Films You Won’t Want to Miss in 2020
Looking back, 2019 really capped off 10 years’ worth of cinema with a bang. Mega-blockbuster sagas that spanned years came to a close, thanks to Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars: Episode IX—The Rise of Skywalker. Some of the decade’s best films, like Parasite, and worst — sorry, Cats — made indelible marks on our pop culture collective consciousness.
With a few hit films like Birds of Prey already in theaters, it’s time to look ahead to what’s on offer in 2020. The following are some of the films we’re most excited for this year, the ones that are sure to help kick off a new wonderful decade of filmmaking.
A Quiet Place Part II (Paramount Pictures) | March 20
If you had told us five years ago that John Krasinski — a.k.a. Jim from The Office — would write, direct and co-star in one of the best horror movies of the decade, we wouldn’t have believed you. However, the filmmaker upended our expectations completely with 2018’s A Quiet Place, which stars Krasinski and Emily Blunt as parents who struggle to keep their family alive in a world overrun by monsters who use sound to find their victims.
Tenet (Warner Bros. Pictures) | July 17
If you saw Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in IMAX, you were probably treated to an extended preview for Tenet — on top of the standard 25 minutes of regular movie previews. At the time, we were a little annoyed by the film’s long-running prologue, but, after seeing the trailer, there’s certainly some promise to Tenet, which is Inception director Christopher Nolan’s latest offering.
Black Widow (Marvel Entertainment/Disney) | May 1
For quite some time, Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), was the only woman on the Avengers squad, and she is more than deserving of a standalone movie. Finally, Marvel (and Disney) is ready to give the ex-KGB-agent-turned-assassin-turned-Avenger a chance to shine on her own, without playing second fiddle. Black Widow is a prequel film, taking place between 2016’s Captain America: Civil War and 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War.
Antebellum (Lionsgate) | April 24
Known for her Grammy-nominated body of music, Janelle Monáe is a multi-hyphenate who excels in every art form. From singing, songwriting and rapping to producing, acting and blazing trails as an activist, Monáe is a bonafide icon. Although she has appeared in huge films like Hidden Figures and the Academy Award-winning Moonlight, Antebellum is the first feature film in which Monáe takes on the leading role.
The Many Saints of Newark (HBO) | September 25
When the series finale of HBO’s game-changing series The Sopranos cut to black mid-scene, audiences had all sorts of reactions. Some viewers thought the ending was brilliant — a nod to the fact that life goes on, beyond the frame of the story — while others were annoyed by the lack of "resolution." Although HBO isn’t going to continue the story of the Soprano family beyond that final shot, the network is giving fans a prequel.
The Invisible Man (Blumhouse Productions) | February 28
If there’s one thing the film world needs, it’s another cinematic universe poised to compete with the success of Marvel and Star Wars and DC Comics, right? Well, that’s what Universal thought when it released the universally panned The Mummy reboot, starring Tom Cruise, which was meant to launch a cinematic universe consisting of classic monsters.
No Time to Die (Universal Pictures) | April 10
This upcoming spy film is the 25th installment in the James Bond film saga and features Daniel Craig in his fifth and final outing as the titular MI6 agent. The film is being helmed by director Cary Joji Fukunaga, whose wide swath of work includes the 2011 adaptation of Jane Eyre, the acclaimed 2015 drama Beasts of No Nation and the first season of HBO’s True Detective, which earned him an Emmy for Outstanding Directing.
Promising Young Woman (Focus Features) | Sundance: January 25; Wide Release: April 17
The drama-thriller Promising Young Woman marks the directorial debut for writer Emerald Fennell, who is best known as the Emmy-nominated showrunner of BBC’s Killing Eve. The film stars BAFTA-winner Carey Mulligan (An Education, The Great Gatsby) as Cassie, who is considered a promising young woman until an undisclosed event derails her future.
The New Mutants (20th Century Studios/Marvel Entertainment) | April 3
Based on the Marvel superhero team of the same name, The New Mutants promises to lean into the horror genre as well, helping it carve out its own space in a world full of comedies like Deadpool and epic sagas like Avengers. As a spin-off of the X-Men franchise, this rag-tag team of soon-to-be-heroes focuses on teenage mutants, who, in the midst of discovering their abilities, must break out of a secret facility where they are held captive.
After Yang (A24) | TBD
Based on the short story "Goodbye to Yang" by Alexander Weinstein, After Yang is a science-fiction drama starring Colin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith and The Umbrella Academy’s breakout star, Justin Min. The story forecasts a future in which robotic kids are sold as live-in babysitters and centers on a father-daughter duo (Farrell and Turner-Smith) who find their robotic sitter, Yang (Min), unresponsive.
