27 films we can’t wait to see this fall

27 films we can’t wait to see this fall

Summer 2023 brought a dizzying array of awe-striking movies to theaters from the bittersweet joys of Barbie to the thought-provoking history lessons of Oppenheimer, the punchy queer comedy of Bottoms, and the reinvigorating action of Blue Beetle. But could it be that fall will offer an even better season of cinema?

This fall, Mashable will be covering the 80th Venice International Film Festival, the 48th Toronto International Film Festival, the 61st New York Film Festival, and the 18th Fantastic Festival to stay on the front lines of all things freaking awesome in film.

Looking ahead, we’ve collected the highlights for a fall movie season that’s sure to knock out audiences over and over. Whether you crave harrowing horror, mind-bending mysteries, zany musicals, madcap comedy, or haunting historical dramas, we’ve got you covered. And don’t worry. If the studios keep pushing movies to 2024, we’ll update accordingly.

1. Perpetrator


Credit: Courtesy of Shudder

Director Jennifer Reeder delivers a singular horror film with Perpetrator, a convention-defying coming-of-age tale complete with strange powers, buckets of blood, and commentary on bodily autonomy. 

The film’s opening conceit of a masked assailant kidnapping young women may feel familiar, but it’s not long before Perpetrator veers into much stranger territory. We meet rebellious teenager Jonny, sent to live with her Aunt Hildie (played by a delightfully witchy Alicia Silverstone). On her 18th birthday, she’ll inherit a supernatural familial power known as “the Forevering,” which she’ll use to investigate the abductions of her classmates. What follows is a surreal, free-wheeling journey through genres, including slashers, giallo films, and dark teen comedies. It’s a tough movie to describe, but an absolutely exhilarating movie to experience. Trust me when I say, you’ve never seen horror quite like Perpetrator. — Belen Edwards, Entertainment Reporter

Starring: Kiah McKirnan, Alicia Silverstone, Christopher Lowell, Melanie Liburd, and Ireon Roach.

How to watch: Perpetrator opens in select theaters and on Shudder Sept. 1.

2. The Nun II 

The Conjuring universe is vast and mighty, with over eight films digging deep into its demonic lore and blessing us with spin-offs centered on its most feared (yet beloved) characters. Perhaps the most infamous face to come out of the franchise is the demonic nun Valak. Played by Mulholland Drive‘s Bonnie Aarons, this character made her first appearance in The Conjuring 2 and has since gotten her own origin story with The Nun. Now she’s getting a fully fledged sequel with The Nun II

The ninth installment in The Conjuring franchise, The Nun II brings Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) to France, where she must do battle yet again with her demonic nun nemesis. The film’s trailer promises a significant step up from its prequel, with absolutely terrifying jump scares — not to mention a script from everyone’s favorite horror scribe, Akela Cooper (M3GAN, Malignant). If you’re ready to kick off spooky season, then The Nun II is a sure-fire add to your watch list this fall. — Yasmeen Hamadeh, Freelance Contributor

Starring: Taissa Farmiga, Bonnie Aarons, Anna Popplewell, Jonas Bloquet, and Storm Reid.

How to watch: The Nun II opens in theaters on Sept. 8. 

3. A Haunting in Venice 

A man with a mustache stands in front of a crucifix in a red room.

Credit: 20th Century Studios

After solving a Murder on the Orient Express and a Death on the Nile, Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh, who also directs) is back for an especially seasonal mystery. A Haunting in Venice follows Poirot as he’s forced out of retirement to solve the spooky case of a séance gone terribly wrong on Halloween night. 

Based on Agatha Christie’s novel Hallowe’en Party, the film untangles a crime from beyond the veil, with Poirot’s top suspect being a ghost hellbent on haunting him. A Haunting in Venice marries mystery with the macabre — and an all-star cast — to deliver a whodunnit that just might be Poirot’s creepiest one yet. — Y.H.

Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Jamie Dornan, Kelly Reilly, Tina Fey, and Michelle Yeoh. 

How to watch: A Haunting in Venice opens in theaters on Sept. 15. 

4. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar

Roald Dahl's The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar (L-R) Dev Patel as Dr. Chatterjee, Sir Ben Kingsley as Imdad Khan and Richard Ayoade as Dr. Marshall in Roald Dahl's The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.

