Fall movie preview: Bond, 'Dune' and 30 other big ones headed your way
These are the biggest films (hopefully) headed to theaters and streaming platforms between now and the holidays.
It may finally be time for "No Time to Die."
The latest James Bond adventure has been in Hollywood's on-deck circle for a year and a half, waiting out the pandemic that just doesn't want to go away. Billie Eilish's theme song for the film, released way back in February. 2020, has already picked up a Grammy, and with any luck the film from which it comes will hold onto its planned Oct. 8 release and will finally hit screens.
Luck is what Hollywood needs as it rolls into another uncertain fall season. A full slate of blockbusters and awards contenders are ready to go, so long as the light remains green, but it's still volatile out there: as this list was going to print, "Top Gun: Maverick" and "Jackass Forever" were both pulled from the fall release schedule, shuffled to dates in 2022, and there are rumors other big titles could follow.
For now, here are the biggest and brightest films planned to open between now and the start of the holiday season. Just remember, dates are subject to change, but then again we've all gotten used to our entertainment calendars becoming wish lists rather than road maps. Hope for the best, but keep those expectations in check.
1. "No Time to Die" — His name is Bond, James Bond, and Daniel Craig has said this will be his final outing as 007, although it was never his intent to stretch out his farewell this long. How can we say goodbye if we never actually part ways? With Rami Malek, Ana de Armas and Naomie Harris. (Oct. 8 in theaters)
2. "Dune" — After tackling "Blade Runner 2049," director Denis Villeneuve ("Arrival") takes on another behemoth, Frank Herbert's epic 1965 sci-fi novel about a post-apocalyptic future populated by giant sandworms. Hopefully he fares better than David Lynch did with his 1984 attempt at the material. (Oct. 22 in theaters and on HBO Max)
3. "Eternals" — Academy Award winner Chloé Zhao ("Nomadland") joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe with this adaptation of the comic about an immortal alien race tasked with saving humanity. It's a tall order, but Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek and Kumail Nanjiani's abs are up to the task. (Nov. 5 in theaters)
4. "King Richard" — Will Smith stars as Richard Williams, father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams, in a role that could nab him his third Oscar nomination, following "The Pursuit of Happyness" and "Ali." From director Reinaldo Marcus Green ("Joe Bell"). (Nov. 19 in theaters and on HBO Max)
5. "Dear Evan Hansen" — Ben Platt reprises his role from the Tony-winning stage musical, starring as a high school student whose social anxiety disorder leads him to insert himself into the life of a deceased student in order to get closer to his family. With Amy Adams, Julianne Moore and Kaitlyn Dever. (Sept. 24 in theaters)
6. "Red Notice" — Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot and Dwayne Johnson star as a con artist, an art thief and a tracker, respectively, in this action thriller from director Rawson Marshall Thurber, who previously worked with Johnson on "Central Intelligence" and "Skyscraper." (Nov. 12 on Netflix)
7. "Spencer" — Kristen Stewart stars as Princess Diana in this drama from director Pablo Larraín, who in 2016 transformed Natalie Portman into Jackie Kennedy. "Spencer" focuses on Diana's decision to end her marriage to Prince Charles (Jack Farthing) during the holiday season in 1991. (Nov. 5 in theaters)
8. "Finch" — In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a dying inventor (Tom Hanks) builds a robot to accompany him and his dog on a cross-country journey. Originally due out in theaters last year, the movie has landed at Apple TV+, Hanks' second such outing to do so, following 2020's "Greyhound." (Nov. 5 on Apple TV+)
9. "The French Dispatch" — More preciousness from director Wes Anderson, with a cast that includes, deep breath, Benicio del Toro, Timothée Chalamet, Frances McDormand, Jeffrey Wright, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Anjelica Huston, Willem Dafoe and Edward Norton. And more. (Oct. 22 in theaters)
10. "Last Night in Soho" — The second film of 2021 from director Edgar Wright, following the wonderful documentary "The Sparks Brothers," is a psychological thriller with time traveling and body-swapping elements, starring Thomasin McKenzie ("Jojo Rabbit") and "The Queen's Gambit's" Anya Taylor-Joy. (Oct. 29 in theaters)
11. "Halloween Kills" — Michael Myers is back, of course, in this direct sequel to 2018's "Halloween," in which the masked killer was definitively killed, but that has never kept him down before, so why should it now? Jamie Lee Curtis returns once again as Laurie Strode, who just can't seem to shake Mr. Myers. (Oct. 15 in theaters)
12. "Cry Macho" — How else would Clint Eastwood cry? The 91-year-old legend directs and stars in this adaptation of N. Richard Nash's 1975 novel about an ex-rodeo star (Eastwood) who is hired to kidnap a young man in Mexico and bring him back to his father in Texas. (Sept. 17 in theaters and on HBO Max)
13. "The Last Duel" — 14th-century France is a far way from 20th century Boston, but that is the setting of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's first screenplay since the pair won Oscars for penning "Good Will Hunting." Here, Nicole Holofcener co-writes the story of France's last legally sanctioned duel. The immortal Ridley Scott directs. (Oct. 15 in theaters)
