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The biggest new movies coming out in 2022

Our list of what, pending any seismic events, will be coming out this year

Illustration: Andrey Smirny for Polygon

Movie-release calendars always exist in a state of flux, but that’s become doubly true in our two-years-and-counting pandemic era. No matter how studios try to time their release strategies to avoid COVID-19 surges or take advantage of relaxed restrictions, they don’t seem to come out quite right — and sometimes those mismatches don’t seem to matter, as when Spider-Man: No Way Home became the biggest blockbuster in years just as the Omicron variant was sweeping the U.S. (while virtually every other holiday release underperformed or outright bombed).

But between streamers and the still-surviving theatrical business, there will be plenty of movies to watch in 2022, no matter how they’re released into the world. Here are 50-plus titles with tentative release dates, plus another 20 or so that don’t yet have dates but will likely arrive before this time next year. You’ll notice a lot of the undated titles hail from Netflix; streaming services don’t often call their release date shots as early as those releasing in theaters. But here’s what we do know.

January

Scream

In theaters on Jan. 14

Ghostface attacks Jenna Ortega’s Scream character Photo: Paramount Pictures

No, despite the title, it’s not a remake — just following the new horror titling standard where a direct sequel gets named after the first film. This is Scream 5 all the way, with Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette all returning, nearly a decade after Scream 4, which itself was over a decade after Scream 3. One major change, though: Director Wes Craven has since passed away (Scream 4 was his final film), and the reins have been taken by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, the guys who made the propulsive horror farce Ready or Not. Plot details, as ever, are under wraps (even the trailer doesn’t offer much; it certainly doesn’t hit at the usual meta-movie tone), but if this one doesn’t work out, you can look forward to Scream 6 in 2030.

February

Jackass Forever

In theaters on Feb. 4

Johnny Knoxville in jackass forever from Paramount Pictures and MTV Entertainment Studios. Photo: Sean Cliver/Paramount Pictures

Those Jackass boys — so considerate! When fall COVID numbers threatened to make the prospect of luring audiences into theaters and treating them to an evening of raucous and presumably droplet-spreading laughter, Paramount moved Jackass Forever out of 2021 entirely, to what then seemed like safer pastures. Maybe it’s counterintuitive to insist on a theatrical premiere for a fourth installment of a movie series based on a half-hour cable TV show, but the stunts, pranks, and kinship of the Jackass movies really do get that extra bump from the audience experience. Given that, it’s hard not to wonder if the movie will shift again depending on the current COVID wave — or if the trailers appearing before every movie released in the past six months will be enough to make that date stick.

Moonfall

In theaters on Feb. 4

The moon falls on earth from space in Moonfall Image: Lionsgate

Rolland Emmerich is back, baby, and Lionsgate’s got him! The master of disaster, director of Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012, among others, seeks to add to his semi-apocalypse canon with Moonfall, in which the moon is knocked out of orbit and sent hurtling toward the total destruction of Earth! Presumably, some heroic astronaut types will head into space and try to stop it. The requisite all-star cast is a bit less starry this time, but at least we get Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, and Michael Peña. And really, bless Emmerich for making the types of movies that any halfway-decent parodist would cook up for him. And if you just can’t stand waiting for this installment of cheesy sci-fi disaster action, the movie’s first five minutes are online now.

The Worst Person in the World

In theaters on Feb. 4

The Worst Person in the World runs down the street with a smile on her face Image: Neon

Depending on how you count it, The Worst Person in the World might technically be a 2021 release; it received an unpublicized one-week awards-qualifying theatrical run, played a bunch of festivals, and will compete as Norway’s entry for the Best International Feature Academy Award. But it won’t actually hit normal release until early 2022, timed to coincide with presumed Oscar attention. Neon, its distributor, is right to be cocky: This is a terrific movie about a woman struggling to find herself through fickle and fated shifts in relationships, careers, and everything else that happens in your twenties and thirties.

Death on the Nile

In theaters on Feb. 11

Armie Hammer and Gal Gadot in Death on the Nile Photo: Rob Youngson/20th Century Studios

The four-and-a-half-year gap between Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express and his second turn as ace detective Hercule Poirot, Death on the Nile, has been so long that plenty of people probably forgot that Murder was a decent-sized hit back in 2017. Since then, Fox has been acquired by Disney, multiple co-stars have been involved with various scandals, and a worldwide pandemic has repeatedly delayed the release of this sequel — to the point where Branagh wrote, directed, and released Belfast, a whole other movie, in the meantime. The newest trailers focus more on Gal Gadot, whose character summons Poirot to a Nile cruise, where he winds up investigating another murder, naturally. The all-star suspects include Annette Bening, Russell Brand, Letitia Wright, Armie Hammer, Sophie Okonedo, and Jennifer Saunders.

Marry Me

In theaters and on Peacock on Feb. 11

Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez) and Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson) hug each other in Marry Me Photo: Barry Wetcher/Universal Pictures

Jennifer Lopez just can’t quit rom-coms — or trying to merge her singing career with her movie-star work. Here she plays a global superstar whose much-publicized on-stage wedding is abruptly canceled when her partner cheats, leading her to impulsively wed an audience member, played by unassuming single dad Owen Wilson. Director Kat Coiro has experience spoofing the pop music world; she recently directed the pilot for the hilarious Peacock show Girls5Eva.

