Though 2016 is shaping up to be an epic year for movies, it almost feels like a warm-up when you look at the long list of blockbuster films already on the release calendar for 2017. Even though next year still feels far away, it’s never too early to get excited about taking a trip to the theater, so we’ve lined up 19 of the biggest upcoming releases—and whether you’re into action, comedy, horror, or drama, there’s something here for everyone…
Friday the 13th Reboot – January 13
Pity today’s young film fans, for they’ve never experienced the cheesy joy that was being treated to regular installments of Friday the 13th throughout the ’80s. Between 1980 and 1989, the hockey-masked slasher Jason Voorhees hacked his way through scores of screaming nubile victims in eight films—although by the end of the decade, the franchise had started to teeter between stale and ridiculous, and subsequent attempts to extend or reboot the character’s mythology have failed to draw much of a following. This latest overhaul arrives nearly a decade after the last reboot, which grossed nearly $100 million. Although little is known about the plot, we’re pretty sure it has to do with a guy in a hockey mask chopping sexed-up teens to bits.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter – January 27
Five years after Resident Evil: Retribution, Milla Jovovich returns to close out the sci-fi horror franchise she’s led for more than a decade—and nearly $1 billion in worldwide grosses. Despite the long lapse between sequels, this sixth installment will reportedly pick up right where Retribution left off while following director Paul W.S. Anderson’s mandate to come full circle with the saga of a dystopian future in which a corporate-created virus has unleashed a zombie plague. In other words, if you haven’t been watching so far, this isn’t the best place to come in—but if the Umbrella Corporation, Raccoon City, and “t-virus” are meaningful phrases for you, then you may want to mark your calendar.
Lego Batman – February 10
Not long ago, the idea of a movie “based on” Legos seemed too silly for words, but then The Lego Movie racked up nearly $470 million while making us all root for plastic bricks (and play “Everything Is Awesome” on endless repeat). Taking the hint, Warner Bros. is diving right in with a universe of Lego-derived films, starting with this spin-off, which brings back Will Arnett as Gotham’s Caped Crusader. He’s joined by an intriguing cast that includes his Arrested Development castmate Michael Cera as Robin, Zach Galifianakis as the Joker, and Mariah Carey as the mayor—and with Lego Movie animation co-director Chris McKay on board to helm the film from a script by Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter director Seth Grahame-Smith, we’re sure plenty of inspired silliness awaits.
Untitled Wolverine Sequel – March 3
Hugh Jackman has played Wolverine for so long that it’s nearly impossible to imagine anyone else in the role of the adamantium-clawed X-Men mutant. Soon, Fox will need to figure out who’ll be the next actor to play the part, but first, Jackman’s getting his swan song with a third standalone Wolverine feature. At this point, the film’s plot is purely a matter of speculation—most of which involves the notion that we could be in for an adaptation of Marvel’s Old Man Logan comic, about an alternate-future version of the (nearly) ageless hero. But in a recent interview, Jackman suggested Wolverine 3 could also bring about the return of Patrick Stewart’s Professor X, adding yet another layer of closure for longtime fans of the franchise.
Beauty and the Beast – March 17
Disney’s campaign to turn each of their animated classics into live-action blockbusters continues with Beauty and the Beast, which offers a new perspective on their 1991 hit. Like Disney’s earlier Beauty, this version draws inspiration from the classic fairy tale about a prince (played here by Dan Stevens) who’s cursed with a grotesque appearance, yet finds love with a pure-hearted maiden (Emma Watson) imprisoned in his castle after her father (Kevin Kline) offers her up in a deal to spare his own life. Like a lot of stories from the era, it’s rather dark, but Disney’s animated adaptation put a family-friendly spin on it with music and humor, and we can expect the same here—plus a cast that includes Ewan McGregor and Sir Ian McKellen.
