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Keep An Eye Out For These 17 Intriguing Movies Coming In 2022

From a ‘Reagan’ biopic to adventurous mysteries, these films won’t be on most previews of the year ahead — but they just might deserve a look.

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Hollywood seems to be in something of a holding pattern at present.

On one hand, studios and theaters are eager to restart the moviegoing habit — “Spider-Man: No Way Home” surely proved the global box office can still generate well over $1 billion. Yet, post-Christmas, several films expected to do good business (like “The 355”) have not performed well. So executives are wondering if they push back movies again or go another route.

Particularly over the past two years, the fluid movement of films from theatrical events to streaming-only releases has given distributors more options to find success. But it means that trailers, movie details, and exact release dates can be hard to come by until just weeks before release — unless you’re Netflix, which just dropped a preview of their 87 films coming this year.

Netflix, with six films on the list below, may be overrepresented, but they’re the only distributor laying out a complete film slate early in the year. Sidestepping most big franchises like “Jurassic Park: Dominion,” “Thor 4,” and “Into the Spider-Verse 2,” this list features biopics, war dramas, and mysteries, plus a few comedies and action flicks for good measure.

Based on planned theatrical and streaming releases, here are 17 intriguing films to have on your radar for the year ahead. (Note that content ratings are not yet available.)

Spring Releases

“Death On the Nile” (ensemble mystery, Feb. 11): In her novels featuring detective Hercule Poirot, the late Agatha Christie elevated moral dimensions of grisly crimes as in “Murder on the Orient Express.” Now, in a sequel to his acclaimed 2017 adaptation of that novel, director Kenneth Branagh brings an A-list ensemble cast together for another lavishly produced whodunnit.

“The Adam Project” (science fiction/family comedy, March 11, Netflix): Spending billions on movie production every year, Netflix has placed a lot of bets on sci-fi, many of which didn’t pan out. This family flick from producer Shawn Levy (“Night at the Museum” franchise) — which stars Ryan Reynolds (“Free Guy”), Zoe Saldana (“Guardians of the Galaxy”), and newcomer Walker Scobell — promises time-traveling action with deeper themes of addressing generational rifts.

“The Duke” (comedy/biopic, March 25): Only one work of art has ever been successfully stolen from The National Gallery in London. Following a 60-year-old taxi driver (Jim Broadbent) and his wife (Helen Mirren) who make off with a priceless painting, comic heist movie “The Duke” was delayed by Covid several times. Sadly, director Roger Mitchell (“Notting Hill”) died last fall before his film made it to wide release.

“Father Stu” (religious/historical, April 15): A prizefighter who became a Catholic priest, unlikely inspirational figure Stuart Long comes to the big screen played by Mark Wahlberg, himself a devout Catholic. Opening on Good Friday, producers are hoping families flock to this story of a troublemaker turned clergyman.

“Operation Mincemeat” (war drama, spring, Netflix): Adding to the top streamer’s rotating slate of World War II films, “Operation Mincemeat” dramatizes the Allies’ high-stakes espionage on the European front in 1943. British naval officer Ewen Montagu (Colin Firth of “The King’s Speech”) plans an operation involving a corpse, false documents, and misdirecting Hitler’s Axis forces away from actual troop movements.

Summer Releases

“Top Gun: Maverick” (action/drama, May 27): Back in 1986, the story of Navy pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) sparked a run on aviator jackets and Ray-Ban sunglasses — and boosted U.S. Armed Forces recruitment. Now the sequel, filmed with significant military support, promises new heights of air combat on-screen.

“Elvis” (music biopic, June 24): The life and times of Elvis Presley, so-called King of Rock and Roll, come to life from director Baz Luhrmann (“The Great Gatsby”) in this anticipated music biopic. Relative newcomer Austin Butler (“Once Upon A Time in Hollywood”) plays the King, with Tom Hanks as manager Colonel Tom Parker, and Kelvin Harrison Jr. (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”) as blues legend B.B. King.

