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Big new movies to see this winter: 'Black Panther,' 'Fifty Shades Freed,' 'A Wrinkle in Time' and more

Winter is here, but Hollywood might be sweating.

Last year’s box office was a major disappointment, a 2.7 percent drop in revenue and a 5.8 percent drop in actual tickets sold compared to 2016. A summer of botched blockbusters was largely to blame, notably Tom Cruise’s action-horror hybrid “The Mummy” and the widely panned sci-fi fantasy “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.” Now come the cold months — always a season of slim pickings and shoulder-shrugging for moviegoers.

There might, however, be some bright spots. Horror, a hot genre after the success of last year’s “Get Out,” continues to draw unusual talent. Comedian John Krasinski is directing “A Quiet Place,” about a family hiding from an evil force; the classy Helen Mirren will star in “Winchester,” based on a real-life heiress of the early 1900s; and even Marvel’s X-Men are going the spooky route with “The New Mutants.”

Another trend is an uptick in diversity, with Chadwick Boseman starring in the long-awaited superhero movie “Black Panther” and young actress Storm Reid (“12 Years a Slave”) in “A Wrinkle in Time” (directed by Ava DuVernay, of “Selma”). Fox will release a gay high-school comedy called “Love, Simon,” and Anna Faris will star opposite Mexico’s Eugenio Derbez in a remake of the rom-com “Overboard.”

Throw in Steven Spielberg’s new virtual-reality movie, Wes Anderson’s new stop-motion production and Clint Eastwood’s latest true-life drama, and moviegoers just might warm up to Hollywood again. Here are the big films of this winter (and early spring):
 

'12 Strong' (Jan. 19)

(Front-L) CHRIS HEMSWORTH as Captain Mitch Nelson and
Photo Credit: David James

Billed as a “declassified true story,” this action-drama follows the first U.S. Special Forces team sent to Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. With Chris Hemsworth, left, and Michael Shannon.

'Den of Theives' (Jan. 19)

Gerard Butler stars in STX Films' "Den of
Photo Credit: STX Entertainment

A group of elite bank robbers attempts to knock over the Los Angeles branch of the Federal Reserve. Starring Gerard Butler, pictured, 50 Cent and O’Shea Jackson Jr.

'Maze Runner: The Death Cure' (Jan. 26)

(L-R) Thomas (Dylan O'Brien), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Cranks
Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

The adventurous teens who escaped a massive labyrinth must break into another one, called Last City, in this franchise finale. With Dylan O’Brien, left, Kaya Scodelario and Patricia Clarkson.

'Winchester' (Feb. 2)

Academy Award® winner Helen Mirren in WINCHESTER to
Photo Credit: CBS Films / Lionsgate/Ben King

A horror film inspired by Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren), the widow who spent much of her gun-manufacturing fortune building a bizarre mansion in San Jose, California.

'The 15:17 to Paris' (Feb. 9)

(L-R) ALEK SKARLATOS, ANTHONY SADLER and SPENCER STONE
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures/Keith Bernstein

Clint Eastwood’s drama about three Americans who helped thwart a terrorist attack on a passenger train will star Alek Skarlatos, left, Anthony Sadler and Spencer Stone and as themselves.

'Fifty Shades Freed' (Feb. 9)

DAKOTA JOHNSON and JAMIE DORNAN return as Christian
Photo Credit: Doane Gregory

The third in the steamy film series about blushing book editor Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and sadistic millionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). James Foley returns to direct.

'Black Panther' (Feb. 16)

Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER. T'Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman),
Photo Credit: Marvel Studios

After the death of the King of Wakanda, his son T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns to the technologically advanced African nation to take the throne. Ryan Coogler, of “Creed,” directs.

'Early Man' (Feb. 16)

DUG (Eddie Redmayne) and HOGNOB in EARLY MAN.
Photo Credit: Lionsgate / Aardman

A stop-motion comedy-adventure set in prehistoric times. With the voices of Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston and Maisie Williams. Nick Park, of “Wallace and Gromit,” directs.

