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14 Blockbusters to See This Season, From ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ to ‘Blade Runner 2049’ and Many More

Next up in our fall preview: blockbusters and popcorn fare for even the pickiest of cinephiles.

All this week, IndieWire will be rolling out our annual Fall Preview, including the very best indie cinema has to offer, all the awards contenders you need to know about, and even blockbuster fare that seems poised to please the most discerning tastes, all with an eye towards introducing you to all the new movies you need to get through a jam-packed fall movie-going season. Check back every day for a new look at the best the season has to offer, and clear your schedule, because we’re going to fill it right up. 

Next up: blockbusters and popcorn fare for even the pickiest of cinephiles.

“It” (September 8)

It

“It”

New Line Cinema

While 2017 has been a relatively low-key year for horror, the promise of a remake of one of Stephen King’s most beloved and horrifying works, “It,” still glimmers on the horizon. Long before the creepy clown scares of summer 2016 (but not too far removed from the real-life horrors of John Wayne Gacy), King exposed what we all know in our hearts: clowns are creepy as hell. While there was still a pinch of hokey to the original Pennywise, one peek at Bill Skarsgård is enough to make your blood run cold: His grin is menacing, his claws deadly, his intentions unmistakable. Even with the departure of director Cary Fukunaga, who remains credited as co-screenwriter, “It” looks terrifying and true to King’s chilling work. From casting choices to directorial changes, “It” has stayed one-step ahead of the naysayers, and proven them wrong at every turn. Here’s to hoping this winning streak goes unbroken when the film hits theaters this fall. -Jamie Righetti

“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” (September 22)

DF-28050_r - Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, and Pedro Pascal star in Twentieth Century Fox's "Kingsman: The Golden Circle," also starring Julianne Moore, Channing Tatum, Mark Strong, Elton John, Halle Berry and Jeff Bridges.

“Kingsman: The Golden Circle”

Giles Keyte

Matthew Vaughn’s adaptation of the David Gibbons/Mark Millar comic book series made for one of the sleeper hits of the early 2015 movie calendar. Eggsy (Taron Edgerton) and his cast of mentors are back for the sequel, with one character in particular that “The Secret Service” had seemingly left for dead. Time will tell if there’s any mayhem quite like the church brawl of the first film. But if the unexpected Comic-Con crossover with “Archer” is any indication, this is a movie that’s willing to take a few extra gambles. At the very least, Elton John, Julianne Moore, and Channing Tatum are all in a studio blockbuster about international assassins. You know, the good kind of 2017 Weird. -Steve Greene

“Blade Runner 2049” (October 6)

"Blade Runner 2049"

“Blade Runner 2049”

Denis Villeneuve has been having the kind of hot streak that Hollywood adores: “Prisoners,” “Sicario,” and “Arrival” were all serious-minded dramas for adults, and all of them paid off with critics and audiences. Now the director is taking the reigns of a major blockbuster by resurrecting the “Blade Runner” franchise, and if the trailers haven’t already made it clear enough, it seems safe to call the film the most visual dazzling nationwide release of the year. Reuniting with Roger Deakins and assembling a cast of Ryan Gosling, Jared Leto, Robin Wright, and Harrison Ford, it looks like “Blade Runner 2049″ is going to be a slam dunk for Villeneuve. It’s the first time he’s going franchise blockbuster, and it most certainly won’t be the last. -Zack Sharf

“The Foreigner” (October 13)

Martin Campbell’s post–“Casino Royale” output hasn’t left as indelible a mark as his instant-classic Bond reboot, but “The Foreigner” holds promise. That’s owed largely to the pairing of Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan — how the two never made a movie together before this is something of a mystery — and the fact that the filmmakers at least had the good sense not to keep the same title as the Stephen Leather novel on which “The Foreigner” is based (“The Chinaman,” which is not the issue here, Dude). -Michael Nordine

“The Snowman” (October 20)