“The Gray Man” (action, July, Netflix): Aiming to create a super-spy franchise akin to James Bond, Netflix pulled in directors Joe and Anthony Russo (“Avengers: Endgame”) to helm this first entry based on the hit novels — with Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Ryan Gosling, and other top stars. While “Red Notice” got mixed reviews, this level of talent might deliver something new and fresh.

“On a Wing and a Prayer” (inspirational biopic, Aug. 31): Following his star turn in “Blue Miracle” — and another big film upcoming (see below) — Dennis Quaid’s next inspirational hit comes in a harrowing true story from director Sean McNamara (“Soul Surfer”) and Roma Downey (“The Bible”). Onboard a small plane with his family over the Gulf Coast, Doug White (Quaid) must determine what to do when their pilot dies mid-flight.

“Enola Holmes 2” (family adventure/mystery, summer, Netflix): Introducing Sherlock Holmes’ teenage sister, “Enola Holmes” became a massive hit as it, like the novel it’s based on, put a new spin on the Arthur Conan Doyle stories. With Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”) again breaking the fourth wall and Henry Cavill (“Man of Steel”) also returning as Sherlock, count on another smart, classy mystery.

“Sight” (inspirational biopic, summer): He escaped China’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, arrived in the United States with $50, and became a pioneering eye surgeon. The life story of Dr. Ming Wang comes to the screen in “Sight,” starring Terry Chen (“Almost Famous”) as Wang and Greg Kinnear (“Flash of Genius”) in a biopic that grapples with issues of science and faith, as Wang is known for his Christian beliefs.

“Something Here” (musical, summer): When Netflix last year premiered “A Week Away,” a squeaky-clean jukebox musical set at a Christian camp, newly formed production house Monarch Media made a splash. Now they’re gearing up for a wide-appeal musical that celebrates America’s heartland featuring new songs co-written by Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line, mixing country with diverse styles.

Fall and Holiday Releases

“Reagan” (historical biopic, late 2022): Two years since production began, big-budget biopic “Reagan” presents a sweeping narrative of the consequential 40th U.S. president, through the eyes of a KGB agent who follows him throughout his impactful life. Based on bestseller “The Crusader,” it stars Quaid (“The Right Stuff”) as Reagan, Penelope Ann Miller (“American Crime”) as Nancy Reagan, and Lesley Ann-Down (“North and South”) as Margaret Thatcher, among others.

“Disenchanted” (family musical, fall, Disney Plus): When a naïve aspiring royal (Amy Adams) dropped into cynical New York City, the resulting comedy featuring songs by Disney maestro Alan Menken delighted families with its charm. All the cast — including Adams, Patrick Dempsey, and Idina Menzel — has reunited for a sequel recently filmed mostly in Ireland. But it’s anyone’s guess whether it can recapture the magic.

“Knives Out 2” (mystery/thriller, late 2022, Netflix): Three years after inventive murder mystery “Knives Out” shocked and thrilled audiences, capping off Christopher Plummer’s notable career prior to his passing, the sequel is afoot. Filmed in Greece, director Rian Johnson has assembled an interesting cast, with Daniel Craig reprising his lead detective role, for what promises to be a worthwhile ride.

“Rise” (sports biopic, fall, Disney Plus): NBA power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo — who grew up in Athens with his large Greek Orthodox family, including fellow NBA champions Thanasis and Kostas — has had a remarkable journey in pro sports. Following the Milwaukee Bucks’ recent championship win and Giannis taking home another MVP trophy, interest is high in this dramatic film.

“The Sea Beast” (family animation/fantasy, late 2022, Netflix): Eager to compete in animation, Netflix has poached Oscar-winning director Chris Williams (“Big Hero 6,” “Bolt,” “Moana”) from Disney and plans to make a splash with “The Sea Beast.” When a young girl stows away on the ship of a revered sea monster hunter, things go awry when he learns she has befriended the fiercest creature of all.

Release dates, which reflect anticipated roll-out in the United States, are subject to change.