What’s Coming to Movie Theaters in 2022?

By Amit Jagwani  | 

If a lesson can be gleaned from Covid-19 two years into the pandemic, perhaps it’s to expect the unexpected. The same holds true for entertainment, as Hollywood kicks off 2022 with a trove of blockbuster films that could give studios and theaters the boost both in business and moral they desperately need. The potential hiccup? Omicron plus other yet-to-manifest coronavirus variants may wreak havoc with entertainment’s best-laid plans, leading to debut delays or the decision to skip theaters entirely and premiere directly on steaming networks. Case in point: Sony has already moved Morbius, its highly anticipated Spider-Man spinoff, from January to April, while Disney has yet to publicly affirm which of its offerings will open exclusively in theaters or debut simultaneously on Disney Plus. Still, the new year promises much to get excited about in terms of movies. Here’s a look ahead at some of what’s to come.

Superheroes Save the Day
Comic book films and series have fared especially well in recent years, with Eternals, Black Widow and Suicide Squad ranking among the top titles of 2021. Now, caped crusader fans are eagerly awaiting The Batman, Warner Bros. most recent iteration of the ever-popular Gotham City superhero story. Set for a March 4 theatrical release, this version stars Robert Pattinson in the titular role, with Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman and Colin Farrell as the Penguin, among additional masked friends and foes. Previous Batman-related film installments became box office sensations—in 2019, Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker earned $744 million worldwide in less than a month. If that trend continues, this moody movie could spell a studio win.

From Warner Bros. to Disney, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness likewise suggests early promising results. The sequel is coming hot on the heels of December’s billion-dollar grossing Spider Man: No Way Home, which was beloved by both audiences and critics. English actor Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Doctor Strange, while—in a neat show-to-movie crossover—Elizabeth Olsen appears as Scarlet Witch, heroine of the wildly popular Emmy-winning Disney Plus series, WandaVision. Fans of the first Spider-Man film circa 2002 can tap their inner nostalgia bone, as Sam Raimi, writer of that original trilogy, directed this upcoming flick.

Fan-Favorite Franchises and Sequels
Three decades have elapsed since Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park first hit theaters in 1993, grossing over $1 billion in total sales. This June, Jurassic World: Dominion from Universal Pictures may hope to reclaim some of that cinematic magic as the latest installment in the Jurassic World trilogy, which launched with that eponymous film in 2015 and was followed by Fallen Kingdom three years later. Lovers of all the dino films will rejoice in the ensemble cast, which unites recent Jurassic stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard with throwback newbies Laura Dern, Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum.

Director James Cameron’s Avatar topped global charts in 2009 and broke records as the highest-grossing movie of all time, earning nearly $2.8 billion thanks in part to its immersive 3D graphics and technological innovations. The sequel to that fantasy blockbuster was originally slated for 2014 and delayed multiple times. Now Avatar 2 is set to premiere exclusively in theaters mid-December. This time, original stars Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver and Zoe Saldana are joined by a cast of young, largely unknown actors, and plans are already in the works for three additional Avatar installments.

A-List Actors and Directors
When it comes to celebrity names, you can’t get much bigger than Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock. They’re among the star-studded cast of director David Leitch’s upcoming summer thriller, Bullet Train. Sony’s July 15 offering finds five assassins on a speeding Japanese train and chaos ensues when they realize their assignments might all be connected. Leitch’s previous films include Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde and Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, so fans may safely expect plenty of high-octane stunts and screams.

Finally, Academy Award winning writer-director Jordan Peele is back with Nope, the latest offering in a horror genre he’s made uniquely his own. Get Out (Peele’s directorial debut) and Us both stunned and frightened fans as brilliant psychological thrillers that likewise offered powerful racial commentary. Details of Nope’s storyline remain intentionally ambiguous, which perhaps has fans even more excited for the movie’s July 22 premiere. We’ll be on the lookout for additional box office offerings. Here’s hoping for a happy year of going to the movies!

Amit Jagwani
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