Thanks in part to the success of bleak TV and film series like “Wallander” and “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy, Scandinavian crime novels have become a treasure trove for dark adaptations that have the power to unsettle and shock viewers. While rumors of a follow-up to David Fincher’s 2011 interpretation of Lisbeth Salander continue to rumble, the latest story to make it to the big screen comes courtesy of Norwegian author Jo Nesbø’s 2007 novel “The Snowman.” Michael Fassbender stars as Inspector Harry Hole, who has been called in to investigate the disappearance of a woman, whose scarf has been tied around the neck of a creepy snowman. Hole believes the snowman to be the calling card of a dangerous and elusive serial killer, one that will drive him to the brink, and threaten the lives of everyone around him. With a supporting cast boasting incredible talents like Rebecca Ferguson, Chloë Sevigny, J.K. Simmons, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Val Kilmer, “The Snowman” promises to be one of the year’s most taut and shocking thrillers. -JR

“Thor: Ragnarok” (November 3)

“Thor: Ragnarok”

“He’s a friend from work!” With just one jubilant line, Chris Hemsworth catapulted Thor back into our hearts, and made us (almost) forget about “Thor: The Dark World.” Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” was worth every precious penny as we watched Mjolnir and Asgard bow down to the power and the glory that is Cate Blanchett. With his golden locks freshly shorn and red war paint streaked across his face, this scrappy new Thor has found himself unworthy of his calling, captured by bounty hunters, and forced to fight the Hulk for sport — all while Asgard crumbles. It’s clear that the stakes are high, but director Taika Waititi has also infused this third installment with the trademark wit and humor that made “Hunt For The Wilderpeople” and “What We Do In Shadows” so unforgettable. With Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster, and the devilishly charming Loki (Tom Hiddleston) rounding up the supporting cast, “Thor: Ragnarok” is sure to be one of the must-see blockbusters of the fall. -JR

“A Bad Moms Christmas” (November 3)

“A Bad Moms Christmas”

Bonkers proof that there actually is room for franchises of all stripes in the increasingly bloated box office world, the massive success of last year’s “Bad Moms” (worldwide take: nearly $185 million) is looking to expand into the holiday realm with a themed take on its mostly charming premise that “hey, bad moms can be good moms, too.” It’s a smart play – even the most put-together of parents can fall to pieces when faced with the demands of the holiday season – and it’s heartening that the eponymous moms (including Kathryn Hahn, who deserves at least 8 of her own franchises) are all back for more action. Bolstered by the addition of stars like Susan Sarandon, Christine Baranski, and Cheryl Hines as the moms’ own mothers, “A Bad Moms Christmas” could shape up to the most dizzyingly fun counter-programming of a very stuffed season. Wrap this one up, it’s a gift we’re very much accepting. -Kate Erbland

“Murder on the Orient Express” (November 10)

"Murder on the Orient Express"

“Murder on the Orient Express”

There’s something to be said for expensive fall studio movies, the kind of well-furnished (if unsophisticated) entertainments that you can see on a cold night before sharing a few warm drinks. Kenneth Branagh’s glossy adaptation of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” may not aspire to be anything more than that, but there’s always room for another blockbuster that looks this confident and cozy. The story remains the same, more or less (there’s a murder on the Orient Express), but the famous locomotive has never been populated with such a colorful group of passengers. Branagh himself plays the detective Hercule Poirot, and he’s joined by an eclectic cast that includes Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dence, “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr., and — from a galaxy far, far away — Daisy Ridley. Johnny Depp is in the movie too, but don’t worry, he plays the corpse. -David Ehrlich

“Justice League” (November 17)

Can the DCEU continue to build on the heat and goodwill of this year’s “Wonder Woman”? Their long-promised “Justice League” team-up promises that and much more, following up the trauma and drama of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” with an all-star outing that brings together Batman and Wonder Woman (and Superman? search your heart, you know it to be true), along with Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg for…well, we hope some fun. And some serious crime-fighting to boot. Initially helmed by DCEU mastermind Zack Snyder, Joss Whedon stepped in to take the film over the finish line after a personal tragedy compelled Snyder to put aside professional concerns for the well-being of his family, and the film should speak to both of their sensibilities. That would be a very good thing indeed, and while it’s not “Wonder Woman 2,” it could be yet another step forward for the comic book franchise. -KE

“Coco” (November 22)

“Coco”