Uncharted

In theaters on Feb. 18

Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) and Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) on a pirate ship in Uncharted Photo: Clay Enos/Universal Pictures

After what seems like decades of stop-start progress, with a long list of stars and directors who were attached to an adaptation of this popular video game series before dropping out, someone actually finished an Uncharted movie. That someone is Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer, who has Tom Holland as treasure-hunting adventurer Nathan Drake and Mark Wahlberg as his wisecracking partner Sully. This is an origin story for the pair, and, along with Red Notice and The Lost City, seems like part of a larger trend to revive the Indiana Jones-style action-adventure-caper movie.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

On Netflix on Feb. 18

Leatherface in Texas Chainsaw Massacre Photo: Yana Blajeva / Legendary Pictures / Netflix

The same-titled sequel horror trend continues apace with the latest Texas Chainsaw, which is (deep breath) either the ninth gruesome misadventure of skin-masked murderer Leatherface, the seventh Leatherface movie minus the two-movie remake series, a direct sequel to the 1974 original, or the third such direct sequel, because even that approach has been done before. It’s unclear from the trailer what this newest installment will bring to the big, gross dinner table, though Eighth Grade star Elsie Fisher signed on for this one. Evil Dead remake director Fede Alvarez is also on board — but only with producer and story credits. He hired up-and-coming filmmaker David Blue Garcia to direct.

The Devil’s Light

In theaters on Feb. 25

An eye stabbed with a sewing needle it’s gross do not look at it Image: Lionsgate

Director Daniel Stamm returns to the exorcism world after his found-footage horror movie The Last Exorcism, following a young nun (Jacqueline Byers) who feels it is her destiny to perform exorcisms and is disappointed to learn that only priests are authorized to do so. Her dream takes a frightening turn when she’s given the unexpected opportunity to prove herself. The movie sounds engineered to take advantage of coming nostalgia for late-2000s/early 2010s horror, where it seemed like every other movie was an exorcism variation.

March

The Batman

In theaters March 3

ROBERT PATTINSON as Bruce Wayne and long hair in The Batman Photo: Jonathan Olley/Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Comics

Remember when eight years passed between Batman & Robin and Batman Begins? The days of waiting nearly a decade for a reboot are long gone; Robert Pattinson’s inaugural turn as the Caped Crusader arriving four and a half years after the character’s most recent appearance in Justice League actually marks the longest span of Batman-free cinemas since those post-Clooney days. Though this creepy-looking take on the Bat is already leading to multiple HBO Max spinoffs, it has nothing to do with the current DC multiverse, where Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck’s versions will meet later this year. Instead, director Matt Reeves (who made the two most recent Planet of the Apes pictures) seems to have crafted a creepier and more gnarly version than either the operatic Snyder version or the crime-movie Mann version. The movie looks at least partially inspired by The Long Halloween, and goes all-in on the rogue’s gallery, featuring the Riddler (Paul Dano), the Penguin (Colin Farrell), and Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz), among others.

Turning Red

Coming to Disney Plus on March 11

Turning Red: Mei (Rosalie Chiang) shows her red panda self off to her friends Image: Pixar

Pixar’s dizzying pace continues with its fourth movie of the past two years, a seemingly anime-influenced coming-of-age comedy about Mei (Rosalie Chiang), a teenage girl whose excitement or stress levels can cause her to turn into a gigantic red panda. It’s also apparently a period piece, set during the boy-band-saturated days of the early 2000s; will this be Pixar’s Lady Bird? The director is Domee Shi, making her feature debut following her Oscar-winning Pixar short Bao (as well as plenty of storyboard work for past Pixar features).

Everything Everywhere All At Once

In theaters March 25

Everything Everywhere All At Once: Michelle Yeoh protects two people Photo: A24

The loopy invention of former music video directors like Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry seems to be alive, based on the trailer for Everything Everywhere All At Once, an indie sci-fi-action extravaganza from Daniels, the collective moniker for filmmakers (and video directors) Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) discovers that she has connections across multiple parallel universes, and learns how to access her counterparts’ memories and skills to … save the world, or something? That’s usually how it goes with multiverses. Whatever happens, it looks like a wild trip.

April

Morbius

In theaters April 1

Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) hangs from a wall Image: Jay Maidment/Sony Pictures

Give the Morbius trailer some credit for its huckstery Venom/Not Venom vibes, name-dropping the Sony Spider-Verse hit before ending on a vaguely nonsensical joke about the “living vampire” played by Jared Leto not being Venom, despite a similar monster-movie anti-hero backstory. Sony’s second attempt to build a franchise around a Spider-Man villain played by an eccentric actor has been bounced around the release schedule a bit, at one point landing in what seemed like a natural habit: the chilly, Underworld-y environment of January. Now it’s been pushed again to April Fool’s Day, a sure sign that it’s all just a prank, possibly orchestrated by Leto’s Joker.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

In theaters April 8

Sonic holds on to a plane driven by Tails in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Image: Paramount Pictures

Now that all of the origin stuff is out of the way with the first hit movie, this follow-up can concentrate on … still being a Sonic the Hedgehog movie, but this time with the participation of Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey) and Knuckles (Idris Elba), as well as a vastly more mustachioed Jim Carrey, returning as Dr. Robotnik.

