24 movies for 2024: New 'Dune' 'Deadpool,' 'Ghostbusters' and more

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Jan. 19—Another year. A lot more movies.

We'll be getting so many cinematic works through the close of December that we can't touch on all of them. And, in picking 24 to highlight for 2024, we have stuck with those that had official release dates, even though dates are always subject to change.

That means few of the films that follow are streaming offerings, as those tend to get firm places on calendars closer to their releases. Similarly, we don't know all that much about several of the films that will hit late in 2024 and be part of the Academy Awards discussion a year from now.

What we do have, though, is a collection of flicks that, for one reason or another, are worth a mention.

1. "Dune: Part Two" — March 1 — Theaters: It's still a little hard to believe "Dune" — filmmaker Denis Villeneuve's adaptation of part of Frank Herbert's influential 1965 science-fiction novel — was a giant sandworm-sized hit at the box office. That allowed for this sequel to the movie also now known as "Dune: Part One," which will bring back star Timothée Chalamet — as exiled messiah figure Paul Atreides — and supporting players including Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem. Newcomers include Austin Butler ("Elvis"), Florence Pugh ("Black Widow") and Christopher Walken. The highly anticipated film was to have landed in November, but the studio behind it, Warner Bros. Pictures, delayed it so its stars could do press for it in a post-actors' strike world.

2. Untitled "Deadpool" movie — July 26 — Theaters: Commonly referred to as "Deadpool 3," this will be, well, the third entry in the series and the follow-up to 2018's "Deadpool 2." We don't know too much about the film yet, as an official synopsis has yet to be announced, but franchise star Ryan Reynolds will return as Wade Wilson and his equally foul-mouthed titular antihero, while Hugh Jackman will, for the umpteenth time, portray mutant hero Wolverine. That's especially fun considering a very different Deadpool, albeit one played by Reynolds, faced off against Jackman's Wolverine in 2009's forgettable "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." It also is said that the movie will — unsurprisingly given the shift in studio ownership over the last several years — bring Deadpool into Disney-owned Marvel Studios' Marvel Cinematic Universe. Boy, wait til the MCU gets a load of him.

3. "Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire" — March 29 — Theaters: The ghost-fighting heroes introduced in 2021's largely enjoyable action-comedy "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" — characters played by actors including Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Paul Rudd and Carrie Coon — join forces with those portrayed by franchise vets such as Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Annie Potts in this adventure that sees a supernatural freeze threat hit New York City in the summer. While "Afterlife" director Jason Reitman returns as a co-writer, he's handed over the helm to his co-writer, Gil Kenan ("Monster House"). The movie is said to be dedicated to Ivan Reitman, the father of Jason and the director of 1984's "Ghostbusters" and 1989's "Ghostbusters II," who died in early 2022 at age 75.

4. "Joker: Folie a Deux" — Oct. 4 — Theaters: OK, we had hoped the version of DC Comics Clown Prince of Darkness portrayed so memorably by Joaquin Phoenix In 2019's Todd Phillips-directed "Joker" — an effectively dark character study and origin story — somehow could end up being the Caped Crusader's adversary in the new movie series begun with filmmaker Matt Reeves' "The Batman" in 2022. Instead, Phillips and Phoenix are back with this ... musical thriller? No doubt much of that music will come courtesy of pop star and actress Lady Gaga ("A Star Is Born"), who joins the wild fray as the Joker's traditional love interest, Harley Quinn. (Fear not, Zazie Beetz fans — she returns as Sophie Dumond.) We're eagerly awaiting the first trailer for this film, which falls under the DC Elseworlds label, meaning it is not part of the new DC Universe.

5. "Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire" — March 29 — Theaters: If you've just finished watching the almost surprisingly strong debut season of "Monarch: Legacy of Monsters" on Apple TV+, you may be invested in Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures' MonsterVerse like never before. Fortunately, you won't have to wait long for your next big serving. "Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire" is the seventh big-screen MonsterVerse affair and the sequel to 2021's guilty-pleasure effort "Godzilla vs. Kong" from director Adam Wingard. Wingard returns for "x," which clearly will reunite the heroic Titans, who this time will team up against a new monster threat. The cast boasts returnees Brian Tyree Henry and Rebecca Hall along with newcomer Dan Stevens. And as we don't see any of the "Monarch" cast listed as appearing, we hope the "x" folks are keeping that under wraps — and/or that we get a second season of the show.

6. "Mufasa: The Lion King" — Dec. 20 — Theaters: "Moonlight" and "If Beale Street Could Talk" director Barry Jenkins is at the helm of this live-action, digital imagery-heavy prequel to 2019's similarly made "The Lion King," a remake of the 1994 animated favorite. Writer Jeff Nathanson returns, as do voice actors Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner and John Kani, as Pumbaa, Timon and Rafiki, respectively, while the titular younger Mufasa is voiced by Aaron Pierre and his duplicitous brother, Scar, by Kelvin Harrison Jr. in the musical drama.

