This article originally appeared on Den of Geek UK.
When Pitch Perfect 3 scuttled away from its planned summer release slot to a seemingly-safer December 2016 bow, it became the first of 2017’s big movies to run for cover, from what’s already an ultra-competitive summer season. With Disney set to slot in another thus-far unannounced live action fairy tale in July/August 2017, already the schedules look crowded.
Here are the films we know about, with their release dates as they stand right now…
The Wolverine 3
If you needed proof that the summer blockbuster season is starting earlier and earlier, then March 2017 might just be it. It’s arguably the most jam-packed month of 2017 for big movies, kicking off with Hugh Jackman’s final (we’re told) appearance as Wolverine.
The Wolverine 3 reunites him with The Wolverine director James Mangold, and is set to follow Deadpool by being R-rated. It’s almost certainly going to be based on the Old Man Logan comic, and the cast also includes Sir Patrick Stewart, Boyd Holbrook, Richard E Grant, Stephen Merchant, Elisa Neal, and Eriq La Salle. Here’s hoping Logan goes out with a proverbial bang…
Kong: Skull Island
Before 2011’s Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes rebooted the series with some style, not many were suggesting that the Planet Of The Apes franchise would fully rediscover its commercial potency. As we’re going to see further down the list, it absolutely has.
Kong: Skull Island is, I’d suggest, where Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes was. It’s not necessarily a prequel story that many are crying out for, but if done properly? Well, Legendary has big plans for a franchise here.
Certainly, the personnel is very, very impressive. The Kings Of Summer director Jordan Vogt-Roberts is a crucial signing behind the camera, while Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Toby Kebbell, Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly, Corey Hawkins, and John Goodman are just a taste of the excellent ensemble cast.
Can the film deliver? There’s certainly plenty riding on it. I’d suggest writing this one off at your peril…
Beauty And The Beast
By now, does anyone have the slightest doubt that Disney utterly knows what it’s doing here? The first of its two-planned live action fairytales for 2017, this sees Bill Condon bringing Beauty And The Beast back to the big screen.
Again, no complaints with the cast here. Dan Stevens and Emma Watson take the title roles, but as with the animated classic, it’s the supporting characters that really count too. Cue Ewan McGregor, Luke Evans, Sir Ian McKellen, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Emma Thompson, Josh Gad, Stanley Tucci, and Kevin Kline.
Very early signs suggest no expense has been spared on this one, and with Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book movie having grossed nearly $900 million worldwide, that’s little surprise. A big hit is guaranteed here, too. Even though it opens opposite the eagerly-awaited Baby Driver in the US, from director Edgar Wright.
March 24th – Knights Of The Roundtable: King Arthur
Warner Bros has delayed its planned King Arthur franchise launcher once (from 2016), and now Knights Of The Roundtable: King Arthur suddenly finds itself deep in heavy competition.
Charlie Hunnam is the new King Arthur, with the plan being to make up to six of these films. Guy Ritchie is helming the first of them, which is now in post-production, from Joby Harold’s screenplay.
Some useful acting faces in the ensemble here, along with David Beckham. Aidan Gillen, Katie McGrath, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Jude Law, Eric Bana, Freddie Fox, and Djimon Hounsou, amongst others, are lending weight to the production.
Warner Bros is giving the impression of being a little wary, not least coming off the back of supposed franchise-launchers The Man From UNCLE (also directed by Ritchie) and Pan. I’d suspect there will be a lot of crossed fingers at its HQ when the new King Arthur is released into the world…
As things stand, the irony is that King Arthur is set to do battle with another movie that’s being designed as the springboard for several sequels. Lionsgate is looking for a good half-dozen Power Rangers movies if this sizeable reboot takes off. Dean Israelite is calling the shots behind the camera, and Elizabeth Banks is the highest profile name in front of it.
But then Lionsgate will be looking to copy the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles template, that saw Paramount score a half a billion dollar hit back in 2014, spawning this year’s sequel in the process.
Lionsgate seems to have confidence: it’s already shifted the film from a lower-profile January release slot to late March. If it hits, there’s one mighty big box set at the end of all of this…
Ghost In The Shell
Class this one as a gamble, and perhaps not a small one. The idea of a live action take on the classic Ghost In The Shell anime has been doing the rounds for many years, but finally, Disney and DreamWorks have taken the plunge. Rupert Sanders (Snow White And The Huntsman) is steering this particular ship, with Scarlett Johansson taking on the lead role of Kusanagi (already generating some controversy).
