Santa Monica, CA — Looking at the big franchise films slated for release in 2017, one headline jumps out at me: Disney (including LucasFilm, Marvel and Pixar) is gonna have a boffo year at the box office with at least nine guaranteed hits resulting in billions of dollars in revenue.
Universal will also have a big year, too (but not as many hits). Warner Bros. & DC may have a big miss (looking at you, Wonder Woman). And Sony, well you are looking just okay with your C-List Franchises (Barbie, Jumanji).
Marvel Studios provide Hugh Jackman’s last turn as Wolverine (via Fox), the return of Chris Pratt & Co. in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Thor 3: Ragnorak. Finally, more of Phase 3 of the MCU and those darn Infinity Stones.
Pixar Studios has Cars 3 and Coco.
LucasFilm will kill it with Star Wars, Ep. VIII: Where Ya Been, Luke! (Working Title)
Meanwhile, Disney will unveil the live-action Beauty & the Beast starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Emma Thompson and Ian McKellen; the return of Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean 5; and, an as yet Untitled Live Action Disney Fairytale (Mulan?)
Here are the big tentpole films comin’ atcha, seemingly one per week in 2017:
TBD Paddington 2 (Studio Canal)
Let’s not under-estimate the power of a family-based franchise such as Paddington.
Feb. 17th The Dark Tower (Sony)
Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba star in the first installment of a planned trilogy. All right, all right, all right! Part One centers on The Gunslinger.
March 3rd X-Men: Wolverine 3 (Fox)
Thanks for the claws, Hugh Jackman!
March 17th Beauty & The Beast (Disney)
Bill Condon directs an all-star cast in this live-action re-make. Easy to predict it will be a big hit connecting with a more diverse audience than the recent Cinderella.
March 17th King Kong: Skull Island (Universal)
Tom Hiddleston leads a group of explorers which includes Oscar-winner Brie Larson.
May 5th Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (Disney & Marvel Studios)
James Gunn directs the sequel and Kurt Russell is set to portray Star Lord’s dad! Will we see some Infinity Stones or Thanos?
May 12th Barbie: The Movie (Sony)
I. Just. Don’t. See. It. Box Office Bomb Alert! Sorry, Mattel.
May 26th Pirates of the Caribbean 5 (Disney)
Johnny Depp returns to much more lucrative waters.
June 2nd Bad Boys 3 (Sony)
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence return in hopes of reviving their careers.
June 9th The Mummy (Universal)
A re-boot starring Tom Cruise in Universal’s 1st Monster Universe franchise film. Sofia Boutella (Kingsman) is the Mummy herself! Good counter-programming to the final entry in the Divergent series: Ascendant
June 16th Cars 3 (Disney & Pixar Studios)
June 16th Kingsman 2 (Fox)
My personal favorite film of 2014 was Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service with Colin Firth, Michael Caine, Jack Davenport & Co.
June 23rd Wonder Woman (Warner Bros. & DC Comics)
Gal Gadot stars in this solo outing following an appearance in Batman Vs. Superman. Patty Jenkins directs the 4th installment of the newly minted DC Universe of Films following Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, Batman vs. Superman, and Suicide Squad.
June 30th Despicable Me 3 (Universal)
People love those Minions. Family fare to fare quite well.
July 7th Spider-Man (Sony & Marvel Studios)
Yikes! Too soon for re-boot #3 in my opinion. Peter Parker is now even younger. Marisa Tomei has been cast as Aunt May!
July 28th Jumanji (Sony)
I have nothing to go on but Instinct which tells me this will be a dud along the lines of Sony’s re-make of Annie.
Aug. TBD Mission Impossible 6 (Paramount)
Not holding my breath here for this release date to stick.
Aug. 4th Pitch Perfect 3 (Universal)
Elizabeth Banks returns as the franchise’s triple threat (acting, producing, directing!). While I enjoyed the first one, I thought the sequel was spectacularly bad. Fingers crossed that Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson get a better story from screenwriter Kay Cannon.
Aug. 4th Alien: Covenant (Fox)
The Sequel to Prometheus. Good counter-programming to PP3.
Oct. 6th TBD Marvel Movie (Fox)
Likely to be Gambit starring Channing Tatum. Pic’s originally been slated for October 2016 but got pushed back a year since production has not even begun yet.
Nov. 3rd Thor 3: Ragnorak (Disney & Marvel Studios)
Marvel’s Cinematic Universe delves further into those darn Infinity Stones, and Cate Blanchett joins the cast!
Nov. 17th Justice League Part One (Warner Bros. & DC Comics)
Count me in! Jason Momoa as Aquaman and Ezra Miller as The Flash. The Super Friends will only be as good as the Legion of Doom so Warner Bros. and DC had better get their villains right. Looking at you, Suicide Squad!
Nov. 22nd Coco (Disney & Pixar Studios)
Dec. 15th Star Wars, Ep. VIII: What’s New, Luke? (Disney & LucasFilm)
Story picks up with Rey handing Luke Skywalker his old light saber…
Dec. 22nd Untitled Disney Live-Action Fairytale (Mulan??)
Note: This Film Slate is tentative as release dates tend to be fluid and change due to re-shoots, competition, etc., so I will update this post regularly.
Up Next: TV Surf Report on Pilot Season (where Disney & Universal are also big players)