For every year that passes, the gravitational pull generated by The Walt Disney Company becomes that much more inescapable. Once simply a film studio associated with hand-drawn animated features and creepy amusement parks, Disney has steadily transformed itself into an entertainment juggernaut that has swallowed up other studios such as Fox like they were mere road apples on the path to conquest. Disney now owns so many other properties, in fact, that simply keeping up with all the films they’re releasing throughout 2022 is a surprisingly difficult endeavor—first you need to know all the subsidiary companies Disney owns, and all the venues they have to release films, including the Disney+ streaming platform and Hulu.
Luckily, we’ve assembled the impressive, full tally in a single place. What follows is every single film that Disney and its subdivisions have on the docket for 2022. They run a wide gamut of different styles and genres, and will be released in a wide variety of ways; some in theaters and some via streaming platforms. The one thing they share in common is that all are currently scheduled to be released before 2022 draws to a close.
Here’s a brief capsule on each, presented in roughly chronological release order.
Release date: Jan. 28, 2022
The sixth entry in the seemingly undead Ice Age franchise, formerly a signature series for the now sadly shuttered Blue Sky Studios, this one has definitely fallen into “straight to VOD” territory at this point. Disney acquired the series along with Blue Sky’s IPs in the 20th Century Fox deal, and this hastily assembled sequel featuring Simon Pegg as the voice of dinosaur-hunting weasel Buck Wild is perhaps the last vestige of that earlier era. Disney dumped this one onto Disney+ in late January, and critical reaction has been … let’s just say, it hasn’t exactly set the world on fire.
Release date: Feb. 11, 2022
Director-star Kenneth Branagh’s long-awaited follow-up to 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express was filmed way back in mid-2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic sent it into indefinite hibernation. Since then, it’s grappled with other issues, including the Hollywood fall from grace of one of its stars, Armie Hammer, who Disney attempted to excise from all the marketing. Like the preceding film, Death on the Nile stars Branagh as eccentric Agatha Christie detective Hercule Poirot, this time investigating a murder aboard a luxury yacht in Egypt. A sprawling ensemble cast affair, it stars everyone from Annette Bening and Gal Gadot to Rose Leslie, Tom Bateman, Russell Brand, Letitia Wright and Emma Mackey. The film finally made port in February, after having been one of the longest-delayed features of the pandemic era.
Release date: Feb. 18, 2022
This silly looking Disney+ exclusive is for all intents and purposes a gender-swapped version of the classic Cinderella story, in which a young Black man on the streets of New York designs his own magical glass slippers—now in the form of multicolored sneakers—in order to romance the girl of his dreams, the daughter of a famous sneaker magnate. It’s a very cheesy premise and trailer, recalling the 2000s glory days of Disney Channel original movies, now evolved into Disney+ originals. Sneakerella stars Chosen Jacobs as protagonist El, along with Lexi Underwood, Devyn Nekoda and John Salley.
Release date: March 11, 2022
Pixar’s newest animated feature is notable for the fact that it’s breaking ground on a number of diversity fronts at once, being the first Pixar film solely directed by a woman, as well as the first directed by one of Chinese descent. Director-writer Domee Shi is a Chinese-Canadian animator and storyboard artist who has been working for Pixar for more than a decade, now getting her opportunity to shepherd a passion project to completion. That film is Turning Red, a coming of age tale with definite autobiographical overtones, about a 13-year-old girl of Chinese descent who grapples with emotional outbursts that occasionally transform her into a giant red panda. The film stars the voices of Rosalie Chiang, Sandra Oh, Ava Morse, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Hyein Park, Orion Lee, Wai Ching Ho and the seemingly immortal James Hong. It is llikely of special interest to Canadian viewers, considering the setting of Toronto in the early 2000s.
Turning Red was released in the U.S. on Disney+, much to the consternation of Pixar employees who have spoken out on their disappointment about the film being denied a traditional theatrical run. It debuted to critical acclaim, and director Domee Shi has already been promoted seemingly as a result.
Release date: March 18, 2022
This latest remake of the 1950 film of the same name, following several versions with Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt in the early 2000s. This time around, the parents of the massive family clan are Zach Braff and Gabrielle Union, heading up a cast that includes a bunch of kids, in addition to supporting turns from Ron Funches, Erika Christensen and Brittany Daniel. Plot wise, the film actually seems to be closer to 1968’s Yours, Mine and Ours than previous versions of Cheaper by the Dozen, with the family being made of a big, merged group that came together Brady Bunch-style, rather than two parents who simply had an unusually large number of children together. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is another Disney+ exclusive.
