This has been a strong year in Black cinema. Since 2022 began, we have seen films with strong narratives surrounding real and fictional characters of the diaspora such as The Woman King, A Jazzman’s Blues, Till, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. And there are several more projects coming in the next season that will build on that catalog.
The month of December had a strong opening with the release of the polarizing project Emancipation from AppleTV+. Starring Will Smith, the film told the story of “Whipped Peter,” the former slave who’s graphic photo was published in a 1863 issue of Harper’s Weekly. It also includes the sequel to 2009’s blockbuster Avatar, where we will see Zoë Saldaña reprise her role as Neytiri, the daughter of the leaders of the Omaticaya. Right before Christmas, I Wanna Dance With Somebody drops; and will focus on the life and career of the late Whitney Houston.
Going into the new year, They Cloned Tyrone will be released by Netflix. This sci-fi action flick originally slated for the 4th quarter of 2022, stars Teyonah Parris, John Boyega, and Jamie Foxx. The House Party remake is also scheduled for January, along with Storm Reid’s new film, Missing. And s the winter months draw to a close in March, audiences will have the third installment of Creed, directed by and starring Michael B. Jordan, along with Jonathan Majors, Tessa Thompson, Wood Harris, Phylicia Rashad, and more.
Take a look at ESSENCE’s Winter Movie Preview List below.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Will Smith as an enslaved man in Louisiana in the 1860s who escapes his plantation. Emancipation is loosely based on the real-life story of Gordon (named “Peter” in the film), a former slave, and the photographs of his bare back, heavily scourged from an overseer’s whippings, that were published worldwide in 1863, giving the abolitionist movement proof of the cruelty of American slavery.
Avatar: Way of the Water
Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, Avatar: The Way of Water tells the story of the Sully family, the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe. The film stars Zoe Saldaña, alongside Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver and will be released on December 16.
I Wanna Dance With Somebody
This upcoming biopic based on the life of American singer Whitney Houston, is directed by Kasi Lemmons. Set for release on December 23, Naomi Ackie stars as Houston, with Stanley Tucci, Ashton Sanders, Tamara Tunie, Nafessa Williams, and Clarke Peters in supporting roles.
THEY CLONED TYRONE
They Cloned Tyrone stars John Boyega, Teyonah Parris, Kiefer Sutherland, and Jamie Foxx. Foxx also serves as a producer of the film, It is scheduled to be released in 2023, by Netflix.
This is a standalone sequel to the 2018 film Searching, and stars Storm Reid and Nia Long. The film sees a teen girl who, after her mother disappears on vacation in Colombia with her new boyfriend, uses various technology to find her. It is set to be released in theaters on January 20, 2023
This film is directed by Michael B. Jordan – in his feature directorial debut – and film stars Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Jonathan Majors, Wood Harris, Florian Munteanu, and Phylicia Rashad. This is the first film in the franchise without Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa, though he still serves as a producer for his Balboa Productions banner. Creed III is scheduled to be released in the United States on March 3, 2023.
Luther is an upcoming crime drama film directed by Jamie Payne and written by Neil Cross. It will serve as a film continuation of the television series of the same name, and stars Idris Elba alongside Cynthia Erivo. It is scheduled to be released in March of next year by Netflix.
This story revolves around gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, who organized the 1963 March on Washington. The film is produced by Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company Higher Ground Productions and will be distributed by Netflix.
Out of money, down on their luck and freshly fired from their low-lift jobs as house cleaners, aspiring club promoters/best buds Damon and Kevin decide to host the party of the year at LeBron James’ exclusive mansion, the site of their last cleaning job. The film stars Tosin Cole, Jacob Latimore, Karen Obilom, D.C. Young Fly, and Scott Mescudi. It is produced by LeBron James, who also stars as himself.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
The third installment of the Ant-Man series stars Jonathan Majors, alongside Paul Rudd as the ritual character. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is scheduled to be released in the United States on February 17, 2023