With Hollywood and the film industry having lifted it’s game in the last few years, 2017 is set to be a big one. Here, we’ve rounded up the 50 biggest and best movies to look out for this year.
Aaahhh, 2016: Disease, violence born out of our inability to tolerate difference and – as if that wasn’t enough – death upon death of revered icons of better times. In such circumstances, Leonard Cohen was always our go-to guy. But then, he shuffled off this mortal coil too – just after Donald Trump’s election win.
At last year’s lowest point, we decided to acknowledge that the best of times, worst of times thing depends heavily on what you’re looking at. At least on the film side of things, 2016 was a flourishing and forward-looking year, not least because of brave new films like Moonlight, Hidden Figures, and Fences sharing some of the limelight and doing good things for diversity in Hollywood.
And, with the exception of Emojimovie: Express Yourself, 2017 looks to be a great year for films, too. (It’s also a brave new world for film’s best accompaniment, pizza, and we’re hopeful that 2017 will see the delivery drone phenomenon go mainstream.) In fact, the thriving movie world has produced so much for us to look forward to in 2017, that we only just scraped the surface with this list (but don't worry, we'll be updating as new information comes in).
Apparently, creativity thrives when we resist the urge to give up. So, with that in mind, here are 50 of our most anticipated films of 2017 – and 50 damn good reasons to go forth into 2017 slightly more cheerful.
The Dark Tower
Director: Nikolaj Arcel Release Date: August 4
This nightmarish Stephen King adaptation throws together cowboys, post-apocalyptic mutants, demons and murderers. There are seven books in the original series, with an additional eighth, published in 2012, slotting in between volumes four and five. More than 30 million books in the series have been sold in 40 countries.
Danish director Arcel (whose last movie was period romance A Royal Affair) looks like a strange choice to tackle King material… But, hey! If Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey are down, then so are we.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Director: Martin McDonagh Release Date: August 4
In Bruges was a brilliant film that stands up on repeat watches (the first time around you’re too busy knowing whether or not to laugh). Seven Psychopaths wasn’t quite as groundbreaking, but was still surprisingly creative. And that’s why we’re looking forward to McDonagh’s new film, Three Billboards, which follows a grieving mother who comes face-to-face with the police in her hometown that murdered her daughter. Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Peter Dinklage and Frances McDormand star.
Director: Kathryn Bigelow Release Date: August 4 The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow takes on the the true story of the Detroit riot from July 1967, which was one of the largest citizen uprisings in the United States. Lasting five days and serious enough that then president Lyndon B. Johnson sent in federal troops to get things under control, the film comes at a pivotal time for America.
Director: Taylor Sheridan Release Date: August 4
Sheridan – who wrote Sicario – directs the story of an FBI agent who teams up with a local game tracker to investigate a killing at a Native American reservation. Avengers co-stars Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner star. It’s a far cry from where we’re used to seeing these two but, if nothing else, it will be fun to watch them share the screen again.
Director: Andrés Muschietti Release Date: September 8
Stephen King's iconic story of Pennywise the (killer) clown, who terrorizes the children of Derry, Maine gets a reboot, and can we just say it's perhaps the most exciting remake of the decade. Not only is King's book one of the greatest horror novels written, but the original movie and Tim Curry's perfectly horrifying portrayal of the titular clown is still engrained in our minds as one of our greatest fears from childhood. Add to that a lush visual update and newcomer Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise, and we're sold.
Director: Michael Cuesta Release Date: September 15
With revenge deep-seeded in his heart due to his childhood upbringing and later the death of his fiancee, Dylan O’Brien’s Mitch Rapp is certainly a lost soul until he is given new direction for a specialized assignment within the CIA to top a mysterious operative who is intent on starting a world war in the Middle East.
Blade Runner 2049
Director: Denis Villeneuve Release Date: October 6
In an age where studios rifle relentlessly through past films, searching pathetically for something to bring back, few sequels have caused as much excitement as Blade Runner 2049. Three and a half decades after Ridley Scott’s original, Arrival director Villeneuve is presenting his take, which is set 30 years after the events of the first movie and stars Ryan Gosling as a new blade runner searching for a missing Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford).