Credit: Netflix

Earlier this year, Wes Anderson charmed audiences with his unique spin on science fiction with Asteroid City. This fall, he’s stepping back to more familiar territory with a short film full of stars. 

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar is an adaptation of a Roald Dahl story, Anderson’s second after his enchanting animated heist flick, Fantastic Mr. Fox. This time around, he’s going live-action, bringing familiar faces to the story of a rich man who is mystified by a guru who can see without using his eyes. Naturally, the rich man aims to exploit this to cheat at gambling. If all this isn’t enough to lure you to Netflix to see this 39-minute film, check out that cast list and consider again. — Kristy Puchko, Film Editor

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dev Patel, Ben Kingsley, and Richard Ayoade.

How to watch: The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar opens in select theaters on Sept. 20 and comes to Netflix on Sept. 27.

5. Dicks: The Musical 

A24 has had a phenomenal 2023 so far, unleashing some of our fave films of the year, like the mind-bending thriller Beau Is Afraid, the tender romantic drama Past Lives, the nerve-rattling horror movie Talk to Me, and the macabrely funny murder mystery Medusa Deluxe. Now this awesome indie studio that won the Oscar for Everything Everywhere All At Once is rolling out something completely different, giving writers/actors Josh Sharp and Aaron Jackson a chance to spin off their off-Broadway musical Fucking Identical Twins into a movie. And it’s one that not only boasts a dazzling cast of stars (see below) but also bonkers song numbers, a profoundly dumb take on The Parent Trap, and Sewer Boys. 

When a pair of douchebags learn they’re long-lost twins, they decide to trick their parents into reuniting. How does this lead to puppets, murder plots, coming-out scenes, obscene songs, and Megan Thee Stallion being boss in at least two senses of the word? Attendees of the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival will be the first to know, as that’s where Dicks: The Musical will make its world premiere. (Stay tuned for Mashable’s coverage out of the fest!) But not long after, you can see this freaky flick at a theater near you. — K.P.

Starring: Nathan Lane, Megan Mullally, Bowen Yang, and Megan Thee Stallion.

How to watch: Dicks: The Musical opens in theaters Sept. 29.

6. The Creator

A small child strokes a robot's head.

Credit: Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

Director Gareth Edwards’s The Creator has all the makings of a promising sci-fi blockbuster. An original story? Check. A stacked cast? Check. An interrogation of humanity’s relationship with Artificial Intelligence? Double check.

The film sees humans in an all-out war against AI. As the battle wages on, ex-special forces agent Joshua is tasked with hunting and killing the AI’s architect, known simply as the Creator. Whoever they are, they’ve developed a weapon strong enough to end the war — and wipe out mankind. However, as Joshua fights his way past enemy lines, he discovers that this all-powerful weapon is none other than an AI child. Will Joshua protect the child or see his mission through? — B.E.

Starring: John David Washington, Gemma Chan, Ken Watanabe, Sturgill Simpson, Madeleine Yuna Voyles, and Allison Janney.

How to watch: The Creator opens in theaters Sept. 29.

7. Saw X

Jigsaw returns for the 10th installment of the franchise that spawned the torture porn craze and its corresponding moral panic. Tobin Bell reprises the role that made him a horror icon, and this time the story begins with an act of hope leading to horror. In a curious twist, Saw X is actually a prequel. Bear with me. 

Set between Saw and Saw II, Saw X sees cancer patient John Kramer (aka Jigsaw) traveling to Mexico as he chases down an experimental procedure that might cure him. When it turns out this promise is actually a scam, the serial killer goes to work, masterminding a twisted revenge scheme. You can see from the trailer that these fun and games will get gruesome. — K.P.

Starring: Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Synnøve Macody Lund, Steven Brand, Michael Beach, and Renata Vaca.

How to watch: Saw X opens in theaters Sept. 29.

8. Foe

A woman lies in bed in a farmhouse; her husband kisses her shoulder.

Credit: Amazon Studios

The pairing of Saoirse Ronan and Paul Mescal should be enough to convince you to watch Foe, but in case you’re (somehow) not sold by the star power of two Academy Award nominees, you’ll definitely be drawn in by the film’s haunting story.

