Top 40 Most Anticipated Films of 2012: #1-10

Top Ten Most Anticipated Movies of 2012
Top Ten Most Anticipated Films of 2012

Today we reach the top of the list as we come to the top ten movies I'm anticipating most over the next 12 months. The group is a mixture of festival hopefuls and studio titles I'm sure many of you expected, especially considering they weren't listed on my three previous installments. Perhaps that makes this less top ten a little less exciting, but I also hope I have a few on here you did not expect and perhaps hadn't even heard of.

On paper, 2012 looks like it will be an amazing year and if all goes well my top 40 is only scratching the surface. That said, on top of my top ten in this post, below and at the bottom of page two, are links to my previous three posts detailing all 40 of my most anticipated films:

Most Anticipated 2012 Navigation

#1-10 | #11-20 | #21-30 | #31-40

But before you go rushing off to look at those lists, have a look at my top ten most anticipated films from 2012 and in the comments please share your top ten most anticipated.

November 9

2012 preview Skyfall
Photo: Columbia Pictures

I'm really enjoying this latest iteration of the James Bond franchise and while I realize I am in the minority in enjoying the last installment, Quantum of Solace, even more than Casino Royale, from what we know about Skyfall it looks as if it may end up being the one we can all agree on as the best of the three. Fingers crossed.

Directed by Sam Mendes (Road to Perdition) and with Daniel Craig returning for a third stint as Bond, Skyfall also adds Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw and Albert Finney to the cast. It's hard for me to not get excited for this one.

TBA 2012

Another Cannes hopeful and a follow-up from a director who made my top ten in 2009 with a film that debuted at the Cannes Film Festival where it ended up winning the Palme d'Or. That film was The White Ribbon and, like A Prophet, it also went on to be picked up by Sony Pictures Classics and was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Oscar. Well, I'm hoping director Michael Haneke will return to the Croisette again this year with Love.

The film centers on cultured octogenarians Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva), who are retired music teachers. Their daughter (Isabelle Huppert), also a musician, lives abroad with her family. One day, Anne suffers a minor stroke. When she leaves the hospital and returns home, she is paralyzed down one side. The love that binds this old couple will really be put to the test.

Also starring in the film is William Shimell whom some may recognize from Abbas Kiarostami's excellent 2010 Cannes offering, Certified Copy.

UPDATE: Variety reports Love has just nabbed distribution in Spain, Italy, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Israel, Brazil, Greece, Argentina, Mexico, Sweden, Portugal, Belgium, Luxembourg and Netherlands. Sounds like the demand is out there.

Rust and Bone
TBA 2012

2012 preview Rust and Bone
Marion Cotillard on the set of Rust and Bone

I had no idea who Jacques Audiard was until I saw and was floored by A Prophet back in 2009 when I placed it #1 on my top ten list that year. I promptly watched the director's 2005 feature The Beat That My Heart Skipped after that and have awaited his next film ever since. As it turns out, 2012 just might be the year we finally get to see it.

Rust and Bone stars Marion Cotillard and is an adaptation of Craig Davidson's 2005 collection of short stories (buy it here) said to be take place in a savage world populated by fighting dogs, prizefighters, sex addicts, and gamblers. The title story involves an afflicted boxer whose hand never properly heals after a bone is broken. The fighter's career descends to bouts that have less to do with sport than with survival: no referee, no rules, not even gloves.

I don't know much more about the story and obviously Cotillard isn't the central figure based on that description. Additional known members of the cast include Matthias Schoenaerts, Bouli Lanners and Celine Sallette. The film presumably completed filming in November and if you're trolling sites like TMZ you probably saw those naked pictures of Cotillard as she was filming a scene for this specific project.

Audiard's A Prophet was a big hit at Cannes where it won the Grand Prize in 2009 and I can only assume they would love to have him back this year, but can he finish in time?

The Dark Knight Rises
July 20

2012 preview The Dark Knight Rises
Tom Hardy in The Dark Knight Rises
Photo: Warner Bros.

