fall preview

24 Movies We Can’t Wait to See This Fall

From Harry Styles times two to the next Knives Out and our return to Wakanda.

Photo-Illustration: Photographs: Netflix (Blonde); Neon (Moonage Daydream); Merie Weismiller Wallace/20th Century Studios (Amsterdam); Marvel Studios (Black Panther); Alex Bailey/Amazon (Catherine Called Birdy); Eli Adé/CTMG (Devotion)
Photo-Illustration: Photographs: Netflix (Blonde); Neon (Moonage Daydream); Merie Weismiller Wallace/20th Century Studios (Amsterdam); Marvel Studios (Black Panther); Alex Bailey/Amazon (Catherine Called Birdy); Eli Adé/CTMG (Devotion)

It was, somehow, both the slowest movie summer in recent memory and one that defied box-office expectations. Last season delivered (almost) no studio flops, not to mention the death dream that sunk the Titanic: Top Gun: Maverick, which opened the summer at No. 1 and, almost $700 million in ticket sales later, may end it there, too. But if last season’s offerings were too sparse for your liking, let us guide you through the packed months ahead, which promise to debut the most anticipated movies of the year. We’ll see Rian Johnson’s long-awaited Knives Out sequel, Ana de Armas’s scandalous take on Marilyn Monroe, and not one but two Harry Styles starring roles: first in Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling (the center of much real-life worry) and second as a closeted cop in My Policeman. Beloved actor-director pairings reunite, from Luca Guadagnino and Timotheé Chalamet (Bones and All) to the In Bruges boys, together again for Banshees of Inisherin. Three separate auteurs — one of them Steven Spielberg — will roll out their very own Romas, coming-of-age dramas loosely inspired by their own childhoods. And the year of sequels unveils its finale with high-stakes returns to Wakanda and Pandora plus the Hocus Pocus follow-up everyone asked for. All of that is just the start.

Fall 2022

September

Athena

One of the more notable music video auteurs of our time, French Greek director Romain Gavras has already carved out an intriguing, highly varied feature-filmmaking career for himself with the surreal redhead-oppression drama Our Day Will Come and the colorful gangster comedy The World Is Yours. His latest charts an uprising at a French housing project that occurs after the death of a young Muslim boy and follows the boy’s three older brothers, who are on opposing sides of the conflict. How will Gavras’s flair for shocking images, his dexterity with cinematic technique, and the incendiary subject matter all come together? (In theaters September 9.)Bilge Ebiri

The Woman King

Director Gina Prince-Bythewood was largely known for exceptional romantic dramas like Love & Basketball and Beyond the Lights before she hit it out of the park with the superhero film The Old Guard in 2020. Now, she’s mounted what looks to be a historical action epic, starring Viola Davis as the leader of the Dahomey Amazons, the legendary all-female West African army. This should be an exciting challenge for Davis, who reportedly trained for months to pull off the film’s fight scenes — which, judging from the trailer, look pretty impressive. (In theaters September 16.) — Bilge Ebiri

Confess, Fletch

They’ve been trying to make another Fletch movie for years. Decades, even. Along the way, various names, such as Jason Lee and Jason Sudeikis, have been tipped to star as Gregory Mcdonald’s comically hard-boiled investigative reporter, whom Chevy Chase notably played in the 1980s. But dear God, how perfect is Jon Hamm for this role? He’s an actor who becomes funnier the more serious he gets — a guy who seems like he was practically designed in a lab to star in a dryly funny hard-boiled comedy. With Greg Mottola (Superbad, Adventureland, Paul) at the helm — his first feature in quite a few years — this one could really be special. (In theaters September 16.)Bilge Ebiri

Blonde

Controversy has followed writer-director Andrew Dominik’s NC-17 rated Netflix adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates bio-fic novel about Marilyn Monroe for nearly a year — not exactly discouraged by the filmmaker’s promise: “There’s something in it to offend everyone.” More controversy greeted the casting of Cuban actress Ana de Armas, who stars as the erstwhile Norma Jean Baker and spent nine months of “big torture” learning to speak like Hollywood’s iconic blonde bombshell. The film’s logline promises a deep dive into “the love issues, exploitation, abuse of power, and drug addiction she faces in her private life.” If Blonde’s leaked script pages are to be believed, viewers can also expect graphic rape, oral sex, and a talking fetus. (In theaters September 16.) — Chris Lee

