2017, here we come.
With 2016 and another record-breaking run for Hollywood in the books, it’s time to look forward to the movies you simply can’t afford to miss in the new year.
Whether it’s Marvel and DC going head-to-head with some of the most anticipated blockbusters ever—Justice League, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2—or Men’s Fitness cover star Vin Diesel dropping a new xXx film and the eighth(!) Fast & Furious installment, this year could be even bigger than the last.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson follows up his year of being the highest-paid actor in the world by starring in Baywatch, Jumanji, and The Fate of the Furious, while Keanu Reeves resurrects John Wick to bring us more “gun-fu” action and the most badass fight scenes seen on screen in quite some time.
There will probably be ass-kicking. Hopefully laughs. Almost definitely explosions. But we will unconditionally guarantee you that this year, shredded heroes will save the world.
Here are our 20 most anticipated movies of 2017, in order of premiere date. If you missed out on one in the theater, make sure you catch it on-demand when it’s released—it’ll be worth it:
1. xXx: Return of Xander Cage (January 20)
Vin Diesel is returning Xander Cage to the silver screen, and the January/February 2017 Men’s Fitness cover star isn’t holding anything back. Over a decade after he first played the character, Diesel is still at his musclebound best—the trailer shows Cage riding motorcycles on and under water, skateboarding on the side of a bus, and skiing through a jungle—yeah, this movie is going to be crazy.
But it gets better: Diesel brought together an amazing cast, including Rogue One scene-stealer Donnie Yen as the villain (we spoke to the stuntman who helped Yen train to fight in the film) along with martial artist and Furious 7 actor Tony Jaa, MMA fighter Michael Bisping, former NFL star Tony Gonzalez, soccer star Neymar, Rory McCann (aka Sandor “The Hound” Clegane in Game of Thrones), and the always badass John Wick 2 actress Ruby Rose. Check out Diesel’s workout that he used to get jacked for the new xXx and The Fate of the Furious (more on that in a moment.)
2. John Wick: Chapter 2 (February 10)
John Wick’s retirement was short-lived. Keanu Reeves is back as the expert assassin in the sequel to one of the biggest surprise hits in years. As Wick is pulled back into the fold to take on some of the world’s deadliest assassins, he’ll be battling against a familiar face: His Matrix co-star Laurence Fishburne is playing the main villain. The first Wick film was a major hit due to the awesome stunt work, “gun-fu” action scenes, and, of course, Wick’s love for dogs. The sequel appears to have all that and more, including a stacked cast that includes Ian McShane (of Deadwood fame), Lance Reddick, John Leguizamo, Ruby Rose, Franco Nero, and Peter Stormare.
3. Logan (March 3)
Hugh Jackman is preparing to say goodbye to the X-Men character he’s played for over a decade in Logan, a serious and gritty adaptation of the classic “Old Man Logan” comics storyline. This time around, Wolverine is trying to survive in an apocalyptic future where mutants are dying off and he’s tasked with protecting a young girl with powers just like his.
Jackman got himself, well, jacked, to play Wolverine one last time—here’s 20 of his Instagram workout posts to prove it—and based on the artistic look of the trailer, Logan could be the superhero film that helps change the industry when it comes to comic books. Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds thinks the film could be an Oscar contender after seeing some of the footage. We’ve told you 5 reasons why this film will be badass, but if you need another: Just check out this amazing poster Jackman teased on Twitter. Either way, Jackman is putting his full passion into what will (probably) be his final Wolverine appearance.
4. Kong: Skull Island (March 10)
The classic cinematic beast is back in this action-adventure film starring certified badass Tom Hiddleston and future Captain Marvel star Brie Larson as part of a group tasked to explore the mysterious Skull Island. When the crew—including Samuel L. Jackson, Corey Hawkins, and John Goodman—arrives on the island, they find much more than they bargained for in the form of the massive-looking Kong and the monsters that inhabit the island. (Also: John C. Reilly!) The Apocalypse Now visuals by director Jordan Vogt-Roberts give the film an unusual vibe for the average Hollywood big-budget fare, and the potential to be a surprise hit among the big blockbusters of 2017.
