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The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

on December 29, 2016, 12:00am
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With the coming of a new year, it almost feels as though the moviegoing cycle gets a chance to reset. Yet, where the early months of the year have typically been a space for refuse, 2017 is filling every corner of the release calendar with interesting, big-ticket projects. And after a year marked by cynicism and skepticism and way, way too much debate about the remake of a movie about comedians battling ghosts, we’re looking forward to moving on and starting fresh and getting excited about the movies yet to come.

And on paper, 2017 is going to be quite a thing. We’ll get DC’s best attempt at The Avengers, an actual Blade Runner sequel, and the return of everyone’s favorite Guardians. We’ll get new films from Darren Aronofsky, Kathryn Bigelow, and Paul Thomas Anderson. Sure, things will continue on as they have; the year’s full of franchises and sequels again, and America will buy Michael Bay more houses and cars with a new Transformers. But it’s looking like 2017 will have a lot to offer for any kind of moviegoer, from the casual admirers to the thrillseekers to the snobs. That’s worth getting excited about.

Plus, come on. How bad can a year featuring xXx: the Return of Xander Cage really be? Dude’s riding a dirtbike through the ocean. If that’s not a great omen for 2017, we don’t know what is.


split The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: January 20th via Universal

Ever since M. Night Shyamalan decided to scale back on his storytelling, he’s been in better company. His 2015 feature film, The Visit, wasn’t without its share of faults — the found-footage angle was unnecessary and hampered his strengths, which has always been his shot selection behind the camera — but it was thrilling, cohesive, and digestible enough that it didn’t seem too silly or outlandish. Now, he’s back with another tiny thriller called Split. James McAvoy stars as a man with 23 different personalities who abducts three teenage girls, one of them being The Witch‘s breakout rookie Anya Taylor-Joy. Our own critic Marten Carlson caught the film during a surprise screening at last year’s Fantastic Fest, praising McAvoy for his range and ultimately dubbing the film “one further step for Shyamalan on the road to cinematic redemption.” We believe it. –Michael Roffman




xx poster The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Premieres at Sundance Film Festival 2017 via Magnet

Horror films scare much more when they play back to back, and that’s exactly what XX plans to do. It’s a powerhouse of a release that sees four tales strung together, each tackled by a different woman. Karyn Kusama directs Her Only Living Son, which we can only imagine will be as memorable as The Invitation, her most recent movie and one of the best films of 2016. Zombie-loving and creepy creature-creating Jovanka Vuckovic will direct The Box. Annie Clark, the total powerhouse otherwise known as St. Vincent, makes her directorial debut with The Birthday Party, a title that already sounds as haunting and distorted as “The Strangers”. Lastly, there’s Don’t Fall, a film by Roxanne Benjamin, the producer behind the original V/H/S, meaning she’s a pro in short-form horror filmmaking already. In short: This anthology is already priming our goosebumps. –Nina Corcoran


Landline - Still 1

Premieres at Sundance Film Festival 2017

Distributor: TBA

Three years after Obvious Child was sent to Sundance on the strength of a Kickstarter campaign and ended up as one of the festival’s breakout hits of this year, writer/director Gillian Robespierre will return with Landline. The story of a teenager in 1995 Manhattan who discovers that her father is having an affair, the film looks to continue Robespierre’s emergence as a keenly observant filmmaker of notice. Landline will re-team her with Child‘s Jenny Slate, in addition to Edie Falco, John Turturro, and Finn Wittrock. Keep an eye on this one, because there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be hearing a lot about it soon enough. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

John Wick Chapter 2

wick The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: February 10th via Summit

John Wick arrived out of nowhere in 2014, and returned Keanu Reeves to prominence as the titular ex-assassin, who drops the “ex-” when a kingpin breaks into his house and ends up killing his dog. It’s a remarkably well-made action thriller, particularly given its goofy-on-paper premise, and it also took the time to do the kind of world-building that doesn’t figure prominently into enough action series in this day and age. That world, of secret assassin hotels and clubs and currencies and rules, will form the spine of Chapter 2, in which Wick finds himself the target of a worldwide contract that brings out the best of the criminal underworld to try and take him down for good. But they’re up against a lot, because shit, he’s John Wick. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer



The LEGO Batman Movie

LEGO Batman

Release Date: February 10th via Warner Bros.

