A Disney live-action adaptation of a cartoon feature. Sequels to superhero franchises and horror flicks. Streaming services finding inspiration in YA novels. Wait—this is 2020, right? A new decade? Currently the roster of highly anticipated movies looks a whole lot like last year's. But not to worry—these projects feature promising casts, directors and storylines, even if some of them sound a little familiar. And we've also found plenty of films with fresh subject matter worth noting on your calendar. Here are just some we're most excited about.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Feb. 14)
The latest from French filmmaker Céline Sciamma won the 2019 Cannes prize for Best Screenplay and made several New York and L.A. year-end lists, but the broader U.S. won't see it until Valentine's Day. A steamy yet stately queer romance between an 18th century aristocrat and her portraitist, it looks like a real corset-doffer. CHANCE SOLEM-PFEIFER.
First Cow (March 6)
Every Kelly Reichardt movie is a quiet, studious event for that quiet, studious bunch of us who've followed the Portland auteur from Old Joy to Meek's Cutoff. With First Cow, Reichardt and frequent collaborator Jon Raymond are adapting his novel The Half-Life, which takes place partly in 1820s Oregon and spans two continents and a half-century. CSP.
Mulan (March 27)
Disney's live-action renaissance continues with spring's Mulan, starring Liu Yifei as the warrior daughter who pretends to be a boy to serve in her father's place in the Imperial Chinese Army. Directed by Niki Caro (Whale Rider, North Country), the trailer shows a promising take on the Disney princess's tale—though no Eddie Murphy this time around. LAUREN YOSHIKO.
The New Mutants (April 3)
However varying the quality of films within the X-Men franchise, Fox's dalliance with caped crusaders at least allowed for genre experimentation. The New Mutants seems to veer into horror. Retinkering pushed back release two years, but finally, in 2020, we'll get to see the story of superpowered teens locked in a nightmarish institution. JAY HORTON.
Wonder Woman 1984 (June 5)
"So I stay, I fight and I give for the world I know can be. This is my mission now. Forever." With those words, star Gal Gadot brought the first Wonder Woman to an end—and set the stage for battles to come. 1984 reunites her with director Patty Jenkins and adds two enticing new villains, Cheetah (Kristen Wiig) and Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal). BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON.
Candyman (June 12)
Next stop on the Jordan Peele horror-mobile: a sequel to the 1992 socioeconomic thriller Candyman. Tony Todd reprises the titular role and returns to the now-gentrified Chicago neighborhood he once terrorized. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, most recently known for playing Cal/Dr. Manhattan in HBO's Watchmen series, will join Todd as one of the leads. LY.
Tenet (July 17)
With a gargantuan budget, but no DiCaprio-caliber star, Tenet may mark the end of director Christopher Nolan's decadeslong hot streak. Just kidding! Any filmmaker who can transform One Direction singer Harry Styles into a convincing World War II soldier is invincible. Tenet, Nolan's first film since the Oscar-winning Dunkirk, stars John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman) as a man trying to prevent World War III. BCF.
Last Night in Soho (Sept. 25)
The latest project from Baby Driver director Edgar Wright should perfectly meld his kinetic style with the cinematography of Chung-hoon Chung (The Handmaiden, Oldboy), and watching rising stars Anya Taylor-Joy and Thomasin McKenzie delve into psychological horror that takes place in 1960s London should make for a hell of a fun ride. DONOVAN FARLEY.
Dune (Dec. 18)
A year ago, it seemed Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve was casting a new famous face every day in his Dune adaptation (Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Josh Brolin). Now the news has gone quiet except for Oscar Isaac lovingly referring to the sci-fi epic as "nightmarish." CSP.
Bergman Island (TBD)
Upstart French director Mia Hansen-Løve's first English-language feature concerns a filmmaking couple's journey to the Swedish island of Faro with the aim of finishing their respective films, when the line between reality and fiction begins to blur in mysterious ways. DF.
The French Dispatch (TBD)
Hardly a moment goes by in a Wes Anderson film when there isn't something to make us smile—from the lavish set designs to the sight gags, the playful colors to the wonderful casts. That should be the case again for The French Dispatch, in which American journalists try to find their voice in 20th century Paris. ASHER LUBERTO.
Unless you're a die-hard Shakespeare fan, you might not care about another screen adaptation of Macbeth. But you could change your mind when you realize Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand play the leads, and Joel Coen (of the Coen brothers) is set to direct. AL.
Sorta Like a Rock Star (TBD)
Directed by Brett Haley (Hearts Beat Loud) and adapted by Matthew Quick (Silver Linings Playbook) from his own YA novel, this musical comedy features a damnably eclectic cast led by Disney songstress Auli'i Cravalho (Moana, The Little Mermaid Live!) as an unfailingly cheery teen coming of age while living in a school bus, and it was shot in Portland. JH.