5. The Fate of the Furious (April 14)
Vin Diesel has turned this series into one of the biggest franchises in movie history, and the eighth installment could be the most explosive of the bunch. The crew blew up Iceland, New York City, and Cuba while filming. The trailer teases the ultimate twist: Diesel’s main character, Dom Toretto, turns on his “family” and joins forces with villain Charlize Theron. That surprising development adds some intrigue to the familiar Furious franchise, plus it puts Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Diesel at odds, potentially setting up a massive fight between the two.
Johnson worked out like crazy for this film to play Luke Hobbs, while Diesel told Men’s Fitness how he pushed himself to the limit while preparing to film this and xXx, making 2017 one of his biggest years yet. The cast is once again an all-star lineup with Diesel and Johnson headlining and names like Scott Eastwood, Jason Statham, Kurt Russell, Tyrese Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges all appearing.
6. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5)
Hot damn, this one should be a blast. Marvel’s beloved team of superhero oddballs is back after their first smash-hit outing with Peter Quill aka Star-Lord (former Men’s Fitness cover star Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), Drax (Dave Bautista), and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) ready to take on the galaxy again. Kurt Russell joins the cast as Quill’s mysterious father, while Sylvester Stallone is appearing in a cameo, adding some action-star muscle to the proceedings.
Pratt once again gets to show off the muscular body transformation that helped make him a star, while Saldana again takes the mantle as the most ass-kicking member of the group. The first film was a swashbuckling space adventure and the follow-up should be more of the same if the fun trailer is any indication.
7. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (May 12)
Guy Ritchie applies his signature slo-mo action style to the medieval legend, crafting Charlie Hunnam’s Arthur as a street tough who pulls Excalibur from the stone. Arthur goes up against the villainous Vortigern (Jude Law) and leads a massive battle on his way to becoming the king we all know from the legend.
8. Alien: Covenant (May 19)
Ostensibly a sequel to 2012’s Prometheus, this looks more like a prequel to the original 1979 sci-fi classic Alien—and that’s not a bad thing. The film follows the the colony ship Covenant, which is looking for paradise on a planet deep in the galaxy, but stumbles upon some very unfriendly aliens instead. Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace return along with Ripley lookalike Katherine Waterston and a wide-ranging cast that includes Danny McBride, James Franco, Demián Bichir, Jussie Smollett, and Amy Seimetz.
9. Baywatch (May 26)
They’re “the Avengers of the beach,” as star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson loves to say. When the R-rated project was first announced, many wondered why Hollywood would be mining this 90s show for a new film, but after seeing how jacked Johnson and June 2016 Men’s Fitness cover star Zac Efron got for the film, plus the hilarious trailer, this looks like it could be one of the funniest hits of the year. The shredded stars lead an awesome (and beautiful) cast that includes Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, Ilfenesh Hadera, comedian Jon Bass, and Bollywood/Hollywood stunner Priyanka Chopra as the villain.
Between protecting the beach, saving bikini-clad women from exploding boats, and butting heads with each other, Johnson’s Mitch Buchannon and Efron’s Matt Brody (who appears to be playing a stand-in for Ryan Lochte) investigate a dead body and get into some major trouble. This is one not to miss this summer.
10. Wonder Woman (June 2)
After stealing the thunder from Men’s Fitness cover star Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck in Batman v. Superman last year—YEAH, WE SAID IT—Gal Gadot is set for her own solo outing as one of the most iconic superheroes of all time. The story will show how Gadot’s Diana Prince and her fellow Amazonians are dragged into World War I and details her relationship with pilot Steve Trevor, played by July/August 2016 Men’s Fitness cover star Chris Pine. (It likely also will set up the events in Justice League, which will be released in November.)
The first trailer for the film shows off some compelling action set pieces, along with Gadot kicking ass using her legendary Lasso of Truth and indestructible bracelets to keep Pine—and the world—safe. Gadot and Pine are joined by Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Lucy Davis, Danny Huston, Elena Anaya, Saïd Taghmaoui, and David Thewlis in what should be one of the highlights of 2017.