14. "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" — Another pandemic holdover, this fourth "Ghostbusters" film — which picks up after the second film and ignores the third — stars "Stranger Things'" Finn Wolfhard as the grandson of original Ghostbuster Egon Spengler and brings back O.G. busters of ghosts Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson. (Nov. 11 in theaters)
15. "The Many Saints of Newark" — A teenage Tony Soprano (the late James Gandolfini's son, Michael Gandolfini) comes of age on the mean streets of New Jersey in this "Sopranos" prequel with Ray Liotta, Jon Bernthal, Corey Stoll, Vera Farmiga and, hopefully, plenty of gabagool. (Oct. 1 in theaters and on HBO Max)
16. "Venom: Let There be Carnage" — Tom Hardy returns in the sequel to the 2018 hit, where he plays a journalist who hosts an alien symbiote who turns him into a vigilante warrior. Woody Harrelson, teased in the credits of the first film, plays host to a symbiote of his own. It's fair to assume the two don't play nice together. (Oct. 15 in theaters)
17. "The Starling" — In this comic-drama, Melissa McCarthy is a woman who after suffering a loss becomes involved in a feud with a starling that nests near her otherwise quiet home. Kevin Kline plays a veterinarian that talks her back to reality. Chris O'Dowd and Timothy Olyphant co-star, and "Hidden Figures'" Theodore Melfi directs. (Sept. 24 on Netflix)
18. "Ron’s Gone Wrong" — In this computer-animated comedy, Zach Galifianakis voices Ron, a friendly robot who befriends middle schooler Barney (Jack Dylan Grazer), despite the fact that he's, well, malfunctioning. With the voices of Ed Helms, Olivia Colman and Rob Delaney. (Oct. 22 in theaters)
19. "The Guilty" — In this remake of a 2018 Danish crime thriller, Jake Gyllenhaal plays a phone operator who gets to the bottom of a crime. With Ethan Hawke and Riley Keough, and directed by Antoine Fuqua from a script by Nic Pizzolatto. (Oct. 1 on Netflix)
20. "Army of Thieves" — A prequel to this summer's "Army of the Dead," Zack Snyder's Las Vegas-set zombie heist film, which takes place six years prior to that gory romp. Directed by and starring Matthias Schweighöfer. (Oct. 29 on Netflix)
21. "The Harder They Fall" — A Black Western starring Jonathan Majors ("The Last Black Man in San Francisco," "Lovecraft Country") as a man who, with the help of his old gang, seeks revenge against the man who killed his parents. With Idris Elba, Regina King, Zazie Beetz, Delroy Lindo, Lakeith Stanfield and more. (Nov. 3 on Netflix)
22. "Home Sweet Home Alone" — "Jojo Rabbit's" Archie Yates is left, you guessed it, home alone in this latest entry in the "Home Alone" franchise, entry No. 6 if you're counting at home. With Ellie Kemper, Rob Delaney, Aisling Bea, Kenan Thompson, Chris Parnell and more. (Nov. 12 on Disney+)
23. "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" — Jessica Chastain plays Tammy Faye Bakker in one of those roles that just screams Oscar. Andrew Garfield plays televangelist Jim Bakker and Vincent D'Onofrio plays Jerry Falwell in director Michael Showalter's ("The Baxter") comic-drama, based on 2000's documentary of the same name. (Sept. 17 in theaters)
24. "Titane" — The Palme d'Or winner at this year's Cannes Film Festival is about a woman who gets pregnant after having sex with a car, so mainstream appeal is already out the window. Art house lovers may swoon. (Oct. 1 in theaters)
25. "Belfast" — Kenneth Branagh, who grew up in Northern Ireland, writes and directs this '60s set story about a boy growing up in Northern Ireland. Hmm. With Jude Hill, Jamie Dornan, Ciarán Hinds, Judi Dench, Caitriona Balfe and Lara McDonnell. (Nov. 12 in theaters)
26. "Mass" — That's mass, as in mass shooting, and this drama centers on a meeting between the parents of a victim of a school shooting and the parents of the shooter. Said to be one of the year's most powerful films. With Ann Dowd, Martha Plimpton and more. (Oct. 8 in theaters)
27. "The Addams Family 2" — The sequel to 2019's computer animated hit about everyone's favorite kooky, spooky-season loving family. (Oct. 1 in theaters)
28. "Malignant" — Modern horror magnate James Wan ("Saw," "Insidious," "The Conjuring") turns his eye to the story of a woman who is haunted by grisly visions that she finds out are in fact very real. Scared yet? (Sept. 10 in theaters and on HBO Max)
29. "Queenpins" — A coupon scam goes big time — to the tune of $40 million — in this comedy caper that stars Kristen Bell, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Paul Walter Hauser, Vince Vaughn, Bebe Rexha and more. (Sept. 10 in theaters)
30. "Julia" — Look at it this way: without Julia Child, there's no Guy Fieri. This documentary looks at the very first TV food personality, who became a star in the 1960s and remains beloved today, 17 years after her death. (Oct. 15 in theaters)
31. "The Card Counter" — Writer-director Paul Schrader, who enjoyed quite a comeback with 2017's "First Reformed," returns with this story of a gambler (Oscar Isaac) haunted by the ghosts of his past. (Sept. 10 in theaters)
32. "Tick, Tick... Boom!" — Lin-Manuel Miranda is not giving away his shot. He makes his feature film directorial debut with this story of a theatre composer (Andrew Garfield) facing a midlife crisis at age 30. With (Nov. 19 on Netflix)
Also, 28 more...