If anyone is qualified to pull this off, then it's Villeneuve, who also has Prisoners and Sicario under his belt. He's a really good director and totally solid with sci-fi. He’s also supported by Scott as executive producer (phew!) and Roger Deakins as Director of Photography… If nothing else, this movie will look the part.
Director: Tomas Alfredson Release Date: October 13
Alfredson – director of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Let the Right One In – adapts Jo Nesbo’s bestselling Scandi detective novel, following a serial killer who leaves snowmen at murder scenes. Michael Fassbender is playing Harry Hole, the idiosyncratic detective, with Charlotte Gainsbourg and Rebecca Ferguson also starring.
Director: Zack Snyder Release Date: November 17
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was remarkably dull and the movie’s reception was borderline catastrophic: We’re awaiting this sequel with baited breath, just to see if Snyder can do any better.
This outing will see some of the more enjoyable characters from the first flick – like Aquaman and the Flash – team up with Batfleck and Superman to defeat a different brand of evil. We really want this one to succeed, so let’s hope the stops are well and truly pulled out.
Star Wars: Episode VIII
Director: Rian Johnson Release Date: December 15
With Rogue One massively winning the Christmas movies race in ways we never thought possible, signs are strong that Johnson’s latest installment in the central Skywalker saga will overshadow every other movie off the box office this year. May the Force be with them.
Director: Steven Soderbergh Release Date: October 13
This heist movie, starring Channing Tatum, follows two brothers attempting to pull off their capers during a NASCAR race in North Carolina. We’re imagining an Ocean's Eleven-esque heist, since Soderbergh also directed that film. In addition to Tatum, other stars include Daniel Craig, Katie Holmes, Seth MacFarlane, Hilary Swank, Katherine Heigl, Adam Driver, and Riley Keough.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos Release Date: November 3
The Lobster might not have gotten the recognition it deserved, but Colin Farrell got nominated for Best Actor in the Golden Globes’ “Motion Picture Musical or Comedy” category for his turn in the flick – and that has certainly upped Lanthimos’ profile in the States. Hopefully that bodes well for his next, even bleaker flick, The Killing of a Sacred Deer.
Inspired by a Euripides tragedy, it centers on a surgeon and a teenage boy who tries to integrate himself into the surgeon’s messed-up family. When the boy's actions become increasingly sinister, the surgeon is forced to make a grim sacrifice. Farrell stars again, accompanied by Nicole Kidman and – amazingly – Alicia Silverstone.
Murder on the Orient Express
Director: Kenneth Branagh Release Date: November 22
The last time this Agatha Christie mystery was en vogue was 1974, when Sidney Lumet made the classical whodunit feat. dodgy moustache fare. This time Branagh directs himself as the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, and is joined by a whole host of A-list pedigree including Penelope Cruz, Michael Peña, Johnny Depp, Willem Dafoe, Michelle Pfeiffer and Judi Dench.
The Shape of Water
Director: Guillermo del Toro Release Date: November
Nocturnal Animals and Take Shelter thesp Michael Shannon can do no wrong. That’s why we’re stoked to see him take the lead in genius auteur del Toro’s latest, an otherworldly story set against the backdrop of Cold War-era America circa 1963.
The rest of the film’s cast is insanely great, too – many of them Oscar nominees. And, as much as we enjoyed Pacific Rim, we’re excited to see del Toro return to smaller more personal stories of horror like this one.
Director: Garth Davis Release Date: November 24
Mary Magdalene was a follower of Christ who, in the Bible, witnesses his crucifixion and resurrection. A film about her is now being helmed by Davis, director of Lion – which is currently getting awards-season play – and New Zealand TV show Top of the Lake. Rooney Mara plays the biblical figure, opposite Joaquin Phoenix’s Jesus… Expect weird things.
