Upcoming Sports Movies To Keep On Your Radar

(Welcome to On Your Radar, a series where we take a look at what's next for the biggest actors and filmmakers, and why you should be excited...or not.)

The popularity of all genre movies ebbs and flows, and sports films are no different. Oh sure, there are the "Creed" movies, and you still get dramas like "The Way Back" every so often. However, family-oriented sports comedies are rarely made these days, and it's been a while since there were any major prestigious true-story sports films in the vein of "Seabiscuit" or "Invictus." Instead, like the rom-com and other typically mid-budget genre fare, sports stories have been more or less relegated to streaming series and the occasional Netflix movie like "High-Flying Bird" or "Bruised."

But fear not! If you love sports films about scrappy teams of underdogs battling the odds, athletes overcoming huge obstacles in both their personal and professional lives, or just want to see Adam Sandler in another movie involving basketball players after "Uncut Gems," then we have good news for you. Here are some upcoming sports flicks to keep on your radar.

Creed III

Speaking of the "Creed" movies: The third chapter in the "Rocky" off-shoot, "Creed III," is now on its way and will serve as star Michael B. Jordan's feature directing debut. "Creed" helmer Ryan Coogler reportedly wrote the story outline for the film, which is all the more intriguing since he acted as a producer only on 2018's "Creed II." (Lest anyone assume I'm trashing that movie: I think the previous "Creed" sequel is a very good sports drama that's only really guilty of failing to reach the high bar set by Coogler's excellent first entry.)

Plot details are under lock and key for the time being, but it seems that "Creed III" will pit Jordan's boxer and newly-minted father Adonis Creed against a mysterious new opponent in the ring played by "The Harder They Fall" actor and "Loki" season 1 scene-stealer Jonathan Majors. It's also confirmed that Sylvester Stallone won't be reprising his role as the Italian Stallion in the movie, which is just as well. Not only did "Creed II" leave Rocky's story in a good place (with the character reconnecting with his son and meeting his grandson), but it's high past time that Adonis got the spotlight firmly to himself.

"Creed III" opens in theaters on November 23, 2022.

Next Goal Wins

Stories about outcasts or misfits that blend quirky humor with pathos are Taika Waititi's speciality as a filmmaker, so it's little wonder he decided to helm "Next Goal Wins." A dramedy based on directors Mike Brett and Steve Jamison's 2014 documentary of the same name, the film centers on Dutch-American coach Thomas Rongen (Michael Fassbender) as he tries to lead the American Samoa national football team to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. This was also the same group of American Samoa players that Australia's international football team infamously dealt a, let's be real, totally unnecessary and excessive 31-0 defeat in 2001.

On paper, "Next Goal Wins" reads like a cross between a real-life "Mighty Ducks"-style tale and one of Waititi's pre-Hollywood New Zealand movies ("Boy," "Hunt for the Wilderpeople") — which is to say, it seems fairly promising. The film has been stuck between a rock and a hard place for some time, having been initially delayed by the pandemic and then pushed back even further due to the sexual abuse and assault allegations against its co-star Armie Hammer. Thankfully, Hammer has since been replaced by Will Arnett, so it seems Waititi's latest is on the move again.

"Next Goal Wins" doesn't have a release date yet, but may yet arrive in 2022.


Everyone knows the drill by this point: Adam Sandler makes one or more disposable comedies a year, but every now and then he stars in a film — like "Punch-Drunk Love," "The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)," or "Uncut Gems" — that calls upon The Sandman to work outside his comfort zone a little. His upcoming Netflix movie "Hustle" may yet fall into that group of all-too-rare Sandler offerings, judging by some of the talent involved.

Story-wise, "Hustle" focuses on a washed-up basketball scout (Sandler) who meets a "once-in-a-lifetime player with a rocky past abroad" (per the film's synopsis) and brings them back to the U.S. without their team's permission, in the hopes of proving they have what it takes to become an NBA superstar. The movie was directed by Jeremiah Zagar, an accomplished documentarian who made his narrative feature helming debut with the critically-acclaimed 2018 drama "We the Animals." Between that and a cast that includes Queen Latifah, Ben Foster, and Robert Duvall, "Hustle" seems to have a fair amount going for it ... assuming it's not a humdrum Happy Madison project in disguise, anyway.

"Hustle" will debut on Netflix in 2022.