spring preview

9 Movies We Can’t Wait to See This Spring

From a meta Nic Cage action film to a viking epic to an unofficial Celine Dion biopic.

Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos Courtesy of the Studios
Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos Courtesy of the Studios

Theatrical moviegoing had a subdued but encouraging start in 2022. Spider-Man: No Way Home, a late-2021 film, was leading the domestic box office until recently, when The Batman took the lead, followed in third by Uncharted — one we loved, one we didn’t. Scream and Sing 2 complete the top five, with some low-budget successes (good for you, Dog) and a few bigger-budget disappointments (casualties of the simultaneous streaming-theater release era) rounding out the top ten. With this year’s Oscars almost behind us, cinema is just warming up: Over the next two and a half months, we’ll see Tom Cruise, Sandra Bullock, and Nicole Kidman return to the screen (not to mention Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas find their way to Hulu). Even Cannes, set for the latter part of May, is teasing an A-list lineup — we could be getting Palais premieres from Baz Luhrmann, David Cronenberg, Alejandro González Iñárritu, or even Claire Denis.

Back in January, when Omicron was surging and movies like Mission: Impossible 7 were barely hanging onto the release calendar, we compiled a list of the movies we were excited to see in 2022 and asked ourselves: Will the first published version be obsolete in a week’s time? Indeed, we’ve had to do some updating since then — Black Adam was delayed by a few months; Aquaman 2 was booted off the schedule until next year — but there are enough forthcoming franchise installments left to go around. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One), Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, a Fantastic Beasts, a Jurassic World, a new Creed, more Minions, more Halloween … they’re all still leading up to the movie-sequel mother lode: Avatar 2, less a film in our minds than a legend for its own endless delays.

But before we get to December, we have to get through spring. Below are the movies we can’t wait to see in March, April, and May (along with the rest of the 2022 movie calendar as it stands now).

Spring 2022

March

Everything Everywhere All at Once

The latest sci-fi action film from Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, collectively known as Daniels, looks as delightfully off-kilter as their 2016 debut, Swiss Army Man. Michelle Yeoh stars as Evelyn Wang, a seemingly normal woman with a husband, kids, and a family business who learns she exists in infinite universes. The film’s trailer promises ass-kicking. “Don’t make me fight you — I am really good!” Evelyn says, and Yeoh has never been wrong about that. (In theaters March 25.) — Roxana Hadadi

The Lost City

This film was by Seth Gordon, whose broad comedic style can either hit (Horrible Bosses) or not (Baywatch). Starring Sandra Bullock as a reclusive romance writer who becomes entangled with her books’ cover model (Channing Tatum) after they are kidnapped by an eccentric billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe), the plot-stuffed The Lost City could go either way. (In theaters March 25.) — Roxana Hadadi

More anticipated films:

Unwelcome (in theaters March 17)
Alice (in theaters March 18)
Deep Water (March 18)
The Torch (in theaters March 18)
The Unbreakable Boy (in theaters March 18)
The Outfit (in theaters March 18)
Cheaper by the Dozen (on Disney+ March 18)
Mothering Sunday (in theaters March 25)

April

Aline

This unofficial Celine Dion biopic from writer-director Valérie Lemercier stars the 57-year-old Lemercier as Aline Dieu (the last name being French for God) at every stage of her mortal life including a flabbergasting, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids–esque age 5. The wonderfully wacky, openly adoring movie is perhaps the only possible way to tell Dion’s story, vibrating on the same wavelength as the famously weird French Canadian chanteuse. (In theaters April 8.) — Rachel Handler

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

In this meta-narrative action-adventure-comedy, Nicolas Cage takes on his most challenging role to date: Nicolas Cage. Not just any Nicolas Cage. A cash-strapped and creatively unfulfilled, nearly washed-up Nic Cage who accepts $1 million to attend the birthday party of a billionaire drug lord (Pedro Pascal) in Spain. But things take a turn for the bizarre when this highly stylized version of the beloved actor gets recruited by a CIA operative (Tiffany Haddish) and is forced to channel his “most iconic and beloved on-screen characters in order to save himself and his loved ones,” according to the official synopsis. Think Con Air–era Cage more than Cage of Pig renown. (In theaters April 22.)Chris Lee