Moonage Daydream

The first film to be officially sanctioned by David Bowie’s estate, this dreamlike documentary (which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival) was compiled from over 5 million rarely seen “assets” — concert footage, interviews, photographs, artworks, and recordings — with Oscar-nominated writer-director-editor-producer Brett Morgen (Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck) given unfiltered access to the Thin White Duke’s personal archives. The result is a revelation even to Bowie completists. (In theaters September 16.) — Chris Lee

Don’t Worry Darling 

Olivia Wilde’s follow-up to her acclaimed directorial debut, Booksmart, is a psychological thriller that appears to have a touch of sci-fi to it. Florence Pugh and Harry Styles play a married couple who are part of something called “the Victory Project.” What that is doesn’t seem clear to Pugh’s character, who leads a throwback housewife’s existence in a 1960s-esque setting where something sinister is going on beneath the seemingly picture-perfect surface. Wilde, Chris Pine, Gemma Chan, Kate Berlant, and KiKi Layne co-star, though the film’s biggest point of interest may be meta-textual — the production became an object of internet obsession for reportedly being where the real-life romance between Styles and Wilde began. (In theaters September 23.)  Alison Willmore

Catherine Called Birdy

Lena Dunham has been trying to make her “longtime passion project,” an adaptation of Karen Cushman’s 1994 YA novel, for almost a decade, and we’ll finally get to see it this fall. She has described the book, which is set in 1290 England, thusly: Catherine “gets her period and her father basically says, ‘Well, it’s time for you to get married,’ and she’s like, ‘Uh, no.’ But it’s hyperrealistic and really pretty and it’s full of incest and beatings, but it’s a child’s story.” Game of Thrones’ petite spitfire Bella Ramsey has the title role with a supporting cast that includes Hot Priest Andrew Scott, Joe Alwyn, and Billie Piper. Based on the trailer, featuring Ramsey avoiding her chores and spying on people, CCB feels a bit like a medieval Harriet the Spy. (In theaters September 23.) — Rachel Handler

God’s Creatures

Anna Rose Holmer and Saela Davis made the best movie of 2016, the stark, Cincinnati-set coming-of-age dance-pandemic drama The Fits. Their new feature, which premiered at Cannes, is decidedly different, though it will prove to be a great test for Holmer and Davis’s characteristically immersive, authentic approach to their material. The story is set in a small, depressed Irish fishing village and focuses on one family whose life is upended when the son comes back after a long period away. The great Emily Watson plays the matriarch torn between her love for her child and her loyalty to the women around her. (In theaters and on digital September 30.)Bilge Ebiri

Bros

Billy Eichner is eager to claim his share of firsts with his romantic comedy Bros: the first major studio film co-written by and starring an openly gay man and 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:

Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul (in theaters and on Peacock September 2), After Ever Happy (in theaters September 7), Pinocchio (in theaters September 8), Saloum (in theaters September 9), Dark Harvest (in theaters September 9), Barbarian (in theaters September 9), Distant (in theaters September 16), Pearl (in theaters September 16), See How They Run (in theaters September 16), The Silent Twins (in theaters September 16), Do Revenge (streaming on Netflix September 16), Goodnight Mommy (streaming on Prime Video September 16), Lou (streaming on Netflix September 23), Nothing Compares (in theaters September 23), On the Come Up (streaming on Paramount+ September 23), The Justice of Bunny King (in theaters September 23), Hocus Pocus 2 (streaming on Disney+ September 30), Luckiest Girl Alive (in theaters September 30 and on Netflix October 7), My Best Friend’s Exorcism (streaming on Prime Video September 30)

October

TÁR

Actor and filmmaker Todd Field received acclaim, attention, and awards for his 2001 debut, In the Bedroom, and the 2006 follow-up, Little Children. Then he didn’t make anything for a decade and a half, and it wasn’t for lack of trying. So obviously, all eyes are on this new film about a renowned conductor and composer named Lydia Tár, played by Cate Blanchett. The teaser trailer, featuring a Blanchett doing a slow-motion cigarette exhale, looks appropriately enigmatic and intense. (In theaters October 7.)Alison Willmore