Ambulance

In theaters April 8

Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and Danny Sharp (Jake Gyllenhaal) in Ambulance Photo: Andrew Cooper/Universal Pictures

A smaller-scale Michael Bay movie still involves hails of gunfire and spectacular car crashes, as seen in this thriller about a pair of bank robbers (Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) who hijack an ambulance, complete with an EMT (Eiza González) and her patient — who the robbers happen to have shot during their robbery.

The Lost City

In theaters April 15

Brad Pitt wheels Sandra Bullock in a wheelbarrow while they run with Channing Tatum away from an explosion in The Lost City Photo: Kimberley French/Paramount Pictures

Reviving both the old-fashioned adventure movie and the treasured pleasure of ripping off rather than remaking, this action-comedy seems to be inspired by Romancing the Stone, with a cautious and isolated romance writer (Sandra Bullock) unexpectedly swept up into a storyline that could have come from one of her books. But instead of being paired with a rugged male adventurer (as in Stone), she’s paired with the guy straight from the covers of those books: Channing Tatum, as a well-meaning but possibly not experienced model who wants to prove himself.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

In theaters April 15

Young Dumbledore holds a locket at hogwarts in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore Photo: Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros Pictures

The real secret is whether the planned five-film set of Fantastic Beasts films will come to pass. After no one wanted to answer for The Crimes of Grindelwald, this three-quel puts Dumbledore’s name right in the title, though the trailer still falls short of indicating whether this is really supposed to be a more grown-up version of Harry Potter world-building, or just a kids’ movie that inexplicably stars a bunch of adults. Mads Mikkelsen subs in for Johnny Depp as the villainous Grindelwald, while Eddie Redmayne’s New Scamander and Jude Law’s young, sexy version of Dumbledore both return — as does David Yates, who may or may not be the victim of a lifetime Wizarding World contract.

The Bad Guys

In theaters April 22

The Bad Guys: A wolf and snake smile at each other while shit goes down Image: Dreamworks Animation

DreamWorks Animation takes a stylistic detour for its latest cartoon, which has a loose and painterly look that seems inspired by children’s-book illustrations; indeed, it’s based on a children’s book series. The usual eclectic all-star line-up (Sam Rockwell, Awkafina, Marc Maron, Craig Robinson, and Anthony Ramos) voices a group of animal bad guys who agree to switch to the good side to avoid a prison sentence. The question isn’t whether the appropriate Billie Eilish song will play in the movie (it plays through most of the trailer), but how many times it will blare.

The Northman

In theaters April 22

Alexander Skarsgård stands as a Viking warrior in The Northman Image: New Regency Productions/Focus Features

With the Viking epic The Northman, Robert Eggers goes bigger than The Witch or The Lighthouse — and wider, too, switching from his preferred square-ish images to a wider aspect ratio. This much-anticipated film is a big-budget Hamlet-inspired revenge thriller, with Alexander Skarsgård playing the Hamlet figure supported by Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, Claes Bang, and, in her first major film role since Dancer in the Dark, singer Björk.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

In theaters April 22

Nicolas Cage’ (Nicolas Cage) greets ‘Javi Gutierrez’ with a ‘Palm Hold Fist’ salute as he arrives in Mallorca, Spain in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent Photo: Katalin Vermes/Lionsgate

Lionsgate must have more faith in this than your average Nicolas Cage vehicle; it was set for release back in 2021, but the studio blanched on sending it out into the pandemic (or sending it straight to streaming) in favor of a spring release. Cage plays, well, Nic Cage, literally: He engages in some self-parody as an outsized version of himself, hired by a drug kingpin (Pedro Pascal) to entertain at his birthday party. Let’s hope it’s closer to the insight of Being John Malkovich than the marginal likes of A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III.

May

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

In theaters May 6

Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange conjuring a red magic spell in DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS Image: Marvel Studios

Save us, Sam Raimi! While characters from Raimi’s classic Spider-Man trilogy were turning up in the recent MCU production Spider-Man: No Way Home, Raimi himself was finishing up work on a sequel starring No Way Home supporting player Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Multiverse of Madness will elaborate on the dimension-hopping mechanics introduced in the Spidey sequel; the trailer seems to include some kind of evil Strange doppelganger, which bodes well for Raimi’s style shining through the MCU boilerplate. Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch also appears to play a major role, in her first big-screen MCU outing since WandaVision became a TV sensation.

DC League of Super Pets

In theaters May 20

Krypto the Super-dog flies alongside Superman in DC League of Super-Pets Image: Warner Bros. Animation

Doing an animated feature based on the storied pets of the DC universe — Superman’s dog Krypto (voiced here by Dwayne Johnson), Ace the Bat-Hound (Kevin Hart), and so on — is an inspired idea, even if this looks pretty blatantly like a DC-branded version of Secret Life of Pets. Still, DC heroes have had good luck when adapted for animated features like Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and Teen Titans Go! to the Movies, even if neither was a box office smash. This will obviously be a much bigger hit, just so long as Wonder Woman’s kangaroo Jumpa has a prominent role. (Sadly, she doesn’t seem to be featured in the trailer.)

