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Films about Whitney Houston and David Bowie, another Avatar and yet more superheroes, including an extended version of Spider-Man: No Way Home – that’s what moviegoers have in store for the rest of the year after a strong bounce-back in cinema-going.
The movies heading for cinemas promise to continue the recovery that has seen strong openings for Jurassic World Dominion, Elvis and Minions: The Rise of Gru in the past month.
Chris Hemsworth in Thor: Love and Thunder.Credit:Jasin Boland/Marvel Studios
While ticket sales are still below pre-pandemic levels, the popularity of “event” blockbusters has brought two new entries into the all-time top five at the Australian box office this year.
Released just before Christmas, Spider-Man: No Way Home has become the country’s fourth highest-grossing movie (taking $81.2 million) and Top Gun: Maverick has moved up to fifth ($72.9 million), pushing The Lion King and Avengers: Infinity War down the list.
Are there enough great movies to keep bringing us back to cinemas this year? Here’s how the line-up looks.
The next test will be Thor: Love and Thunder, which opens this week. Given the success of director Taika Waititi’s earlier Thor: Ragnarok and the popularity of star Chris Hemsworth, it is expected to open strongly.
The next brightest hopes this month are horror film The Black Phone starring Ethan Hawke and mystery drama Where the Crawdads Sing, an adaptation of a popular book (both out on July 21).
The standout is the action comedy Bullet Train, which has Brad Pitt as an assassin charged with collecting a briefcase on a Japanese train.
Brad Pitt and Bad Bunny in Bullet Train.Credit:Sony
There are also high hopes for the sci-fi horror film Nope, which has Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer trying to capture video evidence of a UFO, from director Jordan Peele (Get Out, Us). An unknown quantity so far is the Idris Elba thriller Beast, about a lion going rogue on a game reserve.
Avatar, which is still the highest-grossing movie in Australian cinemas for taking a phenomenal $116 million in 2009, is getting a re-release. And in a different type of re-release, Spider-Man: No Way Home – The More Fun Stuff Version is rumoured to include 15 minutes of extra footage.
George Miller’s fantasy romance Three Thousand Years of Longing, which was shot in Sydney and stars Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba, is also due to be released. George Clooney and Julia Roberts are teaming up again in the Australian-shot romantic comedy Ticket to Paradise.
A new version of the hit Spider-Man: No Way Home is out in September with a rumoured 15 minutes of extra footage. Credit:Sony
For younger audiences, there are animated pets aplenty in both DC League of Super-Pets and Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank. Smaller-scale releases include the documentary Moonage Daydream, which looks at David Bowie’s creative legacy, and brilliant Irish-language drama The Quiet Girl.
The month’s biggest movie shapes as Black Adam, which has Dwayne Johnson playing a DC Comics anti-hero.
Harry Styles and Florence Pugh star in the 1950s psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling and Lashana Lynch and Viola Davis are in the historical epic The Woman King, about a female military regiment in a West African kingdom.
Don’t Worry Darling stars Harry Styles and Florence Pugh.Credit:Warner Bros
A dozen years after the last movie in the comedy series, Nick Giannopoulos and Vince Colosimo reunite for the sequel Wog Boys Forever.
Two years after the death of Chadwick Boseman, who shone in 2018’s Black Panther, the sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever arrives in cinemas.
Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, Robert De Niro, John David Washington, Rami Malek and Taylor Swift head a stellar cast in Amsterdam, a drama about a 1930s murder from director David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle).
Anne Hathaway, Jeremy Strong and Anthony Hopkins star in Armageddon Time, a coming-of-age drama set in 1980s New York from director James Gray (Ad Astra).
Amsterdam, starring Margot Robbie (centre), will be out in November. Credit:Disney
And in a strong month for Hollywood stars, Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult play a young couple dining at an exclusive restaurant in the blackly comic horror film The Menu, while Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan are the two New York Times journalists who exposed Harvey Weinstein as a sexual predator in She Said.
Avatar: The Way of Water.Credit:Disney
The long-awaited sequel Avatar: The Way of Water, which opens in the middle of the month, is expected to be the biggest movie over Christmas.
The competition on Boxing Day includes the Whitney Houston biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody and two family movies – the animated Puss in Boots: The Last Wish and children’s book adaptation Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile.
Find out the next TV, streaming series and movies to add to your must-sees. Get The Watchlist delivered every Thursday.
Email the writer at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @gmaddox.
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