Kids across the state are back in school, and with the box office projected to suffer its worst summer in 25 years, it’s safe to say that the summer movie season is officially over.
But with the changing of the leaves comes a changing of the reels. Theaters phase out remakes and prequels in favor of prestige films with awards potential. In the last two autumn movie seasons, we saw releases of Oscar hopefuls filmed in the Boston area, some of which later earned Academy Awards (Spotlight, Manchester by the Sea), and some of which did not (Black Mass, Patriots Day).
This fall, we can anticipate a number of releases with local ties, including another movie centered around the Boston Marathon bombings and films from Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and Mark Wahlberg. Here are the 15 movies you’ll want to know more about before they hit theaters in the coming weeks and months.
It (September 8)
Early word on the remake of horror maestro Stephen King’s killer clown story is that it’s extremely scary. Like many of King’s tales, the film takes place in Maine, and centers around a group of bullied children who band together when a killer clown (or, more accurately, a monster that takes the appearance of a clown) begins hunting children.
Brad’s Status (September 15)
Ben Stiller plays Brad Sloan, an anxious father taking his musical prodigy son on college tours along the East Coast. While visiting the Boston area, where Sloan went to college, Sloan begins to think less of his life compared to those of his successful college friends, played by Luke Wilson, Jemaine Clement, Michael Sheen, and Mike White, who also wrote and directed the film. Keep your eyes peeled for shots of Cambridge and Milton, where the film was shot last fall.
Stronger (September 22)
Based on Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman’s 2014 autobiography of the same name, Stronger chronicles the life of Bauman (Jake Gyllenhaal) both in the immediate aftermath of the bombings and during his long, difficult road to recovery, fraught with grueling rehab sessions and emotional arguments with then-girlfriend Erin Hurley (Tatiana Maslany). Shot in the Boston area in 2016, Stronger will have its U.S. premiere on Sept. 12 at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown, where Bauman and other bombing survivors worked on their recovery.
Battle of the Sexes (September 29)
Acton native Steve Carell and recent Oscar winner Emma Stone will team up for this biopic, chronicling one of the most infamous tennis matches of all time. Carell plays former tennis pro turned smarmy showman Bobby Riggs, who, at the age of 55, declared that he could beat any of the best women’s players in the sport, eventually goading Billie Jean King (Stone) into a nationally televised match.
Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman (October 27)
Psychologist William Moulton Marston was born in Saugus, graduated from Harvard, and taught at Tufts. He invented the lie detector and created Wonder Woman, a feminist icon. He also had a secret, living with his wife, Elizabeth, and another woman, Olive Byrne, in an unconventional relationship. The biopic features Luke Evans (Beauty and the Beast) as Marston, Rebecca Hall (The Town) as his wife, and Bella Heathcote (Fifty Shades Darker) as Byrne, and was filmed in Lowell, Norton, and Tewksbury.
Suburbicon (October 27)
Directed by George Clooney and co-written by the Coen Brothers (The Big Lebowski, Fargo), Suburbicon is the first of two promising Matt Damon movies coming out in the next few months. Damon plays a seemingly ordinary suburban man set upon by mobsters and other forces in pursuit of a debt, including Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens). As the trailer makes clear, even though Damon gives off an unassuming air, he’s not afraid to get violent when necessary, much to the chagrin of his suburban neighbors.
Daddy’s Home 2 (November 10)
It’s double the daddies in this sequel to the 2015 Mark Wahlberg-Will Ferrell vehicle. In the new film, Dusty (Wahlberg) and Brad (Ferrell) have become friendly, despite Brad being married to Dusty’s ex-wife. They even decide to have one big Christmas celebration, but that brings conflict in the form of Dusty’s bad-boy dad, Kurt (Mel Gibson), and Brad’s touchy-feely father, (John Lithgow). Also returning to the fray is West Newbury native John Cena, who had a brief cameo in the first film as the father of Dusty’s new stepdaughter.
