50 Most Anticipated Movies of 2020 - Rolling Stone
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50 Most-Anticipated Movies of 2020

From the big-name summer blockbusters to the fall’s prestige dramas — what’s coming to a theater near you this year

Clay Enos/Warner Bros; Pixar; Dean Rogers/Twentieth Century Fox

Goodbye, movies of 2019 — let’s face it, we love you, but you’re so last year. Hello, movies of 2020, in which we can expect more superheroes, a sequel or three (belated and otherwise), a few intriguing remakes (live-action and Americanized, respectively), a handful of animated films, a slew of horror films, your run-of-the-mill prestige dramas and primo A-list comedies. What’s old is, once again, new. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are once again bad boys. Tom Cruise goes back to being a top gun. How about a next-gen group of ghostbusters? Welcome back, Bill and Ted, we missed you.

There are also a handful of interesting smaller films, new projects from big-name directors (David Fincher! Sofia Coppola! Wes Anderson!), and what are sure to be some outta-left-field surprises. The following list is far from comprehensive — we’ve tried to highlight the major movies we’re anticipating (is anyone really looking forward to another cartoon take on Scooby-Doo, even if they call it Scoob!?), and even then, we weren’t able to get to everything that has our curiosity piqued.

Plus there are a few question-mark titles in regards to 2020 release dates: The next 12 months may bring us new movies from Ridley Scott (The Last Duel), Guillermo Del Toro (Nightmare Alley), David Lowery (The Green Knight), George Clooney (Good Morning, Midnight), Charlie Kaufman (I’m Thinking of Ending Things), Spotlight‘s Tom McCarthy (Stillwater), Spike Lee (Da 5 Bloods), Taika Waititi (Next Goal Wins), a Leos Carax musical starring Adam Driver (Annette), a remake of Rebecca by Ben Wheatley, a redo of The Craft, a Velvet Underground doc from Todd Haynes, a version of Macbeth from Joel Coen, and the directorial debut of Master of None‘s Alan Yang (Tigertail). Or we may not get our eyes on these gems until 2021 or beyond. The Magic 8-Ball says, “Reply hazy, try again”…hence they’re AWOL here. Also, don’t even get us started about the avalanche of TBD foreign-language films from the festival circuit that will hopefully make its way to our shores before the year is up. We’re praying for a bountiful non-English-language harvest.

We are confident that the 50 movies below, however, offer a bird’s-eye view of what 2020 has to offer. These are the films that folks will be talking about for the next year or so. Start marking your calendars. (Dates, of course, may be subject to change.)

Jared LetoLACMA Art and Film Gala, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 02 Nov 2019

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‘Morbius’ (July 31)

There is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which everyone who’s been to a movie theater in the past 10 years or has a Disney+ subscription knows about — and there’s the “Spider-Man Universe,” which takes webslinger-related characters owned by Sony and hopes to build out its own stable of super antiheroes. (Yes, Spider-Man did show up in the past few Avengers movies, but probably won’t again — it’s a whole thing, don’t ask.) That movie where Tom Hardy played Venom? That was one of them. And this tale of Dr. Michael Morbius, who accidentally turns himself into a “living vampire” while trying to cure a blood disease? That’s another. Jared Leto is the title character. Daniel Espinosa (Life) directs.

Mark Wahlberg arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Mile 22" on in Los AngelesLA Premiere of "Mile 22", Los Angeles, USA - 09 Aug 2018

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/Shutt

‘Infinite’ (Aug. 7)

So there’s this group of “immortals,” see — not to be confused the with “the Eternals,” that’s something else entirely — who keep cycling through different bodies over the years. But there’s an evil genius who wants to destroy them, and most likely everything else, so this group has to turn to a hero among their ranks. There’s a catch, however: Their savior is a schizophrenic who thinks that the flashes of his old lives are really hallucinations. If you’ve read The Reincarnationist Papers, which serves as the source material for this sci-fi/action tale, you know what’s up. For everyone else, go see what sounds like a real late-summer headscratcher, starring Mark Wahlberg as the hero with the spotty memory and directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer).