11. The Mummy (June 9)
Tom Cruise stars in this reboot of the 1999 film, the first of Universal’s new franchise centered around resurrecting their classic film monsters like Frankenstein and Dracula. Star Trek Beyond’s Sofia Boutella stars as the mummy, but as the trailer reveals following an action-packed plane crash, Cruise might be possessed himself. The setting of this film is moved to contemporary times from the previous installment. The appearance of Russell Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll alongside Cruise, Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, the always-funny Jake Johnson, and Courtney B. Vance hints at the larger movie universe.
12. Transformers: The Last Knight (June 23)
Plot details for the fifth installment of the Transformers franchise are scarce, but we do that May 2016 Men’s Fitness cover star Mark Wahlberg is front and center once again after helping out the Autobots in the previous Age of Extinction. Another thing we know: Much like The Fate of the Furious, a main character we all know and love may end up as the villain, or at least one of the bad guys: Optimus Prime apparently turns evil in the trailer.
And while that may not last the whole film, it adds a nice twist to this series along with the glimpses of history, including medieval times and World War II-era England. The film is expected to launch a new series of films connected to the main Transformers universe (yes, really), while the cast brings back some familiar faces along with new characters, including Stanley Tucci, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Laura Haddock, Isabela Moner, and John Turturro. Director Michael Bay returns for what he says is his final installment in the action-packed series.
13. Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7)
Wait—another Spider-Man movie already? Even though Andrew Garfield was perfectly okay as Peter Parker for the last set of films starring the web-slinger, the movies simply didn’t do the character justice—there were just too many cooks in the kitchen. Fortunately, Marvel and Sony decided to team up to bring Spidey into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and so far the results have been stellar: Tom Holland first appeared as the teen hero in Captain America: Civil War, stealing the show as the wise-cracking, still-in-high-school ally of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) who helps take down some rogue Avengers. For this first solo installment in the MCU, director Jon Watts takes us street-level as Parker deals with high school crushes, homework, and multiple villains, including Michael Keaton as the Vulture and Bokeem Woodbine as Shocker. This film should be a welcome installment to the MCU.
14. Dunkirk (July 21)
After bringing Gotham City to life in his Dark Knight trilogy and taking Matthew McConaughey to space in Interstellar, director Christopher Nolan heads back in time to bring the battle of Dunkirk to the screen. This story of the 1940 military evacuation of thousands of Allied soldiers stranded on a French beach in WWII could be an Oscar contender come awards time, as the trailer doesn’t flinch in its portrayal of the brutality of war. Nolan has an eye for realistic visuals and uses as little CGI as possible, so some battle scenes here could rival what Steven Spielberg did in the legendary Saving Private Ryan.
Nolan’s cast includes Mark Rylance, Harry Styles, Kenneth Branagh, and Fionn Whitehead along with frequent collaborators Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy, both of whom played villains in Nolan’s Batman films. Hardy, of course was one of the most physically dominating villains of all time when he played Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, while Murphy appeared in all three films of the series as Jonathan Crane, aka Scarecrow. Now, they’ll face the true horror of war.
15. The Dark Tower (July 28)
This long-in-the-works Stephen King adaptation stars the kickboxing badass Idris Elba alongside McConaughey as the protagonist and antagonist, respectively, of the mythical Mid-World. Elba plays Roland Deschain, “a lone frontiersman knight” who is equipped with two revolvers and is tasked with saving the world. Meanwhile, 11-year-old Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) gets involved when he finds out about Mid-World and joins up with Deschain, who must take on McConaughey’s evil sorcerer known as the Man in Black.
— Sony Pictures UK 🎬 (@SonyPicturesUK) December 12, 2016
16. Kingsman: The Golden Circle (September 29)
The follow-up for 2014’s surprise hit Kingsman: The Secret Service adds some major firepower to the cast. Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, and Mark Strong return, and are joined by newcomers Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, and Academy Award winners Halle Berry and Julianne Moore. This memorable fight from the original should hold you over:
17. Justice League (November 17)
DC Comics finally gets to unite their most legendary team on-screen in this hugely anticipated follow-up to Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Even though that movie received negative reviews (although it should be said that the extended cut was MUCH better received) it made mountains of money and teased the eventual team-up of Superman (Men’s Fitness cover star Henry Cavill), Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (badass Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller), and Cyborg (the very jacked Ray Fisher).
