2018 fall movie preview: The 50 films we're most excited to see

Will the Lady Gaga musical drama A Star Is Born be as good as it looks? Will Aquaman be more Wonder Woman or Justice League? And will Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) and Damien Chazelle (La La Land) have an Oscar rematch with their respective new films, If Beale Street Could Talk and First Man, two years after unwittingly starring in #Envelopegate?

All these questions and more will soon be answered as summer turns to fall and Hollywood turns from blockbusters to prestige Oscar contenders. (Hey, even Aquaman features Nicole Kidman and Willem Dafoe.)

From Boy Erased to Girl in the Spider’s Web and The Front Runner to Backseat and Mary Poppins Returns to Mary Queen of Scots, here are our 50 most anticipated movies slated for release over the next four months. — By Ethan Alter, Kevin Polowy, Nick Schager, and Gwynne Watkins

50. Venom
Release date: Oct. 5
Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate, Woody Harrelson
Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
The scoop: Spider-Man’s longtime (and long-tongued) nemesis scores a solo feature that may or may not include a cameo by current wall-crawler Tom Holland. Troubled journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) has plenty to contend with minus any Spidey sightings, including an alien symbiote with a violent mind of its own and a tech genius (Riz Ahmed) eager to use this extraterrestrial visitor for his own fun and profit.


49. Ben Is Back
Release date: Dec. 7
Starring: Lucas Hedges, Julia Roberts, Kathryn Newton, Courtney B. Vance
Directed by: Peter Hedges
The scoop: There’s a fun trend developing in which every movie that 21-year-old upstart Lucas Hedges appears in (Manchester by the Sea, Three Billboards, Lady Bird) gets a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars. Smarter money this year would be on the conversion therapy drama Boy Erased (more on that one below), but don’t count out this drama about a troubled son returning home on Christmas Eve that unites the budding star with his father, writer-filmmaker Peter Hedges (Pieces of April, Dan in Real Life). Oh yeah, and it’s also got a certain Oscar winner of Pretty Woman and Erin Brockovich megafame playing the matriarch. | Watch the trailer.

48. Holmes and Watson
Release date: Dec. 21
Starring: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Ralph Fiennes, Kelly Macdonald
Directed by: Etan Cohen
The scoop: Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly’s three prior collaborations, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, and Step Brothers, are all superior modern comedies. Thus, hopes are high that their absurd man-child chemistry will elevate this loopy Sherlock Holmes mystery, which will also boast a sterling supporting cast that includes Ralph Fiennes, Kelly Macdonald, Rebecca Hall, and Hugh Laurie.

47. Robin Hood
Release date: Nov. 21
Starring: Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn, Jamie Dornan
Directed by: Otto Bathurst
The scoop: Welsh breakout Taron Egerton (Kingsman) moves from espionage to vigilantism in this rock ‘n’ roll, tightless take on the folk hero best known for stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. He won’t be at it alone: At his side (though we’re not sure we’d call him a sidekick) is Little John, played by big star Jamie Foxx. | Watch the trailer.

46. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Release date: Oct. 19
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant, Jane Curtin
Directed by: Marielle Heller
The scoop: No, that title is not a plea from Melissa McCarthy after the response to The Happytime Murders (zing!). In fact, the bridesmaid and ghostbuster could get the last laugh if her pivot to dramatic fare lands her in awards contention like plenty of funny folks turned serious before her. McCarthy plays Lee Israel, the entertainment biographer who gained notoriety in the early 1990s when she was caught forging letters from deceased celebrities. | Watch the trailer.

45. Overlord
Release date: Nov. 9
Starring: Wyatt Russell, Jovan Adepo
Directed by: Julius Avery
The scoop: In between launching a record label and directing Star Wars: Episode IX, J.J. Abrams produces this supernatural war thriller about two soldiers (Wyatt Russell and Jovan Adepo) who discover some ungodly experiments when trapped behind enemy lines during D-Day. Hopefully this one transcends its Saving Private Ryan-with-zombies premise.| Watch the trailer.

