With all the jokes comparing 2022 to “2020 too,” it feels like not much has changed since the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1 (this year or last). But that’s not the case for films. The slate of releases due this new year feel fresh and exciting, from revived franchises to clever indies. Though we remain wary of moving release dates, potential production delays, and packed theaters as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, these new titles—premiering both in cinemas and online—give us something to look forward to in these trying times. Keep scrolling to see some of the most anticipated releases for the year ahead.
Based on the novel by Kōtarō Isaka, this action film follows five different assassins aboard a Japanese bullet train who discover their missions are all intertwined. While Brad Pitt leads as the hitman Ladybug, he’s part of a star-studded roster that includes Sandra Bullock, Zazie Beetz, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Joey King, Michael Shannon, Bad Bunny, Logan Lerman, Andrew Koji, Masi Oka, Karen Fukuhara, and more. David Leitch directs.
In theaters July 15.
Where the Crawdads Sing
Normal People breakout star Daisy Edgar-Jones is hopping from one buzzy book-to-screen adaptation to another. In this film rendition of Delia Owens’s best-selling novel, Edgar-Jones stars as Kya, a young woman who raised herself in the marshes of her small Southern town, then becomes a murder suspect when her former boyfriend is found dead. Olivia Newman (First Match) is directing from a screenplay by Oscar nominee Lucy Alibar (Beasts of the Southern Wild). Reese Witherspoon is producing.
In theaters July 22.
The Woman King
With a title like this, casting Viola Davis in the lead is a no-brainer. The Oscar winner stars as Nanisca, “general of the all-female military unit in the Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries,” per Variety. The Underground Railroad star Thuso Mbedu is also featured as Nawi, a recruit who fights enemies alongside Nansica. Lashana Lynch and John Boyega are also in the cast, and Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball, The Old Guard) is directing.
In theaters Sept. 16.
A dramatized film adaptation is in the works for She Said, the best-selling book from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey about how they reported the watershed story of Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual harassment. Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan will star as Twohey and Kantor respectively, and the film will follow their efforts in reporting the news, which helped reignite the #MeToo movement across Hollywood and various other industries. Unorthodox’s Maria Schrader will direct.
In theaters Nov. 18.
I Wanna Dance with Somebody
Playing an icon as revered as Whitney Houston is no small task, but British actress Naomi Ackie (The Rise of Skywalker, Lady Macbeth) is stepping up to the challenge. She’ll star as Houston in this upcoming biopic from director Kasi Lemmons (Harriet, Eve’s Bayou) and screenwriter Anthony McCarten (Bohemian Rhapsody), which will span the singer’s life and magnificent career. The project is supported by the Houston estate, with Whitney’s sister-in-law Pat Houston signed on as a producer.
In theaters Dec. 23.
After playing a lowly nurse in Knives Out and a glamorous fledgling agent in in No Time to Die, Ana de Armas will undoubtedly show off her range again as Marilyn Monroe in Netflix’s upcoming biopic. Directed by Andrew Dominik and based on the eponymous book by Joyce Carol Oates, Blonde is said to have little dialogue, but de Armas promises that “the result is stunning and very moving.”
On Netflix in 2022. Release date TBA.
In our world of growing AI and smart home tech, this introspective sci-fi drama from A24 resonates a little deeper. From filmmaker Kogonada, After Yang is set in the near future, where robots are purchased as domestic helpers and babysitters. When his daughter’s android, Yang, breaks down, Jake (Colin Farrell) seeks out a fix. Jodie-Turner Smith, Haley Lu Richardson, Justin H. Min, Sarita Choudhury, and Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja are also in the cast.
Coming in 2022. Release date TBA.
When You Finish Saving the World
Jesse Eisenberg makes his directorial debut with this film adaptation of his book of the same name. It stars Julianne Moore and Stranger Things’s Finn Wolfhard as mother and son Evelyn and Ziggy, who are seeking replacements for each other while Evelyn cares for a teen at the shelter she runs and Ziggy pursues a girl at school. When You Finish Saving the World is set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January, but its wide release still does not have a set date, though the A24 site says it’s due this year.
Coming in 2022. Release date TBA.
This could be the year we get not one, but two Harry Styles movies. In addition to Don’t Worry Darling, the singer-songwriter is set to appear in this adaptation of Bethan Roberts’s novel as Tom, a police officer in 1950s Brighton who strikes up a romance with art curator Patrick (David Dawson). With homosexuality still illegal at the time, Patrick must secretly share his lover with Tom’s wife, Marion (The Crown’s Emma Corrin), until their arrangement falls apart. Decades later, in the late ’90s, Patrick re-enters Tom and Marion’s lives. Actor Rupert Everett, who is in the cast, told Variety that the film is expected this year, but there’s no confirmation yet.
Release date TBA.
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