The trailer for the film shows off a much lighter tone than its predecessor, which could be a major factor in getting fans to embrace the movie. Momoa’s Aquaman looks to be a scene-stealer (especially with how jacked Momoa got while training for the film), while Cavill’s appearance as Superman has been kept under wraps—for now. This film could give the DC Entertainment Universe some major momentum as they try and take on the MCU.
18. Thor: Ragnarok (November 3)
This film is shaping up to be something more like Guardians of the Galaxy rather than the standard Avengers-style fare that the MCU puts out—and that makes this potentially one of the most exciting releases of the year. We don’t know much, but what we do know is that the film will follow the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and will feature Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and MCU newcomer Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) as they take on some intergalactic enemies.
The plot is expected to be an adaptation of the “Planet Hulk” storyline and some confirmation of that came when Marvel showed off some of the Hulk’s new armor at Comic-Con. Anthony Hopkins and Idris Elba return as Odin and Heimdall, while Karl Urban, Tessa Thompson, and Cate Blanchett all join the cast. The god of thunder is ready for his return.
— Ryan Penagos (@AgentM) July 23, 2016
19. Star Wars Episode VIII (December 15)
Following the massively successful Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Looper director Rian Johnson takes the help for the eighth installment of this legendary series. Plot details have been kept virtually silent, but the returning cast includes almost everyone from the previous movie, including Finn (John Boyega), Rey (Daisy Ridley), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), as well as Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), and Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher, who completed filming before her death in December). Benicio del Toro, Laura Dern, and Kelly Marie Tran are new additions to the cast as the story picks up the Star Wars saga from where things left off: Rey returning Luke’s missing lightsaber to him on the planet Ahch-To, where the legendary warrior has been in self-imposed exile. Johnson is one of the most talented directors in the business—Brick is an underrated classic, while his “Ozymandias” episode of Breaking Bad is considered one of the best TV episodes of all time—and it should be very interesting to see what he does with the story set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
20. Jumanji (December 22)
Yep, you knew this was coming. The Rock joins up with Men’s Fitness cover stars Kevin Hart and Nick Jonas to create the sequel—that’s right, it’s a continuation, not a reboot—that we never knew we wanted. The film follows four teens who are sucked into the world of Jumanji, where they have to battle against the traps, animals, and bad guys inhabiting the jungle game. The trope: Once the teens are inside the game, they take on the avatars of what have to be some of the best-named characters in the history of film: Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Johnson), Moose Finbarr (Hart), Professor Shelly Oberon (Jack Black), and Ruby Roundhouse (Guardians of the Galaxy beauty Karen Gillan).
Johnson has been sharing a bunch of videos and photos from the set, including the first look at Jonas in costume. Jonas told Men’s Fitness about the workout that helped him get jacked for Jumanji—which he showed off on Instagram quite a bit—while Hart also put himself through some intense training to get in shape for his role, hustling harder than anyone else in the gym. We’ve given you 5 reasons why this movie will be badass—and based on how much Johnson said he respects Robin Williams and the original film, this could be a surprise family hit at the end of the year.
"Right down Dwanta Claus lane.." Excited to share this great news: CHRISTMAS of 2017 comes early for our #JUMANJI SEQUEL. We were always slated to be released summer of 2017, but after months of shooting and editing our movie together, we realized we have a big family franchise on our hands, that's full of Christmas wish fulfillment, fun and heart. Like so many of us, it's my FAVORITE time of the year and I LUV delivering holiday entertainment. From MOANA this Thanksgiving, to ROCK THE TROOPS this Christmas, to JUMANJI next Christmas! Calling Rudolph now to get our sleigh and fanny packs. #JUMANJI #SonyPictures #HereComesDwantaClaus🎅🏾CHRISTMAS 2017