I don't think a lot needs to be said about this one. The Dark Knight is largely considered the best comic book superhero movie of all-time and it's certainly the most successful and it's not often quality matches with monetary gains.

On top of interest in the franchise for its character and tone, you could also be just as excited to see The Dark Knight Rises for its director, Christopher Nolan, or the man playing the film's lead villain, Tom Hardy. Hell, even the chance to hear what Hans Zimmer will do with the score this time around and how Wally Pfister will tackle the shoot can be reasons to want to see this one.

The Dark Knight Rises is likely to be the biggest blockbuster of the year and I for one hope it's not only great, but manages to propel the use of IMAX cameras instead of 3D with box-office gains to prove blockbusters only need be good to get people to watch them and that studios and exhibitors don't need to continue to raise ticket prices to meet the bottom line.

Nero Fiddled
TBA 2012

Woody Allen is hit and miss, but when he hits he nails it and in the last few years with Vicky Cristina Barcelona (my #1 film in 2008) and Midnight in Paris he's given us some great stuff and as a fan of his work I can't help but look forward to what's next especially as Allen continues to explore foreign locales.

As for Nero Fiddled, it was recently picked up by Sony Classics for distribution and it will be set in Rome with Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Penelope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Riccardo Scamarcio, Judy Davis, Greta Gerwig, Alison Pill, Ornella Muti, Flavio Parenti and even Allen himself taking on a small role. It's said to be made up of four separate vignettes, but the details on those aren't entirely clear.

  • Alex Thomas

    Nicely done Brad, would have thought TDKR would have been at least top 5, especially with the domination in that poll.

    Should be a stellar year!

  • Khaira

    Saw The Dark Knight Rises placed at #7 & then it got interesting....

    Good list with some surprises...although i would put World War Z in there somewhere...

    and McDonagh directs THAT cast of Seven Psychopaths !!, just wow...

  • Darren

    Yep, I'm looking forward to 2012. I think 2011 was a "quirky" year with unexpected great films in the strangest of places (Drive, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Guard). 2012 seems almost more straightforward, like Hollywood's releasing two years worth of intriguing geek films in one.

  • AKD

    Excellent list, I wonder how it will match up when we all look back in 2013.

  • Nsf

    No Brave? No John Carter? I'll see anything Andrew Stanton does after WALL-E

    • Brad Brevet

      Brave was in the top 40, but no John Carter... no.

      • Alex Roggio

        I thought you really enjoyed Wall•E, I would have assumed you'd be psyched to see John Carter. Same goes for Gambit after your passionate love for True Grit.

        Well, now that you noticed The Inkeepers is a 2011 film, maybe you can replace it.

        • Brad Brevet

          The Innkeepers is a 2012 film that will be released in theaters in February and hit Video On Demand on December 30. Please get over it.

  • Winchester

    At the moment out of what I know about for 2012 (and Brad has the edge here in knowing more about the littler films scheduled for the year) the only film I'm really genuinely excited about is Prometheus.

    It probably won't end up being as good as I'm hoping it is, but nontheless at the moment that's the onlt film I have genuine anticipation for, for the year. There are plenty of ones that I want to try and make sure I see however but I have no burning anticipation for most of them at all.

    I can wait for them to roll around on the schedules.

  • Kelvin Cole

    The Dark Knight Rises as #7????? Do you realize how much is at stake with that film? The potential it has to once again re-define the so frequently terrible(Marvel) comic book film genre??? I LOVED "In Bruges" as well, but your just trying to be a littttttle too clever with this list.

    • maja

      I honestly don't think that the Dark Knight Rises has that much at stake to be honest. It's highly unlikely/nearly impossible that the movie will financially flop. In terms of quality even if it's not great Nolan has done so many great movies that his reputation won't be affected and neither will any of the cast members.

      If a comic book film has something at stake this year it's The Amazing Spiderman.