Decision to Leave

Park Chan-wook’s first feature since 2016’s The Handmaiden is a Hitchcockian romantic thriller about a Busan police detective (Park Hae-il) who investigates a murder and becomes obsessed with the dead man’s wife (Tang Wei), a mysterious woman who’s also a suspect. The story twists and turns and leaps forward in time. Whether he’s making Gothic dramas, brutal revenge sagas, or something more restrained in tone, Park’s stories are always exquisite constructions. (In theaters October 14.)Alison Willmore

Halloween Ends 

“Evil dies tonight!” What this movie presupposes is … what if it doesn’t? Yes, the last one sucked, but the one before that was solid. And on the whole, we’re still largely onboard with Blumhouse’s recent revisitation of the Michael Myers saga, directed (as were the previous two films) by David Gordon Green, with returning star Jamie Lee Curtis, and made with the implicit blessing of series maestro John Carpenter. Let’s hope this ends the series on a strong note. (Not that it’s actually going to end, of course.) Also: Just a rumor at this point, but we hear this one is about trauma. (In theaters October 14.) Bilge Ebiri

My Policeman

Harry Styles is a gay cop in My Policeman, which requires very little else to sell it, but here goes. Based on the novel of the same name, Michael Grandage’s film follows a trio of tormented Brits: a closeted policeman named Tom (Styles); his schoolteacher wife, Marion (Emma Corrin); and his secret museum-curator lover, Patrick (David Dawson). The film jumps between the 1950s and the 1990s, when Tom (Linus Roache) and Marion (Gina McKee) agree to take in a convalescing Patrick (Rupert Everett) despite their increasingly strained union. The yearning is palpable; the sex scenes will be “sculptural” (?). (In theaters October 21, streaming on Prime Video November 4.) — Rachel Handler

The Banshees of Inisherin

The last time Martin McDonagh, Colin Farrell, and Brendan Gleeson worked together, they made In Bruges, a career high point for all concerned. Back then, McDonagh was a playwright making a long-awaited leap to movies, and Farrell was something of a failed movie star — a guy Hollywood had tried to turn into an action stud. Since then, Farrell has emerged as one of our most interesting leading men, and McDonagh has gained notice for the Oscar-anointed (and highly divisive) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. (In theaters October 21.) — Bilge Ebiri

Ticket to Paradise 

Ol Parker, writer-director of the eternally transcendent Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, brings his passion for tropical family high jinks to Bali, where divorced couple 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

Armageddon Time

James Gray’s latest daddy-issues drama takes the director’s own childhood as inspiration. Banks Repeta is Gray’s avatar, Paul Graff, an angsty, artsy sixth-grader growing up in a working-class Jewish family in 1980s Queens grappling with Reagan, the Cold War, and his family’s complicated relationships with race and class. Orbiting Paul are his PTA-president mother, Esther (Anne Hathaway); his loving grandfather Aaron (Anthony Hopkins); his furious father, Irving (Jeremy Strong); and his friend Johnny (Jaylin Webb), one of the only Black kids at Paul’s school and in his life. As Paul comes of age, he’s forced to confront his own privilege, ignorance, and guilt; the concept of death; his family’s inherent dysfunction; and at least two members of the Trump family (one of whom is played by Jessica Chastain). (In theaters October 28.) — Rachel Handler

More anticipated films:

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone (streaming on Netflix October 5), Hellraiser (streaming on Hulu October 7), Pretty Problems (in theaters October 7), Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (in theaters October 7), The Curse of Bridge Hollow (streaming on Netflix October 14), Till (in theaters October 14), White Bird: A Wonder Story (in theaters October 14), The Good Nurse (in theaters October 19 and streaming on Netflix October 26), The School for Good and Evil (streaming on Netflix October 19), Black Adam (in theaters October 21), Wendell & Wild (in theaters October 21 and streaming on Netflix October 28), All Quiet on the Western Front (in theaters October 28), Run Sweetheart Run (streaming on Prime Video October 28)

November

Amsterdam

David O. Russell’s notorious volatility doesn’t make him the easiest fit for an industry that’s trying, however unevenly, to reckon with its workplace conditions. Still, the Silver Linings Playbook director is back with his first film in seven years, a comedic mystery set in the 1930s. Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, and John David Washington play a doctor, nurse, and lawyer who are accused of murder, while Robert De Niro, Rami Malek, Mike Myers, Timothy Olyphant, Andrea Riseborough, Chris Rock, Zoe Saldaña, Michael Shannon, Taylor Swift, and Anya Taylor-Joy round out the absurdly star-packed ensemble. (In theaters November 4.) — Alison Willmore