Release date: May 6, 2022
Horror icon Sam Raimi steps back behind the camera for the first time in a decade in order to helm the MCU’s next step into the Marvel multiverse, following up where the criss-crossing of Spider-Man: No Way Home left off. Multiverse of Madness has strong ties to several other recent MCU properties, especially the reality warping of WandaVision, with Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff stepping into position as effectively this movie’s co-lead. Expect an extremely trippy and possibly scary descent into the weirdest corners of the MCU we’ve seen explored to date. This film is sure to have a lasting impact on the basic structure of reality in the MCU, going forward.
Release date: May 27, 2022
Stuck in development limbo for what felt like ages, the feature film debut of the Belcher clan is now steadily approaching, and we even have a trailer to show for it. Originally scheduled to be released way back in the summer of 2020, this property has seen repeated delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic, making fans very impatient indeed. Official synopsis is as follows:
The Bob’s Burgers Movie is an animated, big-screen, musical comedy-mystery-adventure based on the long-running Emmy-winning series. The story begins when a ruptured water main creates an enormous sinkhole right in front of Bob’s Burgers, blocking the entrance indefinitely and ruining the Belchers’ plans for a successful summer. While Bob and Linda struggle to keep the business afloat, the kids try to solve a mystery that could save their family’s restaurant. As the dangers mount, these underdogs help each other find hope and fight to get back behind the counter, where they belong.
Release date: May 20, 2022
This was a particularly unexpected choice for a feature film reboot, but Disney has certainly approached this one in an interesting way. John Mulaney and Andy Samberg team up to take on anthropomorphic chipmunks Chip and Dale, with a twist of Behind the Music, imagining the pair as down-and-out former cultural icons now trying to make a comeback. The film is directed by Lonely Island/Samberg collaborator Akiva Schaffer, from a screenplay by Dan Gregor and Doug Mand, and features a eye-popping style of hybrid live action and animation that echoes the groundbreaking work of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Looking at the all-over-the-place trailer below, there’s some material that is genuinely inspired, like Seth Rogen’s bizarre appearance that seems inspired by the hideous 2007 CGI animated version of Beowulf, but there’s also so much Ready Player One-style IP fetishizing that it’s difficult to know whether to be excited or horrified.
Release date: April 1, 2022
Based on author Tim Federle’s 2013 novel of the same name, and directed by the author himself, Better Nate Than Ever is a musical family comedy, telling a coming-of-age story about a teenager with Broadway aspirations, running away to the big city. It stars newcomer Rueby Wood as the titular Nate Foster, along with Joshua Bassett, Aria Brooks and, in a major role, the delightful Lisa Kudrow. The film dropped on Disney+ this spring. Official synopsis is as follows:
Nate Foster, an unpopular 13-year-old from Pittsburgh, has a goal of one day becoming a Broadway musical star. When Nate is repeatedly overlooked, and never cast in the lead roles he deserves, he and his best friend Libby, sneak away to pursue their life’s dreams in the Big Apple. A random encounter with his estranged aunt Heidi, turns their adventure upside-down. Only together can they make their dreams come true.
Release date: June 17, 2022
Ah, Lightyear, the animated film that can send anyone into a tailspin of a paradox as they attempt to figure out how it could be about “the man who inspired the toy,” when the story takes place far in Earth’s future. Far be it from us to attempt to figure it out, though—all you need to know is that Lightyear looks like a surprisingly mature family adventure film starring Chris Evans (sorry, Tim Allen) as the voice of the would-be space ranger, early in his career. Plot details have been kept quite mum, but the film is directed by Finding Dory co-helmer Angus MacLane, and also stars the voices of James Brolin, Keke Palmer, Taika Waititi, Isiah Whitlock Jr. and Dale Soules, among others. Unlike so many of the other animated features Disney is releasing in 2022, it’s actually bound for theaters rather than Disney+.
