Upcoming Movies to Watch in 2022

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It’s been a bit of a funny couple of years for movies, in case you hadn’t noticed. But COVID be damned, there is every chance that 2022 could be the year in film we were all hoping 2021 was going to be. It’s a packed new release calendar which sees everything from heavy-hitter directors, promising-looking indies, action-drenched blockbusters, and a full roster of superhero movies to get buzzed about.

We’ve rounded up a master list of the films we’re most excited about with dates that were correct on the day of publication. We’ll try to keep these updated as things change. Let’s put 2021 behind us, and take a look at the cracking year of cinema ahead.

The 355

Release Date: Jan. 7

After the success of James Bond’s latest adventure in theaters this year, Universal Pictures is dishing its own spy thriller with The 355, which stars Jessica Chastain as a CIA agent who must form her own international super team of secret agents to recover a weapon that threatens the planet. Together, these spies form a new faction called “355” that includes British, Chinese, Colombian, and German agents.

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Chastain came up with the idea for a female-led spy movie while working on X-Men flick Dark Phoenix with director Simon Kinberg, who is now helming this actioner. But this isn’t just a work of pure fantasy. The codename “355” is steeped in real-world history as it refers to the still-unidentified female spy who helped the Patriots during the American Revolution. She was a pivotal member of the Culper Ring, the spy network responsible for stealing information from the British Army’s NYC headquarters. Will The 355 all tie back to 1776 somehow? The movie’s star-studded cast also includes Lupita Nyong’o, Diane Kruger, Bingbing Fan, and Penelope Cruz. Sebastian Stan and Edgar Ramirez also co-star.

Scream

Release Date: Jan. 14

Despite being simply titled Scream, this will actually be the fifth installment in the cult horror series created by the late, great Wes Craven. Fortunately, this series has aged like fine wine. Set 25 years after the initial Ghostface murders, a new killer has donned the mask to stalk the town of Woodsboro, and a brand new cast of teens played by Melissa Barrera, Mason Gooding, Jenna Ortega, Mikey Madison, Dylan Minnette, Sonia Ammar, and Jasmin Savoy Brown. Fortunately, the kids have three Ghostface-hunting experts on their side this time around: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette return as Sidney, Gale, and Dewey, respectively.

As Sidney says in the movie’s trailer, the three heroes will stop at nothing to catch this new Ghostface, but not all of the kids will make it out alive. 

While this is the first Scream film not helmed by Craven himself (the director passed in 2015), original Scream writer Kevin Williamson, who also penned I Know What You Did Last Summer, is on board as executive producer while Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett are picking up directing duties. The two have plenty of street cred when it comes to horror. After all, they’re two of the filmmakers behind fan-favorite shockers V/H/S and Ready or Not. Judging from what we’ve seen so far, expect many of the classic franchise scares but also a few modern twists akin to the recent Halloween.

Moonfall

Release Date: Feb. 4

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It’s a Roland Emmerich disaster movie about the moon hurtling towards Earth. It stars Halle Berry and Patrick Wilson. ‘Nuff said.

Death on the Nile

Release Date: Feb 11

Another starry cast, another impossibly opulent journey, and another murder to solve for superstar detective Hercule Poirot in Kenneth Branagh‘s COVID-delayed follow-up to 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express. This time the generously mustachioed Belgian is charged with tracking down a killer who has struck during a deluxe Egyptian cruise.

Potential suspects—and indeed victims—include ​​Annette Bening, Russell Brand, Gal Gadot, Rose Leslie, Emma Mackey, Sophie Okonedo, Jennifer Saunders, Letitia Wright, and Armie Hammer, who completed this film well before his recent troubles in the press.

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Branagh’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic murder mystery, published in 1937, should provide plenty of twists and turns against some stunning backdrops—the movie was shot on locations in Aswan, Luxor, and Cairo—as Hercule attempts to unravel the killing of a newlywed during a luxury honeymoon vacation. Expect fabulous outfits, fancy accents, gorgeous cinematography, and Branagh acting his socks off. 