Ronan and Mescal play Henrietta and Junior, a married couple enduring the climate apocalypse 40 years in the future. When stranger Terrance appears at their rural farmhouse, he turns their world upside down with the revelation that Junior must depart on a space mission to help save mankind. What follows is part twisty psychological thriller, part marital drama, and part apocalyptic science fiction, all anchored by three captivating performances. — B.E.

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Paul Mescal, and Aaron Pierre.

How to watch: Foe opens in theaters Oct. 6, and will be streaming on Prime Video at a later date.

9. Strange Way of Life

Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke  in

Credit: Sony Pictures Classic

If you’re in Pedro Pascal withdrawal after binge-watching The Last of Us and The Mandalorian, we have got a Western for you. Written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar, this short film has sparked intense interest, not only because it boasts the internet’s favorite beau of 2023, but also because it casts him as a cowboy in a queer romance with Ethan Hawke. 

The trailer teases Old Hollywood influences, from a Hitchcock-like score to imagery plucked from Howard Hawkes’s Red River, but the heat and love of melodrama is pure Almodóvar. And Pascal is perfect for it. — K.P.

Starring: Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke.

How to watch: Strange Way of Life will opens in select theaters Oct. 4, with a nationwide rollout to follow on Oct. 6.

10. Dear David

Augustus Prew as Adam Ellis in
Augustus Prew as Adam Ellis in “Dear David.”
Credit: Lionsgate

It began on the internet. Specifically, a cartoonist for Buzzfeed named Adam Ellis began to share his experiences with a ghost that plagued his home. It was a Twitter thread that grabbed fans by the throat, sending shivers down our spines as we zoomed into photos of the specter Ellis called Dear David. Some have decried his story as a hoax. Some scoffed at the idea this curious bit of internet lore could be spun into a satisfying movie. But this fall, we’ll see for ourselves. 

Personally, I have faith in helmer John McPhail, a Scottish filmmaker who made his mark with the splashy genre-mash-up Anna and the Apocalypse. For those who haven’t seen this blood-splatted wonder, it’s a teen-comedy/zombie horror flick/holiday musical. So even if the trailer for Dear David might seem a bit basic, I believe. — K.P.

Starring: Augustus Prew, Justin Long, Andrea Bang, René Escobar Jr., and Cameron Nicoll.

How to watch: Dear David opens in theaters Oct. 13.

11. Killers of the Flower Moon 

Lily Gladstone and Martin Scorsese on the set of

Credit: Apple TV

Martin Scorsese has uncovered the underbelly of American crime in such truly iconic films as Goodfellas, Casino, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Gangs of New York. Now, he’s turning his cinematic lens to David Grann’s non-fiction book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. 

As the title suggests and the teaser makes clear, the film focuses on a series of mysterious deaths and seeming murders that befell the wealthy Osage people in 1920s Oklahoma. Grann’s book explored the case from the perspective of the tribe, that of the white investigator tasked to look into these killings, and the survivors who carry the weight of this tragedy a hundred years later. Scorsese is known for crafting captivating narratives about criminals, but this is sure to play out differently than his tales of charismatic gangsters. And you can bet this film will be a heavy-hitter come Oscar season. — K.P.

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, Tantoo Cardinal, John Lithgow, and Brendan Fraser.

How to watch: Killers of the Flower Moon opens in theaters Oct. 20, and on Apple TV+ at a later date.

12. Priscilla 

A man and a woman kiss during their wedding ceremony.

Credit: Philippe Le Sourd/ A24

Last year, Baz Luhrmann gave us an epic biopic about the King of Rock and Roll, and now Sofia Coppola is entering the ring with her portrait of another famous Presley — Priscilla (Cailee Spaeny). Based on Priscilla Presley’s 1986 memoir Elvis and Me, Coppola’s Priscilla unfurls the relationship between Elvis (Euphoria‘s Jacob Elordi) and Priscilla over the years, from the day they met at a party to their turbulent marriage. 

The film’s bittersweet trailer already promises a melancholic love story loaded with incredible visuals, a killer soundtrack, and that specific type of broken yearning only Sofia Coppola can do. It’s sexy. It’s sad. It’s Priscilla’s story finally getting the spotlight. — Y.H.

Starring: Cailee Spaeny, Jacob Elordi, Dagmara Domińczyk, Jorja Cadence, Rodrigo Fernandez-Stoll, and Dan Abramovici. 

