The 50 Most Anticipated Movies of 2024
This year will play catch up with the strikes, try to revitalize or continue long-running franchises, and give directors and new and old the steam to keep filling theaters.
January 7, 2024

This year will play catch up with the strikes, try to revitalize or continue long-running franchises, and give directors and new and old the steam to keep filling theaters.

Given the state of the film industry by the end of 2023 — the double whammy of the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes, films getting pushed back to the following year, and both streaming and superhero films turning out to be a near-total bust — it’s natural to be trepidatious going into 2024. And yet, there’s plenty to look forward to (and more than a few things to fear) going into the new year in cinema. Films like Dune: Part Two intended for release last year are finally coming out after some strike-based pushbacks; beloved franchises for kids (Pixar, Kung Fu Panda) and horror fans (Saw, Terrifier) are coming back with new entries; venerated filmmakers like Kevin Costner and Ethan Coen are coming back with new films for the first time in a hot minute. We’re even bookending the year with two screen adaptations of stage musicals (Mean Girls, Wicked) themselves adapted from popular films and books.

To that end, the editors at The Spool thought it useful to round up our most anticipated films of the year. Obviously, release dates and info are subject to change, especially as we clear the rubble off the post-strike disaster zone that is Hollywood. But these are the movies we’re most looking forward to (or, in some cases, exhibit morbid curiosity towards) in 2024.

Mean Girls (Jan. 12)

The smash hit of twenty years ago is back, in musical form! Although, the trailers would rather you think it is just a remake sans the ol’ song and dance.

The Kitchen (Jan. 19, Netflix)

Daniel Kaluuya makes his directorial debut alongside filmmaker/architect Kibwe Tavares with Netflix’s The Kitchen, which has already gotten solid reviews out of London Film Festival. A near-future dystopia in which the British government is eradicating all social housing, with Izi (Kane Robinson) and a young boy (Jedaiah Bannerman) struggling to get by in the titular housing estate ready to be razed by robotic police forces. Think La Haine by way of District 9.

The Peasants (Jan. 26)

The husband-and-wife team of DK and Hugh Welchman dazzled in 2017 with their hand-painted motion picture Loving Vincent, which told the story of Vincent Van Gogh’s final days through the style of his paintings. The pair are back, now adapting the 1900s novel by Nobel prize-winning author Władysław Reymont about a young woman torn between two men in a remote village. Compelling story or no, each frame is sure to be a visual feast.

How to Have Sex (Feb. 2)

This tale of three teen girls looking to indulge in that rite of passage while on holiday in Greece comes to the United States, with good festival and international buzz powering it.

Drive-Away Dolls (Feb. 23)

Ethan Coen collaborates with his wife Tricia Cooke for this wild crime caper about a pair of girlfriends whose road trip goes awry. Margaret Qualley and Geraldine Viswanathan lead a stellar cast that also includes Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal, and Colman Domingo.

Spaceman (Mar. 1, Netflix)

Adam Sandler? In space?! Surely you jest! But Netflix’s latest makes use of Sandler’s hopefully long-recognized capacity for dramatic work, as he places a lonely astronaut on a research mission, who encounters a strange alien creature (Paul Dano) who might lend context to his crumbling marriage with his wife (Carey Mulligan). The premise feels like a mix of Solaris and High Life, peppered with Sandler’s surprising capacity for melancholy.

Dune: Part Two (Mar. 1)

Start scheduling that Dune Part One rewatch soon: after its original release date was delayed, the second film in Denis Villeneuve’s lavish take on James Herbert’s sci-fi epic is finally coming. Austin Butler joins an already very large cast as protagonist Paul Atreides’ nemesis, looking quite different than we’ve ever seen him before.

Love Lies Bleeding (Mar. 8)

Saint Maud was one of the best, most surprising horror films of the last few years, and director Rose Glass returns to Sundance with something decidedly different: a (literally) muscular revenge tale about a shy gym manager (Kristen Stewart) who falls for bodybuilding beauty Jackie (Katy O’Brian) — only for the two of them to get looped into trouble with the former’s criminal father (Ed Harris). Bisexual lust, muscle mommies, and a heaping helping of New Hollywood atmosphere await us, and I can’t wait.