Top Gun: Maverick

In theaters May 27

Tom Cruise as Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick leaning over a jet cockpit Photo: Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures

To Mission: Impossible fans, it might seem as if Tom Cruise’s second-most-famous character is being held hostage by his signature role: Maverick, the cocky U.S. Navy pilot he played in 1986’s megahit Top Gun. Every time this big-gap sequel to the latter has faced another delay, the next Mission: Impossible has been kicked even further down the release schedule. Directed by Joseph Kosinski (Cruise’s pal from the sci-fi picture Oblivion), the new film finds Maverick training the next generation of fighter pilots, naturally, including “Rooster” (Miles Teller), the son of his old friend Goose. The supporting cast is impressive, with Jon Hamm, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, and Top Gun alum Val Kilmer. Though it’s unlikely to match the cultural impact of its predecessor, Top Gun: Maverick was shot with both IMAX cameras and the desire for tangible spectacle associated with later-period Tom Cruise.

The Bob’s Burgers Movie

In theaters May 27

The Bob’s Burgers family sits around a laptop Image: Fox TV

Fox’s long-running animated sitcom Bob’s Burgers took far less time to make it to movie theaters than its even-longer-running network stablemate The Simpsons, but the pandemic closed a bit of that gap; the film was originally scheduled for summer 2020 and will now come out nearly two years later, 11 years after the show debuted. Hopefully it will be worth the wait; unlike the musically-inclined Simpsons, the movie version is apparently a full-on musical.

June

Jurassic World: Dominion

In theaters June 10

A raptor chases Chris Whatshisname on a motorcycle in Jurassic World: Dominion Image: Universal Pictures

J.J. Abrams displaced Colin Trevorrow as director of Star Wars: Episode IX, returning to finish out the trilogy he started; now Trevorrow does the same as he voyages back to a changed Jurassic World. At the end of Fallen Kingdom, dinosaurs left the island park behind for good. Four years later, it really is a Jurassic world, with dino species wreaking havoc around the globe. World mainstays Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return, as do legacy cast members Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum, in what seems like Trevorrow’s final attempt to please as many crowds as possible.

Lightyear

In theaters June 17

Buzz Lightyear touches fingers with his friend Image: Pixar

And the Pixar train keeps moving: Just three months after the last release comes a Toy Story spinoff whose trailer has had audiences everywhere cheering with resounding cries of “huh?!?!” Yes, this is a more serious (though seemingly still family-friendly) riff on Buzz Lightyear, the astronaut from the Toy Story quadrilogy. Supposedly, this sci-fi adventure — where Buzz is played by Chris Evans rather than Tim Allen — will serve as a feature-length example of the in-universe Buzz Lightyear franchise that inspired the fictional toys to begin with. Or if you want less head-spinning, just consider it a feature made to balance out some contractual obligation after Buzz was more or less relegated to a supporting role in Toy Story 4. Either way, it might be fun to see Pixar deliver some richly imagined sci-fi, even if it has to go back to its own toybox to justify it.

Elvis

In theaters June 24

Normally, yet another pop-singer biopic might be cause for a chorus of eyerolls, but it’s hard to scoff at the first new Baz Luhrmann feature film in nearly a decade, and it’s easy to imagine Luhrmann’s big, bold muchness making something colorfully entertaining out of old formulas. Though the subject is Elvis Presley (Austin Butler), the eye-catching casting is Tom Hanks playing Presley’s notorious manager, Colonel Tom Parker.

The Black Phone

In theaters June 24

The Black Phone mask guy walks in his basement Image: Universal Pictures

After making the requisite MCU smash with Dr. Strange, Scott Derrickson has returned to his horror roots, even reuniting with his surprisingly genre-friendly Sinister star Ethan Hawke — who, speaking of sinister, seems to be playing a maniacal abductor of children this time around. The movie looks a bit like a dark and disturbing horror-centric spin on one of those retro-’80s kid adventure movies, with a young boy trapped by a killer and a young girl hoping to save him with her dream visions, with some possible ghosts thrown into the mix via that black phone. Basically, it’s the next logical progression from the It movies, complete with a kid in a yellow raincoat.

July

Thor: Love and Thunder

In theaters July 8

Thor Love and Thunder title logo Image: Marvel Studios

In terms of continuing to star in feature films, Thor turns out to be last Avenger standing: The original Captain America has settled down with Peggy, Iron Man and Black Widow are dead, Hawkeye has passed the torch to Kate Bishop, the Hulk may soon do the same for She-Hulk (and can’t star in solo movies due to a contractual snarl) ... but Thor has gone on to star in a fourth film, directed by Ragnarok’s Taika Waititi, bringing back Jane (Natalie Portman), his beloved from the first two Thor movies. Waititi has described the movie as a romance, and also intends to work in elements of a comics storyline where Jane assumes the mantle of the Mighty Thor. The Guardians of the Galaxy, last seen accepting Thor into their ranks, will apparently also appear.

Nope

In theaters July 22

Nope movie poster Image: Universal Pictures

Typically little is known about writer-director Jordan Peele’s next horror project, but what we do know is awfully enticing: It starts Get Out Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya and Minari Oscar nominee Steven Yeun; portions of it were shot on 65mm IMAX film; and it’s likely to be one of the biggest non-franchise releases of the summer. So, basically, the opposite of “nope.”

Black Adam

In theaters July 29

Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam on set wearing his costume with a camera pointed at him Photo: Frank Masi/Warner Bros. Pictures

The future archnemesis of Zachary Levi’s Shazam gets his own pre-spinoff in Black Adam, a project that’s been earmarked for Dwayne Johnson for over a decade — well before the Shazam! movie came to fruition in 2019. Johnson’s Black Adam shares powers with Shazam (though presumably his non-superheroic identity is not a teenage boy), and here seems set to square off with other DC heroes including Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo) and Hawkman (Aldis Hodge). Jaume Collet-Serra reteams with Johnson after their success with last year’s Jungle Cruise.