    • Chris138

      I mean, it is his list after all. Obviously he's looking forward to the other movies more so I don't see why a big deal would be made about it.

      I agree that The Dark Knight Rises will make a ton of money no matter what, but I think what people are most curious about and have such high hopes for is whether or not Nolan can actually make the movie just as good (if not better) than its predecessor and how he's going to end it.

    • Bram


  • Jimmy Diamies

    My most anticipated goes as such...
    10) Brave
    9) Ted
    8) Cloud Atlas
    7) World War z
    6) Looper
    5) The Gangster Squad
    4) Skyfall
    3) Prometheus
    2) Django Unchained
    1) The Dark Knight Rises

    Honorable Mentions to The Bourne Legacy, Lincoln, Cogan's Trade and The Hobbit

  • Leandro Dubost

    2012 will be a very good year for movies!

  • Rob

    That is an awesome, awesome top 10. I am so happy Django Unchained is right up front, and the rest are all up there for me. I seriously doubt Only God Forgives will be ready this year though. Did you not read the script for Django Unchained (I seem to recall something to that effect)? If so, I am even more excited!

  • Rick

    When's today's podcast gonna be up?

  • Nick

    Django is my #1 as well. Tarantino's my favorite filmmaker alive.

  • Natalie



  • Drake123

    I knew Django would be number 1 as I know you love Inglourious Basterds

  • jacob

    This is a personal list. The way it should be is.

    1.Dark Knight Rises(can't be questioned).
    4.Twilight( hate them but alot of numbers dont lie)
    5.Hunger Games
    7.Amazing Spider Man
    8.Sky Fall
    9.Django Unchained
    10.World War Z

    This isn't my top ten but this is truly the most anticipated list overall considering everyone out there.

    • Bram

      What do numbers have to do with anything? This isn't a list of "High Box Office Numbers in 2012," it's what Brad is excited to see. YOU DRINK KRUD.

  • m1

    In no particular order:

    1. Kill Bin Laden (or whatever Kathryn Bigelow will call it)
    2. The Great Gatsby
    3. The Hunger Games
    4. The Five-Year Engagement
    5. The Dark Knight Rises
    6. Brave
    7. Dark Shadows
    8. The Avengers
    9. Of Men and Mavericks
    10. Breaking Dawn: Part 2 (yes, I know, so shoot me)

  • goavs

    1. The Dark Knight Rise - off effing course
    2. Django Unchained - Inglourious Basterds should have won Best Picture. Tarantino, Leo, Baron Cohen, Gorden-Levitt, do I have to continue?
    3. Skyfall - It's James Bond for god sakes, directed by Sam Mendes!
    4. This is Forty - Hope Apatow can give us another great comedy. Funny People was a huge letdown. Hoping for something as great as Knocked Up.
    5. Looper - Just sounds awesome!
    6. World War Z - Has Brad Pitt and Zombies, no brainer. Still not sold on Forster as a director.
    7. Lincoln - Hopefully Spielberg can get his act together and give us an interesting film. Plus Daniel Day-Lewis!
    8. Dog Fight - Love Ferrell and Galifianakis, plus Sudeikis. Can Jay Roach redeem himself after Dinner for Schmucks?
    9. The Raven - I don't know why, but I am excited for this.
    10. Gangster Squad - Love me some Ryan Gosling.
    11. Only God Forgives - I know Winding Refn is a great director even though I really don't like any of his films (including Drive).
    12. The Wettest Country - Love me some Tom Hardy
    13. Neighborhood Watch - Love comedies, maybe Stiller and Vaughn can remember to be funny again.
    14. Argo - I'll watch anything Ben Affleck directs. The Town wasn't that good and Gone Baby Gone was good, not great.
    15. Ted - Seth Macfarlan is hilarious and its kind of a silly funny concept.
    16. Haywire - It's low on the list because it comes out in like 2 weeks, but Soderbergh plus and all-star cast is always a good sign.
    17. Goon - Comes out soon also. Love hockey, so I'll probably like this too.
    18. Cogan's Trade - Sounds good.
    19. My Mother's Curse - Don't like Barbara Straisand, but really like Seth Rogen.
    20. The Avengers - Did not enjoy Thor or Captain America, lets get back on track Marvel.