Road House (Mar. 21, Prime Video)

Doug Liman’s upcoming remake of the cheeseball ’80s action classic puts Jake Gyllenhaal in the ring as an ex-UFC fighter who finds himself as a bouncer in the Florida Keys. Who knows how much this film will maintain the corny thrills of the original (modern remakes of Swayze movies rarely go well), but Gyllenhaal and Liman prove a strong pedigree here. (Daniela Melchior, Billy Magnussen, and Jessica Williams also star.)

The American Society of Magical Negroes (Mar. 22)

Living somewhere between the social-thriller stylings of Jordan Peele and the industry-skewering satire of Robert Townsend’s Hollywood Shuffle, Kobi Libii’s feature film debut turns that creakiest of movie tropes — the magical Black character who serves as spiritual inspiration for a white lead — into a Men in Black-style magical organization that assigns new recruit Aren (Justice Smith) to help his client (The Other Two‘s Drew Tarver) find love. But when Aren falls for the girl (An-Li Bogan) himself, his fealty to White comfort starts to waver.

Late Night with the Devil (Mar. 22)

Horror fan favorite David Dastmalchian gets a rare leading role as a talk show host who’s drawn into a mystery involving a cult. Both a tribute to and a satire of the Satanic Panic of the 70s and 80s, it got great buzz coming out of last year’s Sundance and SXSW festivals.

Kung Fu Panda 4 (Mar. 29)

Po is back after the one-two-three punch of DreamWorks’ flagship franchises, with a fourth entry that hopefully won’t break the series’ skadoosh-worthy streak. This time, Jack Black’s Dragon Warrior is tasked with training his successor (Awkwafina), just in time for a brand new threat (Viola Davis’ chameleon) to threaten the Valley of Peace.

Mickey 17 (Mar. 29)

The last time any of us knew peace was when Parasite won Best Picture in 2020, so hopefully we’re coming full circle with Mickey 17, Bong Joon-ho’s followup. Robert Pattinson stars with Steven Yeun and Mark Ruffalo in a science fiction drama about a clone sent to colonize an ice planet in what we’re already calling as certainly one of the most interesting movies of 2023, if not the best.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (Mar. 29)

Despite a decidedly mixed reaction to 2021 sequel/reboot/reset Afterlife, Jason Reitman’s riff on his dad’s film franchise is back, in the City, and feeling chilly. Reitman wrote the script with Afterlife collaborator Gil Kenan who takes over directing duties.

The People’s Joker (Apr. 3)

Atter a drawn-out battle over alleged copyright infringement, indie filmmaker Vera Drew’s bizarre, innovative comedy that combines Batman with trans themes is finally getting a full release. With a supporting cast that includes Tim Heidecker, Scott Aukerman, and Maria Bamford, its Adult Swim-style humor makes it one of the most unique movies of the year, even without the exceedingly positive buzz surrounding it.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (Apr. 12)

The big cuddly fellas are back, and this time they’re teaming up against a new menace. Rebecca Hall returns as one of the thoroughly unnecessary human characters in Adam Wingard’s bombastic take on the beloved kaiju genre.

Rebel Moon — Part Two: The Scargiver (Apr. 19, Netflix)

Okay, so the first Rebel Moon wasn’t…. great. (Okay, it stunk.) But we’re still morbidly curious to see how Zack Snyder’s big-budget epic for Netflix — one so indebted to Star Wars it was initially pitched as an entry in that universe before Snyder gave it his own thin reskin — culminates. After all, Part One felt like less than half a film, a Seven Samurai consisting of just the get-the-team-together scenes. Part Two should hopefully be where some chickens come to roost, likely in very slow motion.

Challengers (Apr. 26)

Luca Guadagnino is back in the director’s chair to bring Playwright Justin Kuritzkes’ first produced film script to life. If the trailers are any indication, this three-hander–Zendaya, Josh O’Connor, and Mike Faist–is sexy as hell, tense, and perhaps a bit sinister.

