2023 was, to say the least, a tumultuous year in cinema, between the long-lasting writers and actors strikes – the likes of which have not been seen since 1960 – and the multiple major commercial failures of Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery, while the Barbenheimer movement was the one major notable bright spot for commercial cinema. However, the delays caused by strikes have afforded us a salivating slate of upcoming projects that will arrive in bulk this coming here. Here are my most anticipated 2024 movies coming from Canadian filmmakers.
Deadpool 3 (July 26th)
Top of my list is the third entry in the hugely popular Deadpool films, which was once a part of Fox’s X-Men franchise but will now see The Merc with a Mouth making his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, given that Disney acquired 20th Century Fox in 2019. Considering the Deadpool films’ combined box office numbers make this the most successful R-rated franchise of all time, it was something of a no-brainer for Marvel to integrate Ryan Reynolds’ character into the MCU rather than rebooting altogether, especially considering how synonymous Reynolds has become with the character.
Speaking of actor synonymous with characters, Deadpool 3 will see the character teaming up with a Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, which shocked the world when first announced, particularly considering the world had all but assumed that Jackman had hung up his adamantium claws for good following the masterpiece that is Logan.
Marvel/Disney could really do with a win after several failures in 2023, most notably The Marvels, which is their first major box office bomb since the MCU first launched in 2008. Thankfully, they seem to be making all the right moves with Deadpool 3, as it will not only maintain the franchise’s R-rated edge, which is aided by the return of writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, but they have also brought Canadian filmmaker Shawn Levy onboard as the director. Levy has a very strong working relationship with Reynolds, with the actor playing the lead in his last two movies, The Adam Project and Free Guy, the latter of which proves Levy has the chops to work with meta material that is intrinsic to Deadpool’s nature as a character, while also telling a decent story with inspired action in the process.
Dune: Part 2 (March 1st)
One of the most significant victims of the 2023 strikes, Denis Villeneuve’s sequel to his acclaimed 2021 epic was initially slated for an October 20th, 2023 release, but has been delayed three times before settling on its March 1st release date.
Based on the classic Frank Herbert science fiction novel, Dune had once been viewed by many as near unadaptable, and the infamous 1984 David Lynch film adaptation certainly did little to quell such doubt. Before that even, there was the wild, psychedelic-inspired adaptation Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky tried and failed to make in the mid-1970s, which led to an acclaimed 2013 documentary on the matter, Jodorowsky’s Dune.
Ultimately, it was one of the foremost science fiction directors in the world, Denis Villeneuve, who succeeded where others failed, not just by making the movie, but by actually making it work, as critics lauded the filmmaker’s first entry for not buckling under the immense weight of the material’s unwieldy scope and detailed world building, with some even labelling it as one of the best science fiction films of the 21st century.
Many films with dense world building that ultimately require sequels tend to get much of the expositional information into the first entry so the second can flourish unburdened by the necessity of having to set something up, with perhaps Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame being the first example that comes to mind. This is surely the case for Dune: Part 2, which is set to conclude this two-part story arc and provide the explosive conclusion promised by the first film, and if anyone can deliver, it’s Denis Villeneuve.
Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (March 29th)
As it happens, I only just recently watched Jason Reitman’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and while I loved the opening, and indeed the acting and callbacks to the original movies, I couldn’t help but feel like the movie lost steam over the course of its runtime. That, and I never fully bought into the concept of kids, one of whom is barely thirteen, casually using what are essentially nuclear accelerators at the behest of their dead grandfather. Adolescents I could buy, but this just felt like borderline child endangerment that most characters seemed to be more than happy to go along with.
Thankfully, the children avoided the same fate as Egon Spengler, and what’s more they will have grown up to an acceptable degree in the upcoming sequel, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire. We will also get to see Carrie Coon and Paul Rudd’s characters actually don the suits and proton packs to face a chilling foe seeking to incur the next worldwide ice age, starting with the New York, where the characters find themselves this time around.
While this movie will once again see the return of the classic Ghostbusters roster, minus the late and great Harrold Ramis, Jason Reitman will not be filling the director’s chair this time, instead ceding duties to his Afterlife co-writer Gil Kenan. However, Reitman will still serve as a writer and producer on the movie. Kenan has proven himself a capable filmmaker in the past, demonstrating the potential this sequel has to exceed its predecessor in many ways, and could even solidify itself as one of the franchise’s best sequels.
There is also the chance that these words age poorly in a few months, but if the movies have taught me one thing, it’s that you never write off the Ghostbusters!