ We want them to just enjoy ‘Minecraft.’ And there’s other ways that we can expand that are more meaningful and authentic to what we want to be, rather than just releasing another iteration in the way that most other franchises do.”

Minecraft (Super Duper Graphics Update)
“Minecraft” got a major visual overhaul with the “Super Duper Graphics” pack — a free update for Xbox One X and PC players. Microsoft
Beyond the community reasons, there’s another, perhaps more obvious reason that a sequel to “Minecraft” doesn’t make a lot of sense: What would that game even be? Does it need to exist?

“I don’t think there’s really a need for ‘Minecraft 2’,” Bergentsen told me. “You would be able to create a ‘Minecraft 2’ game in ‘Minecraft.'”

That fact, along with the continued strong sales of the original game, make a strong argument.

Upcoming Marvel Movies: Release Dates For Phase 3 And 4

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has big plans for the future. To keep it all straight, we’ve laid out the next few years’ worth of Marvel Studios films, which will take you through all of the official titles announced for Phase 3 and Phase 4.

Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019
Though originally meant to drop in late 2018, the anticipated Captain Marvel film is now scheduled to be released as the first Marvel Studios film of 2019. The blockbuster will center on Marvel character Carol Danvers in what’s said to be a very earthbound adventure (though her powers are “in the cosmic realm,” having come from the alien race known as the Kree). It’s also been confirmed that the movie will be an origin story for the titular character, will co-star Samuel L. Jackson as a younger Nick Fury (with two eyes!), will be set in the 1990s, and will be the first in the franchise to specifically feature the aliens known as the Skrulls.

Fans got their first tease for Captain Marvel’s arrival in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Avengers: Infinity War, but it won’t be until her solo film that she actually appears in person. The latest trailer recently dropped. Let’s hope that the full movie also finds a way to answer where she’s been all this time, and why she hasn’t been on Earth for all of the chaos that’s been going down. Find the most recent updates on Captain Marvel HERE.

Avengers 4 – May 3, 2019
By May 3, 2019, Marvel fans around the world will be foaming at the mouth. A big part of what made Avengers: Infinity War so breathtaking was its incredible ending, which saw fans witnessing the deaths of many of their favorite heroes. It was a hard thing to watch, but in 2019 we’ll get to see if Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the Guardians of the Galaxy can get their revenge.

How will the two teams manage to fight a genius alien who has earned the powers of a god? It certainly seems like an impossible task, but stopping the Chitauri Invasion and the rise of Ultron could have been described the same way. We can’t wait to see what directors Joe and Anthony Russo and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely do with this one. Find the most recent updates on the Untitled Avengers: Infinity War Sequel HERE.

Spider-Man: Far From Home – July 5, 2019
It won’t be called Spider-Man 2. It will be called Spider-Man: Far From Home. And it’s expected to reflect something that has to do with Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) Junior year of high school, possibly as he travels to Europe on a summer vacation trip. Marvel President Kevin Feige has confirmed that we will see the ramifications of Avengers 4 through Peter’s eyes. Which, alone, sounds fascinating. And the rumor mill has Jake Gyllenhaal attached to play the villainous role of Mysterio. Beyond that, it’s a mystery, though we expect plenty of details to drop in due time.

On top of that, there are a number of threads that can be picked up by this Spider-Man sequel. Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) knows her nephew’s secret identity. And Peter… well, he died. How will they rebound? We have a release date, and the possible start of Marvel’s Phase 4 (if they call it that). Find the most recent updates on Spider-Man: Far From Home HERE.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3
The second feature in the proposed Marvel Phase 4 was supposed to be the only other title that has been announced at this point: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. But then all hell broke loose. James Gunn lost the directing gig, thanks to insensitive Tweets that were on his timeline. And the cast – especially the extremely vocal Dave Bautista — supports Gunn, even if it costs them a role in this sequel.

James Gunn has always said that the next sequel in the Guardians franchise will bring an end to the story of THIS version of the Guardians team. That includes Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel). Even though most of them “died” in Infinity War. However, the movie has been delayed, and pre-production has been frozen, as Marvel Studios figures out what to do with this franchise without Gunn at the helm. Does Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 get replaced on the production schedule by Doctor Strange 2 or Black Panther 2? Stay tuned.

Black Widow
Fans spent years calling for Marvel Studios’ first female-led superhero movie, and for the longest time it seemed like a Black Widow solo film would be the perfect solution to the request – what with Scarlett Johansson’s character’s being arguably the most popular heroine in the franchise. That didn’t wind up happening, as both Evangeline Lilly’s Hope van Dyne and Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers broke the glass ceiling respectively with Ant-Man & The Wasp and Captain Marvel – but that doesn’t mean a Black Widow movie isn’t happening. In fact, it’s currently set up to be one of the titles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Four.