Elsewhere in the cast you’ll find Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbaek, Juliette Binoche, Michael Wincott, Takeshi Kitano, and Rila Fukushima.
There are some films on this list that, I’d argue, with a hugely expensive marketing campaign, could get by no matter what the final cut. This one? I’m not so sure, notwithstanding the fact that Scarlett Johansson helped power Lucy to become a major international hit.
Still, a film like Ghost In The Shell might just need a few people to fight for it. All pressure on Sanders and his team at this stage to put together a film really worth fighting for, then. Fingers crossed…
Fast & Furious 8
Few expect Fast & Furious 8 to top the stunning box office haul of Fast & Furious 7, which stands as the sixth biggest film of all time, thanks to its $1.5 billion worth of takings. Of course, the tragic loss of Paul Walker was not without some impact, and his absence will surely be felt in the new movie, which will once again be headed up by Vin Diesel.
A couple of changes to personnel here. F. Gary Gray, off the back of his huge success with Straight Outta Compton, is directing. Meanwhile, Charlize Theron joins the series as the new villain this time around.
Even though Fast & Furious 8 will do well to be a franchise high, the movies know what they’re doing now. A lavish soap opera with cars, there should be $1 billion of business here still. And plenty of road left for the next two, already-announced movies.
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2
2017 is the first year we get to see three Marvel films in a calendar year – and first out of the traps is James Gunn’s eagerly-awaited Guardians Of The Galaxy follow-up. Since the first became the big surprise hit of 2014 – ironic, given that it was supposed to be Marvel’s big risk – it feels as though we’ve been counting down to Volume 2. Gunn is writing and directing, and has re-secured the services of the main cast (well, there was likely to have been multi-picture contracts in the first place, but let’s move on).
Thus, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel are all on board. Kurt Russell is joining up for service this time too, and we should get another killer mixtape for our money.
A third film is already being planned, too. And don’t be surprised to see this second movie slide a few pieces into place for 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War Part One…
Given the dozens (count ’em, there are over 20 of them) of straight to video/DVD/any format that’ll take ’em Barbie movies to date, the main surprise here is that it’s taken so long to get a live action feature going. And this may be a smart project for Sony. It’s certainly a contrast with much of the fare heading into cinemas next summer.
A few stumbling blocks, though. There’s a June release date to hit (a month earlier in the US), and still no confirmation of a director or star. Jenny Bicks, Diablo Cody, and Hilary Winston are amongst those who have been working on a screenplay, though.
Barbie may yet shuffle dates, but then conversely, without the need for big action and CG sequences (although it may yet have them!), production won’t need to start for a few months to hit that summer release.
Untitled mother/daughter comedy
Amy Schumer’s first attempt at headlining a major studio comedy landed her with a major studio hit: Trainwreck. Few would bet against her second following suit.
50/50 and The Night Before director Jonathan Levine is helming this one, from a screenplay by Schumer and Ghostbusters (2016) co-writer Katie Dippold. A nice casting coup here too, with Goldie Hawn co-starring in the picture, along with Christopher Meloni, Wanda Sykes, and Tom Bateman.
The film doesn’t have a title yet, but 20th Century Fox might just have one of the quieter hits of 2017 on its hands here…
Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron bring Baywatch to the big screen, in an R-rated take on the infamous television show. Both Pamela Anderson and David Hasselhoff have at least cameo roles in the movie, whilst the rest of the cast includes Alexandra Daddario, Priyanka Chopra, Kelly Rohrbach, and Ilfenesh Hadera.
Horrible Bosses helmer Seth Gordon is directing, and he’s got an outside shot of having the second biggest grossing Dwayne Johnson movie of summer 2017 here. Expect a hit. And then don’t rule out a sequel.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Until Alice Through The Looking Glass unexpectedly stumbled at the box office the other week, Pirates Of The Caribbean looked like the surest sure thing this side of a Star Wars movie. However, there are question marks over Johnny Depp’s box office pulling power now, and – while this site has no intention of going into them – allegations flying around.
Production wrapped on Pirates 5 some time ago, and some additional photography has also been completed. It’s got promising directors on this one as well, with Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg making their Hollywood debuts, earning the job off the back of 2012’s impressive Kon Tiki.
Even six months ago, this had another $1 billion written all over it, no matter what the quality of the final film. As thing stand, it’s a slightly tougher one to call…
Bad Boys 3
The first of two new Bad Boys movies, and most likely the latest example of studios regaining confidence in R-rated summer films. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are both set to return, with Joe Carnahan taking over from Michael Bay on directorial duties. It’s unclear whether Bay will have any involvement in the movie whatsoever at this stage (he’s not even producing this one), not least because he’s busy with Transformers: The Last Knight (coming to that shortly).