How to watch: Priscilla opens in theaters on Oct. 27. 

13. The Killer

A man looks through a spyglass in

Credit: Venice Film Festival

Director David Fincher has brought audiences some of the most electrifying crime thrillers of the modern age with Se7en, Zodiac, and Gone Girl. This fall, he returns with a tantalizing new offering that promises action, adventure, and assassins. 

Based on the graphic novel series written by Alexis Nolent and illustrated by Luc Jacamon, The Killer centers on a professional hitman who — after a fatal near-miss — goes to war with his former employers. But hey, it’s not personal. It’s just business, a bloody, bloody business. If this promising premise, plus this heralded filmmaker, aren’t enough to excite you, take a look at that cast. — K.P.

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Charles Parnell, Arliss Howard, Sophie Charlotte, and Tilda Swinton.

How to watch: The Killer opens in select theaters Oct. 27, before premiering on Netflix Nov. 10.

14. The Marvels

Forget the Avengers assembling. MCU Phase 5 is bringing us a trio of superheroines with The Marvels. Captain Marvel‘s Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) joins forces with Ms. Marvels Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), who kicked butt in WandaVision. And naturally, Samuel L. Jackson is back as Nick Fury, post-Secret Invasion

A sequel to 2019’s Captain Marvel sees the space-trekking stunner discover a curious tangle. Specifically, Carol learns her powers have been entangled with those of her friend Monica and her No. 1 fan, Kamala. Along with plenty of action, this collision of characters promises to bring plenty of laughs. What else will director Nia DaCosta (Candyman, Little Woods) bring to the Marvel Cinematic Universe? We can’t wait to find out. — K.P.

Starring: Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani, Zawe Ashton, Park Seo-joon, and Samuel L. Jackson.

How to watch: The Marvels opens in theaters Nov. 10.

15. Please Don’t Destroy: The Treasure of Foggy Mountain

Three men wearing backpacks stand in the middle of a forest, looking worried.

Credit: Peacock

From absurd workplace sketches to music videos with the likes of Taylor Swift, the comedy trio known as Please Don’t Destroy has become a hilarious Saturday Night Live staple. This fall, they make the leap from digital shorts to feature films with Please Don’t Destroy: The Treasure of Foggy Mountain.

The film follows three childhood friends who hate their lives. In an attempt to switch things up, they set off to uncover the treasure rumored to lie beneath a nearby mountain. If you’re familiar with any of Please Don’t Destroy’s work, you can probably guess that their epic quest will quickly devolve into bizarro misadventure. Along the way, they’ll cross paths with characters played by comedians like Bowen Yang, Conan O’Brien, and Meg Stalter, making The Treasure of Foggy Mountain a real who’s-who of current-day comedy. — B.E.

Starring: Ben Marshall, John Higgins, Martin Herlihy, Conan O’Brien, Bowen Yang, Meg Stalter, X Mayo, Nichole Sakura, Cedric Yarbrough, Sunita Mani, and Jordan Mendoza.

How to watch: Please Don’t Destroy: The Treasure of Foggy Mountain premieres on Peacock Nov. 17.

16. The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

A man wearing a red coat approaches a young woman near a fence.

Credit: Murray Close/ Lionsgate

If you grew up idolizing Katniss Everdeen, allow us to introduce you to Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), District 12’s very first victor who arguably set off the cataclysmic events we see in The Hunger Games trilogy. Based on Suzanne Collins’s novel of the same name, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a prequel to The Hunger Games, set 64 years before the events of the first film and book

It follows Lucy as she takes part in the 10th annual Hunger Games, where her mentor is none other than a young Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth). As their relationship blossoms into something neither of them were anticipating, Lucy and Coriolanus embark on a journey that leaves one of them erased from history forever, and the other, well, we know what becomes of him. — Y.H.

Starring: Rachel Zegler, Tom Blyth, Hunter Schafer, Jason Schwartzman, Peter Dinklage, and Viola Davis. 

How to watch: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes opens in theaters on Nov. 17. 

17. Wish

A young woman in a purple dress and long dark braided hair sings to the night sky.

Credit: Disney

This year marks Disney’s 100th anniversary, so what better way to celebrate than with Wish, a movie about literally wishing upon a star.

