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
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.
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.