These Are Going to Be the Biggest Movies of Winter 2017

Kiss literally all your money goodbye.

Winter is coming (literally so sorry, couldn't help myself), and with it, a bunch of new movies for you to see in theaters. Or, you know, for you to tell yourself you're going to see in theaters, only to catch them on a flight like 10 months later. Either way.

This season's new films are pretty solidly divided into Oscar-bait in the last few months of 2017, and action/adventure in the first few months of 2018—which means there's something for everyone. Bless up.

The Shape of Water

Release date: December 8, 2017.

Starring: Octavia Spencer, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Sally Hawkins, Doug Jones, and Michael Stuhlbarg.

What you need to know: This atmospheric film is about a janitor who falls in love with a sea monster in a high-security '60s-era government lab. In other words, it's about an interspecies relationship ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Guillermo del Toro never fails to deliver, and The Shape of Water looks lovely and weird.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Release date: December 15, 2017.

Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio del Toro, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, and Gwendoline Christie.

What you need to know: The Last Jedi will continue telling Rey's story—and is the last movie Carrie Fisher acted in before her death. If you want to know more about the very hush-hush plot, Adam Driver just accidentally revealed a huge spoiler, so head over here.


Release date: December 22, 2017.

Starring: Matt Damon, Hong Chau, Jason Sudeikis, Christoph Waltz, and Kristen Wiig.

What you need to know: Think Honey I Shrunk the Kids but with less '90s vibes and more Matt Damon vibes. Basically, this movie is about a dude who shrinks himself and his wife as a solution to over-population. Obviously, hijinks ensue, which sure/fine, but Rick Moranis did it first.

The Disaster Artist

Release date: December 8, 2017.

Starring: James Franco, Dave Franco, Alison Brie, Josh Hutcherson, Seth Rogen, Ari Graynor, and Jacki Weaver.

What you need to know: Everyone should be incredibly excited about The Disaster Artist—which is about the making of Tommy Wiseau's ICONIC cult classic The Room, a film so bad that another film is being made about it. Also, James Franco directed so expect strange things.

I, Tonya

Release date: December 8, 2017.

Starring: Margot Robbie, Caitlin Carver, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, Julianne Nicholson, Bojana Novakovic, Paul Walter Hauser, and Bobby Cannavale.

What you need to know: The real life story of Olympic skater Tonya Harding, who famously had a shoelace-related meltdown on live TV, and whose feud with Nancy Kerrigan is the stuff of legend. This movie is meant to be extremely extra, so get pumped.


Flower, Rose, Photography, Plant, Stock photography, Floral design, Flower Arranging, Smile, Rose family, Bouquet,

(Image credit: Design by Betsy Farrell)

Phantom Thread

Release date: December 25, 2017.

Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville, and Vicky Krieps.

What you need to know: This is allegedly the last movie Daniel Day Lewis will ever star in, so—even if films about couture fashion aren't your jam (Lewis plays a dressmaker who has a tumultuous relationship with his muse)—please respect the legend by catching it in a theater. Also, the music was written Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood. YES, PLEASE.

The Greatest Showman

Release date: December 25, 2017.

Starring: Zendaya, Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, and Rebecca Ferguson.

What you need to know: All you really need to know is that this movie stars Zendaya as a trapeze artist who falls in love with Zac Efron. Other stuff happens too, of course (it takes place at a circus!), but that's the main reason we'll be watching.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Release date: December 20, 2017.

Starring: Bobby Cannavale, Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, and Nick Jonas.

What you need to know: For reasons that will forever remain a mystery (JK, the reason is money), Hollywood keeps remaking your favorite childhood movies to mixed results. The casting choices in Jumanji seem pretty solid, but can anyone do it better than Robin Williams? Guess we'll see.


Release date: December 22, 2017.

Starring: Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace, Margaret Cho, Lucy Fry, Edgar Ramirez, Happy Anderson, Kenneth Choi, and Ike Barinholtz.

