The early months of 2020 saw unprecedented changes in the movie industry as Hollywood attempted figure out how best to respond a global crisis. Part of that response was to bring movies to the home market earlier than usual, with at least one film, Trolls World Tour, opting to release on home entertainment media on the same day as its scheduled theatrical debut. For others, it has meant postponing opening weekends, even if no new date has been announced (you can find those films in our TBD section below).
With all of that said, there is still a wealth of exciting movies this year, even if we have to wait a little bit longer for some of them. We’ve still got a new entry from Pixar in Soul, and Gal Gadot embraces the ’80s in Wonder Woman 1984. Plus, we’re also getting a slew of new thrillers, horror films, animated treats, action-adventures, and more. The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly turned things upside down this year, but there are still some things we can look forward to, so start marking these titles in your calendar. [Updated on 11/5/20]
The Grudge (2020) 20%
Directed by: Nicolas Pesce
Starring: Andrea Riseborough, Betty Gilpin, John Cho, Demian Bichir, Lin Shaye
Opening on: January 3, 2020
A remake of the American remake of the Japanese horror favorite, Grudge once again focuses on a vengeful ghost with a long memory. Critical darling Andrea Riseborough stars, and director Nicolas Pesce has some form: critics called his The Eyes of My Mother a haunting slasher.
Bad Boys for Life (2020) 76%
Directed by: Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah
Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence
Opening on: January 17, 2020
Bad Boys and Bad Boys II may both be Rotten, but they live in the hearts of many action fans as exemplary buddy-cop flicks, and both have Audience Scores of 78%. While original director Michael Bay is not coming back for Bad Boys for Life, producer Jerry Bruckheimer is overseeing the film, and we have confidence that directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah of Black and Gangsta will match his signature style and pace.
Dolittle (2020) 15%
Directed by: Stephen Gaghan
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Michael Sheen, Antonio Banderas, Tom Holland, Selena Gomez, Marion Cotillard, John Cena
Opening on: January 17, 2020
After a pair of poorly received films starring Eddie Murphy, Robert Downey Jr. is ready to take up the mantle of Doctor Dolittle in a new screen adaptation directed by Stephen Gaghan (Gold, Syriana). This film will be based more on the second book by author Hugh Lofting, and it will co-star Antonio Banderas and Michael Sheen, with the voices of Tom Holland, Marion Cotillard, Selena Gomez, John Cena, Emma Thompson, and more.
Weathering With You (2019) 92%
Directed by: Makoto Shinkai
Starring: Kotaro Daigo, Nana Mori, Tsubasa Honda, Shun Oguri, Sakura Kiryu
Opening on: January 17, 2020
The latest animated adventure from Makoto Shinkai, the acclaimed director of Your Name, centers on a pair of teens, one of whom can control the weather, who meet and form a bond with each other, before one of them reveals a secret that will change both of them forever.
The Gentlemen (2020) 75%
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Michelle Dockery, Hugh Grant, Jeremy Strong, Colin Farrell, Henry Golding
Opening on: January 24, 2020
After a bit of a departure with 2019’s live-action Aladdin remake, Guy Ritchie returns to his roots with this British gangster tale about an American expat (Matthew McConaughey) with a weed empire in London whose imminent retirement from the business spawns a criminal free-for-all for his territory. Fans of Ritchie’s early work are excited to see him at the helm of another crime caper, and it’s hard to beat the sight of a slimy-looking Hugh Grant playing against type.
The Rhythm Section (2020) 28%
Directed by: Reed Morano
Starring: Blake Lively, Jude Law, Sterling K. Brown, Max Casella
Opening on: January 31, 2020
Blake Lively stars in the latest troubled female assassin movie, based on the eponymous novel by Mark Burnell. She plays Stephanie Patrick, a plane crash survivor who wants to get to the bottom of the disaster that killed her family and discovers it was no accident, which sets her on a path of revenge.
Gretel & Hansel (2020) 63%
Directed by: Oz Perkins
Starring: Sophia Lillis, Sammy Leakey, Alice Krige
Opening on: January 31, 2020
From the director who previously brought us The Blackcoat’s Daughter and I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House comes a dark new take on the classic fairy tale about a brother and sister who fall prey to cannibalistic witch that entices them with tasty treats. Sophia Lillis (It, Sharp Objects) and Sammy Leakey star as the titular duo, who embark on a desperate search for food, only to encounter something far more evil than we’ve seen in any previous iteration of the story.