The Northman

Robert Eggers is known for using rich historical details to conjure up vintage fears, having delved into the lives of paranoid Puritan settlers (The Witch) and isolated lightkeepers (The Lighthouse). He leaves New England behind for his third film, which is set in 10th-century Iceland. Hollywood’s go-to Scandinavian Alexander Skarsgård is Amleth, a Viking prince seeking revenge for the murder of his father, while Nicole Kidman plays his mother and Ethan Hawke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Willem Dafoe, and Björk (goddamn right) also star. If that sounds a little Shakespearean, well, the legend did inspire Hamlet. (In theaters April 22.) — Alison Willmore 

Memory

Admittedly, Liam Neeson’s last couple of films haven’t been his best. And director Martin Campbell’s 2021 release The Protégé was something of a disappointment. But the idea of these two — our foremost sad-dad action hero and the director of such classics as Casino Royale, GoldenEye, and The Mask of Zorro — working together on a remake of the 2003 Belgian assassin-on-the-run thriller The Memory of a Killer is enormously promising. Campbell remains an action maestro, and Neeson still brings a lot of poignancy to his parts, even when they seem to be beneath him. Oh, and Monica Bellucci and Guy Pearce are also in this. (In theaters April 22.) — Bilge Ebiri

More anticipated films:

Morbius (in theaters April 1)
The Contractor (in theaters April 1)
Easter Sunday (in theaters April 1)
You Won’t Be Alone (in theaters April 1)
Ambulance (in theaters April 8)
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (in theaters April 8)
Cow (in theaters April 8)
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (in theaters April 15)
Thirteen Lives (in theaters April 15)
The Bad Guys (in theaters April 22)
Petite Maman (in theaters April 22)

May

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

Lesley Manville finally gets a star vehicle in this adaptation of a Paul Gallico novel. The Phantom Thread Oscar nominee plays a cleaning woman in 1950s London who wades into the world of French haute couture, crossing paths with Isabelle Huppert along the way. Amazingly not released by Sony Pictures Classics. (In theaters May 6.) — Nate Jones

Downton Abbey: A New Era 

What a year 2022 will be for Julian Fellowes fans. His long-anticipated series about old money in late-19th-century New York, The Gilded Age, lands on HBO in January. Two months later, a second movie based on Downton Abbey, Fellowes’s saga about the Crawley family, lands in theaters. The film, a follow-up to Downton Abbey set at the end of the 1920s, features all your upstairs and downstairs faves, including Lord and Lady Grantham (Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern), Ladies Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Edith (Laura Carmichael), Carson (Jim Carter), Mrs. Carson, née Hughes (Phyllis Logan) and of course the dowager countess (Maggie Smith), who mysteriously inherits a villa in southern France. Road trip! (In theaters May 20.) — Jen Chaney

Top Gun: Maverick 

Supposedly this long-delayed Top Gun sequel, which was originally slated for a 2019 release and then postponed five times largely because of the pandemic, is coming this summer. Forgive us, but as eager as we are to see Tom Cruise in the role of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell again, we won’t believe this movie is really happening until we’re on an actual highway to the danger zone. (In theaters May 27.) — Jen Chaney 

More anticipated films:

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (in theaters May 6)
DC League of Super Pets (in theaters May 20)
Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers (on Disney+ May 20)
The Bob’s Burgers Movie (in theaters May 27)

Later This Year

June

Elvis

Nearly a decade after the Australian filmmaker put his glitzy stamp on The Great Gatsby, Baz Luhrmann sets his sights on Elvis Presley, America’s king of rock and roll. Luhrmann’s aesthetic of excess might be the perfect fit for this biopic starring Austin Butler as Elvis and Tom Hanks as his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. (In theaters June 24.) — Roxana Hadadi

Shotgun Wedding

The Jennifer Lopez rom-comaissance sashays on, this time placing our heroine opposite Josh Duhamel, who replaced Armie Hammer after that whole thing. They’ll play two halves of a couple kidnapped just before their destination wedding. Do not confuse this movie with the similarly J.Lo-starring, matrimony-minded Marry Me, which is out in February. This one’s got New Girl’s Liz Meriwether co-writing the script plus living legend Jennifer Coolidge, The Good Place standout D’Arcy Carden, Cheech Marin, and Lenny Kravitz all co-starring. (In theaters June 29.) — Melissa León

More anticipated films:

Neptune Frost (in theaters June 3)
Fire Island (on Hulu June 3)
Jurassic World: Dominion (in theaters June 10)
Lightyear (in theaters June 17)
Oh Hell No (in theaters June 17)
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (in theaters June 24)
The Black Phone (in theaters June 24)
Where the Crawdads Sing (in theaters June 24)

