Welcome to the universe. The universe of universes. Just looking at the box office calendar for 2017, no year before has seemed more packed with tentpole movies, productions that either continue and add to a well-established brand or aim to act as the Big Bang explosion that births a universe. In 2016, you had the MCU, the Star Wars galaxy, and whatever DC was trying to build; those franchises are returning guns blazing this year, and they’re joined by even more. The Fast franchise is back; Kong: Skull Island is kicking off a movie world centered on monstars. And then there’s Baywatch.
You might think this sounds bleak. I remember the days when moving pictures stood for something, the old man in you may be uttering. But as the universe-building strategy of moviemaking grows another year older and takes full form, at least its execution is improving. The MCU is good! Star Wars is killing it! Yes, big studios have figured out how to minimize risk, squeezing out the underdogs in the process, but the results of this paradigm shift are really improving. (And let’s be honest: indie film is doing just fine. Just ask La La Land.) So yeah, 2017’s entire calendar is packed with blockbusters, but that might be a good thing.
Here’s what we’re most looking forward to this year.