Belated sequels have had an up and down time at the box office of late, and much will depend on both whether Smith and Lawrence can recapture their chemistry, and whether people still want to pay money to find out. Joe Carnhan is a smart signing, mind, assuming he does ultimately sign on the dotted line.
DreamWorks Animation may have new owners (it’s now part of the Universal empire), but there’s still a steady pipeline of projects from before its takeover. Captain Underpants shows early promise, using Dav Pikey’s book as its source, and recruiting Nicholas Stoller to pen the screenplay. Furthermore, Turbo‘s David Soren is directing, and that film has some far more impressive moments in it than it’s sometimes given credit for.
Still, this is far from a certain hit, not least because it lands in the midst of a very competitive few weeks (although fans of the book should help carry it to a tidy opening weekend). Captain Underpants vs Wonder Woman? Don’t be surprised if the pants moves its release date.
Kevin Hart leads the voice cast here, incidentally. He’s almost as busy as Dwayne Johnson.
With Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman arguably the best thing about this year’s Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, hopes are high for the character’s standalone big blockbuster movie debut. Patty Jenkins, once linked with helming Thor: The Dark World, is directing, and Robin Wright, Chris Pine, and Lucy Davis are also in the cast.
After the bumpy-ish start to the DC movie universe, Warner Bros will be looking for Wonder Woman to be one of the biggest hits of 2017. I’ve a sneaking suspicion it might be.
World War Z 2
With no sign yet of a start of production, it may yet be that World War Z 2 ends up shifting release date. Brad Pitt is set to return as Gerry Lane in the new movie, which again will be very loosely based on the writing of Max Brooks. Steven Knight and Dennis Kelly have worked on the screenplay, but the project lost its planned director, Juan Antonio Bayona, who instead is making Jurassic World 2.
A new director will be needed, and needed soon, if the film is to hit a release date twelve months away (to put it in context, next June’s Wonder Woman movie has already wrapped filming). My guess? World War Z 2 may need another few months…
The Divergent Series: Ascendant
A young adult series that’s threatening to end with a murmur, the slow descent of the Divergent movies into run of the mill shouting and action hasn’t been much fun to watch. Shailene Woodley, as Tris, remains the standout, but with Lionsgate admitting that the last film was rushed, it’s given new director Lee Toland Krieger a bit more time to put this one together.
Still: has the proverbial horse already bolted here? Whilst loyal fans are likely to turn out to wave Tris and Four off, Ascendant shows little sign of having the sheer box office draw of a Hunger Games movie.
Universal is looking to kickstart its classic monsters movie universe in earnest with its latest reboot of The Mummy. This time, Alex Kurtzman is writing and directing, and Sofia Boutella will take on the title role.
The Universal checkbook has been kept busy too, with Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe both signed up for the new film. Jon Spaihts has penned the screenplay for this one, and if it works, expect to see Universal’s plans for a classic monster movie a year progressing at speed.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Chalk this one down as a good bet for box office gold. The performance of Kingsman: The Secret Service at the box office was far from shabby, the movie becoming a big surprise hit an earning over $400 million worldwide. That was in spite of an apparently off-peak February release and an R-rating.
For the sequel, Fox has given director Matthew Vaughn a high summer release slot, and he fully intends to use it. Taron Egerton returns, and new additions to the cast include Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum, Elton John, Halle Berry and Julianne Moore. High hopes for this one….
Hmmm. A second sequel to one of Pixar’s less-impressive films. That said, the Cars movies are said to have shifted billions of dollars of toys and related goodies, and thus a third film was pretty much inevitable.
Can we get a better film this time around, though? New director Brian Fee is introducing a young upstart racer to push the ageing Lightning McQueen (voiced again by Owen Wilson). Hopefully, though, the character and story can match the spectacle a little better this time around. Still expect this to be a good hit, though. It’ll arrive later in the UK, incidentally.
Transformers: The Last Knight
Review-proof, critic-proof, pretty much anything-proof. Michael Bay is back for a fifth (and he says, again, final) Transformers movie before handing the controls to his gamepad over to someone else (with Transformers movies becoming an annual ‘event’ from 2017). This one sees the return of Megatron, with Mark Wahlberg leading the cast of humans.
