27 movies landing in theaters (or your streaming queues) this winter

Hollywood studios are planning on rolling out the proverbial red carpet for an eclectic mix of winter season fare, from Oscar-courting dramas (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”) and franchise reboots (“Scream”) to lower-profile offerings across genres.

Here’s a guide to some of the notable titles slated for release between the middle of December and the middle of March. Of course, release dates — like most things on your calendar over the last two years — remain subject to change.


“West Side Story” (in theaters Dec. 10)

Steven Spielberg, working from a screenplay by the Pulitzer-honored playwright Tony Kushner (“Angels in America”) and choreography by Tony-winning artist Justin Peck, breathes new life into the beloved musical. Spielberg is said to have stuck more closely to the original 1957 Broadway version (with its cherished lyrics written by the late Stephen Sondheim) than the 1961 screen adaptation. Oscar prognosticators believe the splashy big-screen throwback is a lock for a best picture nomination next year.

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” (in theaters Dec. 17)

The third chapter in the cycle of Spider-Man movies starring Tom Holland has stoked feverish anticipation (and demand for tickets) like few blockbusters this year. Why all the hype? “No Way Home” hinges on the “multiverse” concept from Spider-Man lore, bringing back villains from previous iterations of the franchise (Alfred Molina’s “Doc Ock,” most notably) — and potentially featuring cameos from two pre-Holland web-slingers: Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield.

“Nightmare Alley” (in theaters Dec. 17)

Guillermo del Toro cultivated a devoted international following with voyages into the supernatural like “Pan’s Labyrinth” and the Oscar-winning fantasy “The Shape of Water.” But for his latest, a noir-inflected adaptation of a 1946 novel of the same name, the Mexican auteur trained his sights on the relatively more grounded tale of a carnival con man (Bradley Cooper) who encounters a dangerous femme fatale: a psychiatrist played by Cate Blanchett. Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe and Rooney Mara co-star.

“Being the Ricardos” (in select theaters Dec. 10 and on Amazon Prime Video on Dec. 21)

Aaron Sorkin wrote and directed this behind-the-scenes look at the tangled relationship between romantic partners and artistic collaborators Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman) and Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem), with much of the biopic set during a single week of production on their landmark sitcom “I Love Lucy.” J.K. Simmons, Nina Arianda, Tony Hale and Alia Shawkat have supporting roles.

“Don’t Look Up” (in select theaters Dec. 10 and on Netflix on Dec. 24)

Adam McKay has skewered the global financial meltdown (“The Big Short”), the imperial presidency (“Vice”) and corporate media shenanigans (HBO’s “Succession”). In this send-up of climate change denialism, Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio play astronomers who try to sound the alarm about a comet approaching Earth. The staggering supporting cast includes Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, Timothée Chalamet and Cate Blanchett.

“The Lost Daughter” (in select theaters Dec. 17 and on Netflix on Dec. 31)

Maggie Gyllenhaal makes her feature directorial debut in this layered psychodrama adapted from a novel by “My Brilliant Friend” author Elena Ferrante. Oscar-winning actor Olivia Colman (“The Favourite,” “The Crown”) stars as a summer vacationer who becomes increasingly obsessed with a woman and her daughter, plunging her into memories of her own complicated past.

“The Matrix Resurrections” (in theaters and on HBO Max on Dec. 22)

“Time to fly.” Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss are back in sunglasses and vinyl jackets in this reboot of the “Matrix” franchise, slated for release 18 years after the last installment and 22 years after the first film revolutionized American action cinema. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II joins the cast as Morpheus (a role originally played by Laurence Fishburne), along with Neil Patrick Harris, Jonathan Groff and Priyanka Chopra Jonas.

“Sing 2” (in theaters Dec. 22)

Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson and Taron Egerton (“Rocketman”) are just some of the megawatt names who lend their voices to this kid-friendly animated musical about a group of singing anthropomorphic critters who recruit a reclusive lion (voiced by U2 frontman Bono) to join them on stage. (The sequel to the 2016 hit will be distributed by Universal Pictures, a unit of NBC News’ parent company, NBCUniversal.)