August

Bros

In theaters Aug. 12

Billing itself as the first gay romantic comedy from a major studio, Bros eclipses the usual coming-out narratives in favor of following two commitment-phobes (Billy Eichner and Luke Macfarlane) stumbling toward a possible relationship. Eichner co-wrote the movie with director Nicholas Stoller; given the presence of Stoller, and producer Judd Apatow, along with Eichner’s comic bona fides, expect something relatable but laugh-out-loud funny like Forgetting Sarah Marshall or The Five-Year Engagement.

The Man from Toronto

In theaters Aug. 12

Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson go gunning for that Hitman’s Bodyguard cash in an action-comedy of mistaken identity, directed by Hitman’s auteur Patrick Hughes. An Airbnb mishap results in a normal but presumably motormouthed fellow (Hart) being confused with a professional assassin (Harrelson) — a role once intended for Jason Statham!

September

Dark Harvest

In theaters Sept. 9

David Slade makes his first full-length feature film since Twilight: Eclipse, and his first non-vampire feature since Hard Candy, with this adaptation of a horror novel about a supernatural figure named “Sawtooth Jack” who haunts a small town every year. Young citizens of the town compete to beat back the specter and win passage out of their cursed burg; two teenagers (Emyri Crutchfield and Casey Likes) team up for a shot at the ultimate prize.

Distant

In theaters Sept. 16

Seemingly in the tradition of one-word sci-fi survival dramas like Moon and Gravity comes Distant, in which an astronaut (Anthony Ramos) gets marooned on an alien planet and can communicate only with another, equally stranded/screwed space traveler (Naomi Scott) who is trapped in an escape pod. The material represents a change of pace for filmmaking team Will Speck and Josh Gordon, better known for broad comedies like Blades of Glory and Office Christmas Party. Sadly, Vanessa Bayer does not appear to have a role in this one.

The Woman King

In theaters Sept. 16

Gina Prince-Blythewood steered century-spanning characters in her Netflix hit The Old Guard; The Woman King sticks with one historical era in an epic about the West African kingdom of Dahomey. Viola Davis plays the commander of an all-lady military unit, while The Underground Railroad’s Thuso Mbedu plays a young soldier. Lashana Lynch and John Boyega co-star.

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

In theaters Sept. 23

DreamWorks is starting to run out of movies to sequelize; hence this 11-years-later sequel to a Shrek spinoff that featured Antonio Banderas as a swashbuckling kitty who disarms his opponents with adorably pleading eyes. Apparently his four previous on-screen appearances have taken their toll: Puss discovers that he has used up eight of his nine lives, and pursues a “last wish” to help restore them. The first movie was charming, but would it be churlish to wish for Antonio Banderas to do an Old Zorro or Old Desperado sequel instead?

Don’t Worry Darling

In theaters Sept. 23

Screenwriter Katie Silverman and director Olivia Wilde reunite, following their beloved (if underseen) Booksmart with a psychological thriller about a 1950s housewife (Florence Pugh) discovering a dark secret about her husband (Harry Styles). Wilde herself co-stars, along with Chris Pine, KiKi Layne, and Gemma Chan.

Mission: Impossible 7

In theaters Sept. 30

Though Mission: Impossible – Fallout trailed Rogue Nation by a mere three years, the universe sensed that this was simply not the Mission: Impossible way (the series has typically taken four-to-five-year gaps between installments). Real-life intervened, hurtling Tom Cruise and his usual team (Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, and Rebecca Ferguson) onto a release date some four years and change after Fallout. Not much is known about the story (or the final title, for that matter), but we can confirm the presence of a bunch of additional returning cast members (Vanessa Kirby from Fallout; Henry Czerny from the very first film) and new characters (played by Hayley Atwell, Esai Morales, and Shea Whigham, among others). Supposedly this is the series’ penultimate installment, with an immediate follow-up scheduled to appear just a year or two later.

October

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One)

In theaters Oct. 7

Miles Morales falling through a portal in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-verse Part 1 Image: Sony Pictures

Perhaps the most beloved Spider-Man movie of all time gets a sequel — or two, based on the “Part One” appended to the recent teaser trailer. As teased at the end of the previous animated adventure, Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld) pokes back into the universe of Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), and casting announcements include that the Spider-Variants this time around include Spider-Woman (Issa Rae) and Spider-Man 2099 (Oscar Isaac).

Halloween Ends

In theaters Oct. 14

michael myers emerges from the flames in Halloween Kills Image: Universal Pictures

David Gordon Green’s trilogy of sequels to the 1978 Halloween wraps up with this final installment — which didn’t get a chance to start shooting before COVID hit, and will now slam through an early 2022 production in order to meet its promised October release date. After the underrated Halloween Kills, which intentionally kept Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) on the hospitalized sidelines for much of the film, a final showdown between the Final Girl and the unstoppable slasher must be in the offing. So is a time jump, and some kind of incorporation of our pandemic present, according to Green. But how baller would it be if Green just wound up remaking Season of the Witch?