Awaiting Release Date
How to Talk to Girls at Parties
Director: John Cameron Mitchell
First published a decade ago in prose form and nominated for various awards, How to Talk to Girls at Parties is a short story by Neil Gaiman, following an alien touring the galaxy who breaks away from her group and meets two young inhabitants of the most dangerous place in the universe: the London suburb of Croydon. Led by Elle Fanning and Alex Sharp, the cast also includes Nicole Kidman, Ruth Wilson and Matt Lucas.
Director: Vaughn Stein
Starring an unusual but intriguing mishmash of actors in Margot Robbie, Mike Myers, and Simon Pegg, Terminal follows two assassins with a sinister mission, a fatally ill teacher, an enigmatic janitor and a waitress with a double life. Murderous consequences unravel as their lives meet at the hands of a criminal mastermind wanting revenge.
Director: Austin Vesely
Perfectly ambiguous in its title, Slice is a horror film about a person who orders pizza to houses and kills the drivers. Vesely’s decision about who to cast in the film’s leading role was a no-brainer: the role of Dax was offered to everybody’s favorite human embodiment of joy, Chance the Rapper.
While Chance lacks big screen experience outside of a role in VICE’s short film "Mr. Happy", we think his screen presence will probably speak for itself.
Director: Duncan Jones
Eight years ago, we had Moon, a heartfelt drama of human loneliness, by first-time filmmaker Jones, formerly known as Zowie Bowie, the son of pop legend David. Jones made a bit of a cinematic splash with the flick, which followed Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), a miner for Lunar Industries who was going stir crazy after three years cooped up in an isolated station.
Now we’re looking forward to Moon’s spiritual sequel, Mute, Jones’ long-simmering project that he’s been talking about making for years, which is now in production. The film will star Paul Rudd and Alexander Skarsgard in a futuristic version of Berlin, in which a mute bartender (Skarsgard) goes against a gang to figure out what happened to his missing partner. Get amped.
Under the Silver Lake
Director: David Robert Mitchell
At this point, a lot of Mitchell’s modern noir crime-thriller set in Los Angeles is being kept under wraps. We do know, however, that Jimmi Simpson, Andrew Garfield, Riley Keough are all on board – filling us with total confidence about the acting side of things.
We also know that Mitchell’s last feature horror, It Follows, was a smart and terrifying modern nightmare that indulged both our art-house appetites and our need for seedy thrills. Excellent.
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Anderson and Daniel Day Lewis – the pair responsible for the incredible Their Will Be Blood – return with a story set in the fashion world of 1950s London. Even movies like The Master and Inherent Vice weren’t a patch on Anderson’s work with Daniel; as for the actor, he’s only done two movies in the 10 years since There Will Be Blood, so we are nothing if not ecstatic about this project.
Director: Aaron Sorkin
From the writer of The Social Network, Moneyball and The West Wing, Sorkin’s directorial debut, Molly's Game, follows Jessica Chastain as the young skier and former Olympic hopeful as she becomes a successful entrepreneur and the target of an FBI investigation. Idris Elba stars as Molly’s lawyer. This is a leading-roles dream come true for any filmmaker.
Director: Paul Dano
The star of War and Peace and Swiss Army Man is making his directorial debut after adapting a Richard Ford novel, in which a boy witnesses his parent's marriage falling apart after his mother finds another guy. Jake Gyllenhaal (with whom Dano starred in Prisoners and will star alongside in this year’s Okja) and Carey Mulligan take the leading roles.
Director: Alex Garland
Based on Jeff Vandermeer’s novel of the same name, Annihilation has the potential to be an original and cerebral piece of sci-fi cinema. Paramount are apparently equally pumped; they’ve already snapped up the rights to Vandermeer’s sequel novel, Authority.
Annihilation follows a team of scientists who enter Area X, part of a coastal region that has been cut off from the rest of the world by a mysterious barrier. Weird things begin to appear there, and the sequels deepen the mystery behind the region. The book was one of the best sci-fi stories to come out of the last few years, and – before Garland (Ex Machina director and writer of Sunshine, 28 Days Later, and The Beach) signed up for it – we’d have probably told you it was unfilmable.
