From Avatar to Dune: The most anticipated new shows and movies of 2024, and where to watch them

From Avatar to Dune: The most anticipated new shows and movies of 2024, and where to watch them

Hot on the heels of one of the best years for movie and TV releases in recent memory, 2024 is shaping up to be an impressive year for screens both big and small.

Even though there may have been strikes last year, seriously delaying the majority of projects scheduled for release, there are loads of new shows and films — not to mention reboots and sequels — to fill up the next 12 months. 

To help you plot out your viewing calendar, CBC News has compiled 24 of the most anticipated offerings for 2024 — and when and where you can see them. 

White-knuckle series

After years of speculation — and more than a little conflict between the studio backing it and the original series’ creators — the live-action version of the coming-of-age anime-inspired cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender is coming to Netflix on Feb 22. Starring a host of of Canadians (including Vancouver’s Gordon Cormier as Aang, Ontario’s Kiawentiio Tarbell as Katara and Paul Sun-Hyung Lee as Uncle Iroh), the adaptation has been widely anticipated — though the early exits of the original series’ creators over creative differences has raised some concerns. 

Like Avatar, True Detective: Night Country was originally rumoured to be coming out in late 2023 before being bumped — it’s now premiering Jan. 14 on Crave. While it’s the fourth season of an existing series, each instalment is an original storyline — and this version features a fresh new showrunner (Tigers Are Not Afraid director Issa López) and a promised return-to-form after a lacklustre public response to its prior two seasons. Starring Academy Award-winner Jodie Foster alongside Indigenous boxing champion Kali Reis, the series focuses on a string of disappearances at an Alaskan research facility. 

A combination image shows a boy with a blue arrow on his head doing martial arts, a woman in a winter jacket standing in the snow, a man on a horse wearing 1800s-era clothing, and a smiling man on a bench.
From left, images from Avatar: The Last Airbender, True Detective: Night Country, Manhunt and Mr. and Mrs. Smith are shown. (Netflix, HBO, Apple TV, Prime Video)

Apple TV’s Manhunt promises to tell the story of Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth and the often overlooked pursuit that followed. Starring miniseries-mainstay Anthony Boyle (The Plot Against America, Masters of the Air, Patrick Melrose) as Booth and, surprisingly, Patton Oswalt as the investigator largely blamed for failing to stop the killing, Manhunt pieces together the conspirators, co-conspirators, connected assassination attempts and Booth’s escape on the night of April 14, 1865.

Amazon Prime TV’s long-awaited Mr. and Mrs. Smith reboot — this time starring Donald Glover and Maya Erskine — is set to drop Feb. 2. A loose remake of the 2005 Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie action-comedy about a husband and wife who discover they are spies for competing agencies is less of a comedy, and instead focuses on the two spies being paired together to pose as a married couple. The series, co-created by Glover, was originally supposed to be released back in 2022 before being pushed first to 2023, then 2024, due to Hollywood strikes and original co-star Phoebe Waller-Bridge dropping out over creative differences. 

Fresh new movies

A combination image shows, from left, a woman with a camera slung over her shoulder looks at the viewer, a man and woman stand together in an embrace, two men wearing suits smile at the camera and a man in a hoodie looks out of frame.
Civil War, Hit Man, Wolfs and Sing Sing are some of the hotly anticipated films of 2024. (A24, Netflix, Michael Buckner/Getty Images, Black Bear Pictures)

While A24 has a full slate of movies scheduled for 2024, Civil War, coming April 26 to theatres, may be the most topical. Starring husband-and-wife duo, and frequent collaborators, Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons — alongside Nick Offerman as a beleaguered president — writer/director Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation, 28 Days Later) tells a story of a “near-future America” tumbling into dictatorship, military extremism and, you guessed it, civil war. 

The Netflix-acquired Hit Man, meanwhile, is at the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to tone. A surprise hit at 2023’s Toronto International Film Festival, the Richard Linklater-directed rom-com feels more in line with the original Mr. and Mrs. Smith than Glover’s creation. Glenn Powell gives a career-defining, if incredibly silly, performance as a nerdy teacher moonlighting as an undercover hitman for the police. As he works to entrap would-be criminals trying to hire him, he accidentally falls in love with one of his marks (played by Adria Arjona). It’s scheduled for release sometime in 2024, though there is no official date set. 

