COLD TREATMENT Robert Pattinson takes a bath in 'Mickey 17',' due in theaters March 29. (Photo courtesy Netflix)

By Jared Rasic

Covid showed us what a world without new movies looked like and, for at least some of us, that was indeed the darkest time. So, consider me incredibly excited for 2024, which has new releases from proven auteurs, and more sequels, prequels and re-quels than you can shake a stick at. Basically, there’s something for just about everyone.

While I can’t list everything I’m excited to see, here are a few 2024 releases I’ll be viewing opening weekend. The dates given are the projected release, which may change.

In theaters now: The Book of Clarence: The new film from Jeymes Samuel, who exploded into filmmaking with his 2022 debut feature, The Harder They Fall. Starring LaKeith Stanfield, Omar Sy, Alfre Woodard, Benedict Cumberbatch, James McAvoy and many others, this new film follows Stanfield’s Clarence, a man in 29 A.D. Jerusalem looking to capitalize on the popularity of Jesus by pretending to be the next messiah. Should be subversive and thought provoking.

Feb. 2: Orion and the Dark: An animated fantasy adventure headed straight to Netflix, this story follows a young boy filled with anxiety who is deeply afraid of the dark. One night, the living embodiment of night shows up in his room and takes Orion on an adventure across his imagination to show him there’s nothing to fear from the dark. I’m mostly excited for this because it’s written by my favorite film scribe of all time, Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptation), and because it’s time for another truly great animated film.

Feb. 23: Drive-Away Dolls: Starring the great Margaret Qualley, Geraldine Viswanathan and Colman Domingo, this is the first solo directing gig from Ethan Coen, and a project he’s been connected to since the early 2000s. An homage to the ’70s exploitation romances Coen grew up with, this looks like a brutally funny post-feminist buddy movie of the kind we just don’t see anymore.

March 1: Dune: Part Two: People are as excited for this as I am, right? Even if you’re not big into sci-fi epics, Denis Villeneuve is always a filmmaker to watch as he creates entirely new worlds out of whole cloth. Really hoping this carries the same depth as Part One.

LOVE MAD Lady Gaga and Joaquin Phoenix in “Joker: Folie à Deux,” due in theaters in October. (Photo courtesy of Warners)

March 29: Mickey 17: Robert Pattinson, Mark Ruffalo, Toni Collette and Steven Yeun star in a sci-fi epic following Mickey, an expendable clone colonizing a dangerous ice planet. Why be excited for this? Aside from the cast, this is Bong Joon-ho’s first new movie since he blew everyone’s minds with 2019’s Parasite. His films are unmissable.

April 26: Civil War: The great Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Devs) imagines what the United States would look like when caught in the throes of a civil war. There are images in the trailer I can’t get out of my head, so I’m really hoping the film shows the ridiculousness of our divides and calls for our country to come back together, as opposed to cementing the culture war into something more insidious. This should be the movie everyone is talking about in April.

May 24: Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga: If Fury Road is, dare I say, inarguably the best action movie of the 21st century so far, then a prequel following young Furiosa (here played by Anya Taylor-Joy) with George Miller still in the director’s chair has me entirely too excited. I’m not sure if it’s even possible to reach the same highs as Fury Road, but I would never bet against Miller.

June 14: Inside Out 2: I’m not crying, you’re crying.

Aug. 9: Speak No Evil: An American remake of the deeply terrifying 2022 Danish thriller, this film stars James McAvoy. Expect this to be one of the most talked about horror movies of the year.

Oct. 4: Joker: Folie à Deux: I wasn’t as in love with 2019’s Joker as most people, but I’m very excited for this sequel, and to see Joaquin Phoenix fully inhabit the Joker at his worst. Plus, with Lady Gaga as Harley Quinn, it feels like this could be a genuinely haunting character study of psychosis. Or, it might be awful.

Nov. 22: Gladiator 2: I’m mostly excited for this because of Paul Mescal and Denzel Washington, but Ridley Scott is such an idiosyncratic director that no matter what I imagine this movie is going to be like, I’ll be way off.

Some of the most exciting releases for 2024 (that aren’t sequels or based on existing IP) either don’t have concrete release dates set, especially for smaller markets, or haven’t even been announced. But here’s a few more to keep your eyes peeled for this year:

The Zone of Interest, a holocaust drama from Jonathan Glazer; an untitled Jordan Peele project due to come out Christmas Day; Babes, the directorial debut of Pamela Adlon starring Ilana Glazer; Hit Man, Richard Linklater’s newest, a comedy action flick starring Glen Powell; Kinds of Kindness, Yorgos Lanthimos’ already-filmed follow-up to Poor Things; and finally Megalopolis, the 40-year passion project of the great Francis Ford Coppola.

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