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) 78%
Directed by: Cathy Yan
Starring: Margot Robbie, Jurnee Smollett-Ball, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Opening on: February 7, 2020
We last saw Margot Robbie’s wily Harley Quinn get in all kinds of trouble in Suicide Squad. What happens when she joins Birds of Prey, DC’s all-ladies team of adventurers? Sheer. Unadulterated. Mayhem. Along for the ride will be Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who were cast as Black Canary and Huntress, respectively, in September, and Rosie Perez, playing Renee Montoya. They will face off against Ewan McGregor as the Black Mask.
The Lodge (2019) 74%
Directed by: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
Starring: Riley Keough, Jaeden Martell, Lia McHugh, Richard Armitage
Opening on: February 7, 2020
Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz, the duo who brought us 2014’s chilling psychological thriller Goodnight Mommy, return with another striking horror film. Riley Keough plays Grace, a young woman who is left alone at a winter lodge with her boyfriend’s two children — but not everything, or everyone, is quite what they seem, and as secrets are revealed and tensions rise, there may be more than just personal history to worry about.
The Photograph (2020) 75%
Directed by: Stella Meghie
Starring: LaKeith Stanfield, Issa Rae, Chelsea Peretti, Courtney B. Vance, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Lil Rel Howery, Rob Morgan
Opening on: February 14, 2020
LaKeith Stanfield and Issa Rae star in this romantic drama about a woman named Mae whose mother dies and leaves behind a photograph that reveals secrets about her past. As Mae delves deeper into her mother’s life, she begins to fall for a journalist assigned to write a story about her.
Downhill (2020) 37%
Directed by: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Starring: Will Ferrell, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Miranda Otto, Kristofer Hivju, Zach Woods
Opening on: February 14, 2020
Nat Faxon and Jim Rash helm this remake of the 2014 Swedish comedy-drama Force Majeure, which centers on a married relationship on the rocks after the husband abandons the family during an avalanche scare. In this version, that couple is played by Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, indicating it may lean a little harder on the comedy than the drama, and what more perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than to watch another couple in a passive-aggressive tug of war?
Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) 63%
Directed by: Jeff Fowler
Starring: James Marsden, Ben Schwartz, Jim Carrey, Tika Sumpter, Neal McDonough
Opening on: February 14, 2020
The first trailer for this adaptation of the classic video game famously drew the ire of Sonic fans around the world, prompting the studio to announce that it would be updating the look of the character. This led to a push back from its original 2019 release date – but on the plus side, those same fans were all about Jim Carrey as villain Dr. Robotnik. An updated trailer featuring a redesigned Sonic that was released in November of 2019 was met with wholehearted approval from fans, so here’s hoping the rest of the film is up to snuff.
Blumhouse's Fantasy Island (2020) 8%
Directed by: Jeff Wadlow
Starring: Lucy Hale, Maggie Q, Portia Doubleday, Charlotte McKinney, Michael Peña, Michael Rooker
Opening on: February 14, 2020
Moviegoers of a certain age may remember the popular TV drama Fantasy Island, in which visitors to the titular vacation spot would be granted a chance to live out their wildest fantasies for a price. Blumhouse has decided to twist the concept into one of its horror offerings to bring it to the big screen, as this adaptation centers on a group of guests whose fantasies spiral out of control dangerously, and they must figure out how to survive.
The Call of the Wild (2020) 63%
Directed by: Chris Sanders
Starring: Harrison Ford, Omar Sy, Karen Gillan, Dan Stevens, Bradley Whitford
Opening on: February 21, 2020
The classic Jack London novel gets the big screen treatment again, and judging from its first trailer, it would seem that it focuses only on a small portion of the source material, much like the 1935 adaptation starring Clark Gable. In this film, a St. Bernard/Scotch Collie mix named Buck is stolen and transported up into Yukon territory, where he befriends a man named John Thornton and embarks on an adventure. Harrison Ford takes the lead human role, while Buck himself looks to be entirely CGI.