Wish introduces a new Disney princess in Asha, an idealistic young woman from the kingdom of Rosas, where wishes come true. Their leader, King Magnifico, has been entrusted by people from around the world with their wishes, but the vibes are off with this guy. Luckily, Asha’s wish-making powers are so awesome that when her wish is granted, it takes the form of a powerful cosmic sidekick named Star. Asha and her magical new pal are in for a fight to protect themselves and the people of Rosas against whatever the king is scheming.

In classic Disney tradition, expect sweeping songs and talking animal sidekicks, all paired with a new, more illustrative animation style. — B.E.

Starring: Ariana DeBose, Chris Pine, and Alan Tudyk.

How to watch: Wish opens in theaters on Nov. 22.

18. Napoleon 

Joaquin Phoenix in

Credit: Apple TV+

Scorsese isn’t the only acclaimed director taking a big swing with a historical drama. Ridley Scott, who in 2021 gave us the wild double whammy of true crime that was The Last Duel and House of Gucci, returns with his take on Napoleon Bonaparte. The French military leader, who rose to prominence during revolution, will be depicted not only in his humble origins and ascension to power but also through his influential and volatile romance with his Josephine. 

Scott is a filmmaker lauded for his riveting portraits of emotionally complicated and morally questionable anti-heroes. So when it comes to this director teamed with heralded headliners Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby, we expect greatness. — K.P.

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Vanessa Kirby, and Tahar Rahim.

How to watch: Napoleon opens in theaters Nov. 22, and on Apple TV+ at a later date.

19. Saltburn

Earlier this year, Emerald Fennell made an eye-catching cameo in Barbie as discontinued doll pregnant Midge. Now, the actress/writer/director is back with her much-anticipated follow-up to the wrathful thriller Promising Young Woman. Saltburn, which is set in the mid-’00s, looks to play with many of the same themes as Fennell’s scorching directorial debut: privilege, desire, power, and excess.  

Barry Keoghan stars as Oxford University student Oliver Quick, whose infatuation with aristocratic classmate Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi) leads to a summer at the Catton family estate that neither will forget. Details are thin on this drama, which will open the 67th BFI London Film Festival on Oct. 4, 2023. However, based on Fennell’s past work and penchant for the provocative, we’re nibbling our nails in anticipation. — K.P.

Starring: Barry Keoghan, Jacob Elordi, Rosamund Pike, Richard E. Grant, Alison Oliver, Archie Madekwe, and Carey Mulligan.

How to watch: Saltburn will open in select theaters on Nov. 24, before expanding wide on Dec. 1.

20. Poor Things

If you loved The Favourite, mark your calendar for Poor Things, which reunites director Yorgos Lanthimos, screenwriter Tony McNamara, and leading lady Emma Stone. Based on Alasdair Gray’s 1992 novel of the same name, Poor Things is a Frankenstein-like story, centering on Bella Baxter (Stone), a young woman brought back from the dead by an eccentric scientist (Willem Dafoe).

From the looks of its trailer, this curious sci-fi tale seems to be a coming-of-age story, where the naive Bella strives to chase romance, freedom, and experience, relishing every moment of her second shot at life. Lanthimos’s unique vision promises this one will be visually exhilarating, And an ensemble that pitches Stone against Dafoe and a seemingly besotted Mark Ruffalo has us already already crushing on Poor Things. They had us at “Ow!” — K.P.

Starring: Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe, Ramy Youssef, Jerrod Carmichael, Margaret Qualley, and Hanna Schygulla.

How to watch: Poor Things opens in theaters Dec. 8.

21. Leave the World Behind

A Black man and woman and a white man and woman look out of a doorway in worry.

Credit: JoJo Whilden

What would you do if an unknown disaster interrupted your vacation? If you’re anything like the characters in Netflix’s Leave the World Behind, you’d stay put in your luxury AirBnB until you could figure out what, exactly, is going on.

Based on the novel by Rumaan Alam, Leave the World Behind introduces two couples: Amanda and Clay, a white couple who have brought their kids to Long Island for vacation, and George and Ruth, the Black owners of the house Amanda and Clay are staying in. When George and Ruth return home early with news of a devastating blackout, what was meant to be a relaxing getaway becomes fraught with questions of survival. Both families must reckon with how to weather the ongoing catastrophe, whatever it may be, all while navigating their own racial and class-related prejudices. With Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail directing, expect Leave the World Behind to be a sleek, unnerving psychological thriller. — B.E.

