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With the latest “Harry Potter” spin-off, the sequel to “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” and a fresh take on “Mary Poppins” among the bounty of movies opening in theaters, the rest of 2018 has plenty to offer filmgoers. As popcorn season comes to a close, Variety is looking ahead at some highly anticipated movies releasing in fall.

“A Simple Favor”

Release Date: Sept. 14

Stars: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding

Why we want to see it: The gossip girl goes gone girl in this suspense drama, with Lively hiding behind her trademark blonde waves as a mysterious femme fatale and Kendrick as her blissfully ignorant best friend (“Twilight” vibes, anyone?) — until, of course, Lively’s character goes missing after asking Kendrick’s for a “simple favor.” Oh, and a special shout out to whomever decided to feature the ever-debonair Golding in love scenes with both.


Release Date: Sept. 21

Stars: Keira Knightley, Eleanor Tomlinson, Dominic West, Denise Gough, Fiona Shaw

Why we want to see it: Stately period dramas are basically catnip for Knightley, and who doesn’t want to see her spearhead this feminist tale of the famed French writer? Trading dresses and parasols for a short bob and pantsuits, Knightley’s Colette journeys to take ownership of her authorial voice and come out from the domineering thumb of her husband, played by Dominic West. Sign us up.

“Life Itself”

Release Date: Sept. 21

Stars: Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Annette Bening, Antonio Banderas, Mandy Patinkin, Olivia Cooke, Laia Costa, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Alex Monner

Why we want to see it: As if “This Is Us” doesn’t make us cry enough, creator Dan Fogelman is back with his latest family drama for the big screen. Isaac, in a role giving Milo Ventimiglia’s Papa Pearson a run for his money in the love confession department, embarks on a relationship with Wilde in a story that weaves its way between locales and generations to unspool their romance. Pro tip: bring tissues.


Release Date: Oct. 5

Stars: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed

Why we want to see it: We love a good antihero, and Hardy has shown he’s got the brooding badass persona down pat, from his turns in films like “Inception” and “Mad Max: Fury Road.” In “Venom,” Hardy’s Eddie Brock gains superpowers when he becomes the host for an alien symbiote, but they clash over whether to harm or help with their new gifts. Superhero antics with a side of ethical qualms? We’re so down.

“A Star Is Born”

Release Date: Oct. 5

Stars: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga

Why we want to see it: Lady Gaga’s voice in the trailer alone is spine-tingling, so watching a whole film about discovering and nurturing her raw talent could only be filled with more mellifluous sounds. Cooper is making his directorial debut with the fourth iteration of the undiscovered ingenue story. And luckily, the “star” of the 1976 version herself, Barbra Streisand, gave the film her blessing. So, if Barbra’s in, we’re in.

“First Man”

Release Date: Oct. 12

Stars: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke

Why we want to see it: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” We all know the heroic words of Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, but Damien Chazelle’s film shows how the 1969 Apollo 11 landing nearly failed catastrophically. “First Man” promises a gritty and gripping exploration into one of the most dangerous missions of all time, and what was on the line for not only Armstrong, but the world.

“Beautiful Boy”

Release Date: Oct. 12

Stars: Steve Carell, Timothee Chalamet, Maura Tierney, Amy Ryan

Why we want to see it: Elio is not the only tortured, beautiful soul Chalamet is set to play. In this upcoming drama, we get another glimpse at a tender father-son relationship — think of Michael Stuhlbarg’s consoling speech at the end of “Call Me By Your Name” but replace him with Steve Carell and set the scene in a diner. The story is based on the memoirs of real life father David Sheff and his son Nic Sheff, who struggled with meth addiction. Expect more of Chalamet and his white suits on the awards circuit this year.

“The Hate U Give”

Release Date: Oct. 16

Stars: Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Common, Anthony Mackie, Issa Rae, Algee Smith

Why we want to see it: Stenberg has long been a warrior for human rights offscreen, and this contemporary drama will give audiences the opportunity to see her in action onscreen in this culturally relevant tale, which centers on the shooting of a black teenager by white police and the aftermath that ensues. And who better to rally support and fight for justice than the actress-activist, an outspoken advocate for the #BlackLivesMatter movement in real life.


Release Date: Oct. 19

Stars: Sunny Suljic, Lucas Hedges, Na-kel Smith

Why we want to see it: Jonah Hill’s directorial debut follows Stevie, an L.A. teenager dealing with problems many other kids know well: he’s a loner who wants to fit in, and he has a jerky older brother. But the trailer manages to imbue individuality into this oft-told narrative, with its intimate portrayal of skater culture, funny exchanges and a perfectly nostalgic soundtrack.


Release Date: Oct. 19

Stars: Jamie Lee Curtis, Nick Castle, Judy Greer

Why we want to see it: After a stint on the horror-comedy series “Scream Queens,” Curtis is returning to her horror roots on the big screen. Laurie Strode is back to take vengeance on Michael Myers, the man who has long been the source of her trauma — the effects of which are laid bare thanks to Curtis, who has taken inspiration from the #MeToo movement when speaking about David Gordon Green’s film.

“Bohemian Rhapsody”

Release Date: Nov. 2

Stars: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Tom Hollander, Allen Leech, Mike Myers, Aaron McCusker

Why we want to see it: We are ready for Rami Malek to rock us with his turn as Freddie Mercury in the highly anticipated biopic of the late lead singer of Queen. From the trailer, we get a taste of the flashy jumpsuits and repeated “Galileo’s” that shot the band to mega-stardom, but it’s really the inside look at Mercury’s life and the unpacking of his stage persona that assure that this isn’t one that’ll just bite the dust.