Director: M. Night Shyamalan Release Date: January 20
A good film from M. Night? What is this, the '90s? Shyamalan’s new thriller stars James McAvoy as a guy with more than 20 personalities, some of which are particularly threatening to the three young women that he kidnaps and locks in his dark basement. The girls must figure out some of his different personalities in order to help them stay alive.
Split is definitely another step in the right direction for Shyamalan, who – years ago – was on top of the world, touted as the next Spielberg. Since then, his career woes have been compounded by scathing press reports and his ego seems to have outgrown his work. No surprise, then, that this return to form from the director has caught our attention.
John Wick: Chapter 2
Director: Chad Stahelski Release Date: February 10
The thriller about a vengeful assassin coming out of retirement gave Keanu Reeves’ career new life – and he’s now returning for a sequel along with John Wick’s directors. We were as surprised as everyone else when the first movie actually became kind of a thing – we’re putting it down to the artful violence delivered with a cheeky sideways wink. Here’s hoping John Wick: Chapter 2 comes up with the decent ending that the first one lacked.
The LEGO Batman Movie
Director: Chris McKay Release Date: February 10
Although we all had "Everything is Awesome" tattooed onto our brains after the 2014 Lego Movie, it was nevertheless an unexpected joy – and the perfect union of film and marijuana: It didn’t think outside the box so much as operate in some completely different multiverse altogether. In the latest installation, Bruce Wayne must deal with the criminals of Gotham City and the responsibility of raising the boy he adopted.
Director: Jordan Peele Release Date: February 24
Get Out is a horror film that follows a young African American man who visits his Caucasian girlfriend's cursed family estate. Being one of the few horror movies that does jump off of racial fears, we’re looking forward to some entertaining honesty and subjective insight we’re not often shown within the horror genre.
I Don't Feel at Home In This World Anymore
Director: Macon Blair Release Date: February 24
When a depressed woman is burgled, she decides to track down the thieves alongside her annoying neighbor. But they soon find themselves dangerously out of their depth against a pack of degenerate criminals.
Given that first-time director Blair produced Green Room (the jaw-droppingly gruesome neo-Nazi story) and Blue Ruin (the callously violent revenge thriller), we’re expecting another viscerally smart and satisfyingly distressing thriller.
Director: James Mangold Release Date: March 3
Logan is the third in the standalone series of Wolverine films (preceded by X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Wolverine) and is set a year after the time-travelling X-Men: Days of Future Past. We’re excited about the R-rating of this comic book movie installation; it was utterly nonsensical having the others suitable for kids, when this is about a guy who fights with knives coming out of his hands.
Director: Danny Boyle Release Date: March 3
Back in 1996, Irvine Welsh's cult novel about heroin subculture in '80s Scotland was given a screen presence with painful imagery, obsidian humor, insane surrealism, a messed-up soundtrack, and gob-smacking performances from Renton (Ewan McGregor), Begbie, (Robert Carlyle), Spud (Ewan Bremner) and Sickboy (Jonny Lee Miller). Is it any wonder that T2 Trainspotting made this list?
We’d bet that this return to the scene of his finest hour might give Danny Boyle a chance to flex his directorial muscles with more force than in the likes of Steve Jobs. Trainspotting’s original scriptwriter, John Hodges, is also on board. Let’s hope this one is both nostalgic and new.
Director: Oliver Assayas Release Date: March 10
Having run the 2016 film festival circuits, Assayas’ weirdly ambiguous drama follows a fashion PA called Maureen trying to exorcise herself of her dead twin. Judging from the audience boos at the Cannes screening, this is not a movie whose disorienting horror works on everyone.
That said, Kristen Stewart has come a long, long way since terrible teen vampire movies involving musical montage and slow-motion handsomeness. Her performance in Personal Shopper has been called incredible: she is calm and blank in the self-assured way of someone very competent, yet her displays of emotion are real and touching.