July

Minions: The Rise of Gru 

This sequel to Minions and prequel to the Despicable Me movies is an origin story that explains how a young Gru (Steve Carell) first got interested in being evil, just in case you are in need of a kid-friendly Joker. (In theaters July 1.) — Jen Chaney

Thor: Love and Thunder

Most Marvel heroes don’t get a fourth solo film, but most of them didn’t take until the third film to crack the character. Love and Thunder reunites Chris Hemsworth with his zany Ragnarok director Taika Waititi, and hey, Natalie Portman’s back, too, for a story line where she gets superpowers of her own. (In theaters July 8.) — Nate Jones

Nope 

Jordan Peele has been involved in so many projects as a producer (Candyman, Lovecraft Country, The Twilight Zone, The Last O.G.), it’s easy to forget he hasn’t actually returned to the role of director since his 2019 sophomore effort, Us. The upcoming summer is blessing us with a new Peele production, one that’s apparently staying within the horror genre he’s been so influential in shaping recently. All we know about Nope so far is who’s in the cast — including Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, and Steven Yeun — plus the fact that the poster features a dish-shaped cloud trailing a streamer. (In theaters July 22.) — Alison Willmore

More anticipated films:

Bed Rest (in theaters July 15)
Bullet Train (in theaters July 15)
Mandate (in theaters July 22)
Where the Crawdads Sing (in theaters July 22)
DC League of Super-Pets (in theaters July 29)

August

More anticipated films:

Easter Sunday (in theaters August 5)
Secret Headquarters (in theaters August 5)
The Man From Toronto (in theaters August 12)
Samaritan (in theaters August 26)
On a Wing and a Prayer (in theaters August 31)

September

The Woman King

Fact: Gina Prince-Bythewood makes only great movies. And this one stars none other than Viola Davis as the general of an all-female military unit in the West African kingdom of Dahomey in a story inspired by true 19th-century events. Prince-Bythewood earned her action bona fides with 2020’s The Old Guard, and she has always brought both scope and intimacy to her films, no matter the subject. Just imagine what she’ll do behind the lens of a historical epic. (In theaters September 16.) — Melissa León

Don’t Worry Darling 

FFew details have been released about Olivia Wilde’s follow-up to her acclaimed directorial debut Booksmart, but the ones that have emerged seem promising. Don’t Worry Darling is a 1950s-set psychological thriller starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles as a couple whose seemingly idyllic lives turn out to be built on some disturbing secrets. The production became an object of internet obsession for reasons unrelated to the story — it’s reportedly where the romance between Styles and Wilde began. (In theaters September 23.)  Alison Willmore

Bros

Already the first major studio film co-written by and starring an openly gay man, Billy Eichner’s Bros will also be the first to star LGBTQ+ actors in all of the principal heterosexual roles. Those actors include TS Madison, Miss Lawrence, Symone, and Guillermo Diaz opposite Eichner and Luke Macfarlane as our central lovebirds. Nicholas Stoller, whose Netflix series Friends From College co-starred Eichner, will direct. (In theaters September 30.) — Melissa León

More anticipated films:

Dark Harvest (in theaters September 9)
Distant (in theaters September 16)
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (in theaters September 23)

October

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One) 

We last left Miles Morales, the most consistently endearing Spider-Man of them all, three years ago on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s promise that “anyone can wear the mask.” It was an elegant parting note from a thrilling and high-key historic animated film whose stylistically diverse animation felt fundamentally new and different. Spider-Man: No Way Home’s multiversal Spider-shenanigans made a fine nostalgia play, but all we want is more of Miles’s journey through the worlds meticulously cartooned by Sony Pictures Animation to evoke his comics. Did we mention Dune daddy Oscar Isaac is coming back for this next one? Thwip! (In theaters October 7.) — Eric Vilas-Boas

Halloween Ends 

I have no idea what happens in this follow-up to Halloween Kills. But I feel fairly confident the title is a lie. (In theaters October 14.) — Jen Chaney

Ticket to Paradise 

Ol Parker, writer-director of the eternally transcendent Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, brings his passion for tropical family hijinks to Bali, where divorcees George Clooney and Julia Roberts have traveled to stop their recently matriculated daughter (Kaitlyn Dever) from marrying a local. The rom-com is the sixth Clooney-Roberts joint to date and the latest since 2016’s Money Monster. (In theaters October 21) — Rachel Handler

More anticipated films:

Till (in theaters October 7)
White Bird: A Wonder Story (in theaters October 14)
Black Adam (in theaters October 21)