Furious 8 – April 14
The fate of the Furious franchise seemed a bit uncertain in the wake of star Paul Walker’s sudden passing in 2013, which complicated production of 2015’s Furious 7 and put the burden of additional expectations on his longtime co-star and friend, Vin Diesel. But with nearly $4 billion in worldwide grosses, Universal wasn’t about to garage its gearhead soap opera, so like clockwork, the gang will return for an eighth installment—and one that’s already being set up as a callback to previous chapters as well as a springboard into a new trilogy that will reportedly see stories pivot away from the heist capers of recent sequels and into a spy saga spearheaded by Kurt Russell’s Frank Petty character.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5
Initially, it seemed like a hilariously dumb idea for Marvel to turn a relatively obscure comic about a ragtag team of intergalactic do-gooders—whose ranks include a raccoon-like creature and an alien resembling a sentient tree—into a $200 million movie. Nearly $775 million in box office receipts later, Guardians of the Galaxy could be the start of an Avengers-style franchise for the studio, and Chris Pratt, whose biggest credit prior to taking on the role of Peter “Star-Lord” Quill came as doughy doofus Andy Dwyer in NBC’s Parks & Recreation, is a full-on action hero. The gang’s all back for Vol. 2, along with writer-director James Gunn, and while we don’t have any idea what they’ll be up to this time around, we’re confident it’ll be tons of fun.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – May 26
Pre-production on this fifth installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean saga started back when the previous sequel, 2011’s On Stranger Tides, was on its way to theaters, and its path through development has been strewn with script difficulties and budget-induced delays. Still, any new chapter in a franchise that’s grossed nearly $4 billion counts as a promising development for the studio, and Disney has stood by while producer Jerry Bruckheimer steered Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales to its destination. Directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (Kon-Tiki), this adventure sees Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow face off against an old nemesis played by Javier Bardem—and sees the return of Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner in his new guise as Davy Jones.
World War Z 2 – June 9
For a movie that tried to spin an action-thriller yarn out of a bestseller that used the oral history format to tell the story of a worldwide zombie outbreak—and had an infamously troubled production in the bargain—World War Z turned out to be a surprisingly entertaining (not to mention extremely commercially successful) film. Which brings us to the inevitable sequel, World War Z 2, in which Brad Pitt returns to battle the zombie plague. We don’t know much about the plot at this point, but director Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage, The Impossible) will be working from a screenplay by Steven Knight, whose varied list of credits includes the chess drama Pawn Sacrifice and Bradley Cooper’s Burnt.
Wonder Woman – June 23
After being introduced to audiences in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman will get her own standalone feature, which is rumored to be the first installment in a period-piece trilogy that will take audiences from the 1920s to the present day. Monster director Patty Jenkins is at the helm, with a screenplay from Pan writer Jason Fuchs. Meanwhile, Gadot will be surrounded by a supporting cast that includes Chris Pine, Robin Wright, and Danny Huston. Whatever actually happens in the movie, it’s a long-overdue victory for comics fans who’ve waited years for the Amazonian warrior to get a shot at her own big-screen franchise—and it may help Warner Bros. gain a demographic edge on Marvel in the superhero blockbuster arms race.
Despicable Me 3 – June 30
From its humble beginnings as a cartoon about a funny-looking supervillain who sets out to steal the moon and ends up adopting three adorable munchkins, Despicable Me has grown into an impressively adaptable franchise for Universal. In addition to 2013’s Despicable Me 2, it’s also spun off a prequel (2015’s Minions), six short films, three video games, and a theme park attraction—and as we can see from the 2017 release schedule, it isn’t done yet. Details are still very sketchy regarding this third installment, but we can safely assume Steve Carell will be back as the nefarious (but kinda cuddly) Gru—and we know he’ll be working from a script written by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, who collaborated on the first two films.
Untitled Spider-Man Reboot – July 7
Sony’s hopes for a Spider-Man film universe were dealt an embarrassing setback after director Marc Webb’s reboots underperformed. But even if we aren’t getting a Sinister Six or Venom movie anytime soon, the core franchise remains a top priority at the studio—as evidenced by this new reboot, which will find Tom Holland starring as the web-slinger in a standalone film while doing double duty as a supporting player in a number of Marvel movies (starting with Captain America: Civil War). The studios are keeping the details of Spidey’s next adventure as hush-hush as possible, but they’ve made an intriguing choice for director: Jon Watts, who helmed the creepy low-budget Kevin Bacon thriller Cop Car.
