John Wick Chapter 2 (February 10)
The original John Wick was one of the most fun movies of 2014. Keanu Reeves’ deadly assassin character walked the line between ultra-serious and delightfully absurd and, in the process, helped create a magnificently realized world steeped in hyper-violence. Whether or not they can recapture the magic is up in the air, but with Ian McShane and Laurence Fishburne involved, it’s hard not to get a little excited.
Get Out (February 24)
From writer/director Jordan Peele (of Key and Peele) comes a horror movie about the scariest villain of all: white people. Daniel Kaluuya plays a black man going to meet the parents of his white girlfriend in what seems to be a modern play on The Stepford Wives, where the role of the wives is, in this case, played by the black population of the town. Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener co-star as the would-be-in-laws, rounding out a solid cast. Peele has his cred firmly established in the world of comedy, but the leap to horror is all that large and this might just be the sleeper hit of the season.
T2 Trainspotting (March 10)
Ewan McGregor returns to the role that started it all, reuniting with director Danny Boyle and his original Trainspotting cast mates two decades after the original movie. T2 seems loosely based on novelist Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting sequel, Porno, though since the book took place a decade after the original, there seems to be room for additional changes and reinterpretations of the story. Of course, the cinematic landscape is entirely different in 2017 than it was in 1997, so it’ll be interesting to see if there’s anyway T2 can make the same kind of splash as its predecessor.
Ghost in the Shell (March 31)
Live actions adaptations of classic anime movies are hard to pull off, and this one definitely has its share of baggage going into it. The film caught mountains of flack a year before we saw anything about it due to the casting of Scarlett Johansson as The Major, a Japanese character. Still, from what we’ve seen so far, director Rupert Sanders went through massive pains to translate the anime/manga series into a live action setting, and the footage has looked, well, kind of stunning. If they pull this off, it could be start of something huge.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5)
Even as a longtime proponent of the MCU, in my heart of hearts I know that the franchise has gotten a bit stale and predictable. That said, the original Guardians shook up the formula in a major way back in 2014, easily becoming the cream of the Marvel crop. With director James Gunn returning to the helm of this intergalactic romp, this seems destined to be another massive hit for the Marvel brand and a welcome reinvigoration of the franchise.
Alien: Covenant (May 19)
Prometheus had its problems—no one is denying that—but beneath the surface were some interesting ideas that enriched the Alien universe. Perhaps by the time director Ridley Scott finishes his trilogy of prequels, we’ll be able to see that film in a new light. We’ll get our first glimpse when Alien: Covenant opens, but with the initial trailer we already see a film that’s more traditionally Alien than we’ve seen in decades. Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, and Guy Pearce all return in a movie that (hopefully) improves upon its predecessor while further deepening the Alien mythos.
Wonder Woman (June 2)
DC took some licks in 2016, with both Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad earning critical and audience scorn. With Justice League on the horizon (it’s being released on November 17) all eyes are focused on Wonder Woman as the new tone-setter for the franchise. DC and Warner Brothers desperately need this one to knock off approximately every sock if their shared universe is going to be a success. From the looks of things, it might do just that.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7)
Marvel’s second of three releases this year has quite a bit riding on it, the least of which is the cross-production collaboration between Marvel Studios and Sony, who owns the rights to the character for cinematic purposes. Spider-Man made his MCU debut last year in Captain America: Civil War, whetting the appetites of fans who’d longed for a return to form for nearly a decade. While Tom Holland shined in his brief appearance, holding down your own solo movie is another beast. Still, if this is successful, it could be the new blood that the MCU needs moving forward and, on top of that, there’s always the off chance that other studios will become more willing to work with Marvel with their own properties. Plus, you can’t go wrong with Michael Keaton.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (July 21)
Based on the massively influential French comic book of the 1960s, Valerian has been something of a passion project for director Luc Besson for years now. From the trailers, this looks to be another visual delight, not unlike Besson’s The Fifth Element, full of action, adventure, comedy, drama, and just about anything else you could want from a day at the movies.
Dunkirk (July 21)
Christopher Nolan brings his inimitable eye to World War II in this epic following the Battle of Dunkirk. This star-studded affair brings Nolan mainstays Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy together with the likes of Kenneth Branagh, James D’Arcy, and Harry Styles in what looks to be the most stunning depiction of WWII since Saving Private Ryan set the standard. This one seems almost a shoe in for awards season 2018.
The Dark Tower (July 28)
Stephen King’s most ambitious writing project gets the ambitious adaptation it deserves. King adaptations are notoriously hit or miss, but producer Ron Howard has been guiding this to life for years now. Bringing in Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey was a great move on his part, though there’s kind of a lot riding on this one. If this is successful, it’s possible that we’ll see an entire cross-media Dark Tower universe developed, with TV series, more movies, and who knows what else planned to flesh out the world created by King’s magnum opus. Fans are right to be skeptical, but the move from February to mid-summer should be a good clue that something special is in the works.
It (September 8)
Another risky Stephen King endeavor, It has already received online backlash for the look of Bill Skarsgard’s Pennywise, which has a more Victorian look than people were expecting. Still, there’s no denying that the released images look creepy as all hell. There’s also no denying that the beloved original TV miniseries adaptation hasn’t aged well. With any luck, the movie will serve as a more faithful adaptation of the original novel, and some of the more brutal and terrifying moments that were cut out of the original TV series will finally make their way to screens.
Blade Runner 2049 (October 6)
At this point, director Denis Villeneuve has earned the right to do whatever the fuck he wants. Between Prisoners, Arrival, and to a lesser extent Sicario, Villeneuve has a proven ability to craft intelligent cinema that goes mostly unmatched in today’s world. Harrison Ford returns as Deckard, who’s gone into hiding since the last film, and his being joined by Ryan Gosling, a new blade runner for a new generation. No real word on what it’s about yet, or whether or not they finally plan on addressing the question of whether Deckard is a replicant, but the one trailer we’ve seen thus far has as pretty intrigued.
Star Wars Episode VIII (December 15)
With Rogue One in the rearview, it’s time again to move forward. The next installment of the Star Wars saga will, hopefully, answer some of the questions we’ve had since 2015’s The Force Awakens. At the very least, maybe we’ll get to see Luke Skywalker actually, you know, do something this time. It’ll be bittersweet, however, with the loss of Carrie Fisher just after Christmas. Will they give Princess Leia the ending she deserves? Will Rey begin her Jedi training? Will we finally meet Snoke? We can’t wait to find out.
The Greatest Showman (December 25)
A musical biopic of P.T. Barnum that’s been gestating in the heart and mind of Hugh Jackman for over a decade now. This promises to be a film full of spectacle and wonder worthy of Barnum himself. Co-starring Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, and Zendaya, The Greatest Showman already sounds like the perfect holiday treat for 2017.