Superheroes, dinosaurs, murder mysteries and lost treasure.
The COVID-19 pandemic may have delayed release dates and disrupted filming in recent years, but all should be made right for theater audiences in 2022.
This year’s release schedule is unusually packed with several potential blockbusters, including such anticipated films as “The Batman,” “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Jurassic World: Dominion,” “Thor: Love and Thunder,” “Avatar 2” and others.
While the pandemic has forced major studios to experiment with releasing titles on streaming platforms, the box office success of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” has demonstrated a desire by audiences to return to the cinema.
Here are 17 blockbusters scheduled to hit theaters in 2022 that should make millions at the box office and provide for a little viewer escapism.
‘Death on the Nile’
Current release date: Feb. 11
Synopsis: This follow-up to the 2017 film “Murder on the Orient Express” features an all-star cast that includes Kenneth Branagh, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Tom Bateman, Annette Bening, Russell Brand and many others. An otherwise peaceful voyage is disrupted when one of the passengers aboard the S.S. Karnak is found murdered. Renowned Belgian detective Hercule Poirot must follow the clues and identify which one of the passengers is the killer before they strike again.
Current release date: Feb. 18
Synopsis: Actor Tom Holland steps away from the “Spider-Man” series to star as the Indiana Jones-like treasure hunter Nathan Drake alongside Mark Wahlberg in this adaptation of a popular video game. The duo goes in pursuit of “the greatest treasure never found” while tracking clues that may lead to Drake’s long-lost brother.
Current release date: March 4
Synopsis: Actor Robert Pattinson fights corruption and crime in Gotham City as Bruce Wayne/Batman in a film that was originally scheduled to be released last June 2021 but was delayed due to the pandemic. The main villain is the Riddler, played by Paul Dano, a serial killer who targets elite Gotham City citizens.
‘The Lost City’
Current release date: March 25
Synopsis: Reminiscent of the 1980s-era film “Romancing the Stone,” Sandra Bullock plays a reclusive romance novelist on a book tour who gets swept up in a jungle-based adventure with cover model Channing Tatum. The movie also features Brad Pitt and Daniel Radcliffe.
‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore’
Current release date: April 15
Synopsis: The third installment of the “Fantastic Beasts” series, which stars Jude Law, Mads Mikkelsen and Katherine Waterston, is set in the 1930s and leads up to the wizarding world’s involvement in World War II.
‘Top Gun: Maverick’
Current release date: May 27
Synopsis: Originally scheduled for release in July 2019, the much-anticipated “Top Gun” sequel is finally coming to theaters. Tom Cruise is back as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell after more than 30 years as one of the Navy’s top aviators. The film also stars Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Ed Harris and Val Kilmer.
‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’
Current release date: May 6
Synopsis: Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) casts a forbidden spell that opens the door to the multiverse, including an alternate version of Strange, whose threat to humanity is too great for the combined forces of Strange, Wong and Wanda Maximoff. Along with Cumberbatch, the cast includes Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams and Elizabeth Olsen. A trailer for the upcoming film was released on Dec. 22.
‘Jurassic World: Dominion’
Current release date: June 10
Synopsis: It’s been three decades since Steven Spielberg’s original “Jurassic Park” opened in theaters. The third installment of the “Jurassic World” trilogy is directed by Colin Trevorrow and stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, along with dinosaur veterans Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and BD Wong.
A prologue video for “Jurassic World: Dominion” was released last November. The film is set four years after the events of the previous movie, “Fallen Kingdom,” in which genetically engineered dinosaurs were auctioned to companies around the world and others were released on the U.S. mainland. Humans must now adjust to life with dinosaurs.
Current release date: June 17
Synopsis: According to Pixar’s website, “Lightyear” is a sci-fi action-adventure and the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear (voice of actor Chris Evans) — the hero who inspired the toy. The film reveals how a young test pilot became the Space Ranger that we all know him to be today.
‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’
Current release date: July 1
Synopsis: Steve Carell is back, but this time as 12-year-old Gru as he pursues his dream to become the world’s greatest supervillain. The film features a cast of talented voices, including Taraji P. Henson, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lucy Lawless, Danny Trejo, Russell Brand and Julie Andrews.
‘Thor: Love and Thunder’
Current release date: July 8
Synopsis: Few details about this film have been released. It’s a sequel to the 2017 film, “Thor: Ragnarok,” and features an all-star cast, including Chris Hemsworth, Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, Russell Crowe, Tess Thompson, Vin Diesel, Jeff Goldblum and Chris Pratt.
A photo of Hemsworth looking muscular was posted on social media last summer.
‘Mission: Impossible 7’
Current release date: Sept. 30
Synopsis: “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” earned nearly $800 million worldwide, so it should come as no surprise that there will be a seventh and eighth film in the series. Naturally, Tom Cruise will continue as Ethan Hunt, with Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson and others returning. The movie was originally scheduled for release in the summer of 2021.
‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’
Current release date: Oct. 7
Synopsis: In the computer-animated film, Marvel Comics character Miles Morales/Spider-Man goes on an adventure across the multiverse with Gwen Stacy/Spider-Woman and face a powerful villain along the way.
Current release date: Nov. 4
Synopsis: According to reports, Barry Allen, aka the Flash, travels back in time to prevent his mother’s murder, which brings about unintended consequences. The film stars Ezra Miller as Allen, alongside Ron Livingston, Michael Keaton, Kiersey Clemons, Ben Affleck and Sasha Calle.
‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’
Current release date: Nov. 11
Synopsis: Rather than recast the role of T’Challa/Black Panther after the tragic 2020 death of Chadwick Boseman, director Ryan Coogler and the Marvel team are choosing to focus on supporting players from the Wakanda universe, a Chicago Sun Times article reported. Audiences can expect to see Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia, Danai Gurira’s Okoye and Angela Bassett’s Ramonda carry on in Wakanda, among others.
Current release date: Dec. 16
.@JimCameron recently sat down with @EW and shared a few exclusive photos from the #AvatarSequels. Check out the photos 😍 and read James Cameron's interview here:https://t.co/zdhrBvUKG5 pic.twitter.com/NyaNjWxPoY— Avatar (@officialavatar) December 14, 2021
Synopsis: Jake Sully and Neytiri have started a family but when an old threat returns, they are forced to leave their home and seek safety among the different regions of Pandora. The film stars Sam Worthington as Jake Sully, Zoe Saldana, Kate Winslet, Sigourney Weaver and a host of others. The first installment, which opened in 2009, made $2.8 billion and is the highest grossing film of all-time, according to boxofficemojo.com.
Concept art for “Avatar 2” was released in 2020 during an event in Las Vegas.
‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’
Current release date: Dec. 16
Synopsis: Actor Jason Momoa returns as DC Comics character Arthur Curry/Aquaman, the half-Atlantean/half-human king of Atlantis who can swim at supersonic speeds and communicate with aquatic life. Also starring in the film is Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Nicole Kidman and others.
‘Spider-Man’ and the billion-dollar club
Despite the pandemic’s impact on theaters, moviegoers will still turn out for a superhero movie.
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” is the first film to make $1 billion since “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” did it in December 2019, according to cnet.com.
The latest Marvel movie had the second-highest opening weekend of all-time with $260 million in the U.S. and Canada, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Spider-Man: No Way Home” has grossed $1.3 billion worldwide since it was released on Dec. 15, according to Boxofficemojo.com.
Thanks to the fans for supporting #SpiderManNoWayHome, which crossed $1 BILLION at the global box office after just 12 days! pic.twitter.com/HWOnN9xR4y— Spider-Man: No Way Home (@SpiderManMovie) December 26, 2021