In the upcoming drama “Gold,” Matthew McConaughey plays a prospector whose latest mine produces just an eighth of an ounce of gold for every ton of rock — and he’s thrilled. Moviegoers often feel the same way during the typically hardscrabble winter season.
It may take some digging, but several nuggets might be found over the coming months. For starters, the horror-chiller “Split,” starring James McAvoy as a man with multiple personalities, could continue the career comeback of writer-director M. Night Shyamalan. “The Lego Batman Movie,” with Will Arnett as the voice of the plastic superhero, could be a worthy follow-up to the animated smash “The Lego Movie.” And Disney’s latest live-action remake of an animated classic is based on one of its very best, “Beauty and the Beast.”
As for “Fifty Shades Darker,” based on the S&M novel by E.L. James with a screenplay by her husband, it’s sure to be entertaining one way or another. Here’s our list of 30 movies to check out this winter.
'The Founder' (Jan. 20)
Michael Keaton, pictured, plays Ray Kroc, who turned the hamburger chain McDonald’s into a global empire. With Nick Offerman and Laura Dern.
'XXX: The Return of Xander Cage' (Jan. 20)
Vin Diesel, left, plays an extreme athlete turned government operative in this third series installment. With Donnie Yen (“Rogue One”) as the villain Xiang.
'Split' (Jan. 20)
A psychological horror film starring James McAvoy as a man with 23 personalities who captures three young women. Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
'Gold' (Jan. 27)
Matthew McConaughey, left, plays a modern-day prospector who gambles everything on an Indonesian gold mine. With Bryce Dallas Howard and Edgar Ramirez, right.
'Resident Evil: The Final Chapter' (Jan. 27)
After 15 years and five films, the video-game-based franchise — starring Milla Jovovich, right as a zombie-killing super-soldier — comes to an end.
'A Dog's Purpose' (Jan. 27)
The soul of a dog (Josh Gad provides the voice) returns in different furry forms to help humans. With Dennis Quaid, pictured; Lasse Hallstrom (“Dear John”) directs.
'Rings' (Feb. 3)
The third movie in the horror franchise about a video that kills those who watch it. With Matilda Lutz and Vincent D’Onofrio. Pictured: Bonnie Morgan
'The Space Between Us' (Feb. 3)
A teenage boy born on Mars decides to visit the cute Earth girl he met online. With Asa Butterfield, pictured, and Britt Robertson.
'Fifty Shades Darker' (Feb. 10)
An adaptation of E.L. James’ bondage-romance novel about a college girl (Dakota Johnson, left) and a wealthy sadist (Jamie Dornan, right).
'The Lego Batman Movie' (Feb. 10)
Will Arnett returns as the egotistic superhero from “The Lego Movie,” this time teaming up with Lego Robin (Michael Cera) against Lego Joker (Zach Galifianakis).
'John Wick: Chapter Two' (Feb. 10)
A legendary hit man (Keanu Reeves, pictured) comes out of retirement to battle an old colleague. The first film, from 2014, was a surprise hit that earned $86 million.
'A United Kingdom' (Feb. 10)
A romantic drama about King Seretse Khama of Botswana (David Oyelowo), who in 1948 married a white woman from London (Rosamund Pike).
'A Cure for Wellness' (Feb. 17)
A young businessman’s visit to a Swiss spa turns out to be more horrifying than relaxing. Starring Dane DeHaan, Mia Goth, pictured. Directed by Gore Verbinski.
'Fist Fight' (Feb. 17)
A comedy about two teachers (Charlie Day, left, and Ice Cube) who prepare for an after-school brawl.
'The Great Wall' (Feb. 17)
Matt Damon, pictured, plays a warrior fighting to keep a monster from crossing China’s most iconic structure. Directed by Zhang Yimou (“House of Flying Daggers”).
'Burn Your Maps' (Feb. 24)
An offbeat comedy-drama about a suburban kid (Jacob Tremblay, of “Room,” left) who insists on becoming a Mongolian goat-herder. With Vera Farmiga, right, and Marton Csokas.
'Get Out' (Feb. 24)
The comedian Jordan Peele wrote and directed this horror-thriller about a young black man who is invited to meet his white girlfriend’s parents. Starring Daniel Kaluuya, pictured, and Catherine Keener.
'Rock Dog' (Feb. 24)
An animated film about a guitar-playing dog who hooks up with a record-producing cat. With the voices of Luke Wilson and Eddie Izzard. Sam Elliot plays Fleetwood Yak.
'Logan' (March 3)
Wolverine, the go-it-alone X-Man played by Hugh Jackman, pictured, looks older but no mellower in his third solo movie.
'T2: Trainspotting' (March 3)
Twenty years after the heroin-fueled antics of “Trainspotting,” Mark, Spud, Sick Boy and Begbie meet again. Starring Jonny Lee Miller, left, Ewan McGregor and the original cast. Directed by Danny Boyle.
'The Wall' (March 10)
A psychological thriller about two U.S. soldiers (John Cena and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, pictured) pinned down by an Iraqi sniper. Directed by Doug Liman (“The Bourne Identity”).
'Kong: Skull Island' (March 10)
The latest — and probably not the last — feature film about the origins of the giant ape. With Tom Hiddleston, left, Samuel L. Jackson and Brie Larson, right.
'Beauty and the Beast' (March 17)
Disney’s live-action remake of its 1991 animated classic stars Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as her captor. Directed by Bill Condon (“Chicago”).
'Free Fire' (March 17)
Several criminals botch a deal and wind up trapped by each other in an armed standoff. With Armie Hammer, left, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy and Michael Smiley.
'The Belko Experiment' (March 17)
Several dozen employees are locked in an office and forced to play a game of kill-or-be-killed. With Tony Goldwyn, John C. McGinley and Melonie Diaz. Pictured: Michael Rook, left, and David Dastalmachian.
'Saban's Power Rangers' (March 24)
The 1990s television show about five teens in color-coded superhero suits comes to the big screen for the third time. With Dacre Montgomery and Bryan Cranston. Pictured: Becky G, left, and Elizabeth Banks.
'Life' (March 24)
Six astronauts on the International Space Station discover evidence of life on Mars. It isn’t exactly friendly. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, pictured, and Rebecca Ferguson.