It matters not what anyone says now or after the film’s release, mind. The last couple of Transformers films have comfortably overriden howls of derision from the land of critics, and earned over $1 billion. Michael Bay is very, very unlikely to tamper with his formula on this one.
Despicable Me 3
Say hello to the biggest animated hit of 2017. Despicable Me 3 will reunite the minions (off the back of their own $1 billion grossing movie) with Gru, and I can’t be the only one thinking that’s not a bad thing. Steve Carell is voicing him again, with Miranda Cosgrove joining the voice cast, although with Trey Parker.
My prediction: Captain Underpants and Cars 3 won’t come close to the gross of this one, which I comfortably expect to be one of the very biggest film of 2017. It should be one of the most fun family movies of 2017, too.
The comic book movie to beat, and I’m not sure – in box office terms at least – anyone will. Even with Justice League arriving towards the end of the year.
Tom Holland debuted his take on Spider-Man to near-universal acclaim in Captain America: Civil War earlier this year, and Marvel has built in a safety clause for his standalone movie, by persuading Sony to stump up for Robert Downey Jr too. With Michael Keaton set to play the villain, you’re getting good value when it comes to comic book movie talent here.
Behind the camera, Jon Watts makes the leap to blockbuster cinema, following his acclaimed indie flick Cop Car. I’ll confidently predict now: this is going to go down a whole lot better than The Amazing Spider-Man movies…
War For The Planet Of The Apes
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes was a lesson in making an intelligent blockbuster sequel, and with Matt Reeves back directing to tie up the modern Planet Of The Apes trilogy, much is expected. That title is, according to Reeves, War For The Planet Of The Apes, not War Of The Planet Of The Apes.
Andy Serkis once again is set to bring life to Caesar, and the cast includes Judy Greer, Woody Harrelson and Steve Zahn. Mark Bomback has penned the script along with Reeves, and we hope for a strong conclusion to a very satisfying collection of movies. Very, very excited.
Christopher Nolan is looking to bring to the screen another take on the Dunkirk evacuation during World War II, and he’s recruited a mix of previous collaborators and new faces to work with him on it. The cast includes Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Harry Styles, and James D’Arcy. Nolan has penned the script for this one himself too, and it’s set to be the biggest non-franchise movie of the summer.
Whether you warm to his films or not, Nolan always puts in a shift and a half to try and give you your money’s worth. This is not likely to be an exception.
Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets
Ah, if I could will this one to box office gold, I would.
Luc Besson is taking Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres’ comic book, and making both his most expensive movie, and arguably the riskiest venture of the summer. Valerian is a time-travelling agent, played by Dane DeHaan, and he’s sent to investigate a galactic empire.
In the cast? Well, let’s just say this is one wrap party worth trying to score an invite to. Ethan Hawke, Cara Delevingne, John Goodman, Clive Owen, Rihanna and – yes! – Rutger Hauer are all included, and if Besson earns a hit here, sequels are planned.
Hmmm. Unwanted remake of the summer? Quite possibly. Jake Kasdan (Sex Tape) is directing, while Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Tom Holland and Jack Black are the announced cast. This new Jumanji will go back to the source novel from Chris McKenna rather than remake the Robin Williams take of the same name.
That said, online enthusiasm seems low thus far – even including The Rock – but don’t underestimate the needs of parents to have a film to take their kids to see during the school holidays.
Ridley Scott seems to be following up Prometheus by all but ignoring Prometheus. Alien: Covenant moves us a step closer to the events of the first Alien movie, with only Michael Fassbender seemingly appearing from Prometheus. This time, the Covenant ship arrives at what’s said to be a paradise world, only to discover, no doubt, that it isn’t.
Scott comes to Alien: Covenant off the back of his best film in a long time, The Martian. If he can recapture that kind of form, then Alien: Covenant is the grown-up blockbuster to beat.
Another R-rated comedy based on a popular 80s/90s TV show, Dax Shepard should score at least a minor hit with his film of CHiPs (California Highway Patrol). He’s written and directed the movie, and stars too, alongside Michael Pena. Warner Bros is releasing the film. It’ll probably be happy with a few hundred million in the bank on this one, if it can get it.
The Emoji Movie
The summer season ends with, well, this. A movie about Emojis. Little is known about it, and I suspect, in truth, few people want to hear about it right now. Still, Tony Leondis is a director not worth writing off, and you never know: this may be the summer’s surprise animated hit. Stranger things have happened…
And there you have it: the movies we know about thus far for summer 2017. Place your bets…