Song to Song
Director: Terrence Malick Release Date: March 17
Given Terrence Malick’s last three films – Voyage of Time, To the Wonder, Knight of Cups – it’s something of a surprise that we’re still optimistic about Song to Song. Maybe it’s the killer cast; maybe it’s the fact it’s more rooted in a recognizable present... Nevertheless, it's Terrence Malick we're talking about, so the anticipation is enough to kill us.
In the modern love story set against the Austin, Texas music scene, two different couples – songwriters Faye (Rooney Mara) and BV (Ryan Gosling), and musician Cook (Michael Fassbender) and his waitress girlfriend (Natalie Portman) – chase success through a rock ‘n’ roll landscape. Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, and Benicio del Toro also star, and Patti Smith, Lykke Li, Iggy Pop feature on the soundtrack.
Director: Craig Johnson Release Date: March 24
Daniel Clowes’ graphic novel comedy about a moody Oakland resident gets the film treatment, with Woody Harrelson in the lead role, and Laura Dern as his estranged wife. We’re praying that Clowes and his posse can return to the cinematic heights he reached with Ghost World. That movie earned Clowes an Oscar nod and helped to launch Scarlett Johansson's career; as far as legacies go, you could do a lot worse.
Ghost in the Shell
Director: Rupert Sanders Release Date: March 31
We love animated Japanese sci-fi about as much as we love a good Hollywood controversy: Ghost in the Shell has therefore earned its place on this list.
Fans of the iconic 1995 animated flick have been excited for a live-action remake for years. But now, instead of casting an Asian actress, Dreamworks has selected Scarlett Johansson for the film, which follows a cyborg policewoman's attempts to bring down a nefarious computer hacker. It had better be good.
Director: Charlie McDowell Release Date: March 31
The One I Love director McDowell’s new film sounds absolutely nuts: It’s a fantastical love story set one year after the existence of the afterlife is scientifically verified, in which Jason Segel’s character falls in love with Rooney Mara’s character while millions of people kill themselves. That’s really all the info we require for our curiosity to be piqued.
Director: James Ponsoldt Release Date: April 28
Dave Eggers’ novel (upon which this movie is based) is a pertinent and cautionary tale against the power of giant tech companies. This adaptation sees Tom Hanks as one of the founders of the The Circle – an internet monopoly that touches everything in a person's life – from social media, to email, to online shopping. Emma Watson plays the central protagonist.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Director: Guy Ritchie Release Date: May 12
Guy Ritchie takes on the Excalibur myth, with Charlie Hunnam in the titular role of Arthur. An epic fantasy adventure film, the movie is set to be part of a multi-film series centered on the King Arthur legend.
Director: Ridley Scott Release Date: May 19
Despite Ridley Scott being back behind the camera, Prometheus turned out to be a bit naff, really. Its sequel looks way better already, following the crew of the Covenant spaceship. They’re bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy when they discover what they think is an uncharted paradise (surprise, surprise! It’s actually a dark, dangerous world).
Director: Patty Jenkins Release Date: June 2
After debuting in last year's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Gal Godot's Wonder Woman is back with her own movie. Set in the early 20th Century during World War I, Wonder Woman sets about ending the war after meeting an American military pilot who is washed ashore on her home island of Themyscira.
It Comes At Night
Director: Trey Edward Shults Release Date: June 9
This post-apocalyptic horror film comes from upcoming director Trey Edward Shults, responsible for last year's Krisha. Joel Edgerton plays a father who's trying to protect his family while an unnatural threat is terrorizing the world. Another family arrives seeking refuge in their home, throwing off the balance and awakening something monstrous.
Director: Lucia Aniello Release Date: June 16
This one should excite the Broad City fans among us, the cult hit Comedy Central series following the lives of loveable, bumbling potheads Abbi and Ilana. Aniello was one of the show’s directors; now she’s gone and directed Rough Night (formerly Rock That Body) – the story of a bachelorette party which goes very wrong indeed when a male stripper ends up dead.