Release date: July 8, 2022
Taika Waititi steps back into the director’s chair for this follow-up to his well-liked Thor: Ragnarok, a film that helped define the increasingly zany and non-serious tone of the MCU in recent years, outside of the likes of Infinity War. Chris Hemsworth is of course back in the saddle as the loveable title character, though the big plot point of this installment actually revolves around the return of Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster, who has been largely MIA in the MCU ever since the events of Thor: The Dark World. That feels like eons ago at this point, but Love and Thunder will see her returned to the fold, adapting elements of Jason Aaron’s Mighty Thor series, which saw Jane Foster acquiring the powers of Thor while battling cancer. We can only imagine that Waititi’s comic sensibilities will somehow manage to take the sting out of a deadly disease. Notably, Love and Thunder also promises to introduce Christian Bale to the MCU as the fearsome Gorr the God Butcher.
Release date: Sept. 8, 2022
We really, really have to question if yet another take on Pinocchio was truly warranted by any director at this point, but Disney now finds itself in the weird position of competing directly against Netflix with two A-list Pinocchio projects. The Netflix project is Guillermo del Toro’s long-awaited take on Pinocchio, a stop-motion animated film that seems more inspired by the style of the original 1883 Italian novel. Disney’s Pinocchio is likewise CGI-driven and is directed by Robert Zemeckis, who reeled in Tom Hanks as Gepetto, presumably to revisit those disconcerting Polar Express vibes. It seems safe to say that the Disney/Zemeckis project will probably be the more conventional and safe of the two, but both Pinocchio projects are due to arrive in late 2022. What a strange double feature this will be. Check out the first Disney branded Pinocchio trailer below.
Release date: Fall 2022
You thought 15 years for an Enchanted sequel was a lot? How about 29 years for a Hocus Pocus sequel? Truly, it’s been ages since the original hit theaters to relatively little acclaim, only to steadily earn its place as one of Disney’s most popular holiday films ever. You can bet that this one will be getting quite a bit more attention, even though it’s scheduled for Disney+, rather than theaters. As is necessity, the trio of Sanderson Sisters will of course be back for this installment, with starring turns from Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy. Doug Jones is also back, although we’ll have new child characters, which only makes sense. Actually, the “kids” seem a bit older this time around, as the official synopsis states: “Twenty-nine years after the events of Hocus Pocus, three high-school students must work together to stop the Sanderson sisters, who have returned to present day Salem.” Sure, but will the characters still use “virgin!” as an insult?
There’s no specific release date yet on Hocus Pocus 2, but it will pretty clearly be out before Halloween.
Release date: Nov. 4, 2022
Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle director David O. Russell is back with his first film since 2015’s Joy, which has been widely reported to be titled Canterbury Glass. The mysterious film is said to be a period piece, and the details are extremely sparse, with this being our only synopsis: “A doctor and a lawyer form an unlikely partnership.” Normally, this wouldn’t really be enough to get folks very excited, but one look at the ensemble cast makes it clear why this will be a major film. In fact, this is one of the most ridiculous casts assembled in recent memory, starring the following: Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Rami Malek, Zoe Saldana, Robert De Niro, Mike Myers, Timothy Olyphant, Michael Shannon, Chris Rock, Anya Taylor-Joy, Andrea Riseborough, Taylor Swift and more. So yeah, whenever more details on this one arrive, expect for it to be big news.
Release date: Nov. 11, 2022
The massive sequel to director Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther was of course set back in a massive way by the unexpected and tragic passing of star Chadwick Boseman, requiring planning to essentially start again from scratch. It’s hard to say where this leaves the world of Wakanda, though rumors have been flowing for months that this sequel will involve the lost city of Atlantis, and possibly the introduction of classic Marvel character Namor the Sub-Mariner. That’s all pure speculation, as is the question of who would actually take up the mantle of Black Panther in the future—at the very least, Disney has repeatedly stated not to expect a creepy CGI version of Chadwick Boseman. Performers for Wakanda Forever will include returning faces such as Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett and Letitia Wright, as well as newcomers such as Dominique Thorne and Michaela Cole.
Release date: Nov. 23, 2022
It’s been 15 years since Amy Adams hit the big time in Disney’s Enchanted, a live-action ode to its classic, princess-driven animated features. The world has only grown more cynical and harsh in the years that followed, but this nostalgia-fueled sequel will most likely attempt to stuff our collective ennui back down for a few hours. As is the style these days, all the original cast members of note are back on board for the sequel, including Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden and Idina Menzel. Bonus points: Dempsey said he’ll actually be singing and dancing this time around, which will be the first time he’s ever done so in his career. Likewise, the original film’s songwriters, Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, are also back on board. New cast members, meanwhile, include the likes of Maya Rudolph, Yvette Nicole Brown, Jayma Mays and Oscar Nunez. Disenchanted will be headed straight to Disney+ at some point in the autumn.