Starring: Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke, Myha’la Herrold, Kevin Bacon, Farrah Mackenzie, and Charlie Evans.

How to watch: Leave the World Behind premieres on Netflix Dec. 8.

22. Wonka

A young man in a colorful suit tips a brown top hat with a cheeky grin.

Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

From sci-fi epics like Dune to heart-wrenching cannibal romances like Bones and All, there’s no doubt that Timothée Chalamet has major range. This year, he expands that range even further with the sugary sweet Wonka, an origin story for Roald Dahl’s iconic chocolatier. As the film’s first trailer showed, the road to making chocolate will not be an easy one for Willy Wonka to tread. He’ll have to face down the sinister Chocolate Cartel if he wants to open his own shop and introduce his madcap creations to the world. Fanciful musical numbers ensue.

Wonka‘s trailer practically set the internet ablaze with memes and questions about whether Chalamet has enough whimsy to pull off the role made iconic by Gene Wilder. (We think he does.) Yet, despite the trepidation about Wonka and Chalamet’s lead performance, there’s no denying the magic director Paul King created with Paddington and Paddington 2. Can he recreate it with this prequel? There’s only one way to find out — bring on the chocolate! — B.E.

Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Olivia Colman, Sally Hawkins, Rowan Atkinson, Keegan-Michael Key, Hugh Grant, Paterson Joseph, Matt Lucas, Mathew Baynton, Paterson Joseph, Tom Davis, Jim Carter, and Natasha Rothwell.

How to watch: Wonka opens in theaters Dec. 15.

23. Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget

Two chickens look on in awe as a small chicken foot bursts out an egg in a nest.

Credit: Netflix

It’s been over 20 years since Aardman introduced us to the charming hand-crafted world of Chicken Run, which remains the highest grossing stop-motion animated film of all time. This December, a long-awaited sequel shows us what Ginger and friends have been up to ever since their daring airborne escape from Tweedy’s Farm and its terrifying pie-making machine.

As Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget opens, the free chickens are enjoying an idyllic life on an island of their own. Ginger and Rocky even have a daughter, a hatchling named Molly. However, the flock soon gets wind of foul (or fowl) happenings on the mainland that spell danger for all chicken-kind. Ginger’s flock may be safe, but they’re willing to risk their perfect lives to pull off another daring mission — only this time, instead of breaking out, they’re breaking in. — B.E.

Starring: Thandiwe Newton, Zachary Levi, Bella Ramsey, Jane Horrocks, Imelda Staunton, Lynn Ferguson, Josie Sedgwick-Davies, David Bradley, Romesh Ranganathan, Daniel Mays, and Nick Mohammed.

How to watch: Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget premieres on Netflix Dec. 15.

24. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

The DCEU has had a rocky year with Shazam! Fury of the Gods underwhelming critics and the box office, then The Flash doing epically worse on both counts. (In case you missed it: The Flash sucked.) Blue Beetle in August seemed a promising turn, delivering a fun and action-packed story that didn’t get weighed down by bad CGI overkill or a tediously maudlin storyline. So, what will the sequel to 2018’s Aquaman bring to finish off the year? (That is, if WB doesn’t bump it like it has Dune 2.)

Working in favor of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is Jason Momoa reprising his role as the titular superhero. At the helm of this sea-set adventure is James Wan, responsible for a slew of Saw and Insidious movies, as well as the first Aquaman. Other than this, details are sparse. WB has been pretty tight-lipped on the details here. So dare we be hopeful? Or concerned? — K.P.

Who’s in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom? Jason Momoa, Ben Affleck, Patrick Wilson, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.

How to watch: Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will open in theaters Dec. 20.

25. Rebel Moon Part 1: A Child of Fire

A woman in overalls carries a scythe over her shoulder while working in a wheat field; a large planet looms in the sky behind her.

Credit: Clay Enos/Netflix

Zack Snyder’s upcoming Rebel Moon is a space opera of interstellar proportions — and a classic tale of scrappy rebels facing down an evil empire.