For a long time it was hard to tell what information was real and what was spurious in regards to this project, but it’s been confirmed that the project is happening. In July 2018 it was revealed that Cate Shorthand has signed on to direct the feature, her previous work including the period drama Lore and the horror movie Berlin Syndrome. At this time there are no official details about the story that the movie will tell, but we should have a much clearer idea of where things are going soon.

The Eternals
When it comes to the cosmic side of Marvel Comics, the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies have only scratched the surface. Sure, we’ve seen a few Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy movies, but there are millions of beings out in the cosmos that have yet to make their live-action debut. The Eternals is a tremendous step in that direction, as while we’ve already met one member of the titular race – Thanos – there is a whole world created by Jack Kirby that should make for tremendous cinematic exploration.

Chloe Zao was previously in the running to take the helm of the Black Widow movie, and while she didn’t get that job, Marvel Studios decided they wanted her to stick around for The Eternals. The comics tell the story of a race of beings created from proto-humans by god-like aliens known as Celestials, and it’s been said that romance will be at the center of the intergalactic story – specifically the relationship between Ikaris and Sersi.

Doctor Strange 2
As they have since pretty much the beginning, Marvel’s plans moving forward will include mixing things up between sequels and original projects. After all, while the latter allow things to constantly feel fresh and new. the former let us see a lot more of the characters we’ve previously fallen in love with. This most definitely extends to Doctor Strange, as Marvel President Kevin Feige confirmed to CinemaBlend in summer 2018 that a Doctor Strange 2 is currently in development.

Unfortunately, Kevin Feige’s statement also noted that the sequel would arrive “a number of years from the first,” so this is a project we potentially won’t see until the back half of Phase 4. It has not yet been officially announced who will be directing the movie, but the smart money is on Scott Derrickson, who helmed 2016’s Doctor Strange and received both positive praise from critics and saw great box office success.

Black Panther 2
Is anyone in the world even remotely surprised that Black Panther is getting a sequel? Sure, we don’t know exactly when we can expect it, but there was no way that Marvel Studios wasn’t going to take full advantage of what currently stands as its most successful feature release. The first movie did an amazing job establishing the world of Wakanda, eventually seeing it open up to the world, and Black Panther 2 will offer the amazing opportunity to fully explore what the presence of the country means for the entire planet.

Ryan Coogler has not yet officially signed on to take the helm of Black Panther 2, but one can certainly imagine Marvel making him an offer so big that it would be impossible for him to refuse. Given the very real appetite that audiences clearly have for this character and his homeland, it would make all the sense in the world for the MCU to launch the title within the first half of Phase 4.

Phase 4 Release Dates
May 1, 2020
July 31, 2020
November 6, 2020
February 12, 2021
May 7, 2021
November 5, 2021
February 18, 2022
May 6, 2022
July 29, 2022

Iron Man (2008)
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Thor (2011)
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
The Avengers (2012)

Iron Man 3 (2013)
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)
The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Ant-Man (2015)

Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Doctor Strange (2016)
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Black Panther (2018)
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Ant-Man And The Wasp (2018)

New Movie Releases: 2018 Movie Release Date Schedule

There’s quite a bit to get excited about in the world of movies in 2018. Between major blockbusters like The Avengers: Infinity War and Aquaman, dark and brutal dramas like Soldado and Red Sparrow, and more humorous fare like Holmes & Watson, it seems that there’s going to be something for everyone. To help make sense of everything that’s coming, we have taken it upon ourselves to compile a handy guide of 2018’s biggest silver screen releases so you will know exactly what’s set to debut during a given week!

Of course, it’s always worth remembering that Hollywood is in a constant state of flux, which means some of these dates are subject to change. Nevertheless, we will endeavor to keep this guide as up to date as possible as 2018 kicks into high gear. On that note, let’s take a look ahead to the next calendar year and see what Hollywood has in store for moviegoers.

JANUARY
Insidious: The Last Key — Friday, January 5

Condorito: La Pelicula – Friday, January 12
The Commuter – Friday, January 12
Paddington 2 – Friday, January 12
Proud Mary – Friday, January 12

12 Strong – Friday, January 19
Den of Thieves – Friday, January 19
Forever My Girl – Friday, January 19

Maze Runner: The Death Cure – Friday, January 26

FEBRUARY
Winchester: The House that Ghosts Built – Friday, February 2

The 15:17 to Paris – Friday, February 9
Fifty Shades Freed – Friday, February 9
La Boda de Valentina – Friday, February 9
Peter Rabbit – Friday, February 9

