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)
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 Thieves' (Jan. 19)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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 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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
'Rampage' (April 13)
Video-game adaptations rarely make even half-way decent movies, but this one has reportedly been testing well in advance screenings. It stars Dwayne Johnson as a man who must stop three massive monster-animals — wolf, crocodile, gorilla – from terrorizing North America.
'Super Troopers 2' (April 20)
The hapless Vermont cops from 2001’s cult favorite “Super Troopers” are back, this time monitoring a U.S.-Canada border dispute. With Jay Chandrasekhar, left, Kevin Heffernan, far right, and Rob Lowe.