  • adu

    I think you are one of the few critics out there who doesnt have The Hobbit in their top 10 and The Dark Knight Rises so high in a top 10, but in any case, your top 40 was fantastic and should have all movie fans excited.

  • m1

    I am also anticipating Place Beyond the Pines (had no idea Cianfrance was directing), Lincoln, and Gambit. Overall 2012 looks like an exciting year. Prometheus also sounds very good.

  • Badge

    Having really enjoyed 'Life of Pi', I'm curious to see how anyone can make a movie of it. If it's done "for real", I'm in. If it's CGI, forget it. Though that seems a likelier route.

  • Bram

    Brad, I don't know if you have any interest in reading Seven Psychopaths in script form or rather just being surprised by it as a film, but if you have an interest in reading it, I did a crime and downloaded it on da interweb. It is officially the single best screenplay I've ever read.

    • Brad Brevet

      Nope, I was going to read Django Unchained when I received it and just can't bring myself to do it.

  • adu

    My top 3 are:

    The Hobbit
    Django Unchained
    The Dark Knight Rises

  • The Jackal

    1. The Dark Knight Rises
    2. Prometheus
    3. Django Unchained
    4. Lincoln
    5. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    There are my top Five most-anticipated films of 2012

    Thems the facts

  • Leo

    My number one film is Life of Pi. I've read the book almost 5 yrs ago. Got me chills that lasted for a week. And I've been waiting for the movie for two years now. I was expecting it would appear on your top 10 since I haven't seen in your 11-40. But oh well I may be sharing the hype with very few people.

    • MajorFilmFan

      I am EGERLY anticipating it. It's not on my top 10, but it's DEFFINATELY in my honorable mention.

  • Travis

    1)Django Unchained
    2)The Master
    3)Seven Psychopaths
    4)The Place Beyond the Pines
    6)The Dark Knight Rises
    7)Nero Fiddled
    8)Only God Forgives
    Plus a few more that either weren't listed (or were in the extra 40) that seem very interesting:

    The Congress - Ari Folman (Waltz with Bashir) adapts Stanislaw Lem's (Solaris) interesting premise involving Robin Wright, Giamatti, Keitel, Smit-McPhee in what I believe will be a live action/animation split.

    While We're Young - Noah Baumbach brings back Stiller, Eisenberg, adds Naomi Watts, I'm not sure what it's about, but that's enough for me.

    Celeste and Jesse Forever - Lee Toland Kreiger's The Vicious Kind was quite good, this one was co-written by Rashida Jones who co-stars with Andy Samberg, Elijah Wood among others.

    Shadow Dancer - Clive Owen, Andrea Riseborough are among the cast of James Marsh's live action debut (I think so anyway), enough said.

    A Glimpse into the Mind of Charles Swan - The title, cast make me think Wes Anderson has rubbed off on Roman Coppola, but Charlie Sheen starring, the premise are enough to set it apart.

    Filth - Sounds like James McAvoy will be taking on a very difficult role where he plays against type. If he can pull it off it could be very good.

    Also thought I'd mention that though I'm not a big fan of his, that Zac Efron is surely working with the right directors to drop the Disney/heartthrob stuff. Has already worked with Linklater, stars in Lee Daniels, Ramin Bahrani films this year.

    • Nick

      The Congress is 2013.

  • Steve R.

    A very intriguing list, Brad. It looks like 2012 could be an excellent year for the silver screen, and I sure hope it is!
    Being a massive Tarantino fan myself, I also can't wait to see Django Unchained. Quentin has never disappointed me yet, and I don't think he will in 2012 either.
    Looking forward to the year in movies.