The Batman

Release Date: March 4

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Easily the most eagerly anticipated superhero film of 2022, Matt Reeves’ star-studded combination of grim superhero action and film noir severs all ties to the DCEU and tells a complex tale situated in a young Caped Crusader’s second year on the job. The Batman stars Robert Pattinson as a deeply haunted Bruce Wayne/Dark Knight, battling underworld kingpins like Oswald Cobblepot (Colin Farrell) and Carmine Falcone (John Turturro) while tracking a macabre serial killer known as the Riddler (Paul Dano) and romancing a mysterious thief named Selina Kyle (Zoe Kravitz).

Reeves’ vision of the Bat and Gotham City looks even darker and more street-level than Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight at first glance, and it will be fascinating to see the underrated Pattinson inhabit such a mythic role for the first time. We’re also excited by the prospect of new big-screen interpretations of classic baddies like the Penguin and the Riddler for the first time since Danny DeVito and Jim Carrey chewed up the scenery in those parts decades ago. The third version of Batman in 10 years—following Christian Bale’s reluctant hero and Ben Affleck’s rage-fueled squad leader—may prove to be that most elusive creature of all: the definitive one. 

Turning Red

Release Date: March 11

Pixar’s latest stars Rosalie Chiang as an angsty teen who not only has to navigate adolescence but also her transformation into a panda! It’s a nutty premise but one that promises one of the most beloved animation houses is going back to their roots by taking wild gambits into the unexpected and unusual. And, indeed, if you’ve seen the above teaser, a Pixar movie with Miyazaki influences is very strange, indeed.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Release Date: April 8

The Sonic the Hedgehog cinematic universe expands in this sequel which sees Sonic again facing off against Jim Carrey’s Dr. Robotnik. But this time a lot more characters from the beloved Sega Genesis era of the franchise are making the jump to the big screen: the foxy Tails (voiced by Colleen O’Shaughnessey) with his trusty biplane is on hand, a is the rough and tumble Knuckles (getting a vocal upgrade courtesy of Idris Elba). With Chaos Emeralds and mysterious floating islands, things are about to get a lot more fan service-y.

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Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Release Date: April 15 

There might not be as many people clamoring for a third Fantastic Beasts movie as there would have been at the height of Harry Potter popularity, but it’s coming nonetheless. Following the world-shaking events of The Crimes of Grindelwald, The Secrets of Dumbledore is poised to center on Albus himself (Jude Law) as he moves to stop Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (a newly-arrived Mads Mikkelsen, replacing Johnny Depp) from securing control of the wizarding world.

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For obligatory reasons, magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) will be there to help him, and someone (Dumbledore) has given him control of a team of witches and wizards to carry out an important mission. Look for more fantastical beasts to be shoehorned into the plot, which marks the halfway point of a prequel series with two more planned Fantastic Beasts installments on the way.

The Northman

Release Date: April 22

Horror master Robert Eggers sets out to 10th-century Iceland for his Viking revenge tale, The Northman. The film marks the third Eggers picture after the stunning one-two punch of The Witch and The Lighthouse. And yet, rather than being a straightforward chiller, the filmmaker is clearly reaching for something grander and more epic with a tale of vengeance and incestuous murder.

The Northman is based on the tales of Amleth–a medieval figure of Scandinavian legend who inspired William Shakespeare to write Hamlet. With that said, the blood soaked images we’ve glimpsed of Alexander Skarsgård tease a protagonist who is anything but dithering. The film also stars Eggers favorites Anya Taylor-Joy and Willem Dafoe, as well as Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, and Claes Bang. 

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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Release Date: May 6

It’s taken almost six years to finally get a Doctor Strange sequel. Now director Sam Raimi will fling the good doctor across multiple MCU-adjacent realities. WandaVision’s Elizabeth Olsen will also be on hand as the reality-bending Scarlet Witch, so anything is possible. Could we even get Raimi to revisit his own personal corner of the Spider-Verse? Stranger things have happened

DC League of Super-Pets

Release Date: May 20

John Krasinski will voice Superman and Dwayne Johnson will voice Krypto the Superdog in this all-star CGI superhero comedy. The film also stars Kevin Hart as Ace the Bat-Hound alongside Vanessa Bayer, Natasha Lyonne, Diego Luna, Marc Maron (as Lex Luthor!), Kate McKinnon, Thomas Middletich, Keanu Reeves (!!!!), Ben Schwartz, and Jameela Jamil.

Top Gun: Maverick

Release Date: May 27

The long delayed sequel to the ’80s classic is finally taking off in 2022. Tom Cruise returns as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, who, decades after his fateful encounter with enemy MiGs, and Iceman and Goose, is still working as a flight instructor and test pilot at TOPGUN. No longer the young rebel at the academy, Maverick is now a relic of the past in the eyes of his superiors. But even if he’s on his way out, he still has a new generation of pilots to train, including Lt. Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), Goose’s son.

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Other new recruits include Glen Powell, Danny Ramirez, and Jay Ellis. They are joined by Jennifer Connelly and Jon Hamm. Joseph Kosinski, who also helmed Tron: Legacy and Oblivion, directs.

T Rex in Jurassic World: Dominion Prologue

Jurassic World: Dominion

Release Date: June 10

The gang’s really all here for this sixth entry in the dinosaur franchise, as stars Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum return alongside Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. The dinos are roaming free in human civilization and it seems that we’re all about to be living in a lost world.

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The film marks the end of the current cycle of Jurassic World films, acting as an end to the current trilogy as well as the overarching storyline that started in 1993 with the original film. It’s the film director Colin Trevorrow says he’s dreamed of making since reinvigorating the franchise in 2015, so let’s see if it can offer one more jolt of new (genetically manipulated) blood to the saga.

Lightyear

Release Date: June 17

Buzz Lightyear—the fictional human astronaut, not the toy based on him—gets an origin story. Chris Evans voices Buzz in Angus MacLane’s debut. Well, we imagine Tim Allen isn’t happy about that, but some fans might be curious to see the movie that first inspired Andy to buy the toy. Maybe.

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Elvis

Release Date: June 24

This biopic from Baz Luhrmann chronicles the life of The King himself, from his Army days to music royalty. It stars Austin Butler as Elvis and Tom Hanks as the manager who helped make The King’s career, “Colonel” Tom Parker. It’s Luhrmann’s first narrative film since the visually dazzling The Great Gatsby adaptation in 2013, so we’re game to see if he can shake up the doldrums of musical biopics.

The Black Phone

Release Date: June 24

Scott Derrickson’s return to horror after a sojourn in the MCU with Doctor Strange couldn’t come at a better time, especially since his new film is based on a short story by Joe Hill and features Ethan Ethan Hawke as a deranged child abductor. Word says this one’s as creepy as they come, and represents Hawke’s continually fascinating career reinvention as of late.

Thor: Love and Thunder logo (Marvel Studios)

Thor: Love and Thunder

Release Date: July 8

Thor: Ragnarok is one of the most beloved entries in the MCU thanks to the style and wit of director Taika Waititi, who injected a welcome jolt of Jack Kirby-esque cosmic weirdness into the franchise. Waititi directs this sequel, which sees Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster become the Goddess of Thunder and Christian Bale as the terrifying Gorr, the God-Butcher.

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It’s all wild enough, and Waititi enough, to immediately stand apart from the traditional MCU pack.

Cloud in Jordan Peele Nope

Nope

Release Date: July 22 

Do we know much about Jordan Peele’s next horror movie? Nope. But are we excited anyway? Hell, yes!

Though Peele has a habit of keeping his horror projects close to his chest, we haven’t been disappointed yet after his Oscar-winning Get Out and highly creepy twist on the home invasion movie, Us. What we do know about Nope is that it’s got a cool title, and that it will feature his Get Out breakout star, Daniel Kaluuya, as well as Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun, Barbie Ferreira, Brandon Perea, and Michael Wincott.

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The film will be released by Universal under Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions, and is written and directed by Peele. So far the only plot clues we have are a mysterious poster of a dodgy-looking cloud which appears to be trailing bunting, hovering above a mountain town, and the IMDb description saying it’s a “fantasy” as well as a horror and a thriller. Ominous.

Black Adam

Release Date: July 29

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Dwayne Johnson finally joins the DCEU as Black Adam, an ancient champion imbued with the power of Shazam who became corrupted in ancient times before returning to our modern world. The film will bring the legendary Justice Society of America to the big screen for the first time with Pierce Brosnan as Doctor Fate. 

Reggie Nalder as Barlow in 'Salem's Lot

Salem’s Lot

Release Date: Sept. 9

For many readers, Salem’s Lot remains the greatest Stephen King novel ever written. Which makes the fact there hasn’t been a great film adaptation of it all the stranger. Oh sure, there’s plenty of reason for horror fans of a certain age are nostalgic for Tobe Hooper’s loopy TV miniseries from 1979–it’s got some great moments. But this modernization of Dracula, in which ancient vampires descend upon a modern New England small town, and an author with a past is forced to face his demons as childhood friends fall beneath the thrall of the Undead, demands a classic cinematic interpretation.

Hopefully this year’s Salem’s Lot will be it. The new version is written and directed by Gary Dauberman, who penned both of New Line’s two-part It movies a few years ago. He also wrote and directed the best of the Annabelle movies, Annabelle Comes Home. With any luck, Dauberman will make a vampire movie that plays more like It: Chapter One than Chapter Two.

Don’t Worry Darling

Release Date: Sept. 23 

Olivia Wilde proved herself to be an enormously talented director with her brilliant feature debut Booksmart in 2019, which makes her follow-up, Don’t Worry Darling, one of our most anticipated movies of 2022. It doesn’t hurt that the period piece stars Florence Pugh, one of the most interesting actors of her generation, opposite Chris Pine, Gemma Chan, and Harry Styles. It also has a killer premise: a 1950s housewife living in an experimental “utopian” community begins to suspect her husband’s company is hiding something nefarious. Intriguing.

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Tom Cruise and Rebecca Ferguson in Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation

Mission: Impossible 7

Release Date: Sept. 30 

Did anyone watch 1996’s Mission: Impossible and guess that it would become one of Hollywood’s most durable action franchises? The plot and title of M:I 7 remain a secret for now, but Tom Cruise (of course), Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, Vanessa Kirby, and Ving Rhames are back, joined by Hayley Atwell, Esai Morales, and—for the first time since the original film—Henry Czerny as former IMF director Eugene Kittridge. Fallout marked the first-time a writer/director returned to the series for more than one outing, and considering how much Christopher McQuarrie hit it out of the park (twice) we can’t wait to see the next installment of his quadrilogy!

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Release Date: Oct. 7

2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse wasn’t just an introduction to the Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) incarnation of Spider-Man or a big budget animated exploration of the Spidey mythos, it was a beautiful, emotional, psychedelic trip. Hopefully the sequel will reunite the multiversal Spideys from the first movie and introduce us to some new ones.

Michael Myers in Halloween Kills

Halloween Ends

Release Date: Oct. 14 

After the wide acclaim for 2018’s Halloween reboot, director David Gordon Green’s 2021 follow-up, Halloween Kills, met with a decidedly more polarized response while ending on a cliffhanger. Green has said that the final chapter in his trilogy, Halloween Ends, will be a “much more intimate” movie that celebrates Halloween creator John Carpenter’s “legendary body of work.” We hope, at least, that he can deliver the same kind of focused, character-driven horror that was sadly missing from his middle chapter. 

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The Flash

Release Date: Nov. 4

Five years after he first appeared as Barry Allen, Ezra Miller will finally headline a Flash solo movie. This flick will see Barry explore the DC multiverse, meeting an alternate version of himself, a mysterious Supergirl (Sasha Calle), and an older, wiser Batman played by classic Dark Knight actor Michael Keaton

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Logo

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Release Date: Nov. 11

Director Ryan Coogler returns to the franchise that netted Marvel Studios a billion dollars, seven Oscar nominations, and was a genuine cultural phenomenon. Time will tell how the sequel will address the tragic loss of Chadwick Boseman–or the many rumors swirling around what has allegedly been a troubled production–but millions are still chanting “Wakanda Forever.” Black Panther 2 should give them reason to keep the faith.

Michael B. Jordan in Creed II

Creed III

Release Date: Nov. 23

Michael B. Jordan makes his directorial debut and returns as Adonis Creed, Apollo’s son and a heavyweight boxing champion. The film is significant in the franchise because it will be the first Rocky-adjacent movie to not actually star Rocky Balboa. But Jordan’s made Adonis plenty fascinating on his own, and Jordan clearly thinks it’s time to let the character stand on his own two feet as he slips into the director’s chair. Plus Tessa Thompson will be returning while one of the most fascinating leading men of the last five years, Jonathan Majors, joins the cast…

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Aquaman Jason Momoa

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Release Date: Dec. 16

The first Aquaman was a visually stunning, weird and wild rollercoaster of a film. Less superhero movie than adventure/quest film, its sequel also seems to be leaning even further into the latter. Jason Momoa is back as Arthur Curry, now the undisputed King of Atlantis. Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Temuera Morrison will all return.

Sam Worthington in Avatar

Avatar 2

Release Date: Dec. 16

Years ago, visionary filmmaker James Cameron promised several sequels to Avatar. In 2022, we’ll finally get the first one. He promises. Sam Worthington returns, as does Zoe Saldana, and even a few familiar faces who died in the last one like Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang. Despite all the years that passed, details are still somewhat scarce other than we will be exploring the aquatic side of the planet Pandora, as well as meeting Jake Sully and Neytiri’s children. All grown up at this point, we’d assume.

Super Mario Social

Super Mario Bros.

Release Date: Dec. 21

Chris Pratt will voice Mario in this new animated movie. Fortunately, he won’t be attempting the Italian plumber’s heavy accent. The film also stars Jack Black as Bowser, Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, and plenty of other celebrities as familiar characters.

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Babylon

Release Date: Dec. 25

Damien Chazelle is back with another Hollywood-centric period drama set during the transition from silent film to synchronized sound. The premise sounds a bit like Singin’ in the Rain, but we expect a film that’s much more wistful than that with its cast of characters including Margot Robbie as Clara Bow–the original “It Girl” whose good time vibes dried out during the Depression–and Brad Pitt as a fictional character based on John Gilbert, the Hollywood silent star whose career imploded due to talkies, leading to alcoholism and an early death. Even the title alludes to one of the costliest (and ruinous) of ancient Hollywood sets…

Leonardo DiCaprio in Killers of the Flower Moon

Killers of the Flower Moon

Release Date: TBA

Martin Scorsese adapts one of the best books written in this century, David Grann’s chilling true crime study, Killers of the Flower Moon, into an AppleTV+ event with Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro finally teaming in the same Scorsese joint.

Set in early 20th century Oklahoma, this Western deals with the haunting legacy of bigotry, racism, and anti-Indian prejudices lingering half-a-century on since “the West was won.” Audiences will no doubt be excited to see DiCaprio, De Niro, Jesse Plemons, and even Brendan Fraser in a Scorsese movie, but keep an eye out for Lily Gladstone. She plays Mollie Burkhart, a Native American woman and the richest person in town as all her relatives are slowly, methodically murdered.

Disappointment Blvd

Release Date: TBA

Hereditary and Midsommar director Ari Aster teams up with Joaquin Phoenix for this decades-spanning portrait of an entrepreneur. An Aster epic? That’s something we could all lose our heads over.

​​The Whale

Release Date: TBA

Darren Aronofsky tackles the play about a 600-pound man who wants to reconnect with his teen daughter years after he abandoned her.

Crimes of the Future

Release Date: TBA

David Cronenberg is remaking his own 1970s sci-fi film about dermatology and skin care gone terribly wrong. As expected, this movie is not for the faint of heart.

Men

Release Date: TBA

Alex Garland is back for his latest work of horror. A young woman travels alone to the English countryside without knowing she’s in an A24 film.

The Killer

Release Date: TBA

David Fincher returns to Netflix for this noir thriller from Se7en writer Andrew Kevin Walker. Michael Fassbender plays the titular killer. We’d hesitate to call this a reunion made in Heaven, but we’re still intrigued to play along….

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