Release date: Dec. 2022
This silly little project is technically the first “TV special” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, if such a thing can really even be said to exist anymore in the era of streaming services. Regardless, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is supposed to be a 40-minute, live action special that will take place between the events of Thor: Love and Thunder and the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which is scheduled for 2023. It actually sounds like a bit of a passion project for returning director James Gunn, as he reportedly pitched a holiday special for years before finally being able to film this one.
With allusions to the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special that seem pretty obvious, the special is rumored to include Groot returning to his home “Planet X,” which can’t help but evoke Chewbacca returning to see his family for “Life Day” in the Star Wars Holiday Special. We would be expecting a self-aware satire of the long-lost art of TV holiday specials. All the expected cast members should be returning for the live-action special, including Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Karen Gillan and Pom Klementieff. An interesting inclusion is Zoe Saldaña’s Gamora, who is obviously no longer alive in the current MCU continuity following the events of Infinity War. We’ll have to see if this is flashback footage, or if a true resurrection is in the cards.
Release date: Dec. 16, 2022
James Cameron’s Avatar 2 goes down in history as one of the most delayed and arduous productions ever, being originally announced in 2010 before various technical issues and a reimagining of the sequel structure put it into hiatus multiple times. Eventually, three more films in the series were added, making the current release schedule for the various sequels planned for December of 2022, 2024, 2026 and 2028 respectively.
As for this long-awaited sequel to one of the highest-grossing films of all time, it’s almost impossible to know what to actually expect, or how much cultural relevance the Avatar franchise still has after all this time. What we do know is that cast members Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel David Moore, Dileep Rao, CCH Pound and Matt Gerald are all reprising their roles from the original, while Sigourney Weaver has also been brought back into the fold, albeit playing a new character. They’ll be joined by quite a few big-name newcomers, including Kate Winslett, Cliff Curtis, Michelle Yeoh, Jemaine Clement and Vin Diesel. Plot-wise, here’s what we know so far: “Jake Sully and Neytiri have formed a family and are doing anything they can to stay together. However, when an old threat returns to finish what they started, they are forced to leave their home and explore the different regions of Pandora.”
Woe to everyone involved if this one doesn’t meet its box office projections.
Release date: TBD
The filmed version of Hamilton was unsurprisingly a massive hit and major seller for Disney+ last year, so it should surprise nobody that Disney wants to get some more big-budget Broadway spectacle on its service. And what could be better for the company than a production already focused around Disney IP? The Aladdin musical was filmed in the U.K. and will no doubt get a big push for families when Disney chooses to roll it out.
Release date: TBD
A paint-by-numbers family sports film, with only the Asian-American protagonist to make it stand out in any real way, Chang Can Dunk absolutely sounds like archetypal Disney Channel fodder, something one might catch as part of a marathon with all of the Air Bud sequels. The film is written and directed by Chinese-American director Jingyi Shao, and filmed in the fall of 2021, with eyes toward what will likely be a mid-to-late 2022 release. Synopsis is as follows, but it’s safe to say that this should seem very familiar.
16-year-old Asian-American, Chang, is an unpopular high schooler who loves basketball, but is always underestimated. Though his peers treat him as though he is insignificant, he becomes obsessed with learning how to slam dunk hoops with the ball. In doing so, Chang is determined to best the high school’s all-star named Matt, all while hopefully winning the adoration of his romantic interest, Kristy.
Release date: TBD
A tear-jerking family sci-fi adventure film, Crater is directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez, from a screenplay by John Griffin, and is a Disney+ exclusive. The film stars Isaiah Russell-Bailey as a boy who has grown up on Earth’s moon in a mining colony, going on a journey of self-discovery with his friends that may relate to the death of his father. Or as the official synopsis puts it: “After his father’s death, a boy raised on a lunar mining colony goes on a journey exploring a mysterious crater with his four best friends before he is permanently relocated to another planet.”