Starring Scarlett Johansson, Zoë Kravitz, Kate McKinnon, and many more cameos, Rough Night is one part Bridesmaids, one part Very Bad Things, and going by it's creators and the amount of profanities in the trailer, it's going to be much lewder than both. We can't wait.
Director: Sofia Coppola Release Date: June 23
While we doubt anyone, including Bill Murray, has an inclination to watch A Very Murray Christmas again in 2017, we’re excited about Coppola’s upcoming project. The Oscar-winning auteur behind The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation has turned her attention to this remake of a 1971 drama that starred Clint Eastwood.
Set during the Civil War, the original film followed a Union soldier imprisoned in a Confederate girls’ boarding school who disrupts the environment and slowly turns the women against each other. The remake stars Elle Fanning, Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst, among others.
Director: Joon-ho Bong Release Date: June 28
Netflix invested $50m in Bong’s new film, as soon as they caught a whiff of it. No big surprises there for anyone who’s seen Snowpiercer. His latest film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano and Bill Nighy; the plot follows a young girl named Mija who risks everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend – a massive animal named Okja.
Director: Edgar Wright Release Date: June 28
The classic one-more-heist-and-I'll-retire plot gets reworked by Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim director Edgar Wright, which means the lack of originality in story doesn't matter when the execution (and jokes) will undoubtedly be stellar. Ansel Elgort plays a talented getaway driver who's coerced into one last gig by a mysterious criminal, played by Kevin Spacey. Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm in supporting roles seals the deal.
War for the Planet of the Apes
Director: Matt Reeves Release Date: July 14
What continually keeps the Apes franchise so fresh and exciting is that the it’s the animals like Caesar — and not the humans — who audiences root for. This radical idea completely turns genre tropes on their head and creates a new template for what it means for the fate of the world to be at stake.
Simply put, who’s world is it? That question with be answered in the third film of the franchise as filmmaker Matt Reeves (who is taking over the Batman franchise) and producer, Peter Chernin, have stated that this will be the final chapter in Caesar’s story.
Director: Christopher Nolan Release Date: July 21
Nolan has never been a fan of digital projection. Instead, he prefers the medium that movies were originally stored on: good old-fashioned film. Combine that with his penchant for dark, feisty filmmaking and his yet-to-disappoint director status, and this should be one to please action film as well as history buffs.
Dunkirk will tell the true story of Operation Dynamo, a daring plan to rescue 300,000 Allied troops who were surrounded by Nazis soldiers in Dunkirk during the Second World War. It stars Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Fionn Whitehead and One Direction singer Harry Styles. Yes, you did read that last bit correctly...
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Director: Luc Besson Release Date: July 21
Dane DeHaan, Rihanna and Cara Delevingne star in this French sci-fi epic, helmed by Leon: The Professional writer-director, Luc Besson. Time-traveling agent Valerian is sent to investigate a galactic empire, along with his partner Laureline.
Other than that, this film excites us for three main reasons: It’s based on a French comic, Valérian and Laureline, that was hailed for its humanist political ideals; it’s the highest budget French film ever produced; John Goodman is narrating. Check out the newest trailer above.
Director: David Leitch Release Date: July 28
With a precedent already set thanks to kick-ass heroines like in Salt, Hanna and Lucy, Atomic Blonde follows in that tradition and stars Charlize Theron as an undercover MI6 agent, Lorraine Broughton, who is sent to Berlin five days before the Berlin Wall falls to uncover a conspiracy that led to the death of a fellow agent.
Highly stylized, energetic and featuring a soundtrack featuring the likes of George Michael, New Order and Flock of Seagulls, the film is directed by John Wick helmer, David Leitch, who has also taken over the Deadpool franchise and who supposedly achieved a six-minute fight sequences without ever yelling “cut.”
Now that you've checked for the big screen, here are the biggest new releases to hit television this year.