Orion Pictures

‘Bill and Ted Face the Music’ (Aug. 21)

When they were children, they spake as children, they understood as children, they rocked hard as children. But as middle-aged men, Bill S. Preston (Alex Winter) and Ted Logan (Keanu Reeves) have long put away their childish things. Then a visitor from the future comes and tells them that unless they write a new song, our species is doomed. So the Wyld Stallyns must ride again! [Cue air-guitar riffage.] Decades after these time-traveling SoCal knuckleheads went on a bogus journey, the dynamic duo is back for a much-needed dose of bodaciousness. And they both have…daughters? Whoa, dude. Whoa.

King's Man

‘The King’s Man’ (Sept. 18)

So you like the Kingsman movies, what with all the manic Colin-Firth-on-a-rampage scenes and Rocketman‘s Taron Egerton as a younger, hipper James Bond type, right? But you want to know how this whole British secret service of suave spies thing started? This prequel has your back. As numerous early-20th-century no-goodniks — Rasputin, Wilhelm II, Alfred DuPont, the usual suspects — join together to achieve world domination, a small cadre of Her Majesty’s subjects led by a dapper Ralph Fiennes rise up to stop them. Harris Dickinson (Trust) is the newest recruit. Gemma Arterton and the great Djimon Hounsou are also on the good-guys side. And judging from the who’s-who lineup in the rest of the cast, this franchise is apparently responsible for keeping 99-percent of U.K. actors employed now that the Harry Potter series is done.

Edgar Wright'They Shall Not Grow Old' film premiere, London, UK - 16 Oct 2018WWI documentary featuring exclusive never seen before footage, hand colourised and 3D digitised archive footage from the Imperial War Museum film archive and audio from the BBC archives, at BFI Southbank

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‘Last Night in Soho’ (Sep. 25)

Edgar Wright — he of Baby Driver, Shaun of the Dead, and numerous other movies you watch over and over again in a gleeful state of genre-nerd bliss — has said that his latest, a psychological thriller partially set in Swinging Sixties London, was heavily inspired by vintage nervous-breakdown horror like Don’t Look Now and Repulsion. As if that was not enough to get cinephiles salivating, his tale of a modern young woman (Jojo Rabbit‘s Thomasin McKenzie) who is somehow connected to Anya Taylor-Joy’s mod-ish Carnaby Street hipster from the past is dotted with actors from the era: Terence Stamp, Diana Rigg, the great Rita Tushingham. We. Can’t. Wait.

Editorial use only. No book cover usage.Mandatory Credit: Photo by Moviestore/Shutterstock (1636373a)The Sopranos , Steven R Schirripa, James Gandolfini, Tony Sirico, Federico Castelluccio, Steve Van ZandtFilm and Television

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‘The Many Saints of Newark’ (Sep. 25)

Travel back to the New Jersey of the late Sixties and early Seventies, when a family known as the Sopranos were protecting their turf and establishing themselves as a criminal presence to be feared and respected. Yes, we’re talking about those Sopranos. This prequel takes us back to the beginnings, when Giovanni “Johnny Boy” Soprano (Jon Bernthal), a.k.a. Tony’s pops, was just starting to run his own crew. Expect to see a lot of baby-faced versions of the Mobsters in the above picture, with the added poignancy of James Gandolfini’s son, Michael, playing the younger Tony. (Also: Whoever thought of casting Vera Farmiga as a thirtysomething Livia deserves a raise.) Alessandro Nivola, John Magaro, Corey Stoll, and Ray Liotta round out the bada-bingers. Series creator David Chase co-wrote the script and longtime series director Alan Taylor is calling the shots, so the pedigree is strong here.

This photo shows screenwriter and playwright Aaron Sorkin in New York to promote his latest stage project, an adaptation of "To Kill a MockingbirdAaron Sorkin Portrait Session, New York, USA - 30 Nov 2018

Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ (Sep. 25)

Aaron Sorkin takes on the counterculture-vs.-establishment trial of the Sixties, i.e., the case against seven political agitators accused of inciting riots at the ’68 Democratic National Convention. Come for the reams of dialogue delivered by one-hell-of-a-name cast rocking some hippie-revolutionary cosplay: Sacha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman (!), Watchmen‘s Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Bobby Seale, Eddie Redmayne as Tom Hayden, Succession‘s Jeremy Strong as Jerry Rubin, Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Fred Hampton. Stay for the resistance history lesson that has no lesson to teach those who’d fight the power today, nope, no sirree, Bob.