Last Flag Flying (November 17)
Critically acclaimed indie director Richard Linklater (Boyhood, Dazed and Confused) helms this film about a Vietnam war veteran (Carell) who meets up with his old war buddies (Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad and Laurence Fishburne of The Matrix) for help burying his son, a Marine killed in the Iraq War. What should be a simple trip turns into a heist when Carell’s character decides to steal the coffin holding his son and keep him from being buried at Arlington National Cemetery as a protest against the war.
Justice League (November 17)
Ben Affleck is no longer writing or directing Warner Brothers’ standalone Batman film, but he’s still playing the Caped Crusader in Justice League, alongside Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), The Flash (Ezra Miller), and the rest of the heroes as they team up to fight an alien bent on conquering the universe.
I Love You, Daddy (November 22)
Newton native Louis C.K. brings his auteurist streak from the small screen to the big one with I Love You, Daddy, a dark (and somewhat controversial) comedy C.K. wrote, directed, produced, edited, and stars in that has drawn comparisons to Woody Allen’s 1979 film Manhattan. The two movies do bear a resemblance, both in subject matter (both concern an older man’s relationship with a 17-year-old girl), and in style (both are shot in black and white and feature a full orchestral score).
Chappaquiddick (December 8)
Film executives will likely push an awards season campaign for Chappaquiddick, a film that chronicles the fateful 1969 car accident that left Mary Jo Kopechne (Kate Mara) dead and derailed the presidential aspirations of Ted Kennedy (Jason Clarke). Early reviews suggest that the film casts Kennedy in a negative light, with one reviewer writing that Chappaquiddick “turns a critical eye towards the Kennedy mystique, showing how the family closed ranks around one of their own at a moment that could – and arguably should – have cost him not only his career, but his freedom.”
Ferdinand (December 15)
John Cena plays the titular character in this computer-animated movie based on the beloved children’s book, The Story of Ferdinand. Unlike other bulls, Ferdinand prefers smelling the flowers, rather than angrily chasing the red flags held by matadors. But when Ferdinand is forced into a bullfighting arena in Spain, he must decide how peaceful he can afford to be with his freedom on the line.
All the Money in the World (December 22)
While this film is based on the real-life abduction of the grandson of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, it focuses less on the kidnapping and more on the behind-the-scenes rescue efforts of the kidnapped boy’s mother (Manchester by the Sea‘s Michelle Williams) and an ex-CIA agent (Mark Wahlberg). Ridley Scott (Alien, The Martian) directs.
Pitch Perfect 3 (December 22)
The beat goes on in the third Pitch Perfect film, though not without a few bumps. When the movie starts, the Bellas (Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, and others) are out of college and stuck in unfulfilling jobs. But when the ladies are offered a chance to sing on a USO tour, the group gets #acaback together for one more show. After taking the director’s chair for Pitch Perfect 2, Pittsfield native Elizabeth Banks merely produces and stars in this edition, reprising her role as a cappella commentator Gail Abernathy-McKadden-Feinberger.
Downsizing (December 22)
Dear acting coaches everywhere who have said there’s no such thing as small roles: Matt Damon will prove you wrong in Downsizing. Damon plays Paul Safranek, an everyman who decides to improve his life (and help save the overpopulated world) by undergoing a new medical procedure that shrinks him to 5 inches tall. Featuring Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live) as Paul’s wife, this satire from director Alexander Payne (The Descendants, Sideways) is already generating Oscars buzz from awards prognosticators.
The Post (December 22)
Following the Best Picture win for Spotlight, screenwriter Josh Singer embarked on a thematically similar project for his next screenplay, cowriting the tale of The Washington Post‘s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Directed by Steven Spielberg, and featuring Tom Hanks as Post editor Ben Bradlee and Meryl Streep as publisher Katherine Graham (the first female publisher in the Post‘s history), the film also features Neal Huff as legendary Boston Globe editor Thomas Winship, who made the decision to follow the Post and The New York Times in publishing the leaked government documents.