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Despite the ongoing pandemic, it's been a busy year for genre films, whether we're talking about much-anticipated superhero blockbusters, slasher sequels, fantasy epics, or any number of other genre flicks that brought people back to theaters or back to their couches via streaming services. We're not quite at the end of our 2021 adventure just yet, but since next year promises to be even busier, we thought it might be time to a quick look at what's ahead.
Below, we've assembled 30 of our most-anticipated movie releases in 2022, from action movies to sci-fi and fantasy horror, all of which you can expect to see in theaters or on streaming services in the year to come. Take a look at all our picks below, and start updating your calendar for a new year of genre cinema.
Scream (Jan. 14)
The much-anticipated fifth entry in the iconic slasher franchise reunites original stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette and merges them with a new, young cast to face another round of Ghostface murders in Woodsboro. Trailers for the film have been packed with jolts and scares that feel destined to go down in Scream history, and everyone's already guessing who the killer is, including the new poster. Sounds like a hot time at the movies in a cold month.
Moonfall (Feb. 4)
The patron saint of the modern disaster movie, Roland Emmerich, returns with this star-packed film that's... well, it's pretty much exactly what it sounds like.
You know the moon? Well, it's gonna fall, and it's gonna fall in a way only Roland Emmerich can show us, which sounds like a grand time on a big screen. If that's enough to sell you, watching the moon falling through the eyes of stars like Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, and Donald Sutherland might put it over the top for you.
Ambulance (Feb. 18)
The last time Michael Bay directed an action film of comparable scale to Ambulance was Pain & Gain, one of his most entertaining (and least successful) films. Ambulance's impressive trailer seems to be a return to Bay's '90s action movie form, with stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II playing two siblings who stage a heist and struggle to escape the fallout of it inside the titular emergency vehicle. (This is a remake of the 2005 Danish film, and Bay's first remake). A little Bayhem right after Valentine's Day never hurt anyone.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Feb. 18 - Netflix)
What if Leatherface went into hiding after the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre in 1974, never to kill again, at least until a group of kids stumbled upon his lair and forced him (and his saw) out of hiding? That's the premise behind producer Fede Alvarez's new take on one of the most enduring horror franchises, one that continues a fresh wave of horror legacy sequels that hope to recapture some of the magic of the original. We'll find out this winter whether it can or not, but this Netflix release looks promising.
Uncharted (Feb. 18)
Fans have been talking about an Uncharted movie pretty much since the first game was released in 2007. Come February 18, we finally get to see Nathan Drake in live-action. Chronicling the early days of the partnership between Drake (Tom Holland) and his mentor Sully (Mark Wahlberg), the film has the potential to launch a new action-adventure franchise, and it's got Holland's charm (and box office clout) to help it get there.
The Batman (March 4)
You've seen the trailers, you've heard director Matt Reeves' comments on his dark approach to the material, you've seen the hype over Robert Pattinson's Bruce Wayne and Paul Dano's Riddler. You've even gawked at Colin Farrell's transformation into The Penguin. At least, this spring, we'll get to see if all the fuss was worth it when The Batman launches the latest big-screen incarnation of The Dark Knight.
Turning Red (March 11)
Pixar films like Inside Out and Soul have proven that the animation powerhouse has a nuanced grasp on how to tell fantastic stories with resonance and emotional stakes. Turning Red seems primed to continue that trend. Directed by Domee Shi (the mind behind the excellent Pixar short "Bao"), the film follows a young girl whose adolescent emotions cause her to turn into a giant red panda whenever she gets stressed out. There's a good chance this will be the Year's Most Adorable Movie.
Everything Everywhere All at Once (March 25)
Michelle Yeoh is genre film royalty at this point, and in the spring of 2022 she'll get to apply all of her many gifts to A24's latest genre-bending trip. Written and directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once follows a seemingly ordinary women (Yeoh) who learns that she might be the only person who can save the multiverse. To do it, she'll have to use every skill she's every learned in any universe, including kung fu. We can't wait.
