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Spring Movie Preview 2024: The 20 Films We Can’t Wait to See

Be on the lookout for our critic-picked upcoming standouts in springtime and beyond

spinner image Regina King stars in "Shirley"; Alex Pettyfer and Henry Cavill star in "The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare"; Marisa Abela stars in "Back to Black."
(Left to right) Regina King in "Shirley"; Alex Pettyfer and Henry Cavill in "The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare"; Marisa Abela in "Back to Black."
AARP; (Source: Netflix; Lionsgate; Focus Features)

Hooray! The Hollywood strikes were settled, so movies are coming back to theaters and streamers. From Jerry Seinfeld’s Unfrosted: The Pop-Tarts Story to sequels to Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice, Gladiator, Bad Boys and Joker, there’s plenty to put on your must-watch calendar. Check AARP’s Entertainment page for updates, and mark your calendars with this must-watch guide.

Coming in March

One Life, NR (March 15, in theaters)

Anthony Hopkins, 86, plays Nicholas Winton, the “British Schindler” who saved hundreds of children from the Nazis in Czechoslovakia.

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Road House, R (March 21, in theaters)

The 1989 Patrick Swayze action film gets a 21st-century update, with Jake Gyllenhaal playing a world-weary former UFC fighter who takes a job as a bouncer at a Florida Keys dive bar that seems to attract a very aggro clientele. Brace yourself for bare-knuckles brawling.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, NR (March 22, in theaters) 

In this sequel, new ectoplasm battlers (Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Paul Rudd, 54) return to the New York firehouse HQ of the 1984 movie, consult the original ghostbusters (Annie Potts, 71, Bill Murray, 73, Ernie Hudson, 78, and Dan Aykroyd, 71) and fight the fearsome Death Chill.

Shirley, PG-13 (March 22, on Netflix)

Oscar winner Regina King, 53, has generated plenty of advance buzz for her role as Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to the U.S. Congress. John Ridley’s biopic, which also stars Lance Reddick, Terrence Howard, 55, and Lucas Hedges, focuses on her historic long-shot bid for the presidency in 1972.

Coming in April

The First Omen (April 5, in theaters)

The sequels to the 1976 horror classic The Omen were hell to sit through, but hopes are high as heaven for this prequel about the world’s scariest child, since its stars include Bill Nighy, 74 (Love Actually), and Sonia Braga, 73 (Kiss of the Spider Woman), who appear to be a pair of religious figures — but does that mean they’re wholly holy?

Civil War (April 12, in theaters)

Alex Garland, 53, author of the generational touchstone novel The Beach, became a renowned highbrow sci-fi director (Ex Machina). In this intellectual action film, the U.S. president (Parks and Recreation’s Nick Offerman, 53) faces the secession of 19 states, while a photographer (Kirsten Dunst) gets caught in urban war zones.

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare (April 19, in theaters)

Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes) and Jerry Bruckheimer (Top Gun: Maverick) bring you what could be the year’s liveliest action comedy inspired by real-life heroes. Winston Churchill really did call England’s secret team of maverick saboteurs his Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, and he sent them behind Nazi lines to battle Hitler. Henry Cavill (Mission: Impossible — Fallout) stars.

Coming in May

The Fall Guy, PG-13 (May 3, in theaters)

Stunt double turned John Wick auteur David Leitch directs a movie about a stuntman (Ryan Gosling) trying to find the actor he used to double for, in order to save a film directed by his ex-girlfriend (Emily Blunt).

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Unfrosted: The Pop-Tart Story (May 3, on Netflix)

At 69, Jerry Seinfeld directed his first film, a comically fictionalized account of the race to create the rectangular snack in the 1960s. “I kind of told the story as The Right Stuff,” he told The Hollywood Reporter, only with Kellogg’s and Post instead of NASA and the USSR. His A-list cast includes Melissa McCarthy, 53, Hugh Grant, 63, Jim Gaffigan, 57, as Edsel Kellogg III, and James Marsden, 50, as fitness star Jack LaLanne.

Back to Black (May 17, in theaters)

Marisa Abela plays singer Amy Winehouse, who lit up music like a skyrocket, with Ray Donovan’s Eddie Marsan, 55, as Amy’s father, Mitch, and The Crown’s Lesley Manville, 68, as her lively maternal grandmother, Cynthia, who inspired Amy’s career and her famous va-va-voom tattoo depicting the young Cynthia as a Sophia Loren lookalike. “Cynthia was more like a best friend to Amy,” Mitch said. “She kept her feet on the ground.” Her death helped trigger Amy’s.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, NR (May 24, in theaters)

The last Mad Max movie was cinematically nonpareil, and hopes are high that Anya Taylor-Joy’s Furiosa can match Charlize Theron’s fantastically tough 2015 Mad Max: Fury Road character.

Ezra (May 31, in theaters)

While his agent (Whoopi Goldberg, 68) tries to keep his flailing career afloat, a stand-up comic (Bobby Cannavale, 53) moves in with his dad (Robert De Niro, 80), who thinks he’s a loser. But he’ll fight for his autistic son Ezra, 11 (William A. Fitzgerald), who’s read The New York Times since age 5 but gets booted from school for impulsive outbursts. Screenwriter Tony Spiridakis, who raised a neurodivergent son, writes from experience.

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​​Coming in summer

Bad Boys 4, NR (June 7, in theaters)

Will Smith, 55, and Martin Lawrence, 58, fight crime in a sequel that’s rumored to boast more comedy than usual, as well as action.

Thelma (June 21, in theaters)

After 70 years in the industry, Nebraska Oscar nominee June Squibb gets her first lead role at 94, in an action film about a grandma who gets victimized by a phone scammer (The White Lotus’ Fred Hechinger). She joins a friend (Shaft’s Richard Roundtree, who died at 81 last year) to take back what’s hers. Parker Posey, 55, and Malcolm McDowell, 80, costar — and Squibb does most of her own stunts!

Horizon: An American Saga, R (June 28, in theaters)

Kevin Costner, 68, writes, directs and stars in his passion project, an epic about the settlement of the American West before and after the Civil War. 

Coming in fall

Beetlejuice 2, NR (Sept. 6, in theaters)

Director Tim Burton, 65, reunites with Michael Keaton, 72, and Winona Ryder, 52, in a sequel to the beloved 1988 comedy about a ghost who’s eccentric even by ghost standards.

Joker: Folie à Deux, NR (Oct. 4, in theaters)

In a musical sequel to the 2019 hit, the Joker (Joaquin Phoenix), a flopped stand-up comic turned madman, is joined by Lady Gaga as Harley Quinn, his partner in crime. The title is, roughly, French for “two people who go crazy together.”

Alto Knights, NR (Nov. 15, in theaters)

Goodfellas writer Nicholas Pileggi, 90, scripts this saga of two mob bosses at war, Vito Genovese and Frank Costello — both of them played by Robert De Niro, 80!

Gladiator 2, NR (Nov. 22, in theaters) 

In a sequel to his 2000 best picture Oscar winner, Ridley Scott, 86, directs a no-doubt-buff Denzel Washington, 69, as a rich man who supplies the Romans with weapons and gladiators for their games. His secret? He was once a gladiator who earned his freedom.

Wicked, NR (Nov. 27, in theaters)

Michelle Yeoh, 61, makes her singing debut as Madame Morrible in a two-part adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, with Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba (a.k.a. the Wicked Witch of the West) and Ariana Grande as Glinda the Good.

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