Sounds to us like another Amblin-style, heart-tugging adventure in the vein of The Goonies or E.T.. Co-stars of Russell-Bailey include Ghostbusters: Afterlife star Mckenna Grace, along with Billy Barratt, Orson Hong, Thomas Boyce and Kid Cudi.
Release date: TBD
The anticipated sequel to director Swinton Scott’s animated reboot of the Wimpy Kid series for Disney+, Rodrick Rules is an adaptation of the book of the same name from 2008. These films had previously been live action throughout the 2010s, but the first Disney+ release served as a reboot, switching to a style of animation heavily inspired by the original illustrations from the book series. One can likely expect all the primary performers of 2021’s Wimpy Kid movie to return for this sequel, expected before the end of 2022.
Release date: TBD
Director Julia Hart’s Stargirl was a pretty big hit for Disney+ in 2020, banking on the heavy marketing clout and massive fanbase for singing star/internet sensation Grace VanderWaal, who played the title character. This sequel, meanwhile, of course has VanderWaal back in action, perhaps pursuing her “shot at the big time.” The original film was based on author Jerry Spinelli’s novel of the same name, which means that this sequel might be based on sequel Love, Stargirl, but this has yet to be confirmed. VanderWaal’s huge fandom will probably be happy either way, as she seems born to be a Disney starlet.
Release date: TBD
The Night at the Museum series is limping into the VOD world with this latest sequel, which is apparently entirely CGI animated rather than live-action. Ben Stiller finally bows out as the protagonist, succeeded by the character of his son Nick, “following in his father’s footsteps as nightwatchman.” The titular Kahmunrah, meanwhile, is a villainous pharaoh who previously served as antagonist in 2009’s Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. One imagines he’ll again likely be played by chameleon Hank Azaria—a questionable move, given that Azaria has stopped playing non-white characters such as Apu on The Simpsons after objections to the cultural appropriation aspect of his performances. One has to wonder how it’s a problem for Azaria to play an Indian man, but not a problem for him to play an Egyptian, when he is neither of those things. Regardless, other returning characters reportedly include Jedediah, Octavius, Teddy Roosevelt and Sacagawea. This likely means something to those who have actually sat through every Night at the Museum sequel.
Release date: TBD
This latest entry in Disney’s quest to remake every one of their classic animated properties as a live-action film seems to be a fairly straightforward take on Peter Pan, albeit directed by an unlikely source in the form of Green Knight helmer David Lowery. Don’t expect this version to be swirling in portents of doom, however—Lowery also directed 2016’s Pete’s Dragon, and it’s safe to say that this is the tone he’ll likely be recreating here.
The film, with a title that is clearly being careful to emphasize not only one but two lead characters, stars Alexander Molony as Peter Pan and Ever Anderson as Wendy Darling. They’re joined by Yara Shahidi as Tinker Bell, Jude Law as Captain Hook (that should be fun), and an excellent casting decision in the form of Jim Gaffigan as Mr. Smee.
Release date: TBD
Rise is an inspirational sports biopic that tells the remarkable story of the Antetokounmpo family, and the three brothers—Giannis, Thanasis and Kostas—who have all become NBA superstars in recent years. The film is expected to arrive before the end of 2022.
The story of the Antetokounmpo family mixes Nigerian heritage and Greek nationality with extremely unlikely athletic prowess, considering that all three brothers not only made it to the NBA but became NBA champions. Acting newcomers Uche Agada and Ral Agada—real-life brothers—will portray Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo, while actors Jaden Osimuwa and Elijah Shomanke will portray older brothers Kostas and Alex Antetokounmpo. Rise is directed by Akin Omotoso.
Release date: TBD
Disney+ is soon to be crawling with random, nostalgic reboots, and Three Men and a Baby is a perfect example. The original 1987 film starred Ted Danson, Tom Selleck and Steve Guttenberg, deriving most of its humor from misogynist tropes that men are incapable of caring for an infant. The new version, meanwhile, is directed by Mo Marable and reportedly stars Zac Efron, though the rest of the “men” haven’t yet been revealed. One wonders if the concept of men raising a child is really still considered fertile ground for much comedy, or whether the core concept will be evolving in a more significant way. Here’s hoping that at least one cast member will be capable of growing an appropriately Selleckian mustache.
Jim Vorel is a Paste staff writer and resident genre geek. You can follow him on Twitter for more film writing.
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