44. Green Book
Release date: Nov. 21
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini
Directed by: Peter Farrelly
The scoop: Expect the Driving Miss Daisy comparisons (Driving Mr. Ali?) to come fast and furiously around the release of this true story about an Italian-American bouncer (Viggo Mortensen, going full bada-bing!) hired to chauffeur an acclaimed jazz musician (Moonlight Oscar winner Mahershala Ali) around the 1960s Deep South. It sounds formulaic on paper, but darned if that first trailer didn’t have us welling up a bit.| Watch the trailer.

43. Destroyer
Release Date: Dec. 25
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Tatiana Maslany, Sebastian Stan
Directed by: Karyn Kusama
The scoop: Years ago, L.A. undercover officer Erin Bell (Kidman) was tasked with infiltrating a gang in an assignment that ended badly. Her new mission, should she choose to accept it? Re-embed herself with the same group of miscreants. Behind the camera, Destroyer reunites Kusama with writers Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, who penned her 2015 cult favorite The Invitation.

Nicole Kidman in Destroyer. (Annapurna)

42. Night School
Release date: Sept. 28
Starring: Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Rob Riggle, Ben Schwartz
Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee
The scoop: Two of the hottest (and hardest-working) funny people in the game join forces with this comedy about a failed car salesman (Kevin Hart) forced to go back to school and survive the unorthodox methods of his take-no-gruff GED teacher (Tiffany Haddish). The film reunites the suddenly ubiquitous Haddish with her Girls Trip director (Malcolm D. Lee) and producer (Will Packer), and surely they’re looking to recapture some of that sleeper hit’s box-office draw. | Watch the trailer.

41. Life Itself
Release date: Sept. 21
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Olivia Cooke, Mandy Patinkin
Directed by: Dan Fogelman
The scoop: The creator of This Is Us wrote and directed this emotional saga, in which the events in the lives of a young couple (Isaac and Wilde) reverberate into past and future generations of their family. Set in both New York City and the Spanish countryside, the drama promises plenty of the big twists and tear-jerking moments that have made Fogelman’s show a must-see. | Watch the trailer.

40. Bumblebee
Release date: Dec. 21
Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr.
Directed by: Travis Knight
The scoop: This prequel to Michael Bay’s five-film Transformers series could mark the end of the franchise as we’ve known it… or a new beginning. Rewinding the clock to the ’80s, the movie depicts the Autobot’s early, lonely years on Earth, when he’s pursued by humans — including Cena’s military man — and Decepticons alike. Good thing he’s got a teenager (Steinfeld) to teach him all about life on terra firma, including an all-important lesson in the art of rickrolling.| Watch the trailer.

39. The Predator
Release date: Sept. 14
Starring: Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane, Trevante Rhodes, Sterling K. Brown, Jacob Tremblay
Directed by: Shane Black
The scoop: Many have tried to make a satisfying follow-up to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1987 action favorite, and maybe Shane Black — who co-starred in the original film — will be the one to finally succeed. He has certainly assembled a stellar cast, who will be squaring off against an army of Predators that are sick and tired of losing to puny Earthlings. Our only question: Will this be a Christmas movie, too?  

38. Wildlife
Release date: Oct. 19
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Carey Mulligan, Ed Oxenbould
Directed by: Paul Dano
The scoop: Paul Dano makes his directorial debut with this adaptation of Richard Ford’s novel that he co-penned with wife, Zoe Kazan. The domestic drama, which debuted to quiet yet anonymous praise at the Sundance Film Festival, shows the unraveling of a couple’s (Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan) marriage through the eyes of their young son (Ed Oxenbould, having worse days than the one he faced in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day). | Watch the trailer.

37. Bad Times at the El Royale
Release date: Oct. 12
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Chris Hemsworth, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Cailee Spaeny
Directed by: Drew Goddard
The scoop: Speaking of bad days… what in the world is happening at the El Royale? That’s what Jeff Bridges and company will find out in the thriller about a hotel on the border of California and Nevada run by Jon Hamm that lets guests stay in either state. Considering this marks the long-awaited follow-up from The Cabin in the Woods writer-director Drew Goddard, we’re guessing the answer is something twisted. | Watch the trailer.

36. White Boy Rick
Release date: Sept. 14
Starring: Matthew McConaughy, Richie Merritt, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Directed by: Yann Demange
The scoop: A follow-up to his 2014 Northern Ireland drama ’71, director Yann Demange’s White Boy Rick is another based-on-real-events wartime thriller. This time, however, the conflict has to do with drugs. Set in 1980s Detroit, the film will tell the true tale of Rick Wershe Jr. (Merritt), who wound up ensnared in his hometown’s local narcotics underworld — all while simultaneously working as an FBI informant. With McConaughey as Wersche’s dad and Leigh as his federal handler, it should be a wild criminal ride. | Watch the trailer.

35. Welcome to Marwen
Release date: Dec. 21
Starring: Steve Carell, Janelle Monáe, Leslie Mann, Eiza González, Diane Kruger
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
The scoop: The 2010 documentary Marwencol, about an artist who worked through heartbreaking trauma by building a WWII-era Barbie-doll village, is the inspiration for Zemeckis’s latest film. Incorporating the cutting-edge special-effects technology of which the Forrest Gump director is so fond, Welcome to Marwen puts Carrell’s protagonist into his own fantasy world, where living dolls teach him how to cope with reality. | Watch the trailer.

34. Fahrenheit 11/9
Release date: Sept. 21
Starring: Michael Moore
Directed by: Michael Moore
The scoop: It must be election season, because the controversial filmmaker-activist behind Sicko and Bowling for Columbine is back on the campaign trail with a portrait of life in the Trump era. The Parkland shooting, the Flint water crisis, and the violence in Charlottesville are just some of the potent political topics glimpsed in the movie’s trailer. Expect Moore to keep turning up the heat on POTUS and the GOP throughout the fall. | Watch the trailer.

33. Mid90s
Release Date: Oct. 19
Starring: Sunny Suljic, Lucas Hedges, Katherine Waterston
Directed by: Jonah Hill
The scoop: Eleven years after starring in Superbad, Jonah Hill returns to teen coming-of-age material with his directorial debut, Mid90s. The story of a 13-year-old Los Angeles kid named Stevie (The Killing of a Sacred Deer’s Sunny Suljic) whose summer is spent escaping his troubled home life and hanging out with his new friends at a skateboarding shop, the indie should be a bracing ride in the vein of Kids and Slacker — replete with a distinctive ’90s vibe. | Watch the trailer.

32. Mandy
Release Date: Sept. 14
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache
Directed by: Panos Cosmatos
The scoop: Panos Cosmatos’s 2011 directorial debut, Beyond the Black Rainbow, is one of the decade’s great psychedelic freak-outs. He’ll be bringing that same brand of out-there craziness to Mandy, which stars Nicolas Cage as a husband on a mission to save his wife (Riseborough) from a cult led by a lunatic (Linus Roache). It’s a demonic heavy-metal saga of intense trippiness, and among its many virtues it boasts arguably the best chainsaw fight in movie history. | Watch the trailer.

31. The Old Man & the Gun
Release date: Sept. 28
Starring: Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek, John David Washington
Directed by: David Lowery
The scoop: Taking a page from Daniel Day-Lewis, Redford recently announced that after nearly 60 years and some 70 movies, he will deliver his final on-camera role in The Old Man & the Gun. After directing him in Pete’s Dragon, Lowery gets the honor of helping the Hollywood icon close out his career in style with this true-life tale of jailbird escape artist Forrest Tucker, who didn’t let a little thing like age keep him from escaping San Quentin at 59 years young.  | Watch the trailer.

30. Smallfoot
Release date: Sept. 28
Starring: Channing Tatum, James Corden, Zendaya, LeBron James
Directed by: Karey Kirkpatrick
The scoop: This animated comedy puts an inspired twist on the Bigfoot legend: What if yetis are real, and they think humans are a myth? Tatum stars as a yeti scientist determined to prove the existence of the Smallfoot, while Corden voices the human mountain climber who stumbles into their world.



29. The Sisters Brothers
Release date: Sept. 21
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal, John C. Reilly
Directed by: Jacques Audiard
The scoop: In 1851, two assassins (Phoenix and Reilly) are sent on a mission to kill a prospector (Gyllenhaal) accused of stealing from their boss (Rutger Hauer). That premise should lead to both thrills and laughs in acclaimed French director Jacques Audiard’s adaptation of Patrick deWitt’s 2011 novel, which features perhaps the most intriguing pairing of the year in Phoenix and Reilly. | Watch the trailer.

28. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Release date: Nov. 16
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Jude Law, Johnny Depp, Ezra Miller
Directed by: David Yates
The scoop: Controversy over the casting of troubled star Johnny Depp as the titular villain has thus far overshadowed fan excitement for Round 2 in J.K. Rowling’s straight-to-screen Harry Potter prequel series. This time Newt Scamender (Eddie Redmayne) moves from New York to Paris for more adventures in magizoology, while Jude Law enters the fray as a younger version of franchise favorite Dumbledore. | Watch the trailer.

27. Boy Erased
Release date: Nov. 2
Starring: Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Joel Edgerton
Directed by: Joel Edgerton
The scoop: Actor-turned-director Joel Edgerton shifts from psychological terror (The Gift) to psychological trauma with his sophomore filmmaking effort. Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea) is a teen whose conservative parents (Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman) encourage him to attend gay conversion therapy after he comes out. Early footage positions the film as a quiet drama with a lot on its mind. | Watch the trailer.

26. A Simple Favor
Release date: Sept. 14
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Andrew Rannells
Directed by: Paul Feig
The scoop: Director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Ghostbusters) goes the mysterious neo-noir route with this Gone Girl-esque film starring Anna Kendrick as a blogger who becomes an amateur sleuth after her best friend, Blake Lively, goes missing. The film’s trailers suggest a stylish saga of secrets and lies “from the darker side of Paul Feig” — all while showing off Lively in a debonair tuxedo. | Watch the trailer.

25. The Front Runner
Release date: Nov. 21
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons
Directed by: Jason Reitman
The scoop: A story from a not-too-distant past when love affairs spelled immediate doom for a presidential hopeful, director Jason Reitman’s film will chronicle the rise and fall of Colorado Sen. Gary Hart (Jackman), whose 1988 bid for the Oval Office was thwarted by revelations about his extramarital activities. Sure to provide some commentary about our current political situation, the film also appears to be the sort of Up in the Air-style star vehicle that could net Jackman his second Best Actor Oscar nod.

Hugh Jackman in The Front Runner. (Sony Pictures)

24. Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch
Release date: Nov. 9
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch
Directed by: Yarrow Cheney, Scott Mosier
The scoop: Doctor Strange, meet Doctor Seuss. In one of the great voice casting coups of our time, the beloved Brit will bring his deep and smooth intonations to an animated take on the classic green curmudgeon. If there are other voice stars involved, they haven’t been announced — but really, do we need anyone speaking here except Benedict Cumberbatch. | Watch the trailer.

23. Mortal Engines
Release date: Dec. 14
Starring: Hera Hilmar, Robert Sheehan, Hugo Weaving
Directed by: Christian Rivers
The scoop: In the distant future, you don’t have to travel to far-off cities like London — those cities will come to you. Adapting a popular quartet of novels by Philip Reeve, director Rivers and producer Peter Jackson imagine a postapocalyptic world that’s part Jules Verne and part Mad Max: Fury Road. Hilmer and Sheehan play a pair of youngsters who are thrown together by fate and wind up with the same mission: finding the villainous Thaddeus Valentine (Weaving). | Watch the trailer.

22. Mary Poppins Returns
Release date: Dec. 19
Starring: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Meryl Streep, Emily Mortimer, Colin Firth
Directed by: Rob Marshall
The scoop: Disney’s star-studded sequel to the 1964 family classic features new songs, a Dick Van Dyke cameo, and Emily Blunt doing her best take on Julie Andrews. The musical comedy takes place a generation after the original, when Banks children Jane (Emily Mortimer) and Michael (Ben Whishaw) have returned to their childhood home to grieve a death in the family. Thankfully, their magical nanny is still watching from her cloud in the sky and decides to pay the Banks family another visit. | Watch the trailer.

21. The Girl in the Spider’s Web
Release date: Nov. 9
Starring: Claire Foy, Sverir Gudnason, Lakeith Stanfield, Sylvia Hoeks, Stephen Merchant
Directed by: Fede Alvarez
The scoop: We’re still disappointed David Fincher and Rooney Mara didn’t take another crack at the exploits of Lisbeth Salender, given how phenomenal 2011’s The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo turned out. But seeing The Crown star Claire Foy get down and dirty as the resourceful hacker ain’t a bad consolation prize. | Watch the trailer.

20. The Hate U Give
Release date: Oct. 19
Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Common
Directed by: George Tillman Jr.
The scoop: Adapted from the young-adult bestseller of the same name (spelling out the acronym “THUG”), this topical drama stars up-and-comer Stenberg as Starr Carter, a 16-year-old African-American girl who lives in a poor neighborhood but attends a fancy prep school. When her childhood best friend is shot by a police officer despite being unarmed, Starr takes on the fight for justice — and must reconcile her two lives in order to make her voice heard.



19. On the Basis of Sex
Release date: Dec. 25
Starring: Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux
Directed by: Mimi Leder
The scoop: Most Americans would be hard-pressed to name every Supreme Court justice, but even the most apolitical know Ruth Bader Ginsberg. The 85-year-old firebrand gets the biopic treatment in this drama, in which a young, fresh-out-of-law-school Ginsberg (Jones) fights to have gender discrimination recognized by the courts. | Watch the trailer.

18. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse
Release date: Dec. 14
Starring: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld
Directed by: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
The scoop: Twenty-five years ago, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm gave the Dark Knight the big-screen cartoon treatment, and now your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man boldly ventures into the animated realm. Make that your friendly neighborhood Spider-Men (and Spider-Gwen). That’s because the movie transports viewers into the titular Spider-Verse, where the frame is crawling with wall-crawlers from Miles Morales (Moore) and an older, crankier version of Peter Parker (Johnson) to Spider-Man Noir (Nic Cage) and the amazing Spider-Ham (John Mulaney). | Watch the trailer.

17. The Favourite
Release date: Nov. 23
Starring: Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Olivia Colman
Directed by: Yorgos Lanthimos
The scoop: Yorgos Lanthimos’s last two films (The Lobster, The Killing of a Sacred Deer) have been critical darlings, with the former earning the writer-director an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. The Favourite, about two 18th-century cousins (Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone) angling to court favor with Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), is shaping up to be an even more formidable awards contender, thanks to early buzz and its maker’s penchant for outrageous, “out-there” drama. | Watch the trailer.

16. Halloween
Release date: Oct. 19
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Nick Castle
Directed by: David Gordon Green
The scoop: Forty years after John Carpenter’s horror classic, Laurie Strode (Curtis) once again comes face-to-mask with the unkillable Michael Myers (Castle). Ignoring the events of every Halloween picture save the first one — including 1998’s Halloween: H20, which previously resurrected Laurie — Curtis promises that this latest installment will feature a Laurie that’s “taken back her own narrative,” after a lifetime of trauma. San Diego Comic-Con goers were treated to an extra-long footage presentation that kicked off with a pitch-perfect homage to the lengthy Steadicam shot that opened Carpenter’s original. | Watch the trailer.

15. Beautiful Boy
Release date: Oct. 12
Starring: Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney, Amy Ryan
Directed by: Felix Van Groeningen
The scoop: The current drug-addiction epidemic has been largely ignored by Hollywood, but Beautiful Boy could change that. Based on the memoirs of teenage meth addict Nic Sheff and his father, David Sheff, the heartbreaking drama stars dual Best Actor nominees, Carell and 22-year-old Chalamet (in his first major role since Call Me by Your Name). Don’t show up without tissues.



14. Backseat
Release Date: Dec. 14
Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Bill Pullman, Alison Pill
Directed by: Adam McKay
The scoop: Christian Bale’s habit of putting on (or severely dropping) weight for roles is legendary. He’ll again be adding some girth to play former Vice President Dick Cheney in this star-studded drama about the controversial politician’s rise to power. Written and directed by Adam McKay (The Big Short), and co-starring Amy Adams, Steve Carell, and Sam Rockwell, it’s got Oscars written all over it.

13. Bohemian Rhapsody
Release date: Nov. 2
Starring: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Aiden Gillen
Directed by: Bryan Singer
The scoop: In a role that could catapult him to the Hollywood A-list, Mr. Robot star Malek plays Freddie Mercury, legendary lead singer of the band Queen. Rather than focusing on Mercury’s tragic death from AIDS in 1991, the biographical film leads up to the band’s 1985 Live Aid set, widely regarded as one of the greatest live shows in rock history. Who wouldn’t want a front-row seat to that? | Watch the trailer.

12. Roma
Release Date: December TBD
Starring: Marina de Tavira, Yalitza Aparicio, Marco Graf
Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón
The scoop: Five years after taking home a Best Director statue for Gravity, Cuarón returns with a semi-autobiographical drama that’s already generating major Oscar buzz. Filmed in lush black and white, the Mexico City-set Roma depicts the daily life of domestic worker Cleo (Aparicio), and the family that employs her. This could be Netflix’s ticket to the Best Picture race at last. | Watch the trailer.

11. Alita: Battle Angel
Release date: Dec. 21
Starring: Rosa Salazar, Mahershala Ali, Christoph Waltz
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
The scoop: Shortly before he started work on Avatar, James Cameron began production on an adaptation of the manga series Battle Angel Alita. Twenty years later, the film is finally opening in theaters, with Cameron as producer and action veteran Rodriguez as director. Alita: Battle Angel tells the story of a cyborg with extraordinary abilities (played in motion-capture by Maze Runner star Salazar) who awakens in a post-apocalyptic future with no memory of who she is. The more she discovers about her past, the more dangerous her world becomes. | Watch the trailer.

10. Creed II
Release date: Nov. 21
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Dolph Lundgren
Directed by: Steven Caple Jr.
The scoop: Here’s the bad news: The sequel to the modern-day boxing classic loses Ryan Coogler. Here’s the good news: It gains not just one, but two Dragos. Dolph Lundgren reprises his iconic role as heavy-hitting Russian heavyweight Ivan Drago, while Florian Munteanu plays his equally powerful son Viktor, who faces off against Adonis (Jordan) in the ring. Here’s hoping that good ol’ Rocky will be able to avert another Drago-on-Creed massacre. | Watch the trailer.

9. Mary Queen of Scots
Release date: Dec. 7
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Gemma Chan, Guy Pearce, David Tennant
Directed by: Josie Rourke
The scoop: Last year, Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie were “rivals” on the awards scene, where both ultimately were nominated for Best Actress Oscars (for Lady Bird and I, Tonya, respectively). This year, they’re rivals on the screen, in this period piece about the fierce and eventually bloody conflict between Mary Stuart (Ronan) and her cousin Elizabeth I (Robbie). They could be Oscar rivals again.



8. Ralph Breaks the Internet
Release date: Nov. 21
Starring: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer
Directed by: Rich Moore, Phil Johnston
The scoop: Having saved the arcade, Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) go on an even wilder digital ride when they wind up surfing the web in this eagerly anticipated sequel to 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph. Given that, along their adventure, the duo will encounter the Disney Princesses as well as figures from the Marvel and Star Wars universes (Disney synergy!), this should be a wink-wink affair for kids and adults alike. | Watch the trailer.

7. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Release date: Nov. 16
Starring: Tim Blake Nelson, Tyne Daly, Liam Neeson
Directed by: Joel and Ethan Coen
The scoop: Only the Coen Brothers could reverse-engineer a six-part Netflix anthology series into a single Netflix feature film. Returning to the Western frontier settings that enlivened No Country for Old Men and True Grit, Buster Scruggs features a galaxy of stars — including Coen regular Nelson, who plays the titular singing cowboy — in a series of loosely linked tales. While we’ll be eternally curious what the TV version of this might have been, look at it this way: It’s not every year that you’ll get to experience six new Coen-spun yarns in one sitting.

6. Suspiria
Release date: Nov. 2
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth
Directed by: Luca Guadagnino
The scoop: How do you follow up an acclaimed relationship drama like Call Me By Your Name? If you’re Luca Guadagnino, you craft a two-and-a-half-hour remake of one of international horror cinema’s all-time greats: Dario Argento’s Suspiria, about a dancer (here played by Fifty Shades star Dakota Johnson) who discovers that her new school may be a bit, shall we say, dangerous. Early reports suggest a wildly over-the-top affair that’s less a straightforward do-over than a terrifying homage. | Watch the trailer.

5. Aquaman
Release date: Dec. 21
Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Patrick Wilson, Willem Dafoe
Directed by: James Wan
The scoop: Our long national nightmare is over, superhero fans: Jason Momoa will finally wear Aquaman’s signature orange-and-green outfit in his long-gestating solo adventure. But that’s not the only thing to look forward to in Wan’s underwater action extravaganza. Early footage and trailers have revealed such aqua-tastic sights as a Jason Bourne-inspired rooftop chase, Kidman kicking butt as Queen Atlanna and a giant shark vs. giant sea horse battle. Like the crab said, darling, it’s better, down where it’s wetter. | Watch the trailer.

4. Widows
Release date: Nov. 16
Starring: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Colin Farrell, Daniel Kaluuya, Carrie Coon, Robert Duvall, Liam Neeson
Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
The scoop: Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave won the Oscars’ top prize. Thus, it goes without saying that his follow-up, Widows — a heist film co-written with Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn and featuring an outrageously great cast led by Viola Davis — is nothing short of a must-see. Focused on four grieving women who aim to pull off the robbery left unfinished by their now deceased husbands, McQueen’s all-star latest seems primed to be an enormous commercial and critical hit.

3. First Man
Release date: Oct. 12
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Corey Stoll
Directed by: Damien Chazelle
The scoop: La La Land director Damien Chazelle reunites with Ryan Gosling for this biopic about Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. The drama, which documents the events leading up to the Apollo 11 mission, illuminates the physical and emotional challenges for the pioneering astronauts, along with the mind-boggling risks of the history-making flight. Always one for a challenge, Chazelle shot his space scenes in scale replicas of NASA’s 1960s capsules, with LED screens projecting starry views in real time. | Watch the trailer.

2. If Beale Street Could Talk
Release date: Nov. 30
Starring: Stephen James, Kiki Layne, Regina King, Colman Domingo
Directed by: Barry Jenkins
The scoop: James Baldwin’s acclaimed 1974 novel about a pair of star-crossed lovers is brought to life by the celebrated writer-director behind Moonlight. And the first Beale Street trailer possesses the same graceful camerawork and vivid characterizations that powered Barry Jenkins’s previous film to a stunning Best Picture victory. Expect to hear plenty of Oscar talk about this movie as awards season unfolds. | Watch the trailer.

1. A Star Is Born
Release date: Oct. 5
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Stefani Germanotta (aka Lady Gaga), Sam Elliott, Dave Chapelle
Directed by: Bradley Cooper
The scoop: It’s unusual for a musical to be our most anticipated Oscar-season film — but then, this is no ordinary musical. Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut stars Stefani Germanotta, better known as Lady Gaga, as an unknown singer whose star comes to eclipse that of her famous, self-destructive lover (played by Cooper). This is Gaga’s first substantial film role, and it comes with a staggering precedent: Judy Garland played the part in the 1954 A Star Is Born, and Barbra Streisand in the 1976 version. This remake puts a country-music twist on the premise, with Cooper as the hard-living, guitar-strumming star who gives Gaga her big break. The killer trailer promises a soulful, romantic tragedy elevated by Gaga’s powerhouse singing voice. Then again, A Star Is Born could be both the beginning and end of her acting career — and Cooper’s directing career. The high stakes make it all that much more of a must-see.


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