November

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever 

Even those who aren’t Marvel fans probably feel somewhat invested in the fate of the next Black Panther movie. For starters, the passing of Chadwick Boseman in 2020 robbed us of not just one of our finest actors but one of the more interesting superheroes in the Marvel firmament. It’s welcome news that director Ryan Coogler is returning behind the camera for this one — he’s the rare name with the clout to forge a new path in what might have otherwise been a standard-issue superhero sequel. (In theaters November 11.) — Bilge Ebiri

More anticipated films:

Canterbury Glass (in theaters November 4)
Spellbound (in theaters November 11)
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (in theaters November 18)
Thirteen Lives (in theaters November 18)
She Said (in theaters November 18)
Creed III (in theaters November 23)
The Fabelmans (in theaters November 23)

December

Avatar 2

James Cameron has been pushing movies back since before it was cool. Thirteen years after the original Avatar became the highest-grossing film worldwide, its sequel will finally hit theaters. Will audiences flock back to Pandora? They’d better — more installments in the Avatar saga are coming every two years until 2028. (In theaters December 16.) — Nate Jones

The Nightingale

Will Mélanie Laurent’s The Nightingale exist in time for its December 2022 release date? Only five days away from the start of production when COVID-19 shut down the film in 2020 and still not filming as of September 2021, The Nightingale nevertheless holds Sony’s coveted Christmas spot. If it comes together, Laurent and screenwriter Dana Stevens will deliver an adaptation of Kristin Hannah’s 2015 historical-fiction best seller about a pair of sisters struggling to survive in Nazi-occupied France. More than 20 years after last appearing opposite each other in 2001’s I Am Sam, Dakota and Elle Fanning team up again to play siblings Vianne and Isabelle, estranged sisters who become involved in resistance efforts. (In theaters December 23.) — Roxana Hadadi

Babylon 

In March 2021, a source described Damien Chazelle’s period drama Babylon, about the 1920s transition from silent films to talkies, as “Great Gatsby on steroids,” an assessment that sounds promising! Chazelle’s post–La La Land return to analyzing the tension between who makes it in Hollywood and who doesn’t features absolutely everyone: A-listers Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie, rising stars Jovan Adepo and Li Jun Li, and an endless array of recognizable faces including Olivia Wilde, Tobey Maguire, and Spike Jonze. (In theaters December 25.) —Roxana Hadadi

More anticipated films:

Violent Night (in theaters December 2)
Shazam! Fury of the Gods (in theaters December 16)
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (in theaters December 16)
Untitled Star Wars Film (in theaters December 16)
Heaven and Hell (in theaters December 16)
Super Mario Bros.: The Movie (in theaters December 21)
I Wanna Dance With Somebody (in theaters December 21)

Undated films that should, or could, come out in 2022:

The Way of the Wind

Obviously, it’s a fool’s errand to anticipate an imminent release for any Terrence Malick film that hasn’t been scheduled (or for that matter picked up for distribution) yet as the director famously takes years to edit his projects. But this one filmed before the pandemic, so perhaps it’s a safe-ish bet to assume that 2022 will be the year we finally get to see it either at a festival or in actual release. It certainly sounds like a doozy: It’s an actual Jesus story (starring Son of Saul’s Géza Röhrig as Jesus and Mark Rylance as Satan), thus making explicit the religious themes the director has been circling for most of his career. And it comes after one of his greatest works, the WWII drama A Hidden Life, which saw Malick going into fascinating new stylistic and thematic territory while continuing to be very much himself. (Some extra exciting news for film geeks: The score will reportedly be composed by Eleni Karaindrou, who was responsible for many of the legendary scores of the late Greek master Theo Angelopoulos.) (Release date TBD.) — Bilge Ebiri

Disappointment Blvd. 

In the three years since his debut feature Hereditary sent heads rolling, director Ari Aster has flower-crowned himself the king of A24 horror. He’s billing the follow-up to 2019’s Midsommar as a “nightmare comedy” that runs four hours long; that running time must be one of the jokes. Either way, fans are eager to see what he’ll conjure up next, this time with Joaquin Phoenix in the lead and Nathan Lane, Patti LuPone, Parker Posey, Michael Gandolfini, and Meryl Streep rounding out the cast. (Release date TBD.) — Melissa León

Even more undated films with 2022 potential:

Marcel the Shell With Shoes On
Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre
A Chiara
One Second
When You Finish Saving the World 
Instant Life
Sharp Stick
Crimes of the Future
Living
Nothing Compares
Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. 
Something in the Dirt
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande
The Princess

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