Biggest New US Movie Releases In Theaters, On Netflix, And On Demand This Week

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The success of Venom has shown that there is a huge audience for superhero blockbusters as late in the year as October. But with DC’s Aquaman not due to hit theaters for another six weeks, Fall’s movie release schedule takes on a different shape. This is traditionally the time of year that studios release the more prestigious movies in line for potential Oscars, and over the next few weeks, we can expect films such as Widows and If Beale Street Could Talk. First Man, the story of the first mission to the moon, is very much in this camp, and arrives in theaters this Friday.

There are also two big Netflix movies debuting on the service this week, which continues to demonstrate the streaming giant’s commitment to giving some of the cinema’s most acclaimed directors opportunities they might not have elsewhere. Paul Greengrass’s 22 July and Gareth Evans’ Apostle are very different movies, but both are must-sees this week. There is also the comedy thriller Bad Times at the El Royale in theaters, while on digital formats, the highly acclaimed satire Sorry to Bother You is now available to rent.

The landscape for consuming movies has really changed over the past few years. The biggest films still debut in the old fashioned-way–in theaters, with home releases still a few months off. But with the rise of streaming and Video on Demand, we are increasingly seeing simultaneous releases for smaller movies, with films getting a limited theatrical release on the same day that they are available to buy and rent digitally.

The rise of Netflix and Amazon as major players in film production has also disrupted standard release patterns. Netflix in particular has attracted some major directors, and their movies will bypass theaters entirely and premiere worldwide on the streaming platform. And of course, movies that did get a theatrical release continue to move to digital platforms after a few months. This is a great way to catch up on movies you might have missed on the big screen–or are keen to rewatch. So here’s our look at the best and most interesting new movies in theaters and available to watch at home this week.

First Man

Watch it in theaters on October 12

Given Neil Armstrong is the most famous astronaut ever, it’s surprising that he’s never had his own biopic until now. First Man is set between 1961 and 1969 and tells the story of Armstrong’s preparations for his history-changing journey to the moon. It stars Ryan Gosling as the man himself and is helmed by Gosling’s La La Land director Damien Chazelle. The impressive cast also includes Claire Foy, Kyle Chandler, Jon Bernthal, and Pablo Schreiber. Reviews have been exceptional, and there’s a reasonable chance that Chazelle might actually get that Best Movie Oscar this year, rather than having it quickly taken away from him.

Bad Times at the El Royale

Watch it in theaters on October 12

As a writer and director, Drew Goddard is best known for his work in sci-fi and fantasy, with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Cloverfield, The Martian, and The Cabin in the Woods all part of his impressive resumé. Bad Times at the El Royale sees Goddard stretching out into thriller territory. It focuses on seven strangers who gather one night at a shady motel, and the impressive cast includes Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, and Chris Hemsworth. The movie has been compared to the wave of funny, violent thrillers that followed in the wake of Pulp Fiction back in the ’90s and should deliver some slick thrills.

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

Watch it in theaters on October 12

The recent success of Eli Roth’s spooky fantasy movie The House with the Clock in its Walls showed that there is a definite market for family-friendly horror, and the sequel to 2015’s Goosebumps should also do well. Haunted Halloween focuses on a pair of kids who unleash the evil ventriloquist’s dummy Slappy (voiced by Jack Black) who plans to unleash a ‘Halloween apocalypse’ on the world. The Goosebumps novels are hugely popular with younger readers, and this should prove to be a spookily entertaining Halloween treat.

Apostle

Watch it on Netflix on October 12

Welsh filmmaker Gareth Evans delivered two of the best, most exciting action movies of the past decade when he made the incredible Indonesian-set The Raid: Redemption and The Raid 2. For his next film, Evans swaps bone-crunching action for unnerving horror with the spooky-looking period mystery Apostle. It’s a Netflix Original that hits the service on Friday, and stars Legion‘s Dan Stevens as a man who sets about trying to rescue his sister from a cult. The synopsis describes the movie as a “harrowing occult fable where the only thing more horrifying than madness is the sinister reality behind it,” and early festival reviews make it sound like an absolute must-see for horror fans.

22 July

Watch it on Netflix on October 10

Paul Greengrass is essentially two filmmakers in one. His biggest success has come with the crowd-pleasing action of the Bourne movies, but he’s also renowned for his dramatic recreations of harrowing real-life stories, such as Bloody Sunday, United 93, and Captain Phillips. His new movie for Netflix, 22 July, is very much in the same vein. It’s a retelling of the shocking events in Norway in 2011, where 77 people were killed in a series of attacks by Anders Behring Breivik. Greengrass’s film focuses on both the attacks and their aftermath, as this small country came to terms with the devastating atrocities. 22 July won’t be an easy watch, but it’s absolutely essential viewing.

Sorry to Bother You

Own it digitally on October 9

Boots Riley’s Sorry To Bother You is an absurd, ambitious, hugely imaginative dark sci-fi comedy, and one of 2018’s best movies. Atlanta‘s Lakeith Stanfield plays an African-American telemarketer who discovers that using a white accent on the phone causes him to excel at his job. Soon he is climbing the corporate ladder but finds himself embroiled in a sinister conspiracy. Riley assembles a stellar cast–including Tessa Thompson, Forest Whitaker, Terry Crews, Danny Glover, and Armie Hammer–and directs with flair and imagination.

Skyscraper

Rent it digitally on October 9

Dwayne Johnson has starred in no fewer than three big movies in the past year, but while Skyscraper wasn’t as big a hit as Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle or Rampage, it’s definitely worth a look at home, where you can now rent it. Johnson is a retired FBI hostage rescue agent who now works as a security assessor for the world’s biggest skyscraper, which inevitably becomes the target of some very dangerous terrorist-types. The movie’s commercial disappointment means we’re unlikely to get a sequel, but it’s still undemanding fun and will tide fans of The Rock over until Hobbs and Shaw arrives next year.