They say that patience is a virtue. And yet when it comes to the movies, we can’t help but jump the gun and look ahead to what Hollywood has in store for next year. Yes, 2021 was a weird time for audiences. The COVID pandemic kept theaters dark and we learned to embrace streaming. But the box office finally came back to life this fall — even if ticket sales haven’t returned to their pre-coronavirus peak — and we’re now looking ahead to the titles that will have us talking in the new year right around the corner. So without further ado, here are the 20 movies we can’t wait for in 2022.
Coming in January
The new year kicks off with a bloody bit of ’90s nostalgia as Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette and the knife-happy Ghostface all return for the fifth installment in the more-hit-than-miss meta-slasher movie franchise. Our money is on Campbell’s haunted and hunted Sidney Prescott to survive until the end credits again … thus ensuring a Scream 6.
Bumped a full year from its original January 2021 release date due to the pandemic, Simon Kinberg’s The 355 gathers some of the finest actresses in the biz — Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong'o, Penélope Cruz and Diane Kruger — to top-line a twisty spy thriller about a group of international agents teaming up to recover a top-secret weapon. This one should be fun.
Coming in February
Whatever happened to the good old-fashioned Hollywood romantic comedy? It’s been a while since there was a delicious one. So, naturally, we have our fingers crossed that this one starring Jennifer Lopez as a pop star and Owen Wilson as a very lucky audience member at one of her performances will lead to the genre’s revival.
Death on the Nile
Kenneth Branagh (and his fantastic mustache) returns as Agatha Christie’s famous Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot in this follow-up to 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express. Who wouldn’t want to take in the exotic eye candy of the great pyramids while trying to keep up with an eccentric charter’s ever-escalating body count? Gal Gadot and Annette Bening costar.
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Coming in March
At this point it’s easier to keep track of the Hollywood actors who haven’t played Batman on screen. With Ben Affleck out as the Caped Crusader, Robert Pattinson dons the cape and cowl for Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves. Let’s face it, you already know whether or not you’re going to be purchasing a ticket to this one. But if you’re on the fence, Colin Farrell plays the Penguin and Paul Dano turns up as the Riddler.
Downton Abbey: A New Era
What could be a more delightful antidote to the Dark Knight’s existential Gotham high jinks than a new installment of tasty upstairs-downstairs drama courtesy of the aristocratic Crawley clan? The first big-screen Downton outing was slightly disappointing (not enough Maggie Smith, for starters), but in this Julian Fellowes-penned sequel they head to France, which could be magnifique!
The Lost City
The fact that this jungle adventure sounds a bit like Romancing the Stone isn’t as off-putting as it could be. After all, that’s just the sort of movie Hollywood doesn’t make much anymore. The fact that it costars Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum doesn’t hurt either. Little is known about The Lost City beyond that but to be honest, that’s more than enough to whet our appetites.
Coming in May
Legally Blonde 3
Everybody’s favorite secretly smart ditz (played by Reese Witherspoon, natch) is back … and not a moment too soon. It’s been nearly two decades since we last checked in with the pretty-in-pink law school grad Elle Woods, and with Mindy Kaling of The Mindy Project chipping in as one of the screenwriters on the latest sequel, we expect this to be a grand reunion.
Top Gun: Maverick
The first of two very splashy (and very anticipated) Tom Cruise franchises hitting the 2022 calendar, Top Gun: Maverick sees the return of the need-for-speed star’s hotshot flyboy alter ego, who is now instructing a new generation of authority-defying daredevil fighter pilots, including Miles Teller. This will likely be the film to kick off 2022’s summer blockbuster season.
Coming in June
Jurassic World: Dominion
Not every Jurassic installment scratches the dinosaurs-run-amok itch with the same satisfaction as Steven Spielberg’s original Jurassic Park. But each is certainly an … event. This time around, the reanimated fossils have made it off the island, so nowhere is safe from mayhem. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard both return. But more intriguingly so do OGs Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern and Sam Neill.
Untitled Elvis Biopic
This biopic may not have a title yet, but it certainly has plenty of buzz. How could it not with Tom Hanks cast as Elvis’ control-freak manager Colonel Tom Parker and shoot-the-works director Baz Luhrmann behind the camera? The relatively unknown Austin Butler beat out basically every young actor in America to play the hip-swiveling crooner. This feels like one of those summer movies that Oscar voters remember six months later.
Coming in July
After the brilliant (and brilliantly creepy) one-two punch of Get Out and Us, writer-director Jordan Peele is back behind the camera. Details are pretty top-secret on this one other than the fact that Peele will stay in his thinking-man’s horror lane and that Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya will star alongside Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun. Not that it matters. Peele’s name on the poster is enough for us.
Coming in September
Mission: Impossible 7
Forget James Bond. For my money, this is the healthiest and most spectacular espionage franchise going. Just four months after buzzing multiplexes with Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise will return as Ethan Hunt, presumably doing all of his own stunts again — and risking his life for our entertainment in the process.
Don’t Worry Darling
Actress-turned-filmmaker Olivia Wilde proved that she was born to direct comedy with 2019’s Booksmart. Now we’ll get to see how she fares with a Stepford Wives-esque thriller about a ’50s married couple, starring Harry Styles and the always-great Florence Pugh. This feels like one of those early fall sleepers to keep an eye on.
Coming in October
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One)
Even if superhero movies aren’t your thing — there are a ton hitting theaters in 2022 that you can feel free to skip — it’s hard to imagine anyone not digging 2018’s animated masterpiece Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I’m personally thrilled about this sequel, about which little is known. The only potential problem is that the first one was so awesome, it will be tough to live up to.
Coming in November
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
With the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther director Ryan Coogler wisely chose not to recast the role of T'Challa. Those shoes would have been impossible to fill. But thankfully he has found a way to continue the franchise that literally changed the way superhero movies looked while reportedly paying respect to Boseman. You may want to bust out the Kleenex for this one.
Adapted from New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s investigative take-down of sexual predator Harvey Weinstein, She Said sounds like it could be 2022’s Spotlight or All the President’s Men — a crusading #MeToo procedural that leaves a bruise. Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan star.
Coming in December
When James Cameron transported us to Pandora all the way back in 2009, Avatar quickly snowballed into the top-grossing film of all time. In other words, a sequel was inevitable. Still, no one expected it would take Cameron 13 years to get the darn thing into theaters. Avatar redefined what 3D could look like on the big screen, and Cameron is certainly not a director to ever be underestimated — but 13 years is a long time to ask ticket buyers to stay interested. This will be either a massive hit or a massive bomb. There is no in-between.
Coming at some point!
Knives Out 2
First things first: No one knows a thing about what Knives Out 2 is about. And if they say they do, they’re lying. All we know is that Daniel Craig returns as Benoit Blanc, the Foghorn Leghorn-sounding sleuth from what was the most entertaining sleeper of 2019, and that it will air on Netflix. Still, if this star-studded parlor-game mystery redux is half as good as the first, we’ll be pleased as punch.
Killers of the Flower Moon
Based on David Grann’s true-crime bestseller about the mysterious deaths of oil-rich Osage Native Americans in 1920s Oklahoma, Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon marks his first collaboration with both of his favorite leading men, Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio. This is as must-see as 2022 titles are going to get. Next year’s Oscars should probably just go ahead now and carve out a spot for this on the list of best picture nominees.
Chris Nashawaty, former film critic for Entertainment Weekly, is the author of Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story and a contributor to Esquire, Vanity Fair, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.