Ocean’s 8 comes to theaters on June 8. The latest film from Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) is also a continuation of the Ocean’s film series. The previous three installments centered around Daniel Ocean (played by George Clooney) and his ever-expanding band of thieves. Ocean’s 8 shines the spotlight on Daniel’s sister, Debbie Ocean, played by Sandra Bullock, who assembles her own team of talented women to plot a heist at the Met Gala.

It’s clear that Ocean’s 8 has strong ties to the previous Ocean’s films. As shown in trailers, for example, the movie pays homage to the opening scene of Ocean’s Eleven. Furthermore, the film is expected to include cameos from pivotal players in the Ocean’s franchise, such as Matt Damon and Carl Reiner. Despite those connections, however, Ocean’s 8 is putting a different spin on a familiar heist saga.

Ocean’s 8 Forges Its Own Path

[Credit: Warner Bros.]

Spinning off a successful franchise is challenging; there’s a line between creating an all-new story and copying what worked well before. Ocean’s 8 finds that line and strides confidently down it. Director Gary Ross understood the importance of crafting a film that paid homage to the original Ocean’s trilogy but still carved its own path.

The film uses the basic structure of the Ocean’s franchise as a jumping-off point to tell a different kind of story. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Sandra Bullock explained how Ocean’s 8 goes in a new direction while staying connected to its cinematic lineage:

“We’re not a reboot. We’re just a ‘This is what’s happening in 2017.’ It’s not even a passing of the torch. It’s a parallel story of another family member that was raised in the same family Danny Ocean was and what happens when Debbie steps out of jail with all of these amazing, powerful women.”

That approach is a key factor for the film, because it allows for an innovative take on a popular franchise and presents a story that stands on its own without relying too heavily on the details of the past Ocean’s saga.

The effort to set Ocean’s 8 apart from the previous trilogy is also evident in its new group of characters, brought to life by a star-studded cast that includes Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson and Mindy Kaling. The movie offers a unique and stylized perspective on the heist concept, through its team of criminal misfits. As Bullock explained to EW:

“Everyone has their specialty, yes. What’s fun is that it’s not their whole life. And they haven’t been able to do what they’re brilliant at because the industry […] hasn’t really allowed them to excel and execute what they’re good at.”

Debbie Ocean’s partners are a stay-at-home mom, jewelry maker, and fashion designer. They’re everyday people with special skills who’re thrust into an extraordinary situation. That’s a fascinating point of view to have in the franchise.

Moving Forward

The process of treading the line between paying homage to the franchise while at the same time setting itself apart from it opened up Ocean’s 8 to a promising future. The film has a unique cast of characters and an innovative point of view on the heist genre. If handled correctly, Ocean’s 8 has the opportunity to grow and even kickstart a franchise of its own.

In fact, there’s already a possibility that Ocean’s 8 won’t the last time we’ll see Debbie Ocean and her team of robbers doing their thing on the big screen. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Sandra Bullock revealed that, should Ocean’s 8 prove successful, a sequel could be in the cards:

“I think the mindset was let’s just see if we can make this work […] Let’s see if we can take the original and then make our own version […] I don’t like the sequels that I’ve done […] My sequels were done in the time where it was sort of, ‘Oh, the first one worked, let’s just slap something together for the second one’ […] Things have changed as people realize we need to […] have something as good if not better. If something strikes a chord, an ‘Ocean’s 9’ would be ideal.”

Regardless of the potential for an Ocean’s 9, we’re excited to have the Ocean family back on the big screen, and can’t wait to see where Ocean’s 8 takes Debbie Ocean and her team of charming accomplices.

Ocean’s 8 hits theaters on June 8, 2018.