Morbius (Apr. 1)
Ater a few release date delays, the next spinoff effort in the Sony Pictures Spider-Man universe launches in January with this tale of Marvel Comics' legendary living vampire. Jared Leto stars as the title character, a doctor who tries to cure himself with an experimental treatment and ends up a vampire instead. Fans can expect plenty of Marvel Easter eggs, an appearance by Michael Keaton, and probably a thrilling post-credits stinger or two.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Apr. 8)
There are many reasons for fans to get excited about Sonic 2, from the return of James Marsden as Sonic's pal, Tom, to more of Jim Carrey's scene-chewing Dr. Robotnik. Let's be honest, though: Most of us are in this for the big-screen debut of Knuckles the Echidna, who will be interpreted through the soulful baritone of none other than Idris Elba. Whatever your reasons, we'll all be speeding back into theaters this spring for this one.
The Northman (Apr. 8)
Filmmaker Robert Eggers hasn't missed yet. With The Witch and The Lighthouse he delivered two of the most visually distinctive, haunting genre films in recent memory. Now, he hopes to find similar success with his first historical epic. Starring Alexander Skarsgard as the Viking prince Amleth, The Nortman promises a Viking revenge story with a stacked cast and Eggers' astonishing knack for visuals. How can you say no?
Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness (May 6)
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been weaving a tangled multiverse into its overarching narrative for most of the past year, thanks to WandaVision, Loki, What if...?, and, most recently, Spider-Man: No Way Home. But even with all of that in mind, Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness feels particularly special. It will continue some of the WandaVision story, give us the first Doctor Strange film in six years and, of course, feature the long-awaited return of Sam Raimi to the superhero movie fold. Get ready for a wild ride.
DC League of Super-Pets (May 20)
The LEGO Batman Movie co-writer Jared Stern stepped up to write and direct this DC Comics-inspired film which focuses on iconic DC superheroes' furry friends. Apart from the allure of a fun and impressively animated comic book movie for kids, League of Super-Pets also features a jam-packed voice cast that includes Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as Krypto, Kevin Hart as Ace the Bat-Hound, and John Krasinski as Superman.
The Bob's Burgers Movie (May 27)
For a while there, it seemed like The Bob's Burgers Movie might be another victim of the Fox/Disney merger and get swept off the schedule and onto streaming. But the much-anticipated animated movie based on the hit animated series is still coming to a theater near you. The Belcher family will hit the big screen with the full original voice cast of the FOX show on board, so be prepared to talk your friends into going so you can convert them to the joys and quotable lines of Bob's Burgers.
Top Gun: Maverick (May 27)
Nothing says Memorial Day quite like practical, real-life fighter jets flying across the big-screen with "Danger Zone" blasting out of the theater's surround sound system. That's exactly what Tom Cruise and company will give us with this long-awaited sequel to Top Gun. Is Maverick a washed-up dinosaur in the age of modern pilots and drones, or does he still have a few tricks up his sleeve? Either way, Cruise will do all the stunts (and most of the flying) himself, because he knows audiences want to see that. Especially on IMAX.
Jurassic World: Dominion (June 10)
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom released a flood of dinosaurs into the world, which allows Jurassic World: Dominion to depict the level of global dino chaos we've always wanted. Dominion, directed by Jurassic World helmer Colin Trevorrow, will definitely give us that, as well as a reunion tour with original Jurassic Park stars Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldblum.
Lightyear (June 17)
When Buzz Lightyear himself, now voiced by Chris Evans, clarified that the upcoming Toy Story spinoff Lightyear would be the original story of "the real Buzz Lightyear that the toy is based on," there were plenty of jokes on Twitter. Jokes aside, though, you can never count Pixar out when it comes to executing a tricky premise, and the first trailer for the film was a dazzling display of sci-fi fun. Here's hoping the rest of the film is, too.
The Black Phone (June 24)
Sinister creators Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill return to the horror genre with this adaptation of a short story by Joe Hill (Locke & Key, Heart-Shaped Box), about a boy who's abducted by a monstrous man and finds a supernatural phone in his new homemade prison. Ethan Hawke is absolutely terrifying in the film's trailers, early festival buzz is strong, and Derrickson, Cargill, and Hill make for an impeccable horror pedigree.
Thor: Love and Thunder (July 8)
Thor: Ragnarok blew the God of Thunder's MCU franchise wide open, creating a wild ride into the distant stars that reinvented Thor's place in the MCU. With Love and Thunder, Ragnarok writer/director Taika Waititi will up the ante yet again by integrating two more amazing elements into Chris Hemsworth's film series: The return of Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who picks up the hammer to become Thor herself, and the arrival of Big Bad Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale).
