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2018 cinema set for womens' star turns and fantasy galore

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2018 cinema set for womens' star turns and fantasy galore

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Out right now and kicking off 2018 in style is "Molly's Game", a true story featuring a barnstorming performance from Jessica Chastain, and authentic big-screen sizzle in her scenes with Idris Elba.

It is the keynote shot in a year for actresses with stong female leads abounding as Hollywood wakes up to the new age.

But the ladies will not have it all their own way in 2018. February sees the long-awaited arrival of another superhero, "Black Panther", which will pitch for a corner of the comic-book universe all of its own.

Jennifer Lawrence will try and ensure as early as March that 2018 goes down as a year marked by female lead performances. "Red Sparrow" also rides the zeitgeist with its tales of sleeper spies and assassins and Lawrence is rarely off the screen in a no-holds-barred performance.

It is one of the rare reality-based headliners announced for 2018, which continues to show Hollywood's current fascination with fantasy. The same month sees the new movie from the Oscar-nominated African-American director Ava duVernay, who was given 100 million dollars to make "A Wrinkle in Time".

2018 will also see Hollywood remain true to itself with reboots of old favourites, and "Tomb Raider" returns with "Ex Machina"'s Alicia Vikander taking on the Laura Croft role.

One of cinema's biggest-ever moneyspinners was successfully relaunched in 2015 and "Jurassic World" became the fourth biggest-earning movie of all time. In April "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" looks to repeat the coup.

Girl power continues with June's "Ocean's Eight", and the month sees a potentially bloody battlefield with some of the year's biggest movies pitched against each other for the holiday dollars. The female heisters will have their work cut out as June will also see the long-awaited return of the most-loved family in animation.

"Incredibles 2" hopes to recapture the magic of Brad Bird's 2004 original, and fans can hardly wait.

The same month sees The Avengers back to bid for the summer blockbuster honours with "Infinity War". So many superheros on the screen all at one time. It's all a bit Cecil B. DeMille.

In July Hollywood heavyweight James Cameron returns to the world of action-animation mashup with "Alita Battle Angel".

It has taken so long to make, 20 years, that Cameron has handed it off to Robert Rodriguez to direct, taking a co-writing credit. After all that audiences might want to take a breather, and in fact there is little flagged for the rest of the year until December, and "Mortal Engines".

Choosing to take screenwriter credits only, Peter Jackson has adapted the Philip Reeve novel and is hoping this could be the start of a whole new franchise.