“The King’s Man” (in theaters Dec. 22)

The third installment in the gleefully violent “Kingsman” spy series, a prequel set in the early 20th century and starring Ralph Fiennes as a dapper duke, finally hits multiplexes more than two years after its original release date. Gemma Arterton, Djimon Hounsou and Rhys Ifans (playing the sinister Russian mystic Rasputin, with the help of lots of eye shadow) round out the cast.

“The Tragedy of Macbeth” (in select theaters Dec. 25 and on Apple TV+ on Jan. 14)

The quintessentially Shakespearean themes of fate, guilt, murderous ambition and cruel irony have been part of the Coen brothers’ cinematic DNA dating back to their debut feature “Blood Simple.” It is only fitting that Joel Coen makes his first solo directorial outing with this black-and-white adaptation of “Macbeth,” starring Denzel Washington as the morally conflicted title character and Frances McDormand (Coen’s real-life spouse) as his scheming wife.

“A Journal for Jordan” (in theaters Dec. 25)

Denzel Washington went into the director’s chair a fourth time for this holiday season tear-jerker adapted from a memoir by the publishing executive Dana Canedy. Michael B. Jordan and the relative newcomer Chanté Adams (“Bad Hair”) co-star as a young couple separated when Jordan’s character is deployed to Iraq. Washington and Jordan are also among the producers of the film, which is set for a wide release Christmas Day.

January 2022

“The 355” (in theaters Jan. 7)

Agent 355, the real-life female spy for the rebels during the American Revolution, provides the name and the inspiration for this globe-trotting thriller about a CIA agent (Jessica Chastain, channelling her “Zero Dark Thirty” energy) who teams up with other international operatives (Lupita Nyong’o, Diane Kruger and Penélope Cruz) to track down a mysterious weapon. (The film will be distributed by Universal Pictures, a unit of NBC News’ parent company, NBCUniversal.)

“Scream” (in theaters Jan. 14)

Eleven years after the fourth installment in the “Scream” saga (and 26 years after the original slasher classic), David Arquette, Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox return for more gory shocks. The fifth chapter is the first not to be directed by the horror movie maestro Wes Craven, who died in 2015. The filmmaking duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (“Ready or Not”) take the reins this time around.

“Deep Water” (in theaters Jan. 14)

Adrian Lyne, a master of the erotic thriller (“Fatal Attraction,” “Indecent Proposal,” “Unfaithful”) returns to moviemaking after a 20-year break with this twisty psychodrama starring Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas as an unhappily married couple. (The actors briefly dated in the real world.) The screenplay, co-written by “Euphoria” creator Sam Levinson, was adapted from a novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith.

“Cyrano” (in select theaters Jan. 21 after a brief run in Los Angeles)

“Game of Thrones” star Peter Dinklage is the latest performer to try his hand at the title role in this musical retelling of Edmond Rostand’s play “Cyrano de Bergerac.” The film was directed by Joe Wright, a specialist in high-toned literary adaptations (“Pride & Prejudice,” “Atonement,” “Anna Karenina”). Haley Bennett, Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Ben Mendelsohn are on hand in supporting roles.

“Morbius” (in theaters Jan. 28)

Jared Leto, fresh off his barely recognizable turn in Ridley Scott’s “House of Gucci,” plays the title character in this superhero flick set in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, a fledgling franchise that stands apart from Disney’s behemoth Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Morbius” follows Leto’s scientist as he tries to cure himself of a rare blood disease and accidentally turns into a vampire. Matt Smith (“The Crown”) co-stars.

February 2022

“The Black Phone” (in theaters Feb. 4)

The horror film powerhouse Blumhouse Productions (“Insidious,” “The Purge”) promises to deliver one of the creepiest nights on your winter calendar with this supernatural drama starring Ethan Hawke as a deranged kidnapper. The movie was adapted from a short story by Joe Hill (Stephen King’s son) and directed by Scott Derrickson, who helmed Marvel’s first “Doctor Strange.” (The movie will be distributed by Universal Pictures, a unit of NBC News’ parent company, NBCUniversal.)

“Jackass Forever” (in theaters Feb. 4)

The wait is finally over, America. The fourth installment in the “Jackass” franchise (the last was “Jackass 3D” in 2010) arrives the first weekend in February. The lineup of merry pranksters — including Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O, both of whom were reportedly hospitalized due to on-set injuries — return for more R-rated hijinks, accompanied by celebrity guests Eric André, Shaquille O’Neal and Machine Gun Kelly.

“Moonfall” (in theaters Feb. 4)

Nobody makes absurdly over-the-top disaster epics like Roland Emmerich (“Independence Day,” “The Day After Tomorrow”), and the director’s latest appears to be just as sublimely ridiculous as his previous efforts. The story centers on a NASA executive (Halle Berry) and an astronaut (Patrick Wilson) who are scrambling to prevent the moon from crash-landing on Earth and destroying life as we know it.

“Death on the Nile” (in theaters Feb. 11)

Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical drama “Belfast” is widely considered the front-runner for best picture at next year’s Oscars. But if you’re looking for more escapist fare from the prolific British actor-director, check out this all-star Agatha Christie adaptation (and follow-up to 2017’s “Murder on the Orient Express”) featuring Branagh as the legendary detective Hercule Poirot alongside Annette Bening, Russell Brand, Gal Gadot and Letitia Wright.

“Marry Me” (in theaters Feb. 11)

The setup is unadulterated Hollywood rom-com fantasy — and nearly in time for Valentine’s Day. Jennifer Lopez plays a famous pop star who decides to marry a total stranger (Owen Wilson) who happened to be holding a “Marry me” sign at one of her concerts. It is safe to assume lighthearted complications ensue. Sarah Silverman and Jameela Jamil have supporting parts. (The film will be distributed by Universal Pictures, a unit of NBC News’ parent company NBCUniversal.)

“Uncharted” (in theaters Feb. 18)

Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg co-star in this globe-spanning adventure that serves as a prequel to a popular video game series of the same name. The trailer suggests the film version of “Uncharted” combines the swashbuckling heroics of the Indiana Jones franchise with the treasure-hunting mythos of Disney’s “National Treasure” series. Antonio Banderas portrays the villain.

“Ambulance” (in theaters Feb. 18)

Jake Gyllenhaal and rising star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II co-star in Michael Bay’s latest action extravaganza as two bank robbers (and adoptive brothers) who hijack the medical vehicle of the title and lead police on a wild chase through the streets of Los Angeles. “Ambulance” has been described as a contemporary riff on “Speed.” (The movie will be distributed by Universal Pictures, a unit of NBC News’ parent company, NBCUniversal.)

“The Outfit” (in select theaters Feb. 25)

Graham Moore, who won an Academy Award for writing the Alan Turing biopic “The Imitation Game,” makes his directorial debut with this small-scale crime drama about a soft-spoken British tailor (Mark Rylance) who relocates to Chicago and gets mixed up with a group of ruthless mobsters. Zoey Deutch and Dylan O’Brien co-star. (The film will be distributed by Focus Features, a unit of NBC News’ parent company, NBCUniversal.)

March 2022

“The Batman” (in theaters March 4)

Warner Bros. Pictures attempts to reboot the lucrative Batman film franchise yet again with this noirish origin story starring Robert Pattinson as the Dark Knight, Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as the Riddler and Colin Farrell (buried under hefty prosthetics and makeup) as the villain known as the Penguin. Matt Reeves, the director and co-writer, drew inspiration from the 1987 comic book “Year One” and other seminal texts in the Batman canon.

“Turning Red” (in theaters March 11)

Domee Shi, who created the heartwarming, Oscar-winning Pixar short “Bao,” makes her feature directorial debut with this coming-of-age animated comedy about a headstrong Chinese Canadian teenager named Mei Lee (voiced by Rosalie Chiang) whose typical adolescent misadventures get even more complex when she starts transforming into a giant red panda. Sandra Oh provides the voice of Mei Lee’s mother.

“Downton Abbey: A New Era” (in theaters March 18)

In this follow-up to the sleeper hit 2019 movie and the acclaimed television series of the same name, a host of familiar faces — including Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Dame Maggie Smith and Michelle Dockery — reprise their roles. Dominic West of “The Wire” fame joins the cast. (The movie will be distributed by Focus Features, a unit of NBC News’ parent company, NBCUniversal.)

Eleanore Beatty

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