The Invisible Man (2020) 92%
Directed by: Leigh Whannell
Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Storm Reid
Opening on: February 28, 2020
After 2017’s The Mummy failed to launch Universal’s cinematic universe of classic monsters, they handed the reins of The Invisible Man over to their horror partners at Blumhouse for a modern, updated standalone feature. Elisabeth Moss stars as the former lover of an abusive sociopath who has committed suicide — or has he? Maybe that’s him breathing over her shoulder and lighting things on fire in her house.
Onward (2020) 88%
Directed by: Dan Scanlon
Starring: Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Octavia Spencer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Opening on: March 6, 2020
Marvel stars Tom Holland and Chris Pratt lend their voices to Pixar’s latest film, a fantasy adventure set in a contemporary world filled with magical creatures about a pair of elf brothers who set off on a road trip — with the reanimated lower extremities of their deceased father — to discover if there is any real magic left to be found.
Bloodshot (2020) 31%
Directed by: Dave Wilson
Starring: Vin Diesel, Eiza Gonzalez, Sam Heughan
Opening on: March 13, 2020
Who is Bloodshot? If the Valiant Comics assassin’s relaunch series was any indication, that is the big question. An unstoppable super-soldier powered by nanomachines, Bloodshot’s past is a mystery to him, and he’s on a mission to find out who he is and who – or what – is controlling him. With Vin Diesel as the titular character, expect a heavy side of testosterone with this slice of sci-fi.
Trolls World Tour (2020) 71%
Directed by: Walt Dohrn, David P. Smith
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Jamie Dornan, Sam Rockwell, Rachel Bloom, Anderson.Paak
Opening on: April 10, 2020
After saving their colors and learning the true value of happiness in the Certified Fresh Trolls, the high-haired crew returns for another groovy adventure with Anna Kendrick again starring as Queen Poppy. She will be joined by a star-studded cast including Sam Rockwell, Rachel Bloom, Anthony Ramos, Anderson.Paak, Karan Soni, Flula Borg, Jamie Dornan, Kelly Clarkson, and more.
SCOOB! (2020) 48%
Directed by: Tony Cervone
Starring: Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, Gina Rodriguez, Frank Welker, Will Forte, Mark Wahlberg
Premiering on VOD on: May 15, 2020
Warner Bros. offers up a new animated film based on the classic Hanna Barbera characters, this time focusing on the relationship between Shaggy (voiced by Will Forte) and Scooby-Doo (Frank Welker). We get to see how the two met and became best buds before teaming up with Fred (Zac Efron), Daphne (Amanda Seyfried), and Velma (Gina Rodriguez) to solve crimes. Also, Scoob talks in full sentences now. Originally slated for a theatrical release, the film is now scheduled to go straight to VOD rental instead.
The Lovebirds (2020) 66%
Directed by: Michael Showalter
Starring: Kumail Nanjiani, Issa Rae, Anna Camp
Premiering on: May 22 on Netflix (formerly April 3, 2020)
Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae star in this romantic comedy about a couple on the verge of a break-up who become embroiled in a murder mystery and must work together to clear their name. Veteran comedy writer Michael Showalter, who previously directed Nanjiani in the sleeper hit The Big Sick, is back in the director’s chair for this one, with Pitch Perfect‘s Anna Camp in a supporting role. After being pulled from its initial theatrical release, it was announced that The Lovebirds would move directly to Netflix, but a launch date for the comedy has not been announced yet.
Artemis Fowl (2020) 8%
Directed by: Kenneth Branagh
Starring: Ferdia Shaw, Judi Dench, Josh Gad, Colin Farrell, Hong Chau
Premiering on: June 12 on Disney+
Director Kenneth Branagh and stars Judi Dench and Josh Gad, who all worked together on last year’s Murder on the Orient Express, reunite for this adaptation of the popular fantasy book series that centers on a young criminal mastermind who kidnaps a fairy in hopes of ransoming her to an evil pixie in exchange for his father. With all of the release date shake-ups due to the coronavirus outbreak, Disney has decided to skip Artemis Fowl’s theatrical release altogether, opting instead to release the film directly on its streaming service, Disney+.
Greyhound (2020) 79%
Directed by: Aaron Schneider
Starring: Tom Hanks, Elisabeth Shue, Stephen Graham, Lee Norris, Rob Morgan
Opening on: Premiering on Apple TV+ on July 10, 2020 (formerly June 12, 2020)
Tom Hanks is no stranger to WWII movies (see: Saving Private Ryan), and he’ll return to the theater of war to command the naval ship Greyhound, which was pursued by German U-boats across the Atlantic Ocean along with 36 other Allied ships. Director Aaron Schneider (Get Low) won an Oscar for Best Live Action Short back in 2003.