The annoyingly-titled Wolfs makes up for any grammatical challenges by being the first theatrical on-screen collaboration between George Clooney and Brad Pitt since 2008’s Burn After Reading. Slated for Sept. 20, there’s little known about the thriller aside from it following two lone-wolf “fixers” hired to do the same job.

Fresh off a pair of impressive turns in The Color Purple and Rustin, Colman Domingo’s Sing Sing was acquired by A24 following a stellar debut at TIFF. The film is based on a rehabilitation program at Sing Sing prison, and boasts a cast largely comprised of performers who were formerly incarcerated — and every member of the cast and crew was reportedly paid the same rate and equity in the film.  

Terrifying tales

From left a man poses wearing a white blazer, a woman gasps with the shadow of a clawed hand over her face, a man with pale skin and a wan expression sits next to a young woman wearing a tiara, and a man and boy sit in the front seat of an open-air jeep.
2024’s horror landscape looks just as strong as 2023’s, with some of the standouts including Speak No Evil, Nosferatu, Lisa Frankenstein and Arcadian. (Phillip Faraone/Getty Images, Focus Features, Focus Features, Highland Film Group)

What was possibly 2022’s most unsettling movie is getting an English remake. Speak No Evil is a retelling of the Danish film of the same name, starring James McAvoy and Mackenzie Davis. It follows one family visiting another in an “idyllic country house” who “go from a dream vacation to a psychological nightmare.” With only five days of production left, shooting was called off in July before resuming in November. The film was originally slated for an Aug. 9 theatrical release, with no word on changes from its studio. 

Nosferatu sees director Robert Eggers reuniting with his The Lighthouse and The Northman actor Willem Dafoe — alongside Bill Skarsgård, Nicholas Hoult and Lily-Rose Depp. Announced back in 2015, this retelling of the 1922 silent film is described as a “gothic tale of obsession between a haunted young woman and the terrifying vampire infatuated with her, causing untold horror in its wake.” It is currently set terrify theatre-goers starting Dec. 25. 

The Diablo Cody-produced Lisa Frankenstein is a horror-comedy leagues away from anything else on this list. Pairing Cole Sprouse and Kathryn Newton as a teen couple — the former being a re-animated corpse — this more-funny-than-scary screamfest is the feature directorial debut by Zelda Williams (daughter of the late Robin Williams), coming out Feb. 9.

Continuing his penchant for horror, Nicolas Cage stars in Arcadian (re-titled from Sand and Stones), an Irish-Canadian-American joint production following a father attempting to protect his sons in a post-apocalyptic world. Though its currently scheduled for a 2024 release, there is no definite date and no trailer. 

Part 2: Electric Boogaloo

A combination image shows a man wearing battle armour, a shirtless and bearded man standing in a desert, a twister, a woman with dark eyeshadow holding a hand to her mouth, a man smiling slightly at the camera and a young man wearing a ballcap and a hoodie glaring at the camera.
Dune: Part 2, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, Twisters, Beetlejuice 2, Gladiator 2 and Attack the Block 2 are all set to expand on their predecessors. (Warner Bros, Warner Bros, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros, Ethan Miller/Getty Images, StudioCanal)

While rehashed IP is nothing new to Hollywood, a somewhat new movie trend this year is sequels for dramas, tacked on endings to (previously) stand-alone films and “part twos” — like Dune: Part Two. The second instalment of the Dune story, adapted from Frank Herbert’s seminal intergalactic epic, is currently scheduled to hit theatres March 1 after a delay due to the SAG-AFTRA strike. 

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, the prequel to 2015’s wildly successful Mad Max: Fury Road, is next in line, dropping on May 24. Telling the story of a younger Furiosa (with Anya Taylor-Joy taking on the role originally played by Charlize Theron in Fury Road) and Chris Hemsworth as a warlord trying to keep her down, this latest chapter from co-writers George Miller and Nico Lathouris has big boots to fill: the last Max snagged 10 Oscar nominations, won six and earned over $380 million worldwide.  