Want To Know More About Upcoming Horror Movies? Here’s Everything That We’re Looking Forward To
Black Panther – Friday, February 16
Early Man – Friday, February 16
Samson – Friday, February 16

Annihilation – Friday, February 23
Every Day – Friday, February 23
Game Night – Friday, February 23

MARCH
Death Wish – Friday, March 2
Foxtrot – Friday, March 2
Red Sparrow – Friday, March 2

Gringo – Friday, March 9
The Hurricane Heist – Friday, March 9
Strangers: Prey at Night – Friday, March 9
A Wrinkle in Time – Friday, March 9

Love, Simon – Friday, March 16
Tomb Raider- Friday, March 16

Isle of Dogs – Friday, March 23
Midnight Sun – Friday, March 23
Pacific Rim: Uprising – Friday, March 23
Sherlock Gnomes – Friday, March 23
Unsane – Friday, March 23

Paul, Apostle of Christ – Wednesday, March 28

Acrimony – Friday, March 30
God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness – Friday, March 30
Ready Player One – Friday, March 30

APRIL
Blockers – Friday, April 6
Chappaquiddick – Friday, April 6
A Quiet Place – Friday, April 6

Borg vs. McEnroe – Friday, April 13
The Miracle Season – Friday, April 13
Rampage – Friday, April 13
Truth Or Dare – Friday, April 13

I Feel Pretty – Friday, April 20
Super Troopers 2 – Friday, April 20

The Avengers: Infinity War – Friday, April 27
Traffik – Friday, April 27

MAY
Bad Samaritan – Friday, May 4
Overboard – Friday, May 4
Tully – Friday, May 4

Breaking In – Friday, May 11
Life of the Party – Friday, May 11

Book Club – Friday, May 18
Deadpool 2 – Friday, May 18
First Reformed – Friday, May 18
On Chesil Beach – Friday, May 18
Show Dogs – Friday, May 18

Solo: A Star Wars Story – Friday, May 25

JUNE
Action Point – Friday, June 1
Adrift – Friday, June 1
American Animals – Friday, June 1

Hereditary – Friday, June 8
Ocean’s 8 – Friday, June 8
Won’t You Be My Neighbor – Friday, June 8

The Incredibles 2 – Friday, June 15
Superfly – Friday, June 15
Tag – Friday, June 15

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – Friday, June 22

The Hustle – Friday, June 29
Sicario 2: Soldado – Friday, June 29
Sanju – Friday, June 29
Uncle Drew – Friday, June 29

JULY
The First Purge – Wednesday, July 4

Ant-Man and the Wasp – Friday, July 6

Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far On Foot – Friday, July 13
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation – Friday, July 13
Skyscraper – Friday, July 13

The Equalizer 2 – Friday, July 20
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! – Friday, July 20

Mission: Impossible – Fallout – Friday, July 27
Teen Titans Go! To The Movies – Friday, July 27

AUGUST
The Darkest Minds – Friday, August 3
Disney’s Christopher Robin – Friday, August 3
The Spy Who Dumped Me – Friday, August 3

Dog Days – Wednesday, August 8

BlacKkKlansman – Friday, August 10
The Meg – Friday, August 10
Slenderman – Friday, August 10

Crazy Rich Asians – Wednesday, August 15
Alpha – Friday, August 17
Mile 22 – Friday, August 17

A.X.L. – Friday, August 24
The Happytime Murders – Friday, August 24
Searching – Friday, August 24

Operation Finale – Wednesday, August 29
Kin – Friday, August 31

SEPTEMBER
The Nun – Friday, September 7
Peppermint – Friday, September 7

A Simple Favor – Friday, September 14
The Predator – Friday, September 14
White Boy Rick – Friday, September 14

Assassination Nation – Friday, September 21
Fahrenheit 11/9 – Friday, September 21
The House With a Clock In Its Walls – Friday, September 21
Life Itself (2018) – Friday, September 21

Hell Fest – Friday, September 28
Little Women – Friday, September 28
Night School – Friday, September 28
Smallfoot – Friday, September 28

OCTOBER
A Star is Born – Friday, October 5
Venom – Friday, October 5

Bad Times at the El Royale – Friday, October 12
Beautiful Boy – Friday, October 12
First Man – Friday, October 12
Goosebumps 2 – Friday, October 12

Halloween (2018) – Friday, October 19
The Hate U Give – Friday, October 19
Serenity – Friday, October 19

Hunter Killer – Friday, October 26
Indivisible – Friday, October 26
Johnny English Strikes Again – Friday, October 26
Stuck – Friday, October 26

NOVEMBER
Bohemian Rhapsody – Friday, November 2
Bodied – Friday, November 2
Boy Erased – Friday, November 2
Nobody’s Fool – Friday, November 2
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms – Friday, November 2
Suspiria – Friday, November 2

