Sixteen years ago, Steven Soderbergh remade the Rat Pack favorite Ocean’s 11 with a new cast of the ultimate Hollywood cool among male actors — George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, and more. It turned out to be popular enough for two sequels for the male-dominated franchise and its valentines to Las Vegas and casinos. After 2007’s Ocean’s Thirteen, the magic ran out even with its all-star casts.
A decade later, a new set of stars hope to reinvigorate the Oceans franchise — with a twist. Rather than offer a caper film that focuses on the men, the new film Oceans 8 gives us an all-star cast of women, including Sandra Bullock in the central role. Warner Brothers released the first trailer for the film today, hoping to whet appetites for its early-June premier in 2018:
The trailer looks fun and in keeping with the spirit of the Oceans sensibility — hip, wisecracking, and fast-paced. The cast looks impressive too. Joining Bullock are Cate Blanchett, Dakota Fanning, Anne Hathaway, Katie Holmes, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, and Rihanna. Damon and Carl Reiner come along to provide continuity from the earlier Oceans offerings, but it appears that they’re on the periphery.
That’s not the only change. Rather than aim at another Vegas heist, the women take aim instead at New York’s annual Met gala. The change of venue probably has two functions — to keep from just regurgitating the previous plots (how many ways are there to rob Vegas casinos, anyway?) and to focus the environment more for a target audience of women. Expect plenty of cameos from the fashion world — Anna Wintour is listed in the credits, for example — and lots of designer wardrobe on the screen to go along with it.
It’s tough to fault the timing, too, coming as it does on the heels of the sexual-abuse scandals in Hollywood. Since this was filmed well before the avalanche of revelations about Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner, and others, it won’t provide any direct references to it, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the film will get marketed as a vehicle for female empowerment in Hollywood. Nothing wrong with that, of course, as long as it’s entertaining; Bullock did The Heat with Melissa McCarthy in a similar vein and made it worthwhile. McCarthy tried it with her Ghostbusters remake and flopped, which may explain why McCarthy and the other 2016 ghostbusters don’t make it into this film.
If Oceans 8 scores well enough for a sequel, perhaps the next caper should be set in the entertainment industry. The fictitious (ahem) plot could involve stealing all of the assets of an obese and obnoxious sexual predator who abuses his power to assault women, and then humiliating him, his repulsive brother, and all their enablers in the industry and media. I’m pretty sure that’d sell tickets. In droves. Add Rose McGowan to the cast and you’ve got a film that will have audiences cheering from coast to coast. Seriously.