Twisters revives the extreme-weather thrills of the 1996 storm-chase blockbuster Twister, though none of the original cast will return. This time Daisy Edgar-Jones, Glen Powell and Anthony Ramos will tussle with tornadoes when it premieres July 19.

Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder and Catherine O’Hara reprise their roles as Beetlejuice, Lydia Deetz and Delia Deetz, respectively, in Beetlejuice 2 (coming to theatres Sept. 6).  Director Tim Burton also returns, casting his Wednesday star Jenna Ortega in the lead role as Lydia’s daughter.

Gladiator 2 is also set to expand a story that, for all intents and purposes, was already cleanly ended. The sequel to Ridley Scott’s 2000 smash hit about a fictional gladiator pitted against a Roman emperor has been in development hell since nearly right after the original premiered. That creative pressure cooker spawned potential ideas that ran the gamut from tame to a bonkers plot pitched by singer/songwriter/screenwriter/novelist Nick Cave that involved reincarnation, time travel and a cameo by Jesus Christ. Instead, we’re getting a story about prior protagonist Maximus’ son, Lucius, that will make its way to theatres on Nov. 22, and feature everyone from Denzel Washington to Barry Keoghan to Pedro Pascal to Djimon Hounsou in its pseudo-historical Roman tale. 

More than a decade after the original film, Attack The Block 2 is still in a state of wishful thinking: the British action-adventure about aliens invading a South London council estate does not have a release date. But the new instalment (which will see a return of lead John Boyega, and focus on gentrification) has been in the works for nearly three years, and was apparently in the “middle of that process” in early 2023, according to its creator.

Cancon cinema

From left a black and red drawing of a house, a smiling elderly man, a young woman holding up her middle finger, and a young man with a face mask around his neck are shown.
Humane, The Shrouds, Fitting In and Someone Lives Here are among a host of Canadian films set to release in 2024. (Victory Man Productions, Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images, TIFF, Larue Entertainment)

Though it wrapped filming in late 2022, word on Caitlin Cronenberg’s directorial debut Humane has been hard to come by. The thriller starring Jay Baruchel, Emily Hampshire and Enrico Colantoni, set around a family dinner in the midst of an environmental catastrophe, was shot entirely in Hamilton. 

Similarly, The Shrouds — by Catilin’s father David Cronenberg — also has no confirmed release date, though filming concluded in June 2023. The highly anticipated film by the master of body horror is said to focus on a businessman who builds a device to converse with the dead inside of a burial shroud. 

Coming-of-age comedy Fitting In, meanwhile, does have a set date of Feb. 2. That film, by director Molly McGlynn, stars Dance Mom‘s Maddie Ziegler as a teen diagnosed with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome — meaning she has no uterus or cervix. Renamed from its original title Bloody Hell, the film promises to mine this medical situation for comedy and emotion.

Currently up for Rogers’s $50,000 award for best Canadian documentary, Zack Russell’s Someone Lives Here takes a deeper look into the much-watched news story of Khaleel Seivwright, the Toronto carpenter who built tiny homes for the city’s homeless population — only to be shut down by local government. It’s premiering in Toronto on Jan. 27 at TIFF Bell Lightbox and in Vancouver on Feb. 24 at the Vancouver International Film Centre (with future screenings promised on their website).

True North replacements

A combination image shows a group of police officers standing in front of a dark blue sky and a family sitting on a couch.
Citytv’s Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent and Bell Media’s Late Bloomer are two Canadian series set to premiere in 2024. (Citytv, Bell Media)

With Canadian series Sort Of, Letterkenny and Transplant all coming to an end, the TV horizon in this country has more than a few new blank spots. One show hoping to take that space is Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent. Coming to Citytv on Feb. 22, the 10-part series brings the long-running franchise to Ontario, and boasts an all-Canadian cast. 

Late Bloomer is comedian Jasmeet Raina’s eight-part original comedy series that “follows burgeoning content creator Jasmeet Dutta (Raina) as he tries to balance his ambitions for success with his commitment to his family, community, and culture.” The first two episodes are set to premiere Jan. 19 on Crave.

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