Inspired by Mexican folk art depictions of Dia De Los Muertos, Pixar’s Lee Unkrich set about developing the story for “Coco,” which could be the next great film from the hit-making animation studio. Co-directed by Unkrich with writer Adrian Molina, “Coco” follows a boy named Miguel as he dreams of making music, despite the fact that his family forbids it. When his curiosity leads him to pick up a shiny classical guitar with mysterious powers, he finds himself transported to the Land of the Dead. With only dog Dante by his side, he meets a trickster named Hector, who helps him learn the truth about his family. Molina, who is Mexican-American, steps into his biggest creative role yet with Pixar under the guidance of the Oscar-winning Unkrich. It’s a novel idea for Pixar to center a film around an actual child for once; the studio has long favored cars, toys, fish, or even feelings as characters. With any luck, the human story heralds a return to the kind of genuine, simple stories that we love from Pixar. The star-studded voice cast includes only actors with Latin roots, such as Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Edward James Olmos, Gabriel Iglesias, and Cheech Marin. -Jude Dry

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (December 15)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Photo: Film Frames Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm©2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Getting excited about a new “Star Wars” movie already feels a little rote, though it shouldn’t be – remember less than five years ago, when the possibility of an expanded franchise wasn’t even so much as a glimmer in most fans’ eyes? – and a new film from Rian Johnson is certainly its own cause for celebration. The eighth film in the beloved franchise has plenty to live up to (“The Force Awakens” is great, don’t try to deny it), but it also has tremendous amount to honor, as it will serve as beloved star Carrie Fisher’s final appearance in the series she loved so well. Johnson has the sole screenwriting credit on the feature, too, which speaks volumes for a series that has struggled to champion even the possibility that an auteur’s vision could succeed amongst its demanding ranks. Predictably shrouded in some mystery but at least promising to return us to the new – and old! – characters we love so well, betting on the success of a “Star Wars” movie is about as no-brainer as it comes, but with Johnson behind the wheel, this one looks to really be something special. -KE

“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” (December 20)

Jumanji

“Jumanji”

When it was announced Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart would be remaking “Jumanji,” the news wasn’t met with the best reception given that Robin Williams’ 1995 movie is a childhood classic. But the actors have totally given the “Jumanji” concept a new spin, one that could make for a much smarter movie than originally anticipated. Johnson and Hart star opposite Jack Black and Karen Gillan as the avatars in a “Jumanji” video game. Four high schoolers get sucked into the game and put into the avatars, one of which includes a popular teenage girl who takes the body of Jack Black. The premise should provide for plenty of physical comedy gold, let’s just hope the filmmakers can sustain the premise into more than just a gimmick. -ZS

“Pitch Perfect 3” (December 22)

Pitch Perfect 3

“Pitch Perfect 3”

The first attempt to turn the aca-awesome (sorry) smash hit into a fledgling franchise hit a majorly sour note, thanks to an all-too-familiar story, retread songs, and some bizarrely transparent attempts to turn the series over from Anna Kendrick and co. to a not-quite-ready Hailee Steinfeld (the singer/actress is aces, but her character, a confused kiddo who is uncomfortable with her talents, was a baffling choice for replacement on a series that shines most when it’s filled with crazy stars). The film made plenty of money – and established first-time director Elizabeth Banks as a one to watch – but it lacked the spark and pop of the original, the giddy weirdness and great songs. Can “Pitch Perfect 3” turn that beat around? With “Step Up All In” director Trish Sie helming, there’s at least one area where the film will likely not be lacking: energy. Again promising one last big adventure, the film will also benefit from its returning cast (Steinfeld, Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, and scores of other familiar faces) and an amusing new twist on the acapella franchise: what if they had to face off against, gasp, a team that used instruments? -KE

“The Greatest Showman” (December 25)

DF-07720 – P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) comes alive with the oddities in Twentieth Century Fox’s THE GREATEST SHOWMAN.

“The Greatest Showman”

Niko Tavernise

Hugh Jackman is in full impresario mode in Michael Gracey’s historical drama, based on the life and times of circus visionary P.T. Barnum (and apparently the hard knocks it took to get there). Jackman could have more than enough fun with that idea alone, but Gracey’s film is also a full-scale musical, the perfect combination of Jackman’s outsized cinematic presence and his Tony-winning theater chops. Bolstered by a star-studded cast — from Michelle Williams to Zendaya, Zac Efron to Rebecca Ferguson — “The Greatest Showman” looks primed to capitalize on Jackman’s love of show! and all of huge theatrics of putting together a circus. -KE

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