The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019) 92%
Directed by: Armando Iannucci
Starring: Dev Patel, Peter Capaldi, Aneurin Barnard, Ben Whishaw, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Gwendoline Christie, Benedict Wong
Opening on: August 28, 2020 (formerly May 8, 2020)
Dev Patel stars in a reimagining of the classic Charles Dickens novel, told through a comedic lens by Armando Iannucci, the man behind such scathing satires as In the Loop, The Death of Stalin, and HBO’s Veep. The production boasts an impressive cast that includes Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Ben Whishaw, and Peter Capaldi.
Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020) 82%
Directed by: Dean Parisot
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, Samara Weaving, Jillian Bell, Kristen Schaal, Anthony Carrigan
Opening on: August 28, 2020 (simultaneous VOD and select theater release)
Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Ted “Theodore” Logan have all grown up, but their time-traveling adventures aren’t over yet. In this decades-later sequel, the goofy duo are visited by someone from the future who tells them they must create a song to save the world. Will the Wyld Stallyns be up to the task? Of course they will.
The New Mutants (2020) 35%
Directed by: Josh Boone
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams, Charlie Heaton, Alice Braga
Opening on: August 28, 2020
The Fault in Our Stars director Josh Boone collects some of today’s hottest young stars — including Split’s Anya Taylor-Joy, Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams, and Stranger Things’ Charlie Heaton — to play next-generation X-Men from Marvel’s comic book series of the same name. But the New Mutants’ dark path is riddled with horrors as they discover their abilities while imprisoned in a secret facility.
Tenet (2020) 69%
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: John David Washington, Elizabeth Debicki, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Robert Pattinson, Kenneth Branagh, Michael Caine, Himesh Patel
Opening on: September 3, 2020 (formerly August 12, 2020)
We knew for a while that Christopher Nolan’s next film would be called Tenet, and we knew who was on board to star in it, but outside the fact that the story would have something to do with international espionage, we knew little else. The trailers for the film are cryptic enough that we still kind of don’t know what’s going on, but we do know that John David Washington will play some sort of agent who is able to experience time both forwards and backwards, sometimes simultaneously…? We think…? Originally scheduled for a July release, the film will now open in 70 markets worldwide on August 26 and in select theaters in the US on Labor Day weekend.
I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020) 82%
Directed by: Charlie Kaufman
Starring: Jesse Plemons, Jessie Buckley, Toni Collette, David Thewlis
Opening on: September 4, 2020 (on Netflix)
Writer-director Charlie Kaufman (Anomalisa, writer of Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) returns to the big screen after a five-year hiatus. Details are thin on his next film, though it’s been described as a dramatic thriller about a couple en route to meet the boyfriend’s parents — even as the girlfriend is considering breaking up with him — who are forced to take a detour that ends up being more perilous than they expected.
Mulan (2020) 72%
Directed by: Niki Caro
Starring: Yifei Liu, Jet Li, Donnie Yen, Gong Li
Opening on: September 4 , 2020 ($29.99 on Disney+)
Following Disney’s live-action remake trend comes Mulan, directed by Niki Caro of Whale Rider and North Country fame. Featuring Chinese star Liu Yifei as the titular character and a host of other Chinese legends like Donnie Yen, Gong Li, and Jet Li, this one is poised to conquer the global box office and – if it taps into the animated original’s magic – our hearts.
Antebellum (2020) 31%
Directed by: Gerard Bush, Christopher Renz
Starring: Janelle Monáe, Jena Malone, Jack Huston, Kiersey Clemons, Eric Lange
Premiering on VOD on: September 18, 2020 (formerly August 21, 2020)
This psychological mystery’s first teaser trailer didn’t give a whole lot away, which is probably a good thing. We do know from the film’s synopsis that it centers on a successful writer played by Janell Monáe who becomes trapped in some sort of alternate reality — possibly one set in the slavery-era American South — and must figure out a way to break free. It’s definitely giving off some Get Out and Us vibes, which isn’t too surprising, considering the film has played up the fact that “the producer of” those films is behind this one as well.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) 89%
Directed by: Aaron Sorkin
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Frank Langella, Mark Rylance, Jeremy Strong, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Michael Keaton
Opening on: September 25, 2020 (Limited) followed by premiere on Netflix on October 16, 2020
Aaron Sorkin began writing the script for this historical drama back in 2007, but the project suffered several setbacks that delayed it for more than a decade. Now, with an impressive cast on board and Sorkin in the director’s chair, we’ll finally get his retelling of the controversial trial of seven men who were charged with conspiracy and inciting to riot during the anti-Vietnam War protests in the late 1960s.
