The Year Ahead in Movies

The Year Ahead in Movies

The movies of 2024 bring with them more uncertainty than we’ve seen in a very long time. After over a decade of superhero and franchise dominance, 2023 broke the mold. Of the top 10 highest-grossing films of the year, only half were sequels, and one of those, Avatar: The Way of Water, was a carryover from the year before. Films based on either new IP or wholly original takes dominated the box office and pop culture conversation, from Barbie and Oppenheimer, to The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Sound of Freedom. Taylor Swift even proved that movies could be mega hits without going the normal release route, as her concert film came out without traditional marketing or distribution. At each and every turn, 2023 had a surprise in the cinemas. So will those trends continue into 2024 or was it all just an enigma?

What we’re waiting for:

  • Nostalgia reigns. The year 2024 will bring with it sequels, reboots, and new interpretations of some of our most beloved classic franchises, several of which haven’t been on the big screen in years. We’re talking a new Alien, a new Mad Max, Twister, Beetlejuice, The Crow, Transformers, Ghostbusters, Lord of the Rings, Planet of the Apes, even Lion King, just to name a few. It’s gonna feel like the 1990s or 2000s all over again.
  • Major mystery. Of those nostalgic sequels, some simply boggle the mind. We’re actually getting a second Beetlejuice movie? Now? Ridley Scott is making a new Gladiator movie? What’s a fully animated Lord of the Rings movie going to look like in 2024? Since the Joker sequel is a musical, will it work as well as the original? These are just a few of the questions upcoming movies bring up.
  • Delays. A huge story across 2023 was how the strikes of both the writers and actors changed the face of Hollywood. Several massive films slated for 2024 release have already moved, while others just shifted back in the year. As the months pass, we fully expect to see that trend continue as studios and filmmakers realize it’s more important to get something right than to rush it out.
  • The unexpected. As we said before, 2023 gave us a neverending mountain of movie surprises. Barbie was not only good, but the biggest film of the year? A three-hour movie about the atomic bomb is not a bomb at the box office? Well, we don’t know what will be the big surprises of 2024, but we expect them to happen. Maybe a sequel like Dune: Part Two finds itself in the Oscar race. Maybe the one single Marvel movie coming out, Deadpool 3, reinvigorates that franchise. Or maybe we all once again become obsessed with Transformers with it going back to its animated roots. We don’t know what’s going to happen, but something wild will happen.

Unconventional wisdom:

Conventional wisdom is that sequels suck. And with so, so many sequels coming out in 2024, the safest bet is to believe that trend will continue. However, look at the filmmakers involved here: Frank Miller, Denis Villeneuve, Tim Burton, Ridley Scott, etc. We have a feeling this year, many of these questionable sequels will actually be good. Not all of them, just more than expected.

People to follow:

  • James Gunn – Most major creatives in Hollywood stay off social media. Not Gunn. Gunn uses X, Threads, Instagram, and more to interact with fans, debunk rumors, and drop many exciting teases. Since 2024 will see Gunn in production on his 2025 release Superman: Legacy, the kickoff to his DC Universe, he should have plenty to keep an eye on.
  • Guillermo del Toro – One of our finest filmmakers, del Toro is also big on using social media and will be making a highly anticipated, star-studded, Frankenstein movie for Netflix this year. That’ll be exciting plus he’s just a great follow in general.
  • James Mangold – The director of this year’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is about to make a Bob Dylan movie but, after that, is supposed to work on a major Star Wars film. When or whether that happens is certainly not clear, but following him will be a great way to find out for sure.
  • Shawn Levy – Levy not only has Deadpool 3 coming out in 2024, he’ll be producing the final season of Stranger Things as well. He’s always doing something cool.

Companies to watch:

  • Warner Bros. Pictures – From Furiosa and Dune: Part Two, to Joker and Beetlejuice, Warner Bros. has many of the year’s most anticipated films. And it’ll be the first to announce any real news about them.
  • Prime Video – Amazon’s streaming service has been buying up excellent smaller films left and right so it’s always good to keep an eye on what it’s doing.
  • Sony Pictures – There may only be one mainline Marvel Studios film coming this year (Deadpool 3), but Sony has three Spider-Man spinoffs coming in Madame Web, Kraven the Hunter, and Venom 3. That, plus the need for news on Beyond the Spider-Verse and a fourth Spider-Man, mean you should keep an eye out.

A longshot bet:

I’ve been talking about it the whole time and now, it’s time to double down. Last year I said the highest-grossing film of the year wouldn’t be DC or Marvel, and that was correct. What I didn’t guess is that that film would be Barbie and it would also be in contention for all the awards. So, we’re going to kind of play the middle here and say that one of this year’s big sequels—maybe Dune, maybe Alien, maybe Joker, maybe Gladiator, maybe Furiosa—will be a huge hit, it’ll be a major award contender coming this time next year too.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.