Nope (July 22)
Let's be honest, we know almost nothing about Nope at this point. We know that the cast includes Daniel Kaluuya and Steven Yeun, and we know that Oscar-winner Jordan Peele is writing and directing it. Given Peele's track record when it comes to unsettling movies, though, we absolutely can't wait. You could release this film without trailers and we'd still be there opening day.
Black Adam (July 29)
Dwayne Johnson has made it his business for years to let everyone know how committed he is to bringing Black Adam to the big screen for the first time. Summer 2022 will let fans finally see that happen. Johnson's passion for the DC Comics character is reason enough to check this one out, but a supporting cast that includes Pierce Brosnan, Aldis Hodge, and Noah Centineo doesn't hurt either. Also, this movie promises to be, in success, a stepping stone for an eventual big-screen team up of the Justice Society of America.
Coming Summer 2022
This Predator rebootquel/prequel does not have a release date yet, outsides the vague "Summer 2022" corridor, but when it hits Hulu — we'll be there. 10 Cloverfield Lane director Dan Trachtenberg's first feature since his 2016 film will be set in the past and center on a Predator's early hunting trip on Earth. Legion star Amber Midthunder headlines this must-see sci-fi film.
Salem's Lot (Sept. 9)
The recent rise in inspired takes on Stephen King classics continues this fall, when writer/director Gary Dauberman heads to King's legendary vampire-infested Maine town for a new adaptation of the novel. While there are no trailers or posters yet for the movie, we do know that the case includes: Lewis Pullman, Bill Camp, Spencer Treat Clark, Alfre Woodard, and William Sadler.
Mission: Impossible 7 (Sept. 30)
If leaked behind-the-scenes shots of certain stunts are any indication, Tom Cruise and writer-director Christopher McQuarrie's follow-up to Mission: Impossible - Fallout will be another mission we'll choose to accept several times in a theater. Agent Carter, Haley Atwell, joins in on all the running and aerial stunts this time around, appearing alongside Mission vets Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg and Vanessa Kirby. Mission 7 has been shooting, as of this writing, for nearly 190 days — with McQ and Cruise expected to roll right into shooting Mission 8 once this movie wraps. Expect the Infinity War/Endgame of Missions.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One) (Oct. 7)
The second installment in Sony's animated Spider-Verse franchise is both one of the most anticipated animated movies ever and one of the most anticipated superhero movies. The first trailer for Across the Spider-Verse wowed audiences in late 2021, and we get to see much more of Oscar Isaac as Spider-Man 2099. Plus, the inclusion of "Part One" in the title makes it feel even more expansive and ambitious than it already did.
Halloween Ends (Oct. 14)
It all comes down to this.
A year after Michael Myers cut a bloody swath through Halloween Kills, the gang's back together with director David Gordon Green for the final installment of the legacyquel trilogy that began back in 2018. The ending of Halloween Kills set the stage for an epic, possibly supernatural clash, and now Halloween Ends will pay that off right in the middle of the spookiest time of the year.
The Flash (Nov. 4)
A Flash solo movie has been in some phase of development since before we saw Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but it wasn't until IT director Andy Muschietti signed on to the potential franchise starter that things really took shape. Now, with the film speeding toward us, the main attraction is ironically not Ezra Miller as The Flash, but Ben Affleck and the legendary Michael Keaton reprising their respective Bruce Waynes in this Flashpoint-inspired adventure.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Nov. 22)
A little more than two years after the world lost Chadwick Boseman, the franchise he and director Ryan Coogler launched will return for its second installment. We still don't know much about what to expect from Wakanda Forever, but we know emphatically that it will not attempt to in any way replace Boseman as T'Challa. Instead, the world of Wakanda will widen and deepen, and we'll be there to see how.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (Dec. 16)
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom takes Jason Momoa and director James Wan on a trip to Atlantis for the sequel to the hit 2018 original. Wan's unique visual stylings will be back, judging by a sneak we got of the film in 2021, as Lost Kingdom seems primed to expand upon Aquaman's world in significant ways.
Avatar 2 (Dec. 16)
When Avatar 2 arrives in theaters, 13 years will have passed since James Cameron's original blockbuster became the highest-grossing movie ever. (Avengers: Endgame briefly took Avatar's title until a re-release of the 2009 hit pushed the movie past Endgame's global haul.) You might not be itching to return to Pandora just yet, and the blockbuster landscape has changed considerably in the last decade, but if there's one thing we've learned from four decades of movie history, it's this: Never underestimate the pure filmmaking power of James Cameron.