7. "Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga" — May 24 — Theaters: Speaking of prequels, the consistently terrific Anya Taylor-Joy portrays the titular character memorably introduced by Charlize Theron in filmmaker George Miller's 2015 hit, "Mad Max: Fury Road." It's not always to make sense of the goings on in the newer incarnation of Miller's post-apocalyptic world, but the man certainly has a gift for spectacle, with this latest film looking to bring the same visual insanity and bone-crushing sound work of its predecessor. In the new film, the younger Furiosa will take on Chris Hemsworth's Warlord Dementus. (Seriously, these names.)

8. "Nosferatu" — Dec. 25 — Theaters: When the talented Robert Eggers ("The Witch," "The Lighthouse," "The Northman") makes a film, we sit up and take notice. He's finally making his long-planned remake of the 1922 German film, with Bill Skarsgård starring as the movie's namesake vampire, aka Count Oriok. His co-stars include Lily-Rose Depp and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Also in the cast is Nicholas Hoult (SO great in "The Great"), who last year starred in last year's not-all-it-could-have-been action-comedy "Renfield," which also owes its existence to Bram Stoker's "Dracula" novel.

9. "Beetlejuice 2" — Sept. 6 — Theaters: It's showtime! (You know, again.) Director Tim Burton is back for the sequel to the beloved 1988 supernatural horror comedy, as are stars Michael Keaton, as the titular colorful demon, and Winona Ryder as the older Lydia Deetz. Portraying Lydia's daughter, Astrid, and seemingly serving a similar purpose to her mom's in the original movie is Jenna Ortega — one of the most sensible casting choices in the history of sensible casting choices given her work in the likewise funny-but-spooky "Wednesday" and newer "Scream" movies. Catherine O'Hara also returns as Lydia's stepmother, Delia, while Willem Dafoe and Monica Bellucci join the dark-magic fray.

10. "Gladiator 2" — Nov. 22 — Theaters: Lucius, the boy played by Spencer Treat Clark in director Ridley Scott's 2000 Academy Award-winning action epic, "Gladiator," is now grown, played by Paul Mescal ("Aftersun," "All of Us Strangers") in the sequel. Scott is returning to take the reins of what undoubtedly will be another action-filled spectacle, and Connie Nielsen returns as Lucius' estranged mother, Lucilla. More importantly, Denzel Washington portrays a key character. Will we not be entertained? We expect that we will be.

11. "Wicked: Part One" — Nov. 27 — Theaters: "Crazy Rich Asians" director Jon M. Chu helms the highly anticipated adaptation of the acclaimed musical by Stephen Schwartz (music and lyrics) and Winnie Holzman (book), which is set in the land of Oz and based on Gregory Maguire's 1995 novel "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West." Schwartz and Holzman are the film's writers, which is wonderful, as is the casting of Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba Thropp, the future Wicked Witch of the West, and Ariana Grande as the woman who will become Glinda the Good, Glinda Upland. But while we allow that a full-fledged screen adaptation of the show likely would be around two and a half hours, splitting the show into two movies — with "Part Two" due almost exactly a year later — feels a little cash-grabby if not, well, downright wicked. Considering the show's best song, "Defying Gravity," brings the first act to a close, we at least should be treated to that in this first installment.

12. "Mickey 17" — March 29 — Theaters: Highly anticipated because it is the first film from South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho since his 2019 Academy Award winner, "Parasite," this science-fiction drama is based on Edward Ashton's novel "Mickey7," about Mickey Barnes, one in a long line of clones, on an interplanetary expedition. Robert Pattinson ("The Batman") stars..

13. "Inside Out 2" — June 14 — Theaters: Riley's a teenager in the sequel to the beloved and Academy Award-winning (and, sorry, but overrated) 2015 film from Walt Disney Pictures affiliate Pixar Animation Studios. That means new personified emotions for Riley, most notably Anxiety, voiced by Maya Hawke. Returning for more inner-Riley fun are Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith) and Anger (Lewis Black). Kelsey Mann makes his feature debut, but he's working with writer Meg LeFauve, who also penned the original.

14. "The Fall Guy" — May 3 — Theaters: Ryan Gosling goes from his outstanding turn as Ken in last year's beloved "Barbie" to playing ... Lee Majors? Well, not really, but Gosling's character in "The Fall Movie," Colt Seavers, shares the name of Majors' character from the 1980s TV series from which it appears to have been very loosely adapted. Yes, Gosling's Colt is a Hollywood stuntman, and, based on the fun first trailer, he seems to have a will-they-won't-they dynamic with Emily Blunt's Jody Moreno, who's directing her first movie and, more importantly, is his ex. When the star for whom Gosling doubles disappears, adventure awaits. And we'll expect plenty of action, as Director David Leitch ("John Wick," "Atomic Blonde") knows a thing or two about that. Most importantly, like "Barbie," this affair appears to be taking itself only so seriously.