Ticket to Paradise

In theaters Oct. 21

Universal seems ready to challenge Netflix by stepping back into the big-star romantic comedy business: They have Marry Me set for February, and reteam Ocean’s co-stars Julia Roberts and George Clooney for this multi-generational rom-com. Clooney and Roberts are a divorced couple (shades of Ocean’s 11!) who rush to Bali, hoping to stop their daughter (Kaitlyn Dever) from an impulsive marriage. Billie Lourd plays Dever’s best friend, who finds a romantic entanglement of her own on the trip; director Ol Parker knows a bit about the foibles of young-to-middle-aged love, having directed the Mamma Mia! sequel.

November

The Flash

In theaters Nov. 14

Ezra Miller as The Flash of two dimensions and the new Supergirl Sasha Calle stand in the batcave Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

Poor DC movies: Even when they seem to have an idea first, their Marvel rivals tend to scoop them. A Flash movie adapting the Flashpoint storyline that would involve multiple timelines and alternate universes has been in the works since around 2015 — before Tom Holland ever appeared as Spider-Man! But the recent Spider-Man: No Way Home made it to screens first, as this beleaguered but promising-sounding entry in the DCEU took its sweet time settling on a director (It’s Andy Muschietti) and a marquee legacy hero (once and future Batman Michael Keaton!) for this not-quite-solo turn, with Ezra Miller’s Flash joined by versions of Supergirl (Sasha Calle), General Zod (Michael Shannon), and at least two Batmen (Batfleck himself will appear, presumably one last time).

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

In theaters Nov. 11

Title treatment for Black Panther 2 Wakanda Forever Image: Marvel Studios

An MCU must-see became a bittersweet question mark when boundlessly talented actor Chadwick Boseman passed away in 2020. Boseman’s role of T’Challa will not be recast, which has added a bit of mystery to Ryan Coogler’s sequel to his 2018 original: How will T’Challa be written out of the story, and will another character assume the mantle in his place? The ensemble has no shortage of capable replacements, from Shuri (Letitia Wright) to Okoye (Danai Gurira) to Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) to M’Baku (Winston Duke).

She Said

In theaters Nov. 18

Let’s hope it’s a better bombshell than Bombshell: Director Maria Schrader chronicles the New York Times reporting that helped lead to the arrest and imprisonment of sexual abuser and former film producer Harvey Weintsein. Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan play the real-life reporters (their book serves as the source material); will these always-compelling performers become the cinematic Woodward and Bernstein of 2022?

The Fabelmans

In theaters Nov. 23

Steven Spielberg, fresh off the technical triumph of West Side Story, returns to the suburbs in a more autobiographical mood: This coming-of-age picture isn’t about Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle) befriending an alien or going on a fantastical adventure, but his life growing up in Arizona (as Spielberg did in the 1950s and 60s). Michelle Williams and Paul Dano play the parents, while Seth Rogen seems perfectly cast as Sammy’s favorite uncle.

Creed III

In theaters Nov. 23

Ryan Coogler’s first blockbuster character goes up against his next, as Creed III opens just a few weeks after his Black Panther sequel (at least per the current calendar). In the rich tradition of former co-star Sylvester Stallone, Michael B. Jordan takes the directorial reins for this threequel. With no concrete premise or filming dates, it’s hard to say for sure whether this one will actually be out for Thanksgiving, but Tessa Thompson is scheduled to return alongside Jordan.

Strange World

In theaters Nov. 23

Strange World concept art of an underground red planet Image: Walt Disney Animation

Disney Animation’s next in-house (non-Pixar, non-acquired) animated title is shrouded in some mystery; we know that it has an action-adventure feel and a possibly retro aesthetic, that it focuses on a biracial teenage boy named Ethan Clade, and that it’s directed by Don Hall, who’s had a hand in multiple Disney movies going back decades, but most recently Raya and the Last Dragon, which was also co-written by Strange World screenwriter Qui Nguyen.

December

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

In theaters Dec. 16

The unexpected billion-dollar breakout of the DCEU returns with another fantasy adventure directed by James Wan, who brought a colorful, cartoony sincerity to the first film. Lost Kingdom is said to go a bit deeper and darker into Aquaman mythology than its predecessor; at least it’s got a suitably Indiana Jones-y title. Jason Momoa returns to what has become his signature role, alongside Amber Heard’s Mera, Patrick Wilson’s Orm, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s Black Manta and, we can only assume and riot if it’s not true, the Brine King.

Avatar 2

In theaters Dec. 16

Kate Winslet wearing an underwater cape while filming Avatar 2 Photo: 20th Century Studios

Arthur Curry won’t just be squaring off against Black Manta; if he holds his release-date ground, Aquaman will be pitted against a 13-years-later Avatar sequel, which supposedly has an underwater component of its own. In the many years since James Cameron’s first Avatar (one year longer than the massive amount of time that had elapsed between Titanic’s 1997 release and Avatar’s 2009 bow), It’s become a fashionable pastime to ask about its “cultural footprint,” as if the movie collected two and a half billion dollars worldwide out of sheer inertia. But presuming indifference toward the fanatical workings of James Cameron has rarely been a good bet, and in all likelihood he’s cooked up something eye-filling and entertaining for his first sequel since Terminator 2.