What you need to know: Netflix is officially making original movies, and Bright is their attempt at a Will Smith cop drama....with Orcs. Yes, Orcs. As in, the goblin-like creatures you came to know and love in Lord of the Rings. Basically, if you're not arranging your entire life around this film, you're not truly living.

The Commuter

Release date: January 12, 2018.

Starring: Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Elizabeth McGovern, Patrick Wilson, Jonathan Banks, and Sam Neill.

What you need to know: Welcome to your yearly Liam Neeson action film! This one is about a—you guessed it—commuter whose commute becomes even more miserable than yours when he gets caught up in some kind of conspiratorial/criminal ~train drama~. File under: IDK anymore.

Proud Mary

Release date: January 12, 2018.

Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Margaret Avery, Danny Glover, Billy Brown, Neal McDonough, and Xander Berkeley.

What you need to know: Um, what you need to know is that Taraji P. Henson is headlining one of the most killer-looking movie of 2018, and she's playing a hit woman for an organized crime family. Like....what more could you possibly want?

12 Strong

Release date: January 19, 2018.

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Elsa Pataky, Michael Shannon, Michael Peña, Navid Negahban, William Fichtner, Trevante Rhodes, and Rob Riggle.

What you need to know: Expect this movie to be *very* intense, because it's about a U.S. Special Forces team sent into Afghanistan post 9/11. Both Chris Hemsworth and his wife Elsa Pataky star.

Isle of Dogs

Release date: March 23, 2018.

Starring: Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Bob Balaban, Liev Schreiber, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Courtney B. Vance, Harvey Keitel, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Ken Watanabe, Yojiro Noda, and Yoko Ono.

What you need to know: Wes Anderson's new animated movie looks like the most Wes Anderson-y thing ever, only this time it's about dogs instead of foxes. The charming-if-overly-twee film is about a remote island of pups, and one boy's quest to find his missing pet.

The Tribes of Palos Verdes

Release date: December 1, 2018.

Starring: Jennifer Garner, Alicia Silverstone, Elisabeth Rohm, Justin Kirk, Goran Visnjic, and Joely Fisher.

What you need to know: First of all, Alicia Silverstone is in this movie, so yes, you need to see it. That aside, The Tribes of Palos Verdes is a coming-of-age family drama, which means it will either tug at your heartstrings, or be overwrought and heavy-handed.


Release date: February 23, 2018.

Starring: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, Oscar Isaac, David Gyasi, Sonoya Mizuno, and Benedict Wong.

What you need to know: This movie looks one part Arrival, one part Stranger Things, and one part Avatar (weirdly?), and is about a biologist who goes on an expedition to an environmental disaster zone when her husband goes missing.

Fifty Shades Freed

Release date: February 9, 2018.

Starring: Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan.

What you need to know: Anastasia Steele's erotic adventure continues, whether you like it or not. This time, we'll find Ana and Christian getting married, and judging from the trailer there's lots of drama. That said, not sure if people are really watching this film for the, um, plot.

Black Panther

Release date: February 16, 2018.

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis.

What you need to know: This is the most anticipated movie of the year for good reason. It looks incredible, stars a slew of talented actors, and brings much-needed diversity to the superhero franchise—which is typically a) populated by white people, and b) highly appropriative (see: Doctor Strange).

Pitch Perfect 3

Release date: December 22, 2017.

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Anna Camp, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Hailee Steinfeld, Alexis Knapp, Elizabeth Banks, and John Michael Higgins.

What you need to know: Nothing, really. This is the third movie in a very funny, female-fronted comedy franchise, so you probably know just about everything already. Expect to cry laughing, and also nerd out to some a cappella.


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(Image credit: A24/Netflix/Neon)
Mehera Bonner
Entertainment Editor

Mehera Bonner is a celebrity and entertainment news writer who enjoys Bravo and Antiques Roadshow with equal enthusiasm. She was previously entertainment editor at Marie Claire and has covered pop culture for over a decade.