This year’s summer blockbuster season wasn’t exactly memorable. Sure, Suicide Squad wasn’t completely horrible and Independence Day: Resurgence did just enough to get a pass. But, suffice to say, we’re happy to see the past few months in our rearview, mostly because there are so many good movies to look forward to.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is easily the most anticipated film on this list, but there’s also Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Blair Witch, and, yes, La La Land, a musical from the director of Whiplash.
In June 2013, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee named Edward Snowden copied and leaked classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA), revealing a number of surreptitious surveillance programs run by the organization. Naturally, the incident has been turned into a movie. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and directed by Oliver Stone, Snowden will probably scare the bejesus out of everyone when it hits theaters later this month.
Release Date: Sept. 16
This movie didn’t even exist until about a month ago. Considered a proper follow-up to the venerable 1999 original, Blair Witch (formerly The Woods) follows a group of young college students as they venture into the Black Hills Forest. If you’ve seen The Blair Witch Project, you know the forest isn’t a place worth visiting. I can’t wait to see if the sequel lives up to the original.
Release date: Sept. 16
The Magnificent Seven
Directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Shooter), The Magnificent Seven is an ensemble western that follows a group of outlaws who help rescue a town from an oppressive industrialist. This is actually the third interpretation of the source material; Seven Samurai was remade into The Magnificent Seven, which is again being remade into a movie with the same name.
Release Date: Sept. 23
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
What was the last good Tim Burton movie? 2003’s Big Fish? The man hasn’t had a bonafide hit in a long, long time, but Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is looking to change that. It looks just as odd and quirky as all of his other movies, but there are a few major differences. One) Johnny Depp is nowhere to be seen; two) Eva Green is playing Miss Peregrine. That’s enough to make this one much more interesting than his most recent projects.
Release Date: Sept. 30
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
You may not like the man personally, but there’s no arguing Tom Cruise is still one of the best action stars working today. Jack Reacher was nowhere near his best work but it was still entertaining and Never Go Back (which sounds like the title for a Justin Bieber album) looks like it’ll extend his streak of hits. Let me guess: Tom Cruise will take down dozens of bad guys all by himself. Boom, I just gave away the whole movie.
Release Date: Oct. 21
A horror icon is being brought into the modern age. Rather than creeping out unsuspecting journalist with a mysterious VHS, Samara’s deadly video is being shared online. The premise is still the same—watch the video and you die in seven days. This time, however, the evil spirit is tormenting a new cast of characters. As ambivalent as audiences likely are to the movie’s imminent arrival, I’m still excited to see how the mythology is expanded.
Release Date: Oct. 28
We’re quickly approaching Doctor Strange’s release, yet we’re still not entirely sure what to expect from this oddball mystic. Visually, Doctor Strange looks unlike anything in the MCU right now, which is to be expected considering the character of Dr. Stephen Strange is a lot different than, say, Captain America. Hopefully, Marvel’s latest is another feather in the studio’s cap.
Release Date: Nov. 4
Why is it Amy Adams has become Earth’s ambassador for alien invaders? She greeted Superman in Man of Steel and she’ll greet the mysterious visitors in Arrival, a sci-fi thriller based on the short story Story of Your Life by author Ted Chiang. The movie has a star-studded cast, including Forest Whitaker and Jeremy Renner, with Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Prisoners) in the director’s chair.
Release Date: Nov. 11
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Is there any question this is going to be a hit? Starring Eddie Redmayne and directed by David Yates, Fantastic Beasts will follow young Newt Scamander as he attempts to recapture the monsters that escape from a magical briefcase in the U.S. This will be turned into a trilogy, so start mentally preparing yourselves now. Aside from the whole “No-Maj” naming decision (the name U.S. wizards call humans), I think it’s safe to say Fantastic Beasts will be one of this year’s highest grossing films.
Release Date: Nov. 18
Disney Animation impressed audiences with Zootopia earlier this year, and it looks like Moana will further cement the studio’s place as one of the best in animation. Not only does it feature impressive visuals, but it boasts some incredible talent, too, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Maui. Expect this one to be a hit—and a major tearjerker.
Release Date: Nov. 23
La La Land
From the writer and director of Whiplash (Damien Chazelle) comes a musical set in the heart of Los Angeles. La La Land is a love story at its core but it’s so much more than that, with classic Hollywood as its backdrop, the film will use music and the City of Angels as its backdrop for what looks like one of this year’s most beautiful movies.
Release Date: Dec. 2
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
I was worried this one might get overshadowed by the main trilogy, but after seeing the trailers, I’m all in. Rogue One will finally provide answers as to how the Republic got their hands on the Death Star plans. In the process, we’ll meet several new characters and visit several new worlds. Oh, did we mention Darth Vader will return to the big screen?
Release Date: Dec. 16
It’s hard to go wrong with names like Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard attached. Still, we’re a little skeptical about Assassin’s Creed, mainly because it’s a movie based on a video game. The trailers look somewhat promising, so we’re not completely writing this one off. Let’s call it cautiously optimistic.
Release Date: Dec. 21
In Passengers, Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence wake up early on a 120-year voyage headed to a distant colony known as “Homestead II.” Now too much else is known about the film, which is a little odd considering it’s just around the corner. Be that as it may, it has plenty of star power and enough intrigue to attract a sizable audience over the holiday period.
Release Date: Dec. 21
A Monster Calls
Based on a novel written by Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls looks like it could be this year’s sleep fantasy; or, what The BFG should have been. The most recent trailer is absolutely delightful, and if it’s any indication of the finished product, audiences are in for a treat. Not only does it look fantastic, but it features an all-star cast, including Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbel, and Liam Neeson.
Release Date: Dec. 23