The Best Movies in Theaters in February, From 'Black Panther' to 'Annihilation'

It hasn't even opened yet, but Black Panther is shaping up to be one of the biggest films of the year. The star-studded Marvel film, featuring a killer soundtrack curated by Kendrick Lamar, is mandatory viewing before Marvel's ultimate superhero team-up movie, Avengers: Infinity War, hits this summer. And moviegoers have snapped up tickets so quickly that many opening weekend showings are already sold out. (Black Panther has sold more pre-sale tickets than any other superhero film in history.)

But maybe you're not into the world of Wakanda. Or maybe you're looking for a date-night flick. Or maybe you just want to be scared out of your seat. What can you see? Plenty, it turns out. Here are the 10 films hitting theaters this February that Newsweek finds most exciting, organized by date of release.

Peter Rabbit, February 9

Yes, the first trailer for director Will Gluck's CGI Peter Rabbit film bummed us out. Beatrix Potter surely didn't have a computer-generated nightmare rabbit bouncing around in her mind when writing her quaint and clever children's books. The extended trailer for the movie, however, makes it clear that the film's menagerie of (admittedly adorable) animals are really just the garnish on the physical comedy that erupts between a critter-loving Rose Byrne and a surly, lonely farmer played by Domhnall Gleeson.

Permission, February 9

Rebecca Hall (who starred in another polyamorous romance, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women) and Dan Stevens star as a monogamous couple who have only ever been to bed with each other. When their friends suggest they might be missing out on new experiences by sticking together, they decide to give ethical non-monogamy a go. Not groundbreaking, as far as plots go, but it's certainly timely: Studies have shown that more and more millennials are curious about the possibility of open relationships.

Black Panther, February 16

Marvel's Afrofuturism titan finally brings to big-screen life the decades-old story of the fictional Wakandan nation and its complicated royal family. Ryan Coogler's film, starring Chadwick Boseman in the title role, has already been hailed by critics as one of the greatest superhero films of all time. Needless to say, it is a must-see.

Early Man, February 16

This prehistoric sports comedy from Nick Park is an easy sell for anyone who loves Wallace and Gromit (also created by Park) and stop-motion filmmaking. But there's plenty here for moviegoers who are neither Anglophiles nor animation nerds, too. Based on early looks, Early Man is a clever enough family movie to keep everybody engaged.

The Party, February 16

The Party capitalizes on an age-old concept in movies: Get a bunch of scenery-chewing, theatrical actors into one room, and keep them there for two hours while the film's script spits out revelation after revelation. Patricia Clarkson, Cillian Murphy, Cherry Jones and Emily Mortimer star in this tightly-wound dark comedy, filmed entirely in black-and-white.

Cô Haû Gaí (The Housemaid), February 16

Don't confuse this Vietnamese supernatural thriller with 2010's South Korean drama (which is also worth watching and is available on Netflix). Derek Nguyen's first feature became the third-highest-grossing film in Vietnam history when it was originally released in 2016. IFC Films is giving the film a long-overdue release in the United States—and exposing American audiences to the captivating Nhung Kate.

Annihilation, February 23

The less said about this dark sci-fi thriller, the better. Come for Natalie Portman, Tessa Rodriguez and Jane the Virgin's Gina Rodriguez; stay for the film's chilling synth soundtrack and monster reveal. It will follow you for days.

Game Night, February 23

Think of Game Night, starring Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman, as the comedic version of David Fincher's 1997 psychological thriller The Game. McAdams and Bateman play an interactive murder mystery game while navigating an actual crime web. Which wounds are real? Does it matter?

Are We Not Cats, February 23

If you've ever fallen in love with someone because of their flaws instead of their gifts, this low-budget horror romance hybrid might cut too close to the bone. Relative newcomer Michael Patrick Nicholson charms as a down-on-his-luck dude addicted to self-harming who begins an ill-fated romance with a woman whose scars match his own.

Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?, February 28

How exactly are people supposed to atone for the sins of their forefathers? Documentarian Travis Wilkerson delivers a chilling and personal tale of white guilt and familial secrets, analyzing the day in 1946 when his white-supremacist grandfather murdered a black man—and got away with it. As Wilkerson digs deeper while on location in Alabama, he's met with a rage among the locals that should disturb any American.