Royalty from "Star Wars," Great Britain and tennis might elevate the final movies of 2017. On the prize front, Central Florida could be a contender for a much-lauded drama about the poor. Here are movies to raise hopes, and keep in mind that dates can change.
'Battle of the Sexes'
Release date: Sept. 22
What to expect: A pivotal moment in sports history, re-created by "Little Miss Sunshine" directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. The trailer captures the hoopla but also suggests the film explores the rampant sexism and little-known drama. Both stars (pictured) look in top form in on-the-money makeup.
'Victoria and Abdul'
Release date: Sept. 22
Premise: Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) befriends young Indian clerk Abdul (Ali Fazal, pictured with Dench), stunning those closest to her.
What to expect: Dench played the queen in "Mrs. Brown" and earned an Oscar nomination. She is guided here by Stephen Frears, who directed her to a nomination for "Philomena." Her new Victoria looks regal, poignant and funny — the range you expect from one of the world's great actresses.
'The Florida Project'
Release date: Oct. 6, limited
Premise: The social drama, which filmed near Walt Disney World, focuses on young, impoverished children living in motels.
What to expect: The film earned rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival for director Sean Baker and actor Willem Dafoe (pictured), who plays a motel manager. Critics were enchanted by child actors Brooklynn Prince of Winter Springs and Valeria Cotto of Davenport. Are locals headed to the Academy Awards?
'Blade Runner 2049'
Release date: Oct. 6
Premise: Ryan Gosling joins Harrison Ford in this sequel to the 1982 film. But Denis Villeneuve, not Ridley Scott, is the director this time.
What to expect: In this sci-fi epic, Officer K (Gosling) tracks down Rick Deckard (Ford) to resolve an old mystery, but war evidently ensues across vast, devastated landscapes. Jared Leto turns on the villainy as a replicant-maker. Robin Wright and Edward James Olmos co-star in the bleak detective story.
Release date: Oct. 20
Premise: A time-hopping fantasy, based on Brian Selznick's young-adult novel, about two children: Ben in 1977 and Rose in 1927.
What to expect: This work from director Todd Haynes ("Carol") received admiring reviews at the Cannes Film Festival. USA Today tagged the film as "an ambitious, kid-friendly awards contender" and raved about the look, costumes and music. Julianne Moore (pictured) and Michelle Williams take supporting roles.
Release date: Oct. 27
Premise: A suburban family's supposedly tranquil existence is shattered in this offbeat mob drama set in 1959.
What to expect: Director George Clooney and the Coen brothers collaborate with violent yet comic results. Matt Damon plays the frantic dad coming unglued. Julianne Moore (pictured with Damon) portrays an unsteady aunt, and Oscar Isaac is a determined mobster. Do you want a Coen brothers movie from Clooney?
'Murder on the Orient Express'
Release date: Nov. 10
Premise: A lavish remake of Agatha Christie's classic. Kenneth Branagh (pictured), who plays detective Hercule Poirot, directs.
What to expect: If you know the big plot twist, you can study the starry cast (Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench). Penélope Cruz takes the role that won Ingrid Bergman an Oscar for the 1974 version. The cinematography, costumes and makeup will be rated for how they stack up to the stylish predecessor.
Release date: Nov. 22
Premise: In this animated fantasy, Miguel visits dead relatives, learns his family history and shakes the Land of the Dead.
What to expect: Disney and Pixar hope to extend a winning streak that includes "Finding Dory," "Inside Out" and "Toy Story." "Coco" offers gorgeous animation while celebrating family and Hispanic heritage. The voice cast includes Benjamin Bratt, Gael García Bernal, Edward James Olmos and Cheech Marin.
Release date: Nov. 22
Premise: Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman, pictured) becomes prime minister and leads the United Kingdom through World War II.
What to expect: With a transforming makeup job, Oldman takes on one of history's great roles. Director Joe Wright ("Atonement") adopts a rousing approach in explaining the challenges that Churchill faced. The cast includes Kristin Scott Thomas and Ben Mendelsohn, but it's Oldman's show.
'The Shape of Water'
Release date: Dec. 8
Premise: A Cold War fantasy, set in 1963 at a U.S. government lab, where a lonely, mute worker (Sally Hawkins) falls for a strange creature.
What to expect: Guillermo del Toro directs a seemingly impossible love story with a strange tenderness, the trailer suggests. Octavia Spencer (pictured with Hawkins), Michael Shannon and Michael Stuhlbarg play other lab workers. But it's a showcase for Hawkins, who portrays a little-appreciated beauty who enchants a beast.
'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'
Release date: Dec. 15
Premise: The further adventures of Rey (Daisy Ridley), who is studying with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), now a broken man.
What to expect: The sequel extends the series' grand style and offers Carrie Fisher's final appearance as Leia. Writer-director Rian Johnson says Han Solo (Harrison Ford) is in the film. The large cast includes Andy Serkis, John Boyega, Laura Dern, Oscar Isaac and Lupita Nyong'o. This will be an event, no matter the reviews.
'The Greatest Showman'
Release date: Dec. 25
Premise: The title refers to P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman, pictured), whose contributions to show business are celebrated in a razzle-dazzle-musical.
What to expect: In the trailer, Jackman wows co-stars with his let's-put-on-a-show charm. "No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else," Barnum says. Zac Efron, Michelle Williams and Zendaya buy that message. The big mysteries are the music, script and director Michael Gracey.