As DC Comic’s expanded universe continues to fall into darkness, there’s one superhero who may save them before it’s too late: LEGO Batman. On February 10th, The LEGO Batman Movie will hit theaters and save the box office, if not America, as we know it. Will Arnett once again voices the titular hero who is loved by the public but whose only family is Alfred the butler (Ralph Fiennes) and adopted orphan Robin (Michael Cera). This time around, The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) rallies up a group of Batman’s biggest enemies to threaten the city of Gotham and its police department, led by police commissioner Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson), who wants to aid Batman. If the film’s anything like its trailer or like the crowd-pleasing film before it, The LEGO Movie, then we’re due for a film that balances action, comedy, and pure fun with the ease of a director who has it all figured out. After all, the trailer jabs at Robin the way viewers — namely the fans who voted he should be killed off — inevitably will, it mocks The Joker’s lovesick phase, and it reminds us that children’s toys elevate satire to a whole new level, one building block at a time. –Nina Corcoran



Get Out

get out The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: February 24th via Universal

While promoting his very funny cat movie Keanu earlier this year, Jordan Peele (of Key & Peele fame) mentioned in some interviews that he wanted his next project to be a horror movie. Few people took him very seriously at the time — he’s a comedian, after all — but lo and behold, in October we got the trailer for Get Out, Peele’s gleefully demented, racially charged take on Meet the Parents. The Jason Blum production seems to revel in uncomfortable truths, following what happens when Rose (Allison Williams) invites her boyfriend Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) to return to her white-bread hometown to meet her parents, who may or may not be racist demons. It’s an insane, exciting premise that’s bound to ruffle some feathers in the early days of Trump’s America, and we can’t wait to see how it all shakes out. –Collin Brennan




logan 2017 The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: March 3rd via 20th Century Fox

After the disappointing experience that was X-Men: Apocalypse, the jury was pretty mixed on another go-around with Wolverine. Then came the trailer for Logan, complete with Johnny Cash’s somber cover of “Hurt” and all the tear-jerking speeches that could win over any cynic’s soul. Sure, we’ve been burned over the years by epic previews, but there’s no denying that director and screenwriter James Mangold has found a fresh spin on an old story. Based on Mark Millar and Steve McKiven’s outstanding eight-part series Old Man Logan, the film looks to pare down the worldwide scope of the last two X-Men films into a simpler and more palpable experience. If that weren’t enough, the film also marks Hugh Jackman’s last outing as the titular immortal bastard, which should only add to the drama and make for a poignant finale to arguably the most chiseled character in the on-screen X-Men universe. What do you say to that, bub? –Michael Roffman



T2: Trainspotting

t2 The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: March 3rd via TriStar

A little over 20 years ago, now, Renton and Sick Boy and Begbie and Spud became icons of a certain era of alternative culture when Trainspotting turned Irvine Welsh’s tale of Scottish heroin addicts into one of the great, kinetic films of the 1990s. It also made a name for all of its stars and for Danny Boyle as a filmmaker of great talent, which might be why all of the film’s principal names have returned for T2: Trainspotting, which we’re so happy to see that we’ll stop wishing that it wasn’t named as such. Word has varied on how much the film will resemble Porno, Welsh’s literary sequel, but it’ll follow Renton (Ewan McGregor) as he returns home to reconnect with the friends he left behind so many years ago. After stealing all of their money. That second one will probably cause some trouble. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer



Kong: Skull Island

kong The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: March 10th via Warner Bros.

Cinematic universes are all the rage, so of course the upcoming Kong: Skull Island is part of a bigger picture. 2014’s Godzilla reboot was the first in the series and we know they are building to an over-the-top, city-destroying battle royale between the two. For Kong’s part, he gets a stellar cast of humans (Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, John C. Reilly) and creatures (giant spiders, giant lizards, a giant yak), all just opening acts for the film’s true star: the chest-pounding gorilla that’s been enthralling audiences since the Great Depression. With every reboot, there’s the sense that we’ve never seen Kong like this, with another generation of special effects anchoring the production. But if Godzilla is any indicator, this film series isn’t skimping on story or characters, hopefully giving fans of Kong something to cheer for. –Philip Cosores



Beauty and the Beast

beauty and the beast The 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Release Date: March 17th via Disney

When you can’t make a new Disney princess, revive an old one in true 3D: live action. Beauty and the Beast invites you to be their guest once again, this time with Belle (Emma Watson), Beast (Dan Stevens), Gaston (Luke Evans), and the rest of the French folk taking literal human form. If your heart feels weary about a remake, watch the trailer and let the magic whisk you away. Ewan McGregor as Lumière? Ian McKellen as Cogsworth? Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts? Yes, we would like to play dress-up and slip into the village during Belle’s theme song. It seems we’re not the only ones. Disney’s trailer set a new record with 127.6 million views in its first 24 hours — beating out previous record-holders Fifty Shades Darker (114 million views) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (112 million views). –Nina Corcoran



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