The Front Runner – Wednesday, November 7

Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch – Friday, November 9
The Girl in the Spider’s Web – Friday, November 9
Overlord – Friday, November 9

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – Friday, November 16
Widows – Friday, November 16

Creed 2 – Wednesday, November 21
Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 – Wednesday, November 21
Robin Hood – Wednesday, November 21
Second Act – Wednesday, November 21

DECEMBER
Ben is Back – Friday, December 7
Mary Queen of Scots – Friday, December 7
The Silence – Friday, December 7
Under the Silver Lake – Friday, December 7

Mortal Engines – Friday, December 14
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Friday, December 14

Mary Poppins Returns – Wednesday, December 19

Aquaman – Friday, December 21
Bumblebee – Friday, December 21
Holmes & Watson – Friday, December 21
Welcome to Marwen – Friday, December 21

Vice – Tuesday, December 25
On the Basis of Sex – Wednesday, December 26

Venom Box Office: October Has A New Opening Weekend Champion

The appetite for superhero movies is very real among today’s average theater-goer, and one need not look for further proof beyond this weekend’s box office performance by Ruben Fleischer’s Venom. The blockbuster arrived in theaters on a big wave of bad buzz, but it was able to slice right through it for a record-breaking total. Check out the full Top 10 below and join me after for analysis.

1. Venom* $80,030,000 Total: $80,030,000
LW: N
THTRS: 4,250
2. A Star is Born* $41,250,000 Total: $41,250,000
LW: N
THTRS: 3,686
3. Smallfoot $14,900,000 Total: $42,760,945
LW: 2
THTRS: 4,131
4. Night School $12,275,000 Total: $46,750,355
LW: 1
THTRS: 3,019
5. The House With A Clock In Its Walls $7,295,000 Total: $55,050,560
LW: 3
THTRS: 3,463
6. A Simple Favor $3,435,000 Total: $49,014,356
LW: 4
THTRS: 2,408
7. The Nun $2,610,000 Total: $113,367,310
LW: 5
THTRS: 2,264
8. Hell Fest $2,075,000 Total: $8,864,476
LW: 6
THTRS: 2,297
9. Crazy Rich Asians $2,060,000 Total: $169,134,942
LW: 7
THTRS: 1,466
10. The Predator $900,000 Total: $49,985,889
LW: 8
THTRS: 1,643
October has never been a month known for blockbuster releases, but Venom has proven that the right content can definitely sell tickets. Previously it was Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity that held the opening weekend record for the 31 day stretch, making $55.8 million in its first three days back in 2013, but the new release from Sony has clearly shattered that ceiling. And when you add in the $125.2 million that it has already made overseas, the comic book feature has already made more than double its reported $100 million budget.

This, however, is definitely a film where there are some major questions about the length and strength of its upcoming box office run. There is clearly no denying that there were a lot of people out there excited to see Venom, but it’s common to see major second week drops in similar circumstances – which is to say with movies that aren’t carrying a crazy amount of positive critical buzz. A good recent example is Corin Hardy’s The Nun, which had the second best September opening of all time last month, but also dropped a stunning 66 percent in its second week. Those who were super excited to see Venom probably all saw it between Thursday and now, and as a result there’s a good likelihood that its performance from October 12-14 won’t be nearly as impressive.

Even beyond, Venom, though, this was also a fantastic weekend for Hollywood thanks to the release of Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born. While it didn’t exactly have the biggest October opening of all time, it can actually proudly say that it had the 10th biggest October opening of all time. Unlike Venom, the musical drama has been riding high on positivity ever since it made its Toronto International Film Festival debut last month – with both Cooper and star Lady Gaga earning rave reviews – and people bought a lot of tickets to see their work. There’s been a lot of talk about this one being in the race for this year’s Best Picture award at the Academy Awards, so expect to hear a lot more about it in the coming weeks and months – including in this feature.

This week readers should also take note of the impressive continuing performance of Jon Chu’s Crazy Rich Asians, which has been hanging around on the chart since mid-August. Sure, it’s now fallen to ninth place, and this weekend’s new releases should bump it out of the Top 10, but a hat tip is deserved. It spent three of its eight weeks of release so far as box office king, and has grossed nearly $226 million globally on just a $30 million budget (after also having received a great response from both critics and audiences). It’s unquestionably one of 2018’s biggest success stories, which is saying a lot when you consider how big the year has been so far.

Next weekend’s crop of new titles offers up content for all audiences out there, with the Neil Armstrong biopic First Man, the kid-centric horror Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, and the star-studded thriller Bad Times At The El Royale all hitting theaters in wide release. They should do a nice job shaking things up, so be sure to come back next week to see the refreshed Top 10.