War for the Planet of the Apes – July 14
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves returns for this follow-up, which picks up from Dawn’s final scene—a grim foreshadowing of the major conflict brewing between genetically enhanced primates and a human population decimated by a virus dubbed the Simian Flu. Andy Serkis is back as the apes’ leader, Caesar, whose journey from young chimp to noble warrior has formed the backbone for the franchise’s overall arc. He’s joined by Steve Zahn (as a new ape) and Woody Harrelson (as a character known as the Colonel, reportedly the film’s chief antagonist). Reeves, who co-wrote the script, is keeping storyline details under wraps, but says the events depicted in War for the Planet of the Apes see Caesar achieving “mythic” status.
Alien: Covenant – October 6
With 2012’s Prometheus, Ridley Scott made his eagerly awaited return to the Alien franchise by way of a prequel that hinted at the long-ago beginnings of his blockbuster saga’s story. Under the weight of decades’ worth of sequels, spinoffs, and expectations, the end result couldn’t help but disappoint some viewers, and in spite of a $400 million gross and largely positive reviews, there’s a sense of unfinished business hanging over the sequel. Fans who feel Prometheus didn’t tie into the Alien films strongly enough might be better served by Alien: Covenant, which brings back Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace to show what happens after they hijack an ancient spacecraft in order to venture to the homeworld of the mysterious Engineers and halt their plans for humanity.
Thor: Ragnarok – November 3
In Norse mythology, Ragnarök is an apocalyptic series of events that results in the world being plunged into water after the deaths of several gods—including Odin, Thor, and Loki—and culminates in a planetary rebirth. Needless to say, it’s obvious from the title that Thor: Ragnarok won’t be a jolly good time for our hammer-wielding hero (Chris Hemsworth), although we can guess from his imminent participation in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War movies that he’ll emerge relatively unscathed after the final act. Whatever happens here, he’ll be joined by Mark Ruffalo, reprising his Marvel Universe role as Bruce Banner/the Hulk, and working under the direction of New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi, who earned raves for his 2014 vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows.
Justice League: Part 1 – November 17
Marvel has done a brilliant job of laying out the template for a successful shared universe, and now Warner Bros. is following in its rival’s footsteps with its DC Comics properties, which are due to get their first moments in the all-star superhero team spotlight with Justice League: Part 1. Director Zack Snyder has already agreed to helm, and confirmed members of the cast include stars from the studio’s pre-existing franchises, including Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, and Ben Affleck, as Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman, respectively. While we don’t yet have any idea what danger our team will face, we do know it’ll be serious enough to attract the attention of Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher). And with a sequel already scheduled for 2019, you can bet the battle won’t end here.
Star Wars: Episode VIII – December 15
This is Star Wars we’re talking about, so the list of things we truly know about Episode VIII is awfully short. But we do know a couple of important facts: one, Rian Johnson (Looper) will be in the director’s chair; and two, most of Episode VII’s cast will be back, including Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver, along with OG franchise stars Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher. Beyond that, pretty much all we can tell you is that this installment follows the events of Episode VII, and advances the new trilogy pitting the Resistance against the First Order led by Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) and his apprentice Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Oh, and another thing: it’ll sell tons of tickets.
Transformers 5 – TBD
Every time Michael Bay thinks he’s out of the Transformers franchise, they pull him back in with a fresh boatload of cash. Bay’s been making noises about being done with Optimus Prime and his buddies for years, and was initially only on board to produce this installment in the series. But the executives at Paramount must have been pretty persuasive, because he’s still in the director’s seat for what he insists will be his final Transformers film. Aside from Mark Wahlberg being back as the saga’s current human star, we don’t know what to expect from Transformers 5, although we’re sure there will be plenty of action, and lots of lead-ins to the assortment of spin-off films the studio’s planning.
Bloodshot – TBD
We’re still not sure whether audiences will be willing to shell out for a full slate of Marvel and DC movies, but Sony’s already looking to add another player to the game. Valiant Entertainment, the publisher behind the comics Bloodshot and Harbinger, has signed a deal to adapt both titles to the big screen, with plans to bring them both together in a shared-universe crossover picture titled Harbinger Wars. First, though, we get Bloodshot, in which John Wick directors David Leitch and Chad Stahelski bring to life the saga of a dead mobster brought back from the grave and given superpowers. This is clearly not going to be the most kid-friendly comic movie on the block, which might actually give it an edge with audiences.