Holiday Movie Calendar 2022

A breakdown of the best holiday movies 2022 has to offer, from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and The Fabelmans to Avatar: The Way of Water, Glass Onion, and more.

by | November 1, 2022 | Comments


Directed by:
Luke Cormican
Starring: Brady Noon, Hunter Dillon, Ethan William Childress, Chris Diamantopoulos, Erica Cerra
Release Date: December 2, 2022 on Disney+

After a number of live-action films, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise got an animated reboot in 2021, and this year we get its sequel, also exclusive to Disney+. Like the 2011 live-action film of the same title, Rodrick Rules is based on the second book of the eponymous series and centers on central character Greg Heffley’s relationship to his older brother.

Directed by:
Antoine Fuqua
Starring: Will Smith, Ben Foster, Charmaine Bingwa, Mustafa Shakir, Steven Ogg, Grant Harvey, David Denman, Timothy Hutton
Release Date: December 2, 2022 (limited); December 9, 2022 on Apple TV+

In the midst of the US Civil War in 1863, a series of images of an escaped slave named Gordon – including one depicting his back, heavily scarred from whippings – published in Harper’s Weekly became famous as evidence of the brutality of slavery and inspired horror, sympathy, and a newfound vigor to end the war. Antoine Fuqua’s new film chronicles Gordon’s astonishing escape and his subsequent enlistment in the Union Army, calling on Will Smith to take on the central role. The film opens in limited release on December 2 before hitting Apple TV+ a week later.

Directed by:
Michael Showalter
Starring: Jim Parsons, Ben Aldridge, Sally Field, Bill Irwin
Release Date: December 2, 2022 (limited); December 9, 2022 (wide)

Hot off last year’s The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Michael Showalter takes on another real-life story, albeit smaller in scale. The film is an adaptation of a memoir by Michael Ausiello (played here by Jim Parsons), an entertainment journalist who chronicled the final months of the life of his husband, photographer Kit Cowan (Ben Aldridge), after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Directed by:
Tommy Wirkola
Starring: David Harbour, John Leguizamo, Edi Patterson, Cam Gigandet, Alex Hassell, Alexis Louder, Beverly D’Angelo
Release Date: December 2, 2022

If you need a little cheeky fun this holiday season, look no further than Violent Night, which finds Santa Claus (David Harbour) unexpectedly dropping into a wealthy home whose residents are being held hostage by mercenaries looking for a big score. Of course, these baddies are all on Santa’s naughty list, so he takes it upon himself to deliver some “season’s beatings,” Die Hard style.

Directed by:
 Sarah Polley
Starring: Jessie Buckley, Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Judith Ivey, Ben Whishaw, Frances McDormand
Release Date: December 2, 2022 (limited); December 25 (wide)

Writer-director Sarah Polley’s latest film is an adaptation of the 2018 novel of the same name about a group of Mennonite women who learn of the abuse the men in their community have been forcing upon them and meet secretly to discuss their options. Polley has gathered a number of powerhouse actresses to headline this mature drama, which opens in limited release on December 2 and expands on Christmas Day.

Directed by:
Sam Mendes
Starring: Olivia Colman, Micheal Ward, Monica Dolan, Tom Brooke, Tanya Moodie, Toby Jones, Colin Firth
Release Date: December 9, 2022

Sam Mendes directs Olivia Colman in a film about the magic of cinema, shot by the legendary Roger Deakins. If any film was tailor-made to appeal to Oscar voters, this checks all the boxes, even if early reviews have been decidedly mixed.

Directed by:
Matthew Warchus
Starring: Alisha Weir, Emma Thompson, Lashana Lynch, Stephen Graham, Andrea Riseborough, Sindhu Vee
Release Date: December 9, 2022 (limited); December 25, 2022 on Netflix

For a certain segment of the population, 1996’s Matilda is a childhood favorite, but there’s a new adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel looking to take its place. Based on the stage musical crafted from Dahl’s book, this version stars Alisha Weir as the titular heroine, a precocious and extraordinarily gifted girl who takes on the mean, abusive headmistress of her school, played by an unrecognizable Emma Thompson. The film opens in limited release on December 9 before streaming on Netflix on Christmas Day.

