From 'Dune 2' to 'Ballerina', Hollywood films that are all set to fight for spotlight in 2024

There's hope on the horizon. Films that dodged the strike's scythe are gearing up for their grand entrances, promising to reignite the box office bonfire

By Yasser Usman

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Dune: Part Two set to release in March 2024
Dune: Part Two set to release in March 2024

Published: Thu 18 Jan 2024, 8:19 PM

Last updated: Thu 18 Jan 2024, 11:21 PM

The past year in Hollywood wasn't just about popcorn and applause, but picket lines and walkouts too. Dual strikes by actors and writers left Hollywood reeling, and the echoes are still reverberating in the once-bustling halls of Tinseltown. But the real hangover lies ahead. The strikes' shadow stretches ominously into 2024. Some projects, once slated to grace the silver screen in 2024, have withered under the prolonged production paralysis. However, amid this chaos, there's hope on the horizon. Films that dodged the strike's scythe are gearing up for their grand entrances, promising to reignite the box office bonfire. Before the first month of the new year wraps up, it's time to ditch the resolutions and dive headfirst into the silver screen. Let’s peek at the Hollywood movies I'm eagerly looking forward to in 2024.

Denis Villeneuve's highly anticipated sequel, Dune: Part Two (March 1), easily snags the title of 2024's most anticipated release. Originally slated for 2023, Dune: Part Two plunges us deeper into Frank Herbert's sprawling sci-fi universe, with Timothée Chalamet reprising his role as the brooding Paul embarking on a vengeful quest after his family's betrayal. Despite dividing audiences initially, Villeneuve's boldness in adapting Herbert's masterpiece earned him a devoted following. Dune's impact extends far beyond cinema, influencing iconic sci-fi franchises like Star Wars and Star Trek. With Dune: Part Two, Villeneuve aims to cement his status as a master of sci-fi filmmaking.

March also heralds the arrival of a wilder chapter in the MonsterVerse. After his chilling Death Note (2017) adaptation, director Adam Wingard unleashes Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, the latest colossal spectacle from Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures. This time, our scaly and hairy heroes are pitted against a brand-new breed of monstrous mayhem. However, this big budget bonanza has further delayed the release of an important movie of the year: Mickey 17, directed by South Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho, the architect of the Oscar-gobbling Parasite (2019). This sci-fi odyssey follows Mickey (Robert Pattinson), a disposable employee sent to colonise an ice world, and soon realises that his body can regenerate after death but with his memories still preserved.

Ballerina set to release on June 7
Ballerina set to release on June 7

As a fan of the John Wick movies, I am particularly excited about Ballerina (June 7), the first spin-off of the John Wick franchise. The sexy Ana De Armas takes the lead as Rooney, a ballet dancer/assassin, with Keanu Reeves also making an appearance. It is set between the events of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019) and John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023). Then we have Bad Boys 4 where Will Smith returns after the Oscars' reverberating slap, reteams with Martin Lawrence as Miami's most combustible cops, Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett. With Michael Bay's 1995 original now a distant VHS relic, Bad Boys 4 promises a modern reboot, helmed by the rising auteurs Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (fresh off the unceremonious shelving of their Batgirl project).

Buckle up, animation fans, for a cinematic buffet of animated goodness! First, get ready for Garfield (May 24), where Chris Pratt gives voice to the lasagna-loving kitty who's teamed up with his streetwise dad (Samuel L. Jackson!) and perpetually confused canine pal Odie (Harvey Guillén) for a heist you won't want to miss. Think Ocean's Eleven meets hairballs.Then, brace yourself for an emotional rollercoaster on June 14 with Inside Out 2. Our favourite anthropomorphic emotions, led by Amy Poehler's sunshine princess Joy, are back to navigate the mind of a growing girl. Get set for teenage angst, existential crises, and maybe even a sprinkle of first crushes, all filtered through the hilarious lens of our inner voices. And keep an eye out for Maya Hawke joining the cast as Anxiety – because even Joy needs a little darkness to truly shine.

I relish compelling biopics and 2024 serves up two captivating journeys into the lives of music icons. After years of anticipation, Bob Marley, the reggae legend who shook the world with his music and message, gets his cinematic due with Bob Marley: One Love (releasing on February 14). Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green (King Richard) Kingsley Ben-Adir embodies the Jamaican icon, tracing his journey from ghetto superstar to global ambassador, his infectious rhythms uniting hearts and challenging power structures. Lashana Lynch shines as Rita Marley, Bob's fierce confidante and musical partner. Together, they navigate the highs of international acclaim and the lows of assassination attempts and political turmoil. The second biopic, Back to Black (May 10), unveils the life of Amy Winehouse. Marisa Abela embodies the London-born singer as she records her groundbreaking 2006 album, Back to Black, skyrocketing to fame as one of the world’s most renowned musicians almost overnight.

Garfield slated for release in May 2024
Garfield slated for release in May 2024

While the second half of 2024 boasts its share of sequels and spandex-clad heroes, my heart truly belongs to two audacious offerings. First up, July brings Wolfs, a star-studded heist romp with Brad Pitt and George Clooney, a pairing so irresistible it practically begs for popcorn and witty banter. But the crown jewel shines in October with Joker: Folie à Deux. Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix reprise their Oscar-winning dynamic, this time joined by none other than Lady Gaga who plays Joker’s sociopath girlfriend Harley Quinn. Twisted fun seems to be on the horizon!

Don't forget, these are just the flicks that light up my movie radar, the ones I can't wait to catch. But if your favourite didn't get a shout-out, don't sweat it. Grab your popcorn, your buddies, and your hunger for excitement – there's a galaxy of cool movies out there. Catch you in the dimly lit theatre.

wknd@khaleejtimes.com


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