Culture

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.

The 355

Jessica Chastain, Penelope Cruz, Fan Bingbing, Diane Kruger, and Lupita Nyong’o are five international agents who join forces to form the gun-toting, ass-kicking spy troupe, The 355. Together, they’re on a mission to stop a common enemy who’s gotten ahold of a dangerous weapon.

In theaters now.

A Hero

Asghar Farhadi, the Oscar-winning director behind A Separation (2011) and The Salesman (2016), could nab another Academy Award for A Hero, Iran’s official selection for Best International Film at this year’s ceremony. The film follows Rahim (Amir Jadidi), a man incarcerated for defaulting on debt, who tries to convince his creditor to withdraw his complaint during a two-day leave. The attempt only gets him into more trouble.

In theaters now and streaming on Prime Video Jan. 22.

Scream

We’re headed back to Woodsboro. The fifth film in the Scream franchise picks up 25 years after the infamous string of murders in the troubled small town, this time with a new killer behind the Ghostface mask. Original stars like Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette are joined by breakout talent including Melissa Barrera (In the Heights), Jack Quaid (The Boys), and Jenna Ortega (You).

In theaters Jan. 14.

BELLE

Celebrated director Mamoru Hosoda (Mirai, Summer Wars) teams up with Studio Chizu once again to put a fantastical spin on the metaverse. BELLE follows Suzu, an introverted high school student who escapes to the virtual world “U” where she reigns as a singing superstar named Belle. But her digital world gets shaken up when a mysterious beast crashes one of her performances, sparking an epic chase. The trailer of this Cannes-selected film alone is enough to push the limits of your imagination.

In theaters and IMAX Jan. 14 in Japanese and English dubbed versions.

The Worst Person in the World

Norway’s official selection for an International Feature Film Oscar is Joachim Trier’s The Worst Person in the World, a layered portrait of a woman in Oslo figuring out love, purpose, and herself. Spanning four years, two boyfriends, and 12 artful chapters, the film stars Renate Reinsve as protagonist Julie, a role that earned her the Best Actress award at Cannes last year.

In select theaters Feb. 4.

Marry Me

In this rom-com, J.Lo could not be better cast as Kat Valdez, a pop star who’s described as “half of the sexiest celebrity power couple on Earth”—except onscreen, her paramour is music sensation Bastian (the equally steamy Maluma) instead of Ben Affleck. Kat and Bastain have planned an extravagant wedding that’ll be streamed by a worldwide audience, but when she learns of his infidelity, she impulsively chooses to wed a lucky audience member instead—high school math teacher Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson).

In theaters Feb. 14.

The Batman

It’s been over two years since Robert Pattinson’s casting as the new caped crusader was announced, and the anticipation has only grown steadily from then on. His Bruce Wayne lives in director Matt Reeves’s dark and gritty Gotham, where villains like the Penguin (Colin Farrell), Carmine Falcone (John Turturro), and the Riddler (Paul Dano) wreak havoc, and where Selina Kyle (the perfectly-cast Zoë Kravitz) prowls as Catwoman.

In theaters March 4.

Downton Abbey: A New Era

A sequel to the 2019 Downton Abbey film, which followed the successful six-season television series, A New Era will see the principal cast reunite, along with a few new faces. Actors Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye, Dominic West, and Jonathan Zaccaï will join the cast, though exact plot details are not public yet. At least we know Maggie Smith is returning, according to the teaser.

In theaters March 18.

Everything Everywhere All at Once

A sci-fi-action-comedy where Michelle Yeoh is the key to saving the universe? Sign us up. Directed by the Daniels (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), Everything Everywhere stars Yeoh as an “exhausted Chinese American woman who can’t seem to finish her taxes” and ends up on a surreal journey across the multiverse. Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, James Hong, and Jamie Lee Curtis also star.

In theaters March 25. Premiering at SXSW on March 11.

Moribus

Sony’s Marvel universe expands with Moribus, starring Jared Leto as the titular doctor-turned-antihero. Michael Moribus is a biochemist working on finding a cure for a rare blood disease that he and many other suffer from, but in one desperate experiment, he ends up with vampiric qualities that bring out his dark side.

In theaters April 1.

Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore

In this third installment of Fantastic Beasts, Jude Law’s Professor Albus Dumbledore is intent on stopping Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelson) from taking over the wizarding world. He’s “pulling it apart with hate,” Dumbledore says in the trailer. To face this threat, he enlists Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to lead a team through a dangerous mission that could save them all.

In theaters April 15.

The Northman

The Lighthouse and The Witch director Robert Eggers returns with this grand Nordic epic, following a young Viking prince’s journey to avenge his father’s death. Alexander Skarsgård takes the lead role and is joined by a stacked cast that includes Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, Björk, and Willem Dafoe.

In theaters April 22.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

After his appearance in 2021’s acclaimed Pig, Nicolas Cage’s next role is…Nicolas Cage. In this meta action-comedy, the actor stars as a fictional version of himself on the brink of financial ruin. In a desperate move, he agrees to attend the birthday party of a dangerous superfan (Pedro Pascal) for $1 million. But his meet-and-greet goes wild after Cage gets recruited by a CIA agent (Tiffany Haddish) and must recreate his past roles on his mission to save himself.

In theaters April 22.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

“The multiverse is a concept about which we know frighteningly little,” Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange says in this teaser trailer. And after his spell gone awry in Spider-Man: No Way Home, it looks like he’s continuing to face the consequences. The famed sorcerer finds an ally in Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff (fans and WandaVision viewers have been anticipating her appearance in the film) but a threat in himself: an “evil Doctor Strange” appears in the preview, foreshadowing that “things just got out of hand.”

In theaters May 6.

Jurassic World Dominion

The sixth installment in the ongoing Jurassic saga takes us (and the dinos) beyond the borders of the famed park. After 2018’s Fallen Kingdom, the creatures have spread around the world and adapted to their present-day environments. Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt’s leading duo are on a quest to save the beasts.

In theaters June 10.

Elvis

Austin Butler will star as the King of Rock and Roll in this upcoming biopic helmed by Baz Luhrmann. The story is set to follow Elvis Presley’s life and musical career over the span of 20 years, told “through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks),” per Variety. Olivia DeJonge also stars as Priscilla Presley.

In theaters June 24.

Thor: Love and Thunder

After helming Ragnarok, director Taika Waititi will reunite with Chris Hemsworth for another Thor film. This time, Natalie Portman returns as his ex, Dr. Jane Foster, who will take up the mantle as Mighty Thor. The story is said to be inspired by the comic series of the same name, where Jane becomes a superhero while undergoing cancer treatment. Tessa Thompson is set to return as Valkyrie while Christian Bale will join as villain Gorr the God Butcher.

In theaters July 8.

Bullet Train

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.

Nope

It’s a new Jordan Peele horror movie, need we say more? Plot details for Nope are tightly under wraps, but we do know that Peele will reunite with Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya, and that he’s tapped Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun, and Euphoria’s Barbie Ferreira for the cast. Get ready for another mindfuck this summer.

In theaters July 22.

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.

Don’t Worry Darling

Olivia Wilde helms this psychological thriller starring Harry Styles (in his first lead role) and Florence Pugh as a young married couple in the ’50s living in a utopian experimental community in California. Pugh plays an unhappy housewife suspecting that her husband’s company is hiding some dark secrets.

In theaters Sept. 23.

Top Gun: Maverick

After many a delay, the long-awaited Top Gun sequel will finally fly into theaters in September (at least for now). Set three decades after the events of the original film, Maverick sees Tom Cruise reprising his role as the titular pilot Pete Mitchell, this time training TOPGUN graduates for a dangerous specialized mission. The cast includes Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Jay Ellis, Manny Jacinto, and more.

In theaters Sept. 30.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part 1)

Still want more Spider-Man? You’re in luck. This fall, we’ll get the animated sequel to the Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, with more adventures in and around the multiverse with Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore). He’ll reunite with Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld) but will also likely encounter Spider-Man 2099, aka Miguel O’Hara (Oscar Isaac), another version of the Marvel hero from the future, who was introduced in the end credits of the previous film. (He’s a genius geneticist who gave himself spider powers.) In this new chapter, expect Miles to meet more spider-people as they face a new villain.

In theaters Oct. 7.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Chadwick Boseman’s death in 2020 was a huge loss for fans and fellow actors. To honor his legacy, his role of King T’Challa won’t be recast in the Black Panther sequel, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige confirmed. Instead, the Ryan Coogler-directed follow-up will more deeply explore the rich kingdom of Wakanda and its many characters. While the full cast has yet to be confirmed, we expect to see original stars like Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, and Danai Gurira reprise their roles. I May Destroy You’s Michaela Coel is also in the ensemble.

In theaters Nov. 11.

She Said

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.

Avatar 2

James Cameron’s record-breaking 2009 film isn’t just getting one sequel, it’s getting four. Avatar 2, slated for this December, will pick up 14 years after the events in the original film, this time focusing on Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri’s (Zoe Saldana) preteen kids. Family is a big theme for all of the upcoming installments, producer Jon Landau says. In Avatar 2 and 3, the Titanic director once again incorporates his love for the ocean, with most of the events taking place on the shores of Pandora and underwater. Sigourney Weaver is returning for a secret role, and Kate Winslet joins as Ronal, a member of Pandora’s sea-dwelling Metkayina people.

In theaters Dec. 16.

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.

Persuasion

The Jane Austen cinematic universe expands with Netflix’s screen adaptation of Persuasion, the literary icon’s last completed novel. Dakota Johnson stars as protagonist Anne Elliot, a 27-year-old unmarried woman whose family is facing bankruptcy. After reconnecting with Captain Frederick Wentworth, an ex she was persuaded to reject, Anne may have another shot at finding love. Henry Goulding and Cosmo Jarvis are in the cast, while Broadway director Carrie Cracknell takes the helm. Austen fans should bear in mind that there’s another Persuasion in the works too, starring Successions Sarah Snook, though that doesn’t have a release date yet.

On Netflix in 2022. Release date TBA.

Blonde

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.

After Yang

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.

My Policeman

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 Crowns 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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