Directed by:
Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson
Starring: Gregory Mann, Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Christoph Waltz, Tilda Swinton, Ron Perlman, Finn Wolfhard, Cate Blanchett, Tim Blake Nelson
Release Date: December 9, 2022 on Netflix

Guillermo del Toro’s latest film, which is also his first foray into stop-motion animation, is one that he’s wanted to tackle for a very long time. With the help of an all-star voice cast, he brings the classic Italian novel to life in a darker adaptation than the ones we’ve seen before.

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, Samantha Morton, Ty Simpkins
Release Date: December 9, 2022 (limited)

While writer-director Darren Aronofsky has taken some heat for the premise of this film, star Brendan Fraser has heard nothing but effusive praise for his role as a severely overweight man who attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter (Sadie Sink). Reviews have been mixed as a result, but expect to hear Fraser’s name come up in awards conversations.

Directed by:
James Cameron
Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Kate Winslet, Stephen Lang, Giovanni Ribisi, Edie Falco, Michelle Yeoh, Cliff Curtis, Oona Chaplin, David Thewlis
Release Date: December 16, 2022

The first of James Cameron’s four Avatar sequels finally arrives, 13 years after the first film debuted. This time out, we’ll get to experience the aquatic side of Pandora as we catch up with Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and his family, who face threats both new and frighteningly familiar.

Directed by:
Kasi Lemmons
Starring: Naomi Ackie, Stanley Tucci, Ashton Sanders, Tamara Tunie, Nafessa Williams, Clarke Peters
Release Date: December 21, 2022

Following on the musical biopic trend that’s been rather popular lately, Kasi Lemmons brings us a look at the life and career of iconic pop star Whitney Houston. Naomi Ackie steps into the role of the famous singer, while Stanley Tucci plays Clive Davis, the record exec who discovered her and helped steer her to stardom.

Directed by:
Joel Crawford
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Olivia Colman, Harvey Guillen, Samson Kayo, Wagner Moura, John Mulaney, Florence Pugh
Release Date: December 21, 2022

Who would have thought that, of all the secondary characters in the Shrek films, Puss in Boots would be the one to headline a successful spin-off franchise? Sure, the first film was 11 years ago, but no other character got their own movie, let alone a sequel. Antonio Banderas returns to voice the swashbuckling feline, who learns he has used up eight of his nine lives and sets off to discover a way to restore them all.

Directed by:
Damien Chazelle
Starring: Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Diego Calva, Jean Smart, Jovan Adepo, Tobey Maguire, Samara Weaving, Olivia Wilde
Release Date: December 23, 2022

Oscar-winning writer-director Damien Chazelle assembles an impressive ensemble cast for his look back at Old Hollywood, specifically the period during the 1920s when the silent film era began to transition to “talkies,” focusing on an ambitious Mexican-American actor who attempts to rise up through the industry.

Directed by:
Marie Kreutzer
Starring: Vicky Krieps, Florian Teichtmeister, Colin Morgan, Finnegan Oldfield
Release Date: December 23, 2022 (limited)

Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread, Old) stars in Marie Kreutzer’s irreverent portrait of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, who was famous for her exercise regimen and her preoccupation with beauty. The film makes use of anachronisms and even fictional scenarios to depict how Elisabeth – or “Sissi,” as she was called in childhood – struggles to maintain her status, even as she rebels against it.

Directed by:
Rian Johnson
Starring: Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Leslie Odom Jr., Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista, Jessica Henwick, Ethan Hawke, Kathryn Hahn
Release Date: December 23, 2022 on Netflix

Rian Johnson’s 2019 whodunit Knives Out – and its eccentric protagonist, Daniel Craig’s detective Benoit Blanc – were a big hit, so a sequel was inevitable. What most didn’t see coming was that Netflix would snatch up the franchise. Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Leslie Odom Jr., and more make up the stacked ensemble, while the story centers on a tech billionaire’s private island retreat, where a dead body turns up during an annual gathering.

Directed by:
Oliver Hermanus
Starring: Bill Nighy, Aimee-Lou Wood, Tom Burke, Alex Sharp
Release Date: December 23, 2022 (limited)

Oliver Hermanus directs this remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1952 masterpiece Ikiru, about a lifelong bureaucrat who learns he has a terminal illness and attempts to find meaning in his remaining days. The story is moved from Japan to 1950s London, and Hermanus relies on the talents of Bill Nighy in the central role, and so far, critics have been impressed.

See November

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