Snyder transports us to a peaceful colony on the moon of Veldt, all the way at the edge of the galaxy. When the evil Imperium threatens Veldt with tyrannical rule, one mysterious young woman must recruit warriors from across the galaxy to help the people of Veldt make a stand. Inspired by Star Wars and Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, Rebel Moon promises sci-fi action and excitement aplenty. — B.E.

Starring: Sofia Boutella, Djimon Hounsou, Ed Skrein, Michiel Huisman, Bae Doona, Ray Fisher, Charlie Hunnam, Staz Nair, Anthony Hopkins, Cary Elwes, Corey Stoll, Jena Malone, Cleopatra Coleman, Alfonso Herrera, and Stuart Martin.

How to watch: Rebel Moon Part 1: A Child of Fire premieres on Netflix Dec. 22, while Rebel Moon Part 2: The Scargiver is slated for April 19, 2024.

26. The Iron Claw 

The four brothers of

Credit: A24

A24 brings to the big screen the true story of the Von Erich family, a clan of pro wrestlers whose tragedies led to talk of a curse on their name. Although the subject matter may give pause, writer/director Sean Durkin isn’t known for ghoulish exploitation. He broke through with the nerve-jangling drama Martha Marcy May Marlene in 2011, about a young woman dealing with PTSD after escaping from a Manson-like cult. So, we are expecting a family drama that embraces the complications of the ties that bind, for better and for brutal.

Plus, this ensemble is electrifyingly promising, boasting not only Harris Dickinson (Triangle of Sadness), Holt McCallany (Mindhunters), and Zac Efron, but also The Bears blue-eyed star Jeremy Allen White. — K.P.

Starring: Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson, Maura Tierney, Holt McCallany, and Lily James.

How to watch: The Iron Claw will open in theaters Dec. 22.

27. The Color Purple

In 1985, Steven Spielberg brought Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Color Purple to the big screen in a moving adaptation that earned 11 Academy Award nominations and was a box office smash. While Ghanaian filmmaker Blitz Bazawule is technically following in Spielberg’s footsteps, the multi-hyphenate artist is not doing a remake. Instead, this version of The Color Purple is translated from stage to screen, drawing inspiration from the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical.  

Centering on the struggles of Celie Harris Johnson, an African American woman living in the South during the early 1990s, The Color Purple tells a story of tragedy, resilience, and love. Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, who starred in the first film, are producers, and Walker herself is an executive producer.

Bazawule has brought on the show’s Broadway stars, Danielle Brooks and Fantasia Barrino (making her film debut here), to reprise their roles as Celie and Sofia, respectively. They’ll be joined on-screen by an array of dazzling Black stars, including The Little Mermaid‘s headliner Halle Bailey. Get ready: This incredible cast is going to bring the house down. — K.P.

Starring: Fantasia Barrino, Danielle Brooks, Taraji P. Henson, Colman Domingo, Corey Hawkins, H.E.R., Halle Bailey, Aunjanue Ellis, and Phylicia Pearl Mpasi.

How to watch: The Color Purple arrives in theaters Dec. 25.


Movies pushed to 2024…

Dune: Part Two

A young man with bright blue eyes walks through the desert while wearing a dark hooded cloak.

Credit: Niko Tavernise

Denis Villeneuve proved he could do justice to Frank Herbert’s Dune back in 2021, so it’s no surprise that we’re foaming at the mouth for round two (and then promptly recycling that foam back into our stillsuits because we simply cannot waste water). While the first Dune set up the politics of Herbert’s expansive sci-fi epic, Dune: Part Two will plunge headfirst into Paul Atreides and the Fremen’s battle to free Arrakis from the Harkonnens.

But by no means should you go into Dune: Part Two expecting a straightforward fight between good and evil. As Paul’s influence grows, the film promises to interrogate his actions, asking whether he’s really the savior the Fremen believe him to be or just another conqueror ready to subjugate them anew. Plus, Dune: Part Two will also delve into some of the weirdest parts of Herbert’s novel, delivering more spice, more space politics, and more glorious sandworms. If Villeneuve sticks the landing here, we could be looking at one of the best sci-fi film series ever put on screen. — B.E.

Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Stellan Skarsgård, Léa Seydoux, Dave Bautista, Christopher Walken, Charlotte Rampling, and Stephen McKinley Henderson.

How to watch: Dune: Part Two opens in theaters March 15, 2024.

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Kristy Puchko

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