A climber finds the highest of highs in the documentary "The Alpanist" (Sept. 10 in theaters); "Come From Away" tells a lesser-known tale from 9/11, about a 7,000 passengers who were welcomed in Newfoundland (Sept. 10 on Apple TV+); Mary Elizabeth Winstead is an assassin with only 24 hours to live in "Kate" (Sept. 10 on Netflix); "Euphoria" and "The White Lotus" star Sydney Sweeney stars in the erotic thriller "The Voyeurs" (Sept. 10 on Amazon Prime Video); "The Capote Tapes" dives into the life of author Truman Capote (Sept. 10 in theaters); a Spanish teacher and her student learn more than just "Language Lessons" (Sept. 10 in theaters); a teenager longs to be a drag queen in the adaptation of the hit musical "Everybody’s Talking About Jamie" (Sept. 10 in theaters, Sept. 17 on Amazon Prime Video); Krysten Ritter helps provide kiddie scares in "Nightbooks" (Sept. 15 on Netflix); "Schumacher" is a documentary about the Forumla One driver, not the "Lost Boys" filmmaker (Sept. 15 on Netflix); Justin Chon writes, directs and stars in "Blue Bayou," the story of a Korean-American who faces deportation (Sept. 17 in theaters); a woman plans to escape from a French asylum in "The Mad Women's Ball" (Sept. 17 on Amazon Prime Video); Nicolas Cage is out to break an evil curse in "Prisoners of the Ghostland" (Sept. 17 in theaters and on VOD); St. Vincent's Annie Clark and "Portlandia's" Carrie Brownstein set out to explore the far reaches of their art in the mock-documentary "The Nowhere Inn" (Sept. 17 in theaters); Gerard Butler and Frank Grillo star in "Copshop," the latest from tough guy director Joe Carnahan (Sept. 17 in theaters); Michael Caine and Aubrey Plaza team up in the comic-drama "Best Sellers" (Sept. 17 in theaters and on VOD); some titles say it all, like "My Little Pony: A New Generation" (Sept. 24 on Netflix); if you prefer your fall dose of Princess Diana in musical form, "Diana: The Musical" is right up your alley (Oct. 1 on Netflix); "Hotel Transylvania: Transformania" is the fourth film in the hit animated series (Oct. 1 in theaters); original "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" Noomi Rapace stars in the Iceland-set "Lamb," about a couple that finds themselves raising a mysterious newborn (Oct. 8 in theaters); the romantic drama "Hard Luck Love Song" is based on Todd Snider's song "Just Like Old Times" (Oct. 15 in theaters); Tim Roth and Vicky Krieps find inspiration from Ingmar Bergman in "Bergman Island" (Oct. 15 in theaters and on VOD); filmmaker Todd Haynes tells the tale of "The Velvet Underground" in documentary form (Oct. 15 in theaters and on Apple TV+); writer-director John Ridley tells the story of a marriage that is interfered with by a time traveler in "Needle in a Timestack" (Oct. 15 in theaters and on VOD); a driver in L.A. bites off more than he can chew when he gets involved in a vampire war in "Night Teeth" (Oct. 20 on Netflix); a student is harboring a supernatural creature in his house in the horror thriller "Antlers" (Oct. 29 in theaters); Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga star in Rebecca Hall's racial drama "Passing" (Nov. 10 on Netflix); the documentary "Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time" takes a look at the famous author (Nov. 19 in theaters and on VOD); Oscar winners Colin Firth and Olivia Colman star in the romantic drama "Mothering Sunday," about a maid who plans to meet with the man she loves before he marries someone else (Nov. 19 in theaters).