2022 looks set to be a bumper year for cinema. In recent months, the box office the world over has thrived amidst unforeseen circumstances, proving the old adage true: “if you build it, they will come”. October was a record-setting month, both in terms of the pandemic’s usual monthly reports and in terms of the past 10 years, while December’s Spider-Man: No Way Home achieved the third most lucrative box office debut in history. With so much going on in the world, it seems we’re all looking for a little bit of escapism.
While challenges remain ongoing for the film industry and so much has yet to be written regarding the future of exhibition amidst our global efforts against the pandemic, the slate of movies due for release in 2022 seems just as full and exciting as the last few months of 2021. Amongst the most hotly anticipated releases sit blockbuster heavyweights from Marvel and DC, delayed should-be summer hits, some brand new tear-jerking animated films from the world’s most successful studios, a spate of direct-to-streaming offerings, and a handful of films that could take the festival and awards circuits by storm.
In this, The Film Magazine’s 2022 Big Movie Preview, we are looking at the most exciting films due for release in 2022, categorising each by defining factors such as their genres and budgets. Amongst the films listed are those we have trailers for and know lots about, as well as those with little more than a director and some actors attached.
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The impact of superhero cinema on the big studios’ release slates is incomparable, its importance to the exhibition industry unrivalled, its cultural imprint so significant that the realm of fantasy-action hybrids is now going by its own genred term: superhero films (or comic book movies).
In 2022, DC are following up the audience successes of Zack Snyder’s Justice League and The Suicide Squad with more DCEU releases and another entry into their darker timeline of more adult-focused superhero stories, while Marvel are doubling down on the multiverse idea that proved popular in No Way Home and look set to reimagine some of their franchise stalwarts. Here are the superhero movies to be expectant of in 2022:
The Batman (rel. 4 March 2022) – From the director of Let Me In and the last two Planet of the Apes films (Dawn and Rise) comes a dark reimagining of Batman trying to unravel the truth behind Riddler’s games. With a cast featuring Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Colin Farrell, Andy Serkis, Jeffrey Wright, Barry Keoghan, Peter Sarsgaard and John Turturro, this could be an early-year mega-hit not too dissimilar to Deadpool or the late-year DC billion-dollar movie Joker.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (rel. 6 May 2022) – The long-awaited sequel to Marvel’s Benedict Cumberbatch-led superhero offering Doctor Strange sees the multiverse introduced in the latest Spider-Man movie presented through the lens of original Spider-Man director and cult hero Sam Raimi. With a powerful premise of Strange versus Strange teased in the trailer, it seems that one of Marvel’s Phase 4 leaders could be another MCU box office smash.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse – Part One (rel. 7 October 2022) – The original Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was a genre-defining hit from Sony Pictures Animation and was probably one of the greatest superhero films ever made. This October, we get its sequel, and this time follow central hero Miles Morales across different universes in his own multiverse of madness, the same quality of animation and same creative team steering the ship.
+ Morbius (rel. 28 January 2022) – Jared Leto stars in the Spider-Man universe film from the director of Life and Child 44.
+ Thor: Love and Thunder (rel. 8 July 2022) – Taika Waititi returns to the director’s chair following Thor: Ragnarok in this upcoming MCU event movie starring the usual suspects and a returning Natalie Portman.
+ Black Adam (rel. 29 July 2022) – Dwayne Johnson stars in this DCEU anti-hero tale from Orphan and Non-Stop director Jaume Collet-Serra.
+ The Flash (rel. 4 November 2022) – It director Andy Muschietti brings Ezra Miller’s Snyderverse version of The Flash to life in another of the year’s multiverse-hopping superhero entries, with an appearance by Michael Keaton as Batman likely to be a late-year talking point.
+ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (rel. 11 November 2022) – Marvel look set to redirect their Black Panther franchise within a franchise without lead Chadwick Boseman.
+ Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom (rel. 16 December 2022) – James Wan follows up his billion dollar hit Aquaman with its sequel starring Jason Momoa, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nicole Kidman and a slew of big names.
Anticipated Awards Contenders
Each and every year, the festival circuit propels some noteworthy releases towards awards season, and while it is often difficult to predict which films will be hits and which won’t, we’ve looked at some of the upcoming films from respected and award-winning filmmakers to bring to you these must-adds to your watchlists.
Untitled Elvis Presley Project (rel. 3 June 2022) – Baz Luhrmann returns to the silver screen with a summertime Elvis Presley film that is set to star Austin Butler as The King of Rock and Roll and Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker. While little is known about the film at this time, including its title, anticipation is high for a new film from the director of Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge!.
Babylon (rel. 25 December 2022) – Whiplash and La La Land director Damien Chazelle takes on the golden era of Hollywood in this period drama with an all-star cast. Margot Robbie will play Clara Bow, one of the few silent era actors to successfully transition into the talkies, and she will be supported by a cast including Brad Pitt, Tobey Maguire, Olivia Wilde, Kathryn Waterston, Samara Weaving, Flea and more.
Blonde (rel. 2022) – New Zealand-born director Andrew Dominik offers his first feature drama for a decade with Blonde, a look at the inner workings of the life of legendary Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe. With the director’s previous films Killing Them Softly and The Assassination of Jesse James being such critical hits, and the cast boasting Ana De Armas in the lead role, this looks set to be a certain awards contender in at least one of the major categories at the 2023 Oscars.
+ Thirteen Lives (rel. 15 April 2022) – Viggo Mortensen and Colin Farrell star in Ron Howard’s dramatisation of the harrowing real-life events that occurred in Thailand in 2018 when a group of children were trapped in a cave.
+ Untitled David O. Russell Project (rel. 4 November 2022) – American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook director David O. Russell reunites with Christian Bale and Robert De Niro. Amongst the supporting cast are Anya Taylor-Joy, Mike Myers, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Rami Malek, Zoe Saldana and Taylor Swift.
+ Untitled Bee Gees Biopic (rel. 4 November 2022) – Kenneth Branagh is following up his critical success Belfast with a biopic of famed Australian music group the Bee Gees, though details (including cast) are currently being kept under wraps.
+ I Wanna Dance with Somebody (rel. 23 December 2022) – Harriett director Kasi Lemmons aims to chronicle the life of late pop megastar Whitney Houston (Naomi Ackie) set for release in the height of awards season.
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