  • Rolocop

    8. LOOPER
    6. BRAVE
    3. SKYFALL

    (never was a big fan of Nolan's Batman series, though DARK KNIGHT was decent, in case you were wondering why I didn't include it.)

  • m1

    Oh, also forgot about Nero Fiddled. There are too many great-looking films to remember.

  • MajorFilmFan

    "Seven Psychopaths" sounds like it could be INSANELY quirky and VERY funny. I guess I'll have to watch "In Bruges" now ;)

    My Top 10 list (I actually have a few ties) reads like

    10: John Carter
    9: Brave
    8: Argo/ The Gangster Squad
    7: Terrence Mallick's untitled film
    6: Prometheus
    5: The Avengers/ Inside Llewyn Davis
    4: Lincoln/ The Master
    3: The Hunger Games
    2: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journeyu

    and number one, the movie which needs NO introduction what so ever- The Dark Knight Rises.

    I'll probably make room for "Skyfall" and "Django Unchained" on my list for the SECOND half of 2012. I've never seen a Bond, or Tarantino movie, so I'm not AS excited for them as other people are, however, the more I read of them, the MORE I can't WAIT to see them.

    • Chris138

      You never seen a James Bond or Quentin Tarantino movie? Man, when you get the time you need to get yourself to a TV and do a lot of watching, pronto.

  • Topy

    I kind of understand why you didn't put The Avengers on the list.

  • Mikey

    My top 20 looks something like this:

    1) The Master
    2) The Dark Knight
    3) Gravity
    4) On the Road
    5) Life of Pi
    6) Trance
    7) Prometheus
    8) Brave
    9) Django Unchained
    10) John Carter
    11) Stoker
    12) Untitled Terrence Malick Project
    13) Seven Psychopaths
    14) He Loves Me
    15) Place Beyond the Pines
    16) Shadow Dancer
    17) World War Z
    18) Wettest County
    19) The Hobbit
    20) Moonrise Kingdom

  • Josh Batchelder

    My personal 10 most anticipated:

    10. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
    9. The Amazing Spider-Man
    8. The Woman in Black
    7. Brave
    6. Magic Mike
    5. Detention
    4. American Reunion
    3. Cabin in the Woods
    2. Scary Movie 5
    1. The Hunger Games

  • JM

    I was going down the list backwards. I saw your number #2 "Gravity" and about melted--I can't wait for it, either! But I wondered what you could possibly be looking forward to me, and then I saw it, and I understood. "Django Unchained" sounds amazing! And "Inglourious Basterds" was my favorite movie of 2009.

  • Drew Anderson

    Great to see Seven Psychopaths in the top 5. Martin McDonagh is a fucking genius.

  • Lukas Mix

    I'm glad there's someone out there who appreciates "Quantum of Solace".

    Never understood the hate and no one seemed to understand me for preferring it to "Casino Royale".

    Kudos, Brad

  • Muneer

    where are the avengers and the hobbit?

  • Skyhack

    List is fail without The Hobbit in it. I would put it at 1 but not being in a top 40 is inexcusable.

    • Brad Brevet

      It is in the top 40, but that requires reading.

  • Apathygrrl

    1) The Dark Knight Rises
    2) The Hobbit
    3) The Avengers
    4) World War Z
    5) Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter
    6) The Secret World of Arietty (I know it came out last year but it wont' come out HERE until this year)
    7) The Raven
    8) Pirates! Band of Misfits
    9) Dark Shadows
    10) ... does The Goon come out this year? Not "Goon" with Sean William Scott but "The Goon" with Paul Giamatti? I'd love to see that.
    There's lots more that I'd like to see but those are the ones I am most eager to see.

    Oh, and by the way you have a spelling error on your list under the additional 25 movies #8 it should read "(Sacha Baron Cohen's latest *crapfest*)" ;)

  • kit ramsey

    QT IS GOD.Django unchained