Roald Dahl's The Witches (2020) 49%
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci
Opening on: October 22, 2020 (on HBO Max in the US), October 28, 2020 (in theaters worldwide)
Robert Zemeckis will direct this remake of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, which was first brought to the big screen by director Nicolas Roeg in 1990. Zemeckis has some big shoes to fill: the original tale of an annual convention of the world’s witches that is interrupted by an inquisitive young boy sits at 100% on the Tomatometer (and its opening sequence has been terrifying young kids for decades). Anne Hathaway, who will star as the Grand High Witch, has even bigger shoes to fill, though: Anjelica Huston’s performance as the world’s head witch has made the character one of the most memorable kids’ villains in cinema.
Mank (2020) 83%
Directed by: David Fincher
Starring: Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, Tuppence Middleton, Charles Dance
Opening on: November 13, 2020 (limited, followed by release on Netflix on December 4)
Working from a script written by his father Jack Fincher, director David Fincher tackles a piece of Hollywood history in Mank, which centers on screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz’s battles with Orson Welles over writing credits on Welles’ masterpiece Citizen Kane. Gary Oldman is set to star in the title role, with supporting turns from Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, and Tuppence Middleton.
Happiest Season (2020) 82%
Directed by: Clea DuVall
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Mary Steenburgen, Victor Garber, Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Dan Levy
Opening on: November 25, 2020
Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis star in this holiday rom-com about a woman who plans to propose to her girlfriend at her family’s holiday party, only to discover she hasn’t come out to her conservative parents. This is actress-writer-director Clea DuVall’s sophomore feature, which she co-wrote with Mary Holland, and it should be out just in time for Thanksgiving.
The Croods: A New Age (2020) 77%
Directed by: Joel Crawford
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone
Opening on: November 25, 2020
We don’t know if the creatures in The Croods were prehistorically accurate, but we do know the family adventure was prehysterical! (Sorry about that.) The whole family returns for the sequel, with Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, and more reprising their roles. Original co-director Kirk DeMicco is off making Vivo (see November releases), and so first-time feature director Joel Crawford, a veteran story artist, takes the reins.
Soul (2020) 95%
Directed by: Pete Docter
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, John Ratzenberger, Daveed Diggs
Opening on: December 25, 2020 on Disney+ (formerly November 20, 2020)
The second Pixar offering of the year features Jamie Foxx as a jazz-loving middle school teacher whose soul is separated from his body during an accident and transported to a training center for newer souls preparing to enter the bodies of newborn babies. There, he meets a soul in training (voiced by Tina Fey) who has been trapped there for years.
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) 58%
Directed by: Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal
Opening in theaters and streaming on HBO Max on: December 25, 2020
As villain Cheetah, Bridemaids’ Kristen Wiig climbs aboard the Wonder Woman sequel, which sees Gal Gadot returning to her Amazon-princess role that catapulted the first film to a $412.5 million box office, a Certified Fresh 92% Tomatometer score, and the No. 2 spot in our list of the 64 Best Superhero Movies of All Time. The action is set during the Cold War in the ’80s and finds Chris Pine reappearing as Wonder Woman’s love interest Steve Trevor, despite his apparent death in the first film.
Promising Young Woman (2020) 90%
Directed by: Emerald Fennell
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Laverne Cox, Alison Brie, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Adam Brody, Connie Britton, Molly Shannon
Opening on: December 25, 2020 (formerly April 17, 2020)
Killing Eve showrunner Emerald Fennell makes her feature writing and directing debut with this thriller starring Carey Mulligan as a vigilante who pretends to be drunk at bars, luring men who claim they want to help her, and then confronts them when their advances inevitably turn sexual.
Thumbnail images by Joshua Richards/©Searchlight Pictures, ©Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures