Unmissable movies to look forward to in 2022

From supersized blockbusters to terrifying horror

Last year was another frustrating one for film, though the incredible 11th-hour success of Spider-Man: No Way Home ($1.386 billion grossed globally and counting) ended it on a high – who said the event movie was dead? The 2022 release slates definitely inspire optimism, with everything from glossy blockbusters to cult comedies and hyped horrors ready to tempt audiences back to the cinema. Here are 30 massive movies from all genres that you’ll want to look out for between now and the end of the year.

Big blockbusters

‘Avatar 2’

Release date: December 16
Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Kate Winslet

The first of four Avatar sequels finally arrives 13 years after the groundbreaking original. Director James Cameron hasn’t been slacking: Avatar 2 is a true labour of love that involved developing brand new tech that allows performance capture scenes to be shot underwater. New cast member Kate Winslet went all-in too, training herself to hold her breath for an incredible seven minutes. Respect.

‘Top Gun: Maverick’

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Release date: May 27
Starring: Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly

Tom Cruise sent his career skywards with 1986’s Top Gun, so who can blame him for trying an overdue sequel? Directed by Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy), it sees Cruise’s fighter pilot team up with a talented trainee (Miles Teller) who just happens to be the son of his late bestie. That’s the emotional beats sorted, but will Top Gun: Maverick have a banger to rival Kenny Loggins’ ‘Danger Zone’?

‘Jurassic World: Dominion’

Release date: June 10
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeff Goldblum

Four years after 2018’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the franchise’s sixth instalment takes place in a world where genetically engineered dinos are attacking human cities. With Colin Trevorrow returning as director, the special effects will be breathtaking, but fans are even more hyped for the return of OG stars Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern and Sam Neill.

‘Mission: Impossible 7’

Release date: September 30
Starring: Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Vanessa Kirby

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Following 2015’s Rogue Nation and 2018’s Fallout – both of which hit the spot – this is the third M:I movie directed by Christopher McQuarrie. Production may have been delayed by the pandemic, but Tom Cruise hasn’t let this cool his fire. On the first day of filming, he rode a motorcycle off a cliff edge, which he’s called the most dangerous stunt he’s ever done.

‘Moonfall’

Release date: February 4
Starring: Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, Michael Peña

What would humanity do if the moon were knocked from its orbit and sent onto a collision course with Earth? That’s the super-high-stakes premise of Moonfall, a glossy blockbuster from disaster movie specialist Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow). Lionsgate has already debuted the first five minutes online, and it suggests Emmerich might be back on top form.

Gripping drama

‘Babylon’

Release date: TBC
Starring: Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Flea

The latest film from Whiplash and La La Land director Damien Chazelle is a paean to Hollywood’s golden age. Chazelle has assembled a brilliant ensemble cast (that also includes Tobey Maguire and Olivia Wilde) for a sprawling story set during the industry’s transition from silent flicks to talkies. It’s been called “The Great Gatsby on steroids”, so elegant excess is very much the vibe.

‘Don’t Worry Darling’

Release date: September 23
Starring: Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine

After making her directorial debut with 2019’s coming-of-age comedy Booksmart, Olivia Wilde switches gears for this psychological thriller. Set in the 1950s, it centres on an unhappy housewife (Florence Pugh), her husband who’s harbouring a dark secret (Harry Styles), and a cultish local work community. The hype is real for Styles’ first lead role – and rightly so – but Wilde’s Booksmart follow-up would be a big deal anyway.

‘The Souvenir Part II’

Release date: February 4
Starring: Honor Swinton Byrne, Tilda Swinton, Richard Ayoade

With 2019’s The Souvenir, director Joanna Hogg fashioned a fascinating coming-of-age story from her own experiences at film school. In this sequel, talented aspiring director Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) grapples with an ambitious new movie idea while trying to shake off a toxic relationship. Once again, her upper-crust mum is played with relish by Swinton Byrne’s real-life mother, Tilda Swinton.

‘The Northman’

Release date: April 22
Starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy

The third film from The Witch and The Lighthouse director Robert Eggers is an epic revenge tale set in 10th century Iceland. Fresh from his Succession guest spot, Alexander Skarsgård stars as Amleth, a Viking prince seeking justice for his murdered father. Eggers co-wrote the screenplay with Icelandic poet Sjón, a frequent Björk collaborator, which may explain how he coaxed the musician out of acting retirement to play a witchy prophet.

‘Killers of the Flower Moon’

Release date: TBC
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Jesse Plemons

Martin Scorsese re-teams with Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro for his first ever Western. Based on a true story, it explores a spate of murders that plagued a Midwestern Native American tribe in the 1920s after oil was found on their land. Killers of the Flower Moon has a rumoured budget of $200m, so expect an epic scale to rival Scorsese’s last film The Irishman (though without the polarising de-ageing effects).

‘Asteroid City’

Release date: TBC
Starring: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Margot Robbie

Wes Anderson is staying typically tight-lipped about his eleventh film, but we do know it’s a romantic dramedy filmed in Spain last autumn. As ever, the detail-oriented filmmaker has put together a properly wild ensemble cast that also includes Tom Hanks, Bryan Cranston and his regular collaborators Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman.

‘The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’

Release date: April 22
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Pedro Pascal, Tiffany Haddish

No one could accuse Nicolas Cage of being a poor sport. In this intriguingly meta film, he plays a fictionalised version of himself who reluctantly accepts a $1million offer to attend a fan’s birthday. When the fan turns out to be a billionaire drug lord, Cage is forced to recreate some of his most iconic characters in order to extricate himself from an increasingly dangerous situation. Come on, how can you resist?

Brilliant biopics

‘Blonde’

Release date: TBC
Starring: Ana de Armas, Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale

This Marilyn Monroe biopic from Killing Them Softly director Andrew Dominik has been in the works for more than a decade, but don’t be put off. Joyce Carol Oates, who wrote the historical novel it’s based on, has called it an “utterly feminist” retelling of Norma Jeane’s life story. No Time to Die‘s Ana de Armas seems perfectly cast as the ultimate Hollywood icon.

‘Elvis’

Release date: June 24
Starring: Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Kelvin Harrison Jr.

Baz Luhrmann’s first film since 2013’s The Great Gatsby is a bold swing: an Elvis Presley biopic with a relative unknown, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood‘s Austin Butler, in the title role. He reportedly beat out Harry Styles to play The King. Still, casting Tom Hanks slightly against type as the singer’s scheming manager Colonel Tom Parker is a masterstroke that should ensure Elvis gets all the attention it deserves.

‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’

Release date: December 23
Starring: Naomi Ackie, Ashton Sanders, Stanley Tucci

Whitney Houston has already been the subject of two feature-length docs; now comes this musical biopic from Harriet director Kasi Lemmons. The End of the F***ing World‘s Naomi Ackie plays the singer whose staggering success came coupled with a complex private life and painful accusations that she “sold out” to white pop fans. With Moonlight‘s Ashton Sanders co-starring as Houston’s husband Bobby Brown, this looks pretty special.

‘Rustin’

Release date: TBC
Starring: Colman Domingo, Chris Rock, Audra McDonald

Picked up by Netflix, this could be 2022’s most timely biopic. Euphoria‘s Colman Domingo portrays Bayard Rustin, the gay civil rights leader who has been hailed as the “godfather of intersectionality”. George C. Wolfe (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) directs from a screenplay he co-wrote with Dustin Lance Black, who won an Oscar for scripting 2008’s Milk about LGBTQ+ activist Harvey Milk.

Fresh horror

‘Scream’

Release date: January 14
Starring: Courtney Cox, Neve Campbell, David Arquette

The fifth Scream movie is the first not to involve horror pioneer Wes Craven, who died in 2015. Coming off their hit 2019 horror-comedy Ready or Not, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett take over the director’s chair, steering a cast that teams Gen Z newbies with franchise faves Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox. As ever, they’ll be trying to stop a mysterious killer hiding behind the iconic Ghostface mask.

‘Nightmare Alley’

Release date: January 21
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Richard Jenkins

Director Guillermo del Toro follows 2017’s Oscar-winning The Shape of Water with this stylish neo-noir thriller. Set in 1939, it follows carnival grifter Stanton Carlisle (Bradley Cooper) as he joins forces with a corrupt psychologist Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett) to con the ruthless tycoon Ezra Grindle (Richard Jenkins). A passion project for del Toro, who adapted it from William Lindsay Gresham’s classic pulp novel, it looks like a dark delight.

‘Nope’

Release date: July 22
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun

Last July, modern horror maestro Jordan Peele announced his third film (after Get Out and Us) with a cryptic poster showing a cloud looming ominously over an unnamed city. He’s revealed absolutely nothing about the plot, but because Nope‘s cast is led by Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya, fans are speculating that there could be a connection. Whatever the truth, bring it all on.

‘Salem’s Lot’

Release date: September 9
Starring: Lewis Pullman, Makenzie Leigh, Bill Camp

Gary Dauberman, who wrote both It movies, directs this adaptation of Stephen King’s early novel Salem’s Lot. It follows writer Ben Mears (Lewis Pullman) as he returns to his Maine hometown, where the residents are turning into vampires. King has said this story has a “special cold spot in my heart”, so fans will be hoping it captures the book’s mix of spookiness and smalltown nostalgia.

‘Benedetta’

Release date: April 22
Starring: Virginie Efira, Lambert Wilson, Charlotte Rampling

This erotic thriller is based on the true story of Benedetta Carlini, a 17th century Italian nun who scandalously broke the rules by having an affair with a fellow sister. It’s directed by schlock specialist Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct, Elle), so expect plenty of provocation and a fearless blurring of genre lines. Screen legend Charlotte Rampling adds a touch of class as the convent’s formidable Abbess.

Cracking comedy

‘Bros’

Release date: August 12
Starring: Billy Eichner, Luke Macfarlane, Symone

Bros has already moved the dial forward. It’s not just the first rom-com from a major studio to centre on two gay men, but also the first studio movie featuring an entirely LGBTQ+ principal cast. With the brilliant Billy Eichner starring and co-writing the script – and Judd Apatow (This Is 40, Knocked Up) producing – it’s bound to be very funny as well as refreshingly inclusive.

‘Legally Blonde 3’

Release date: August 2022
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Coolidge, Jessica Cauffiel

Funny and feminist, the Legally Blonde movies have become cult classics – just ask Ariana Grande, who paid homage in her ‘thank u, next’ video. After a 19-year break, Reese Witherspoon reprises her role as right-on lawyer Elle Woods, joined again by Jennifer Coolidge as beautician bestie Paulette Bonafonté. Plot details are under wraps, but with Mindy Kaling co-writing the script, there’s good reason to be optimistic.

‘Jackass Forever’

Release date: February 4
Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius

Does 2022 have a place for the laddish pranks of Jackass? Well, this movie’s knowing tagline – “some people never learn” – suggests a certain self-awareness, and everyone from Tyler, the Creator to Machine Gun Kelly has filmed a cameo. With franchise co-creator Jeff Tremaine directing, Jackass Forever should supply an especially raucous helping of Y2K nostalgia – prepare to wince while you watch.

Animated gems

‘The Bob’s Burgers Movie’

Release date: May 27
Starring: H. Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, Kristen Schaal

There’s no faulting the ambition of this Bob’s Burgers spin-off, which isn’t just a feature-length movie, but a musical one at that. Creator Loren Bouchard (who directs here) has promised it will “scratch every itch fans of the show have ever had”, which should make up for nearly two years of release date delays. At this point, it’s about flipping time (sorry) the Belchers made their big screen debut.

‘Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse (Part One)’

Release date: October 7
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson

The first of two sequels to 2018’s animated smash Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse introduces yet another web-slinger, Miguel O’Hara, voiced by Oscar Isaac. He joins the original’s Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) and Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson). Given how well a trio of live-action Spideys went down in Spider-Man: No Way Home, this seems like a very good call indeed.

Superhero magic

‘The Batman’

Release date: March 4
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano

The latest caped crusader movie takes the gritty darkness of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and adds a rock star twist: director Matt Reeves has said he based Robert Pattinson’s reclusive Bruce Wayne on Kurt Cobain. Factor in Zoë Kravitz’s enigmatic Catwoman and Paul Dano’s FaceTime-loving Riddler and the hype is really rising.

‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’

Release date: May 6
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams

Sam Raimi, director of the original Spider-Man trilogy, takes the reins for this sequel to 2016’s Doctor Strange. The “multiverse” in the title is no red herring: set after the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, it follows Benedict Cumberbatch’s title character as he teams with Wong (Benedict Wong) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) to defeat a deadly alternative version of himself.

‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’

Release date: November 11
Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright

With 2018’s Black Panther, director Ryan Coogler rewrote the superhero movie rulebook, adding new diversity and cleaning up at the box office and Oscars alike. Wisely, Marvel decided not to recast the title role following Chadwick Boseman‘s untimely death last year, which meant this sequel’s script had to be rewritten. You’d still bet on Coogler pulling off another master stroke, especially with Michaela Coel joining the cast in an unknown role.

‘The Flash’

Release date: November 4
Starring: Ezra Miller, Michael Shannon, Ben Affleck

After shining in Zack Snyder’s Justice League supercut, Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen finally gets a standalone outing. Directed by Andy Muschietti (Mama, It), it follows Miller’s quirky superhero as he travels back in time to prevent his mother’s murder, which messes with his timeline sufficiently to allow for appearances by two previous screen Batmans (Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton). Hey, if the MCU can do it…

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