Civil War (Apr. 26)

At the very least, Alex Garland is never a boring director. Paired with an impressive cast including the likes of Kirsten Dunst and Nick Offerman, this is an undeniably increasing prospect. The only hesitation is whether the foreign-born Garland can accurately grok the American political landscape or if Civil War will suffer from a bit of Three Billboards disorder.

The Fall Guy (May 3)

If it was anyone else but Ryan Gosling starring, this updated version of the allegedly iconic 80s TV show would elicit a very loud “no thanks.” But trust Gosling to bring his stellar comic chops while playing a Hollywood stuntman-turned-amateur detective, with Emily Blunt and Winston Duke along for the ride.

Back to Black (May 10)

The Amy Winehouse biopic may have taken years of rehab to get going, but we’re finally about to see how Sam Taylor-Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey) handles the life and death of the acclaimed pop singer, with Industry star Marisa Abela as Winehouse herself. Abela seems to have the classic beehive and eyeliner down, but we’ll have to wait and see if the film treats the singer’s struggles with addiction and her untimely passing with the nuance it deserves.

The Strangers: Chapter 1 (May 17)

The Strangers as a franchise is, well, a strange one — after the standalone Liv Tyler-starring chiller in the late 2000s, and a surprisingly fun ’80s-inspired sequel, veteran director Renny Harlin takes the reins with the first in a new standalone trilogy of sequels. Hopefully, they’ll maintain the home-invasion thrills of the previous two, though Harlin’s track record with horror revivals isn’t the shiniest (The Exorcist: Beginning, anyone?).

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (May 24)

While it may be hard to process a young(er) Charlize Theron as played by Anya Taylor-Joy, it’s not enough to dissuade our excitement for George Miller’s follow-up to Fury Road, depicting part of Furiosa’s journey before she encountered Max Rockatansky. An almost unrecognizable Chris Hemsworth is along for the loud, explosive ride.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (May 24)

300 years have passed since the events of War for the Planet of the Apes, apes and humans have switched roles, and a young chimpanzee and human set out together to learn if there’s any kind of future for the remaining world as it is. Director Wes Ball takes over with a fresh angle and an all-new cast for the franchise, with Owen Teague as the brave, curious chimp.

Ballerina (Jun. 7)

After The Continental, Ballerina is the latest experiment in Lionsgate’s mission to continue the John Wick universe without its titular character. Granted, Reeves is still here — the film’s set before his apparent demise in Chapter 4 — but in a supporting role; instead, Underworld director Len Wiseman focuses on a ballerina named Rooney (Ana de Armas), dedicated to seeking out the people who have murdered her family. Expect the same 87Eleven-caliber choreography that made the Wick films so special, but time will tell if Wiseman can capture Chad Stahelski’s specific juice. (This film will also be the final on-screen appearance of the late Lance Reddick.)

The Watchers (Jun. 7)

Dakota Fanning leads the cast of this supernatural thriller set in a sparsely populated forest in Western Ireland where she and a collection of strangers are stalked by mysterious creatures. Adding further intrigue to the film is whether director Ishana Night Shyamalan might’ve inherited her filmmaker father’s talents or shortcomings.

Pixar’s Inside Out 2 (Jun. 14)

Riley is back and entering her teen year. At the control panel manned by the likes of Joy (Amy Poehler) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) that means the arrival of other emotions including Anxiety (Maya Hawkes).

The Bikeriders (Jun. 21)

Pushed back from a 2023 release, one of the most talked-about upcoming movies is based on, of all things, a 1967 photobook about a Chicago biker gang. Tom Hardy leads a flawless cast including Austin Butler, Jodie Comer, Michael Shannon, and Norman Reedus, as he plays a gang leader facing threats both from the outside and inside.