The Woman in the Window (20th Century Studios) | May 15
Based on A.J. Finn’s novel of the same name, The Woman in the Window is a psychological thriller — a la Rear Window — that’s being adapted by director Joe Wright (Atonement) and writer Tracy Letts (Bug, August: Osage County). Amy Adams, coming off incredible performances in HBO’s Sharp Objects and the Oscar-nominated Vice, will star as the titular woman.
Nomadland (Fox Searchlight) | TBD
Director and screenwriter Chloé Zhao’s sophomore endeavor, The Rider (2017), is a contemporary Western that nabbed Independent Spirit Award nominations for both Best Film and Best Director. Currently, Zhao is finishing her directing duties on Marvel’s post-Avengers blockbuster, The Eternals, but once the comic book adaptation wraps, she is set to direct Nomadland.
Scoob! (Warner Bros. Pictures) | May 15
If you missed out on the delightful animated series A Pup Named Scooby-Doo — or if you’re missing those reruns — then this reboot may be the movie for you. Scooby-Doo and his Mystery Inc. colleagues have been re-invented time and again, but here they make the jump to CGI in what the studios behind the film hope will be the first entry in a proposed Hanna-Barbera Cinematic Universe.
Wonder Woman 1984 (DC Films/Warner Bros. Pictures) | June 4
Gal Gadot reprises her role as Diana, and Patty Jenkins reprises her role as director for the sequel film, Wonder Woman 1984. This team-up, which brought audiences the much-loved blockbuster Wonder Woman, is a more well-regarded collaboration than (the DC Extended Universe) Justice League. Needless to say, we’re excited for this one.
Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Focus Features) | March 13
The American-British drama Never Rarely Sometimes Always is written and directed by Eliza Hittman and stars Sidney Flanigan and Talia Ryder as two cousins from Pennsylvania who trek to New York in the wake of an unexpected pregnancy. At the Berlin International Film Festival, the film was in competition for the coveted Golden Bear.
Candyman (Universal Pictures) | June 12
Called a "nuanced, effectively chilling tale" by Rotten Tomatoes’ reviewers, 1992’s Candyman was based on a Clive Barker short story. In the film, a student at the University of Chicago looks into urban legends and stumbles upon Candyman, who allegedly appears, metal hook in hand, if you say his name five times while looking into a mirror.
Soul (Pixar Animation Studios/Disney) | June 19
Perhaps surprisingly, the beloved animation studio Pixar has not one, but two original titles hitting the silver screen this year. The fairy-tale with a modern twist, Onward, didn’t make our list, but it shows promise that it will follow that heartfelt and humorous recipe Pixar is so well known for churning out. We’re a dash more excited for director Pete Docter’s Soul.
In the Heights (Warner Bros. Pictures) | June 26
Before the phenomenon that is Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda worked on the music and lyrics for the four-time Tony-winning Broadway musical In the Heights. Now, folks who missed the landmark musical on the stage can see it on the silver screen. For the unanointed, In the Heights takes place over three days, cataloging the stories of the Hispanic-American folks living in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood.
Annette (Amazon Studios) | TBD
Eager to chase Oscar gold, Amazon Studios is backing Annette, a musical film that marks French director Leos Carax’s English-language debut. The film centers on a married couple who both work in the arts. Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose, Inception) plays a world-famous opera singer, and Academy Award nominee Adam Driver (Marriage Story, Star Wars: The Last Jedi) plays a provocative stand-up comedian.
Free Guy (20th Century Fox Studios) | July 3
How could Ryan Reynolds follow up Deadpool 2 and Detective Pikachu? Well, Free Guy is his latest attempt to blend sci-fi/action with dark comedy — and the trailer seems promising. At least, it seems way more promising than other video gamed-based comedies like Adam Sandler’s 2015 film Pixels. The film is set in an open-world game called Free City — think Fortnite meets Grand Theft Auto — and follows Guy (Reynolds), a non-player character (NPC) who works at a bank.
Zola (A24) | Sundance: January 24; Wide Release: TBD
Writing for Teen Vogue, Jameelah Nasheed reported that "Zola the film is just as mind-blowing to watch as it was to scroll tweet by tweet when the story first captivated the internet back in 2015." Yes, you read that correctly. The film, which is directed by Janicza Bravo and co-written by Broadway’s Jeremy O. Harris, is based on A’Ziah King’s viral, 144-tweet Twitter thread.