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 for this one — he’s the rare name with the clout to forge a new path in what might otherwise have been a standard-issue superhero sequel. (In theaters November 11.) — Bilge Ebiri

The Fabelmans

There comes a point in every auteur’s career when their thoughts turn toward making a Roma; this year, that time has come for Steven Spielberg (as well as Sam Mendes and James Gray). The Fabelmans is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age drama set in Arizona, where Spielberg grew up, and is centered on a kid named Sammy (Gabriel LaBelle) as he learns about a family secret and the power of cinema. Michelle Williams and Paul Dano play Sammo’s parents while, in what sounds like ideal casting, Seth Rogen plays his father’s best friend. (In theaters November 11.) — Alison Willmore

Devotion

After Glen Powell nearly stole Top Gun: Maverick right out from under Tom Cruise’s feet, this upcoming Korean War flyboy drama about the real-life friendship between Navy pilots Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors) and Tom Hudner (Powell) suddenly gained a lot more interest. Hangman takes to the skies again?? Sign us up! Of course, this is based on a very moving true-life story, so it will likely be quite different from a Top Gun–style action fantasy. It’s also being directed by J.D. Dillard, whose previous feature, the intensely suspenseful, expertly mounted castaway thriller Sweetheart, is a genre delight. (In theaters November 23.) — Bilge Ebiri

Bones and All

Having dabbled in horror with Suspiria, Luca Guadagnino returns to the genre — and to his Call Me by Your Name lead, Timothée Chalamet — for a film that blends darkness with romance. The Camille DeAngelis novel it’s based on is about teenage cannibals, so expect some gruesomeness alongside the longing as Chalamet and Taylor Russell play a drifter and an outcast traveling across the country looking for self-acceptance while grappling with some gory impulses. (In theaters November 23.) — Alison Willmore

More anticipated films:

Enola Holmes 2 (streaming on Netflix November 4), Good Night Oppy (in theaters November 4), Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (streaming on Roku November 4), Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams (in theaters November 4), Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (in theaters November 4), Falling for Christmas (streaming on Netflix November 10), Spellbound (in theaters November 11), The Menu (in theaters November 18), She Said (in theaters November 18), Slumberland (streaming on Netflix November 18), The Inspection (in theaters November 18), Nanny (in theaters November 23), Strange World (in theaters November 23), The Swimmers (streaming on Netflix November 23), White Noise (in theaters November 25), Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon (On Demand November 29)

December

Avatar: The Way of Water

James Cameron has been pushing back movies 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

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

In this, the first of two intended sequels to 2019’s smash-hit, Oscar-nominated Knives Out — for which Netflix paid an eye-watering $469 million — Daniel Craig returns as the tweed-clad “Gentleman Sleuth” Benoit Blanc at the scene of the crime for another high-IQ whodunit. As yet, writer-director Rian Johnson has revealed almost nothing of the plot. But with Greece serving as the backdrop to evil under the sun this time and a sprawling ensemble cast that includes Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr., Edward Norton, Dave Bautista, and Janelle Monae, expect more Agatha Christie–like intrigue. (Streaming on Netflix December 23.)Chris Lee

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:

Women Talking (in theaters December 2), Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies (in theaters December 2), Violent Night (in theaters December 2), Corsage (in theaters December 9), Living (in theaters December 9), Empire of Light (in theaters December 9), House Party (in theaters December 9), Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical (in theaters December 9), Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (streaming on Netflix December 9), A Man Called Otto (in theaters December 14), Holy Spider (in theaters December 16), Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (in theaters December 21), I Wanna Dance With Somebody (in theaters December 21), The Pale Blue Eye (in theaters December 23 and streaming on Netflix January 6)

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 yet been scheduled (or, for that matter, picked up for distribution), as the director famously takes years to edit his projects. But this one filmed before the pandemic, so perhaps it’s a safeish bet to assume 2022 will be the year we finally get to see it either at a festival or in 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

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 came 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. (Release date TBD.) — Melissa León

Even more undated films with 2022 potential:

Disenchanted, The Eternal Daughter, The Killer, Killers of the Flower Moon, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, One Fine Morning, One Second, Showing Up, When You Finish Saving the World

24 Movies We Can’t Wait to See This Fall