Horizon: An American Saga (Jun. 28 – Part 1, Aug. 12 – Part 2)

Kevin Costner is no stranger to sprawling epic Westerns, but now that he’s able to dust off the contractual obligations of Yellowstone, he’s back with a two-part opus set to come out in the summer and fall of this year. The cast is as immense as its canvas — the four years of the American Civil War, with names from Costner to Sienna Miller to Michael Rooker and more — and we hope it’s a little more Dances With Wolves than it is The Postman.

A Quiet Place: Day One (Jun. 28)

The first two Quiet Place films proved very successful despite some hardcore horror fans decrying them as sort of horror 101 efforts. This installment, like the beginning of Part II, starts at the beginning of the alien invasion although it takes the action to NYC and a whole new cast led by Lupita Nyong’o. The real hook? The franchise’s newest director, Michael Sarnoski, last helmed Pig.

Twisters (Jul. 19)

One can only imagine director Lee Isaac Chung (Minari) pulled a James Cameron-pitching-Aliens move here: walking into an executive boardroom at Universal, writing the word Twister on a whiteboard, then adding an S, then drawing a vertical line over it. A standalone sequel to the hit ’90s blockbuster, this one follows a team of stormchasers (led by Daisy Edgar-Jones and Glen Powell) investigating, get this, multiple tornadoes. Sounds so stupid, can’t wait.

Deadpool 3 (Jul. 26)

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2024

Ryan Reynolds has recruited friends Hugh Jackman (as Wolverine, natch) and director Shawn Levy to help him smash the fourth wall a third time in the first R-rated MCU offering.

Shyamalan’s Trap (Aug. 2)

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2024

Not much is known about M. Night Shyamalan‘s upcoming Trap, other than it’s reportedly a psychological thriller, but it does offer Josh Hartnett, who impressed critics with his supporting role in last year’s Oppenheimer, his first leading role in several years. Looking forward to hearing more about this undoubtedly uncontroversial movie that won’t sharply divide audiences at all.

Borderlands (Aug. 9)

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2024

What with 2023 being a surprisingly successful year for video game adaptations, perhaps it’s time to feel a bit optimistic about the Borderlands movie? After all, writer-director Eli Roth just had a blast with the well-received Thanksgiving, and his sick sense of humor fits 2K’s flagship franchise about a group of mercenaries searching for fame and fortune on a mysterious planet. Plus, with an overqualified cast like Cate Blanchett, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Jamie Lee Curtis, one hopes for suitably screw-it levels of video game mayhem.

Alien: Romulus (Aug. 16)

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2024
This image released by Twentieth Century Fox shows a scene from “Alien: Covenant.” (Twentieth Century Fox via AP)

Yes, fine, Alien: Covenant was…not great. Yes, the most interesting part was Michael Fassbender heavily flirting with himself. On the other hand, if you need to yet again revive the Alien franchise, you could do a lot worse than Fede Alvarez, who brought the Evil Dead series back to roaring, gruesome life. Cailee Spaeny of last year’s Priscilla leads a mostly unknown cast in a story largely unrelated to the previous movies. It might be great, or it might be terrible, but either way the gore will be *exquisite*.

Kraven the Hunter (Aug. 30)

One might think they’re a bit burnt out on superhero fare and Sony is an unreliable steward of Spider-Man’s ancillary characters. But what’s this? Not Russell Crowe in his accent era?!

Beetlejuice 2 (Sep. 6)

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2024

Michael Keaton’s successful return to beloved status corresponds nicely with the Beetlejuice IP being successfully, well, juiced by the musical. Add in a Tim Burton in need of reclaiming his lost magic and this film is quite the well-timed marriage.

Transformers One (Sep. 13)

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2024

Transformers is more than due for a reboot, considering everyone slept on Bumblebee and slept through Rise of the Beasts. This time, they’re leaning hard into animation, with Toy Story 4‘s Josh Cooley telling an entirely separate story in the Transformers universe centered on the relationship between Optimus Prime and Megatron. Considering the cartoon legacy of the series, one can only hope we get “You Got The Touch” to play over the credits.