Mario

In theaters Dec. 21

It’s-a me … the guy from Jurassic World! The internet has already registered its discontent over the seemingly incongruous voice casting of All-American goober Chris Pratt as the famously Italian Mario; why not save some ire for the fact that the first feature-length animated Super Mario Bros. movie is coming from Illumination, the cartoon responsible for the endlessly caterwauling animals of the Sing franchise? The bright spots here are that directors Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic hail from the very funny Teen Titans Go! and that the other actors with name recognition — Jack Black, Seth Rogen, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Keegan-Michael Key, among others — seem more promising than Pratt.

I Wanna Dance with Somebody

In theaters Dec. 21

There’s nothing like musical biopics for the holidays, and it’s honestly a little shocking that it’s taken this long for Whitney Houston to be featured as the subject of one. Naomi Ackle plays the beloved and troubled singer; the movie from director Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou; Harriet) comes out just a little over a decade after the singer’s tragic death in 2012.

Babylon

In theaters Dec. 25

Writer-director Damien Chazelle ventures back into La La Land territory with a drama set during Hollywood’s 1920s transition from silent movies to sound, with Margot Robbie playing original “it girl” Clara Bow and Brad Pitt as a fictional filmmaker. The supporting cast is so vast and eclectic that it manages to circle back around and include Margot Robbie lookalike Samara Weaving (maybe she plays Bow’s stand-in), in addition to established stars (Tobey Maguire, Olivia Wilde), Hollywood spawn (Katherine Waterston, Max Minghella), moonlighting artists (Flea, Spike Jonze), and Eric Roberts.

Undated

Blonde

Coming to Netflix

Andrew Dominik’s adaptation of a Joyce Carol Oates novel (that’s in turn based on the life of Marilyn Monroe) was in development for nearly a decade before it filmed in 2019, prepping for a 2020 release that never came. Dominik’s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and Killing Them Softly were similary puzzling to their distributors. But if Assassination and Killing are any indication, Dominik may deliver the goods again, along with a great role for Ana de Armas, who plays Monroe. Fingers crossed it actually makes it onto Netflix this year!

Clerks III

Coming to theaters

We’d call this the grand finale of the Clerks trilogy, but Kevin Smith blew past any possible trilogizing a long time ago, when he expanded his “Jersey trilogy” of the original Clerks, Mallrats, and Chasing Amy into a five-movie cycle — and that was before he jumped into Clerks II back in 2006. Dante and Randall may have been largely MIA since then, but Jay and Silent Bob popped up as recently as 2019, when Jay and Silent Bob Reboot pretty much admitted that Smith digs the fans-only niche he’s found himself in. Still, Smith has shown himself surprisingly adept at weaving real-life poignancy (and sentiment)

into his scatalogical banter, so maybe Clerks III (which sees Clerks II star Rosario Dawson return, alongside Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson) will serve as an unexpected Smith comeback.

Disappointment Blvd.

Coming to theaters

Ari Aster has described his latest as a “nightmare comedy,” which could mean it’s a disturbing and sometimes oddly funny horror movie like Midsommar or Hereditary, or it could be something else entirely. Honestly, it may not even become clear after we watch it. Aster has also talked about his new film being four hours long; he may have been joking, but that would certainly give room to a sprawling cast that includes Joaquin Phoenix, Meryl Streep, Nathan Lane, Zoe Lister-Jones, Parker Posey, Richard Kind, Amy Ryan, and Stephen McKinley Henderson.

Disenchanted

Coming to Disney Plus

The longest of this year’s crop of long-gap sequels isn’t actually Avatar 2 — it’s the Disney Plus revival of Princess Giselle, the fairy-tale princess turned real-life heroine of the 2007 comedy Enchanted, which helped make Amy Adams a household name. Adams returns for the sequel, which could actually benefit from the 15-year lag time, giving its multi-talented star space to imagine what middle-aged discontent might look like on a former princess. Then again, has director Adam Shankman (Bringing Down the House; Rock of Ages) ever really trafficked in genuine human emotion?

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero

Coming to theaters

Goku from the Dragon Ball Super: Superhero teaser trailer Image: Toei Animation/Funimation

Blame it on the rise of Marvel, DC, and comic book entertainment, but the 21st Dragon Ball movie is going full super hero. Once again written by Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama, the film finds the Red Ribbon Army regrouping with a fleet of new androids ready to bust up Goku. Little else is known about the plot, but at least year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Toriyama teased it in his own enthusiastic way: “Be prepared for some extreme and entertaining bouts, which may feature an unexpected character. We’ll be charting through some unexplored territory, in terms of the visual aesthetics to give the audience an amazing ride.”

Dual

Coming to theaters

Fresh off fighting a bunch of henchmen in Gunpowder Milkshake, Karen Gillan faces her most challenging opponent yet: herself. She plays a terminally ill woman who commissions a clone of herself for the sake of her family, only to make an unexpected recovery and be court-ordered to fight her clone to the death. If that sounds like a bleak joke, writer-director Riley Stearns previously tackled the satirical side of hand-to-hand combat in The Art of Self-Defense.

The Gray Man

Coming to Netflix

Maybe Joe and Anthony Russo are serious about those nonsensical ‘90s-movies reference points they’ve made for some of their MCU work; their latest, The Gray Man, sounds a lot like star-driven thrillers of that decade, with Ryan Gosling playing a CIA operative betrayed by his colleagues and pursued by a fellow agent (Chris Evans). One thing setting this production apart from movies like The Fugitive or Enemy of the State: It cost $200 million, setting a possible record for a Netflix original movie. Pretending to make Heat is a pricey hobby!