'Annihilation' (Feb. 23)

Left to right: Natalie Portman and Tessa Thompson
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures / Skydance/Peter Mountain

A biologist enters an uninhabited area to find out what happened to her husband. With Natalie Portman, left, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Oscar Isaac. Alex Garland, who scored a sleeper hit with 2015’s “Ex Machina,” directs.

'Death Wish' (March 2)

Bruce Willis stars as Paul Kersey in DEATH
Photo Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures

Bruce Willis steps into Charles Bronson’s shoes as an urban vigilante in this already controversial remake of the gritty 1974 crime drama. Directed by professional button-pusher Eli Roth, of “The Green Inferno” and “Hostel.”

'Red Sparrow' (March 2)

Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton in 20th Century
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox/Murray Close

A ballerina, Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence, left), joins a group of seductive spies known as Sparrows. Francis Lawrence (no relation), of “The Hunger Games,” directs.

'A Wrinkle in Time' (March 9)

Storm Reid is Meg Murry in Disney's A
Photo Credit: Atsushi Nishijima

When a brilliant scientist (Chris Pine) disappears, his daughter (Storm Reid, pictured) ventures into unknown space to find him. With Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey and Mindy Kaling. Ava DuVernay, of “Selma,” directs this adaptation of the Madeleine L’Engle novel.

'Love, Simon' (March 16)

Nick Robinson stars as Simon in Twentieth Century
Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox/Ben Rothstein

A gay but closeted 17-year-old (Nick Robinson) falls for an anonymous classmate online. Directed by Greg Berlanti (TV’s “Supergirl,” “Riverdale”).

'Pacific Rim Uprising' (March 23)

(L to R, foreground) JOHN BOYEGA as Jake
Photo Credit: Legendary Pictures

John Boyega, left, of the new “Star Wars” series, coproduced this sequel to the 2013 giant-monster movie “Pacific Rim.” He stars in it, too, as a giant-robot operator named Jake Pentecost.

'Isle of Dogs' (March 23)

(From L-R): Edward Norton as
Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Another stop-motion animated film by Wes Anderson (“The Fantastic Mr. Fox”), this one inspired by Japanese cinema. The star-studded voice cast, includes Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Greta Gerwig, Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray.

'Acrimony' (March 30)

Lyriq Bent as "Robert" and Taraji P. Henson
Photo Credit: Lionsgate/Chip Bergmann

A faithful wife (Taraji P. Henson, right) finally grows tired of her devious husband’s ways. With Lyriq Bent, left, and Jazmyn Simon. Written and directed by Tyler Perry.

'Ready Player One' (March 30)

TYE SHERIDAN as Wade Watts in Warner Bros.
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures /Jaap Buitendijk

In a pre-apocalypse future, a popular virtual-reality universe, OASIS, turns out to be the hiding place of a very real fortune. With Tye Sheridan, pictured, and Mark Rylance. Directed by Steven Spielberg.

'Blockers' (April 6)

(L to R) JOHN CENA, LESLIE MANN and
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures/Quantrell D. Colbe

Three parents join forces to stop their teenage daughters from losing their virginity at prom. Starring John Cena, left, Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz.

'A Quiet Place' (April 6)

Emily Blunt in A QUIET PLACE, from Paramount
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures/Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

Surrounded by an evil force that is attracted to sound, a rural family survives by living in total silence. The trailer, at least, contains no spoken dialogue. John Krasinski directs himself and his wife, Emily Blunt.

'New Mutants' (April 13)

L-R: Anya Taylor Joy (Illyana Rasputin/Magik, back
Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox/Claire Folger

Fox’s new installment in the “X-Men” series appears to be a superhero horror movie with spooky basements and everything. The cast includes Anya Taylor-Joy (“Split”), left, and Charlie Heaton (Netflix’s “Stranger Things”), center.

'Overboard' (April 20)

(From L to R): Jay Chandrasekhar, Steve Lemme,
Photo Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Diyah Pera

When a selfish playboy (Eugenio Derbez, right) develops amnesia, his ill-treated employee (Anna Faris, left) convinces him they are married. It’s a reworking of the 1987 rom-com starring Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn.

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