American cinema
Get more with myNEWS
A personalised news feed of stories that matter to you
Learn more
(From left) Christian Bale, Margot Robbie and John David Washington in a still from Amsterdam. Photo: Merie Weismiller Wallace; SMPSP

The 13 best new Hollywood movies this autumn, from Avatar and Black Panther sequels to Halloween Ends and Black Adam

  • From long-awaited sequels to superhero blockbusters, horror, animation and romantic comedies, there’s plenty to tempt film-goers into cinemas this autumn
  • George Clooney and Julia Roberts reunite in Ticket to Paradise, while Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson gets his first superhero film in Black Adam

As the heat of summer begins to dissipate, a raft of films that will entice audiences out of the sun and into the dark are set to launch.

Amid the regular array of superhero blockbusters, spine-chilling Halloween horrors, and sickly sweet romantic comedies, this year’s heavyweight awards contenders are starting to appear and vie for attention and acclaim.

We have picked the biggest and best new Hollywood films arriving in Hong Kong cinemas between now and mid-December (opening dates are for Hong Kong).

1. See How They Run

The whodunnit is very much back in fashion, as witnessed by this star-studded 1950s-set murder mystery staged in London’s bustling West End theatre district.

When a prominent American producer is bumped off, it falls to Sam Rockwell’s world-weary detective and Saoirse Ronan’s overzealous police constable to foil the plot, before the rest of the company suffer an equally grisly fate. David Oyelowo, Reece Shearsmith and Adrien Brody also star. (Opens September 29)

2. Smile

Already putting gleeful grins on the faces of horror fans everywhere thanks to its brilliantly unnerving trailer, Smile looks set to become the must-see spine-chiller of the season.

Drawing inspiration from Hideo Nakata’s Ring and David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows, first-time writer-director Parker Finn casts Sosie Bacon as a doctor who falls foul of a deadly curse, passed on to anyone who witnesses the contorted facial expressions of its victims. (Opens September 29)

3. Amsterdam

In what is sure to be a major contender this awards season, Christian Bale teams up again with director David O. Russell (The Fighter, American Hustle) for a star-studded crime caper.

Set in the 1930s, it sees Bale, Margot Robbie and John David Washington play a trio of friends who witness a murder, only to become implicated as the prime suspects.

Bursting with humour and eccentric period style, Amsterdam is one of the year’s most hotly anticipated films. (Opens October 6)

4. Ticket to Paradise

Oceans Eleven co-stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts are reunited on screen as feuding exes, forced to reconcile and pool their resources to stop their daughter (Kaitlyn Dever) rushing into marriage and making the same mistakes they did.

Needless to say, in the idyllic destination wedding setting of Bali, these two ridiculously attractive former flames might discover that – just maybe – they still harbour feelings for one another, even after all these years. (Opens October 6)

5. Halloween Ends

Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) goes toe-to-toe with the indestructible Michael Myers one last time in the third and final chapter of David Gordon Green’s sequel trilogy to John Carpenter’s seminal slasher film, after 2018’s Halloween and last year’s Halloween Kills.

Four years have passed, and Laurie is putting the finishing touches to her memoir when a new babysitter murder rattles her quiet community, forcing her into a climactic confrontation that has been almost 45 years in the making. (Opens October 13)

6. Black Adam

Dwayne Johnson finally gets a superhero vehicle to call his own, repurposing this one-time Shazam villain as a stand-alone anti-hero in DC’s latest big-screen adventure.

Imprisoned for 5,000 years, Adam escapes into the present day, where he immediately attracts the attention of the Justice League of America.

Pierce Brosnan stars as Doctor Fate, who is tasked with persuading the ancient super-being to use his powers for good instead of evil. (Opens October 20)

7. The Woman King

The always impressive Viola Davis stars in this fascinating true story about the Agojie, an all-female tribe of African warriors who were forced to protect the Kingdom of Dahomey from foreign invaders during the 1800s.

Lashana Lynch, John Boyega and Hero Fiennes Tiffin also star in this action-packed drama that shines a light on an unsung chapter of history, from Gina Prince-Bythewood, director of Netflix hit The Old Guard. (Opens October 27)

8. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile

Shawn Mendes voices a singing crocodile who is hiding out in a New York apartment building in this all-singing, all-dancing live-action/animation hybrid that breathes new life into Bernard Waber’s beloved children’s stories.

Constance Wu and Scoot McNairy play a couple who move to the Big Apple with their son Josh, only to discover a harmonising reptile owned by Javier Bardem’s gregarious showman is living in the flat upstairs. (Opens November 3)

9. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Following the shocking death of star Chadwick Boseman in August 2020, the future looked bleak for one of Marvel’s most successful stand-alone outings.

Rather than re-cast the titular superhero, writer-director Ryan Coogler and his formidable cast have rallied around this tragedy, promising a film that will not only pay tribute to its fallen hero, but carry the franchise forward, while also introducing Tenoch Huerta as Namor the Sub-Mariner. (Opens November 9)

10. The Son

After the Oscar-winning success of his 2020 film The Father, French filmmaker Florian Zeller follows it up, somewhat inevitably, with The Son.

Hugh Jackman headlines a heavyweight ensemble as a man celebrating new fatherhood with his partner (Vanessa Kirby), only for his life to be thrown into disarray when his ex-wife (Laura Dern) appears on the scene, presenting to him the teenage son he never knew existed.

Oscar best actor winner Anthony Hopkins also returns. (Opens November 17)

11. Strange World

Disney pays tribute to the science fiction classics of the 1950s and ’60s with this animated adventure that follows the intergalactic adventures of a family of intrepid explorers.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid and Lucy Liu headline the voice cast, as members of an expedition in search of an elusive alien at the farthest end of the galaxy.

Don Hall, director of Big Hero 6 and Raya and the Last Dragon, takes the helm. (Opens November 24)

12. Bones and All

Timothée Chalamet reunites with Luca Guadagnino, director of Call Me by Your Name, for this shocking romantic road movie, adapted from the novel by Camille DeAngelis.

Taylor Russell stars as a teenage girl with a ravenous cannibalistic streak, who sets out in search of her estranged father.

Upon meeting Chalamet’s fellow flesh-eater, she enters into a passionate relationship that, for the first time in her life, she might not be able to stomach. (Opens November 24)

13. Avatar: The Way of Water

Thirteen years after the box office behemoth Avatar (which gets a re-release on September 23), James Cameron transports audiences back to the enchanting, blue-peopled planet of Pandora, in the first of four planned sequels.

Whether there was a demand for a resurrected Avatar franchise is debatable, but the initial scepticism that surrounded both the first film, and Cameron’s multiple Oscar winning Titanic, should discourage anyone from betting against the pioneering Canadian. (Opens December 15)

Want more articles like this? Follow SCMP Film on Facebook