15. "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" — May 10 — Theaters: Director Wes Ball ("The Maze Runner" trilogy) gets his stinkin' paws (they probably smell just fine) on the "Planet of the Apes" reboot series with this installment set about three centuries after the events of 2017's "War for the Planet of the Apes." The legacy of ape leader Caesar is intact via ape civilizations while humans have reverted to something less sophisticated. Proximus Caesar (Kevin Durand), who's desperate to find lost human technologies, now rules the apes — seemingly ruthlessly — while young chimpanzee Noa (Owen Teague) goes off on a quest with a young, feral human woman, Mae (Freya Allan).

16. "Horizon: An American Saga Chapter 1" — June 28 — Theaters: In this Western he's also directing, Kevin Costner will continue to do the cowboy thing — something that may have pleased fans of his work on the hit series "Yellowstone" more had scheduling conflicts with the project not been at least a significant reason he has left "Yellowstone" before its conclusion. "Horizon" — which will cover 15 years of American expansion before and after the Civil War — is something Costner has been trying to bring to the screen for decades. Those who do enjoy it won't have to wait long for the sequel, set for theaters less than two months later, on Aug. 16.

17. "A Quiet Place: Day One" — June 27 — Theaters: Details are (cough) hush-hush on this spinoff of the two "A Quiet Place" films, in which vicious aliens, which make up for a lack of sight with incredible hearing, roam Earth. The writer-director of those movies, John Krasinski, is around as a co-writer and producer, with directing duties being handled by his co-writer, Michael Sarnoski ("Pig"). We do know that Djimon Hounsou returns as the character he played in 2021's "A Quiet Place Part II" and that the cast includes Lupita Nyong'o and Joseph Quinn — who memorably portrayed Eddie Munson in the fourth season of Netflix's "Stranger Things."

18. "IF" — May 17 — Theaters: Speaking of Krasinski, he is the writer and director of this family-friendly fantasy comedy blending live action and computer animation. IF stands for imaginary friend, and in the story, a young girl, Bea (Cailey Fleming), gains the ability to see people's normally invisible pals. The cast is led by Ryan Reynolds, as Bea's neighbor, with Krasinski also playing a significant role. "IF" also boasts a bunch of heavy hitters providing voice work, including Steve Carell, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Matt Damon, John Stewart, May Rudolph, Sam Rockwell and Emily Blunt, Krasinski's wife.

19. "Spaceman" — March 1 — Netflix: This science-fiction drama doesn't look like the typical Adam Sandler vehicle for Netflix, with the typically comedic actor portraying an astronaut on a solo mission at the edge of the solar system. Sandler has big-name costars in Carey Mulligan, as his character's pregnant wife, and Paul Dano as the voice of an alien spider he encounters.

20. "The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim" — Dec. 15 — Theaters: We mostly liked it, but last year's debut season of the visually arresting "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" didn't exactly hit with the force of a fire-breathing dragon. Nonetheless, we're going back to author J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth with this animated film, which, like "Rings of Power," takes place well before the story told in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy of novels and their movie adaptations. Voice work is performed by, among others, Brian Cox, as the King of Rohan, and Miranda Otto, narrating the story as Eowyn, the character she portrayed in the 2002 middle installment of director Peter Jackson's life-action trilogy, "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers."

21. "Karate Kid" — Dec. 13 — Theaters: Thanks to the success of the Netflix "Karate Kid"-related series "Cobra Kai" — we greatly enjoyed the first season but then became frustrated with the storytelling and waxed off — plenty of folks surely are looking forward to this movie, which shares the title of the 1984 original and its 2010 remake. It's unclear whether it will tie in to "Cobra Kai" — various business interests could get in the way of that — but it will feature Ralph Macchio, who reprised the role of Daniel LaRusso from the original movies for the show. We know the movie also boasts Jackie Chan, a cast member of the remake. Jonathan Entwistle, director of another Netflix series, "The End of the F***ing World," is set to direct.

22. "Road House" — March 21 — Prime Video: If this release date holds, it shouldn't be long before we see a trailer for this remake of the 1989 movie that starred the late Patrick Swayze — as the "cooler" keeping things relatively peaceful at a rowdy bar. While Jake Gyllenhaal would seem to have the physical stature to star in the remake, as a former UFC fighter hired by a joint in the Florida Keys, we'd not take this not too seriously were it not directed by typically excellent Doug Limon ("The Bourne Identity," "Edge of Tomorrow"). Let's stop in for a drink and see how things go.

23. "Back to Black" — May 10 — Theaters: Marisa Abela ("Industry") portrays the late singer Amy Winehouse in this biopic directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson ("Fifty Shades of Grey").

24. "Bob Marley: One Love" — Feb. 14 — Theaters: We'll stick with a theme to close, shining a little light on this soon-to-hit biopic about the late great reggae legend. The talented Kingsley Ben-Adir portrays Marley, with Reinaldo Marcus Green ("King Richard") at the helm.