Havoc

Coming to streaming platforms

The Raid’s Gareth Evans returns to movies with an intense-sounding action thriller where a detective (Tom Hardy) takes on a variety of criminals in order to retrieve the son of a prominent political figure. Given the director’s propensity for intense action sequences (and Hardy’s tendency to go all the way), it’s safe to assume Hardy won’t be sweet-talking his way through the underworld.

Hellraiser

Coming to Hulu

The creative team behind the recent (and very good!) psychological chiller The Night House takes a crack at Pinhead, the iconically creepy villain of the largely negligible Hellraiser movie series. Most recent Hellraiser sequels have been direct-to-video affairs, so maybe the Night House folks are here to assure fans that this Hulu Original won’t be too low-rent. Jamie Clayton will play Pinhead in the new film, which will supposedly return to The Hellbound Heart, the Clive Barker novella that the author himself adapted for the original 1987 film.

Killers of the Flower Moon

Coming to Apple TV Plus and theaters

Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone sitting at a table in Killers of the Flower Moon Photo: Apple TV Plus

Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, two of Martin Scorsese’s favorite actors, appear together in the director’s new film — as father and son, no less. The movie, which also stars Lily Gladstone (Certain Women) and Jesse Plemons (The Irishman), is an adaptation of a nonfiction book about a series of murders in 1920s Oklahoma, targeting members of the Osage tribe and prompting a federal investigation. MCU stans can prepare their fuming that Scorsese has made another complex and presumably lengthy superhero-free movie for adults.

Knives Out 2

Coming to Netflix

His time as James Bond may be over, but Daniel Craig still has another franchise going, parlaying his role as Detective Benoit Blanc from Rian Johnson’s whodunit Knives Out into at least two follow-ups for Netflix. In keeping with other serial detectives like Hercule Poirot, Blanc will be solving a new mystery with a new ensemble cast this time around, bantering with the likes of Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Kate Hudson, Ethan Hawke, and Dave Bautista.

Men

Coming to theaters

If you found Alex Garland’s take on gender roles in Ex Machina too subtle, don’t worry: He’s made a horror-tinged movie called Men about a woman (Jessie Buckley) who goes on a solo vacation after the death of her ex-husband. Presumably everything goes perfectly, she has a great time, and returns to her everyday life feeling refreshed and healed.

The Mother

Coming to Netflix

Yeah, Jennifer Lopez is thinking she’s back: She returns to rom-coms with Marry Me, and returns to ass-kicking with The Mother, a Niki Caro-directed movie about another deadly lady assassin protecting a young child — in this case, her own estranged daughter. Maybe this project will give Caro a less constrained opportunity to exercise the action chops she hinted at in her Mulan remake.

Pinocchio

Coming to Disney Plus

Sure, making live-action Pinocchio films has been nearly as reliable a recipe for notorious disasters as making live-action Peter Pan films, but what if Pinocchio was just a straight-up remake of the 1940 Disney classic? That’s the strange question director Robert Zemeckis seems hellbent on answering with this latest entry in the redundant Disney remake sweepstakes. Frequent Zemeckis collaborator Tom Hanks plays Gepetto, opposite a CG Pinocchio; after the pair made The Polar Express together, there’s no uncanny-valley fears they can’t face!

Poor Things

Coming to theaters

Yorgos Lanthimos and Emma Stone follow up their Oscar nominations for The Favourite by reuniting for this adaptation of a 1992 novel about an abused woman who has her brain replaced with that of her unborn child. Though it sounds like a premise that Lanthimos would have written himself if novelist Alasdair Gray hadn’t gotten there first, the screenplay is actually by Tony McNamara, who worked on The Favourite as well as Stone’s recent Cruella.

Prey

Coming to Hulu

A woman walking through the woods while the Predator follows her in the movie Prey Image: 20th Century Studios

Ever since Disney bought 20th Century Fox, sci-fi fans have been looking forward to one thing: the integration of Aliens and Predators into every aspect of the Disney theme parks. 2022 brings a formidable consolation prize: Another entry in the perpetually underrated Predator film series, from 10 Cloverfield Lane director Dan Trachtenberg. Set well before the other films in the series, some time in the 18th century, Prey follows a Comanche warrior woman (Amber Midthunder) who protects her tribe from a Predator on his first jaunt to Earth.

Three Thousand Years of Longing

Coming to theaters

While nerds everywhere have been gearing up for the Mad Max spinoff Furiosa, George Miller went and made a whole other epic in the meantime: a fantastical romance where Tilda Swinton plays a woman who meets a genie (Idris Elba) who offers her three wishes in exchange for his freedom. Throw in some manner of romance, and it sounds like an even better offer than your standard Disney Aladdin deal. Like film fans realizing they may get two George Miller movies within two or three years, Swinton should be asking what the catch could be.

White Noise

Coming to Netflix and theaters

The Noah Baumbach/Netflix partnership continues, along with those between Baumbach and Adam Driver, and Baumbach and his real-life partner Greta Gerwig, in this adaptation of Don DeLillo’s seminal 1985 novel. Driver and Gerwig (who last shared scenes in Baumbach and Gerwig’s Frances Ha) play an academic couple who start to come undone with anxiety over death — and, more specifically, a chemical cloud spreading over their college town. Basically, it’s a bid to make Marriage Story seem cheerier by comparison, though Baumbach always teases some laughs out of even his darkest material.