“The Nutcracker and the Four Realms”

Release Date: Nov. 2

Stars: Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren

Why we want to see it: After stealing scenes in the “Twilight” saga and “Interstellar,” rising star Foy finally has the opportunity to show off the full extent of her acting chops by leading this fantastical Disney-Tchaikovsky crossover just in time for the holiday season. Plus, there’s a star-studded supporting cast of Hollywood royalty and a cameo from prima ballerina Misty Copeland.

“Boy Erased”

Release Date: Nov. 2

Stars: Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Joel Edgerton, Russell Crowe

Why we want to see it: Joel Edgerton directs, writes and co-stars in this film about a boy sent by his religious parents to a gay conversion program where castigation and corporal punishment are everyday rituals. This looks like a required watch to truly understand the hardships LGBT youth have to experience, and how much farther acceptance needs to go.


Release Date: Nov. 2

Stars: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Chloe Grace Moretz, Jessica Harper, Mia Goth

Why we want to see it: Reuniting with Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton, Luca Guadagnino is taking Dario Argento’s cult horror classic for a spin with a remake of the suspicious happenings at a dance academy abroad. Jessica Harper, who played the original Suzy Bannon in the 1977 film, also returns. Get ready for some truly outrageous scenes of decadence and terror.

“The Girl in the Spider’s Web”

Release Date: Nov. 9

Stars: Claire Foy, Sverrir Gudnason, Lakeith Stanfield, Sylvia Hoeks, Stephen Merchant

Why we want to see it: Foy sheds her royal gowns and prim Queen’s English for rubber bodysuits and a Swedish accent by taking over for Rooney Mara as the new Lisbeth Salander in the sequel to “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” As thrilling as it is to watch Foy throw subtle shade at revolving door of British prime ministers over afternoon tea, we’re ready to see her ensnare and devour abusive men sans formalities.


Release Date: Nov. 16

Stars: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Bryan Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Jackie Weaver, Robert Duvall, Carrie Coon

Why we want to see it: These widows have a job to do. After losing their husbands in a failed heist, Davis, Rodriguez, Debicki, and Erivo take matters into their own hands to settle the debt. Davis may say in the trailer for the Steve McQueen film that “no one thinks we have the balls to pull this off,” but we certainly do.

“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”

Release Date: Nov. 16

Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Johnny Depp, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller

Why we want to see it: Has the wizarding world of Harry Potter reigned over the fantasy realm for too long? Perhaps. But you know we’re still going to buy tickets to find out. The sequel to “Fantastic Beasts” features the return of Redmayne’s endearingly clumsy Newt Scamander, a more prominent storyline for original “Beasts” breakout Miller, and Depp’s controversial comeback in the titular role. Plus, Law as a young Albus Dumbledore — enough said.

“Creed II”

Release Date: Nov. 21

Stars: Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Sylvester Stallone

Why we want to see it: “Creed” breathed new life into the Rocky franchise, and its sequel appears to be just as electric. Jordan’s Adonis Creed faces off against the son of his father’s infamous rival, Ivan Drago, and his legacy depends on this match. The trailer, interspersed with Kendrick Lamar’s thundering track “Loyalty,” brings the energy and our anticipation up to 100.

“Ralph Breaks the Internet”

Release Date: Nov. 21

Stars: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Taraji P. Henson, Alan Tudyk, Gal Gadot

Why we want to see it: Everyone’s favorite video game villain-turned-hero is back, and — perhaps more importantly — so is every Disney princess, thanks to cameos from original princess voices Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Anika Noni Rose, Ming-Na Wen, Auli’i Cravalho, and more. Also, we’ve been waiting for Gadot’s voice acting debut as high-speed race car driver, Shank.

“Green Book”

Release Date: Nov. 21

Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali

Why we want to see it: Think “Driving Miss Daisy” but this time with Viggo Mortensen at the wheel. Ali plays a traveling pianist who hires Mortensen to be his chaffeur. Along the way, they foster bonds of friendship and loyalty that are sure to trigger some awards buzz. Can we call shotgun?


Release Date: Dec. 21

Stars: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman

Why we want to see it: We’ve seen glimpses of DC’s seafaring superhero in “Batman v Superman” and “Justice League,” neither of which wowed in theaters. But we’re willing to give Momoa and his brooding stoicism the benefit of the doubt for Aquaman’s origin story, which — as proven by “Batman Begins” and “Wonder Woman” — is the type of story DC does best, anyway. Added bait are Kidman’s underwater debut as Queen Atlanna and Heard’s return as the amphibious Mera.

“If Beale Street Could Talk”

Release Date: Nov. 30

Stars: Kiki Layne, Stephan James, Regina King

Why we want to see it: Barry Jenkins could be selling a cardboard box and we’d be the first ones in line. The screenwriter and director gave so much humanity to “Moonlight,” and his new project, based on the James Baldwin novel about a woman trying to prove her incarcerated fiance’s innocence, looks to be no different.

“Mary Queen of Scots”

Release Date: Dec. 2

Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Gemma Chan

Why we want to see it: So what if this period piece is probably not historically accurate? We’re here for the drama. Ronan and Robbie are enthralling as Mary and Queen Elizabeth, friends turned rivals vying for ultimate power.

“Mary Poppins Returns”

Release Date: Dec. 19

Stars: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer

Why we want to see it: Reviving the iconic Julie Andrews role is a risky bet, but if there’s anyone to do it, it’s Blunt. The Brit has equal parts charm and sass, and with films like “Into the Woods” under her belt, we can’t wait for Christmas and our spoonful of sugar.

“On the Basis of Sex”

Release Date: December 26

Stars: Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux, Sam Waterston, Kathy Bates, Jack Reynor

Why we want to see it: All we want for Christmas is some girl power, and Felicity Jones’ portrayal of Ruth Bader Ginsburg serves her ferocity up with a side of justice as the perfect holiday present.

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