Despite all of its many faults and shortcomings, 2016 had at least one bright spot: it was a very good time for some excellent films. From blockbusters to indies, almost every genre had at least one stellar example that will stand the test of time in the minds of viewers and the hearts of cinephiles. As the dust settles on 2016 and awards are given out to the year’s best films, it’s time to look forward. While 2017 is shaping up to be another rough 12 months for all sorts of reasons, what will it hold for moviegoers? Below is a list of the most hotly anticipated films of the new year broken down by release date. These are the movies we are most looking forward to in 2017, and hopefully, they will continue the trend of a good time at the movie theater.
“The Girl with All the Gifts” (January 26)
While the U.K. and a few other countries have already gotten a look at director Colm McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic zombie film, U.S. viewers will soon get a chance of their own to see this amazing film. Having caught it at Fantastic Fest in 2016, as well as being familiar with the original book by M.R. Carey, I can vouch that it is an incredibly original takes on the zombie subgenre that dares to ask tough questions and provide even tougher answers. It’s beautiful, impressive, tense, and it feels like something both oddly familiar yet utterly new.
With the garbage fire of a year that was 2016 fading away in the rearview, it’s time to look forward at the prospects that 2017 holds. While 2016 was pretty awful in most respects, it did manage to deliver some excellent films, including a few instant classics. But will the studios learn the right lessons from these critical and financial successes, or will the new year simply regurgitate the same wrong-headed mistakes from years prior? To help Hollywood navigate the stormy seas of success, below is a list of five resolutions it should adopt in 2017 (and beyond) to ensure delivery of more great films in the future.
1) Embrace Diversity in Casting (and Behind the Camera, Too)
Two of the biggest successes of the year, “Doctor Strange” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” were populated by a diverse cast of actors that were of different races and genders. And while they weren’t without controversy (the whitewashing of the Ancient One, for example) or their token white saviors (Benedict Cumberbatch and Felicity Jones, respectfully), it was still refreshing to see large studio films actually utilize women and people of color in bigger roles in their tentpole movies. But there needs to be more of this, and it needs to happen behind the camera, too.
The reason why this is so important, especially for blockbusters, is that it helps inspire the next generation of nerds and cinephiles. It’s easy to forget how transformative it can be to “see yourself” up on screen, especially for the white male population, but it really does matter to younger generations to see representations of themselves in movies. Embracing diversity in film helps audiences (particularly non-white, non-male viewers) connect better to what they’re seeing, which helps to inspire their dreams and imaginations, as well as reflects the actual diversity of audiences in today’s world. 2016 did an okay job of inclusiveness, but there are many miles to go before we sleep.