Memoria (Neon) | TBD
Thai director and screenwriter Apichatpong Weerasethakul is set to make his English-language debut with Memoria. Although not much is known about the plot of the film, we’re still excited — Weerasethakul is a highly accomplished director. His feature film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, won the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or prize in 2010, while his earlier feature, Tropical Malady, nabbed Cannes’ jury prize in 2004.
The Eternals (Marvel Entertainment/Disney) | November 6
Marvel hasn’t given up too many details when it comes to Chloé Zhao’s upcoming The Eternals film, which will help crack open the new phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) post-Avengers: Endgame. In the comics, Eternals are a race of humanoids who are an offshoot of the evolutionary process that created Earth’s sentient life.
Happiest Season (Sony Pictures) | November 25
Known for her starring role in the queer cult classic But I’m a Cheerleader, Clea DuVall wrote and directed her first feature film, The Intervention, in 2016. That directorial debut focused on several couples, one of which was a queer couple. For her sophomore endeavor, DuVall is aiming to make positive LGBTQ+ representation a focal point.
Da 5 Bloods (Netflix) | TBD
Coming off his much-deserved Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar win for BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee has turned his attention to Da 5 Bloods, which was recently picked up by Netflix. Previously, Lee and Netflix have collaborated on the streaming giant’s series adaptation of Lee’s 1986 classic She’s Gotta Have It, with Lee stepping in to executive produce.
BIOS (Amblin Entertainment) | October 2
Although Tom Hanks did have a post-apocalyptic thread in Cloud Atlas, we haven’t really seen him flex that muscle too much. Instead, he’s been starring in biopics and dramas and Da Vinci Code spinoffs. Needless to say, BIOS is exciting because it gives Hanks something a bit different to chew on. Not to mention, it’s directed by Game of Thrones’ "Battle of the Bastards" director, Miguel Sapochnik.
The Witches (Warner Bros. Pictures) | October 9
Based on the Roald Dahl children’s novel of the same name, The Witches is a remake of the dark fantasy comedy circa 1990, which starred Anjelica Huston (left) as the Grand High Witch. This remake is directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars big-name actors Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci and Chris Rock.
Dune (Warner Bros. Pictures) | December 18
Frank Herbert’s landmark sci-fi epic Dune has been attempted on the screen before. Notably, cult film director Alejandro Jodorowsky unsuccessfully attempted to adapt the book in the ‘70s, and then Palme d’or winner David Lynch (Wild at Heart, Mulholland Drive) directed the largely panned 1984 adaptation, which starred his longtime collaborator Kyle MacLachlan (Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks).
West Side Story (20th Century Studios) | December 18
Adapted from the Broadway hit, this beloved romantic musical is getting another remake, and this one reportedly follows the musical’s script more closely than the 1961 film version did. Directed by Steven Spielberg, West Side Story will undoubtedly score big with audiences this Christmas — well, at least bigger than Cats scored this past holiday. We’re sure of it.
Deep Water (20th Century Studios) | November 13
Starring Gone Girl’s Ben Affleck and Knives Out’s Ana de Armas, Deep Water is a psychological thriller based on the Patricia Highsmith novel of the same name. After an 18-year absence from filmmaking, Adrian Lyne (Unfaithful) returns to direct the picture. We’re putting our faith behind this one, namely because the source material is so strong — and because adaptations of Highsmith’s other novels have been so incredible.
The French Dispatch (Searchlight Pictures) | July 24
Perhaps surprisingly, Wes Anderson, director of acclaimed films like The Grand Budapest Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom, has yet to win an Oscar. Here’s hoping that The French Dispatch, his next film, nabs him some awards season nominations. After all, Anderson has his own aesthetic — something that’s become a descriptor for other films that mimic the look of his own. Moreover, he and his inventive films have yet to let us down.
Last Night in Soho (Focus Features) | September 25
Director Edgar Wright is known for his fast-paced, frenetic thrillers and comedies — and his track record is pretty incredible. Along with Simon Pegg, he wrote (and directed) the three entries in the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy — Shaun of the Dead (2004), Hot Fuzz (2007) and The World’s End (2013). He also adapted the graphic novel series Scott Pilgrim v. the World (2010) into a much-loved film.
I’m Thinking of Ending Things (Netflix) | TBD
I’m Thinking of Ending Things is Iain Reid’s debut novel, a psychological horror that was nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award. In the book, a man named Jake takes his unnamed girlfriend to meet his parents, who live on a remote farm. Before the trip, the unnamed girlfriend is thinking of ending things — and regrets not doing so when the trip takes a terrifying turn.