Saw XI (Sep. 27)

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2024

Last year’s Saw X tried a new and exciting thing by being both coherent and good, good enough that we’re now enthusiastic about the inevitable Saw XI. Almost nothing is known about it (it’s barely in production yet), but it will undoubtedly be about an elderly dying man and his taste for vengeance, hopefully in a way that makes some lick of sense.

Joker: Folie a Deux (Oct. 4)

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2024

No one was more jaundiced about Todd Phillips’ nihilistic Joker than us. But the fact that Phillips is doubling down on DC’s smash hit with Lady Gaga as Harley Quinn and a tone overtly cribbed from Hollywood musicals definitely has our eyebrows arched in interest. It might be as messy as the first, but this is the kind of mess that puts a smile on our face.

Wolf Man (Oct. 25)

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2024

We’ll never get to see the completion of that big-budget Universal Monsters reboot of last decade, but in exchange we get Leigh Whannell’s dark, intense take on it, starting with 2020’s gripping The Invisible Man, and now Wolf Man. Indie darling Christopher Abbott stars as the titular lycanthrope, in what we hope is a better version than Joe Johnston’s lavish but dull-as-dishwater adaptation — mostly because it would have to be.

Terrifier 3 (Oct. 25)

For those with specific horror proclivities, the Terrifier films slack their bloodlust like nearly nothing else being released in theatres. The big question here is will the third time around for Damien Leone’s Art the Clown be the one that pushes them beyond cult status.

Venom 3 (Nov. 8)

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2024

The wildest romance of the past six years is back as losers Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) and Venom (alien symbiote, also Hardy) try to keep the spark going. Screenwriter of the first two films Kelly Marcel again provides the script, with a story credit for Hardy, and ascends to the director’s chair.

Gladiator 2 (Nov. 22)

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2024

Not a realization of the bonkers Nick Cave sequel script. Still, Gladiator 2 has such a stacked cast, including Paul Mescal and Denzel Washington, and Ridley Scott back directing, we’ll forgive a more conventional approach.

The Incredibles 3 (Nov. 27)

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2024

Brad Bird ended up with a year less to make The Incredibles 2 than he anticipated. As a result, he had to leave some ideas unintegrated into the final film. Thankfully this sequel gives him a chance to honor those unrealized plotlines.

Wicked: Part One (Nov. 27)

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2024

Adapting stage musicals to the big screen can be difficult, but with songs like “Popular” and “Defying Gravity” and always excellent Cynthia Erivo starring, Wicked has considerable advantages coming out of the starting blocks.

The Karate Kid (Dec. 13)

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2024

We’re crestfallen to report that this upcoming sequel to the Karate Kid franchise does not relate to the hit YouTube-turned-Netflix show Cobra Kai, despite Ralph Macchio starring in both. But here, director Jonathan Entwhistle styles both Macchio and the legendary Jackie Chan (who starred in the 2010 Jaden Smith reboot) as potential mentors to a new Karate Kid, whose casting has yet to be announced.

The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim (Dec. 13)

Speaking of new franchise movies unconnected to currently-running TV shows in that same universe, we’ve got a new Lord of the Rings movie coming! This anime spinoff is set 250-ish years before the events of The Lord of the Rings, telling the story of the legendary King Helm of Rohan (Brian Cox), whose war with the Dunlendings will inspire the name Helm’s Deep. Kenji Kamiyama (Blade Runner: Black Lotus) directs.

Mufasa: The Lion King (Dec. 20)

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2024

At first glance, it does feel like an animated prequel to The Lion King is the kind of project that would be wasted on a legendary director like Barry Jenkins (Moonlight, The Underground Railroad). Still, it could be that very pedigree that elevates it beyond the shabby photorealistic redo of the Disney Classic we saw back in 2019.

Nosferatu (Dec. 25)

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2024

Robert Eggers’ folk-horror sensibilities seem a perfect fit for a remake of the classic F.W. Murnau horror film, taking cues from Werner Herzog’s 1974 Nosferatu the Vampyre. Bill Skarsgård continues to collect iconic horror baddies after Pennywise, playing Count Orlok opposite Nicholas Hoult and Lily-Rose Depp.