Kenneth BranaghVariety Screening Series 'All Is True', Los Angeles, USA - 28 Nov 2018

Katie Jones/Variety/Shutterstock

‘Death on the Nile’ (Oct. 9)

Kenneth Branagh is really determined to make this whole Poirotverse thing happen, isn’t he? The actor-director behind the 2017 A-list Murder on the Orient Express once again dons the outrageous mustache and turns his attention to Agatha Christie’s 1937 novel about a murder mystery set on a cruise up the Egyptian river. Whether it can top the 1978 adaptation starring Peter Ustinov as the tonsorially blessed sleuth Hercule Poirot remains to be seen, but Branagh has enlisted a lot of famous friends, acquaintances, and whodunnit fanatics to help out: Annette Bening, Armie Hammer, Gal Gadot, Black Panther‘s Letitia Wright, Russell Brand, both Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.

David Fincher, Director/Executive Producer,Netflix FYSEE 'Mindhunter' TV Show Panel, Los Angeles, CA, USA - 01 Jun 2018

Eric Charbonneau/Shutterstock

‘Mank’ (2020)

Raising Kane, indeed. David Fincher dives into the notorious fight between screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman) and filmmaking legend/boy genius Orson Welles (The Souvenir‘s Tom Burke) over who deserves credit for the writing of Citizen Kane. It’s a personal project for the director, and not just because the noted film fanatic has studied the 1941 template for auteurism frame by frame — his late father Jack Fincher penned the screenplay. No word if actors playing Andrew Sarris and Pauline Kael show up in a post-credits sequence to duke it out over the whole affair as well. We’re assuming they are saving that for the sequel.

Jennifer Hudson'Cats' film photocall, London, UK - 13 Dec 2019

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‘Respect’ (Oct. 9)

It was only a matter of time before a big-screen Aretha Franklin biopic was set up — and there’s every reason to think Jennifer Hudson will nail the role of the Queen of Soul. (Between this movie and NatGeo’s TV show Genius letting Cynthia Erivo belt out the R&B legend’s hits as well, it’s going to be a big year from Aretha fans.) The Dreamgirls star and director Liesl Tommy are set to give the singer the full there-goeth-the-great-woman treatment, from her rough early years to those first hits, Franklin’s impact on the Civil Rights era, and her ascension into greatness. If they feature scenes of Hudson re-creating the Amazing Grace gospel shows as well, we may actually have an out-of-body experience.

Halloween Kills

Universal Pictures

‘Halloween Kills’ (Oct. 16)

David Gordon Green and Danny McBride’s resurrection of the slasher-film franchise — which brought the inimitable Jamie Lee Curtis back into the fold — and what they did with the material was too intriguing to stop at just one film. So they did what any enterprising superfans with a lot of industry juice would do: Sign up for two more movies and shoot them back to back. This is the first sequel to their 2018 reboot we’ll be getting; plot points are being kept hush-hush, but we predict a) Michael Myers comes back from the “dead,” because of course, and b) Curtis’ Laurie Strode and her fellow survivors will not greet his inevitable return with helpless shrieks so much as a war cry.

Angelina Jolie'Maleficent - Mistress Of Evil' film photocall, Rome, Italy - 07 Oct 2019

Massimo Insabato/Shutterstock

‘The Eternals’ (Nov. 6)

This is how Marvel plans on kicking off “Phase 4” of their quest for further multiplex-driven world domination: an MCU entry focused on the semi-obscure Jack Kirby comic about a group of superheroes created centuries ago by aliens to protect Earth. It’s an odd choice for the company in terms of a property to exploit, but listen, no one expected much from a Guardians of the Galaxy movie either, so who knows. Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kit Harington, a newly jacked-up Kumail Nanjiani, Salma Hayek, Brian Tyree Henry, Gemma Chan, and Barry Keoghan don costumes and fight evil, etc. The Rider‘s Chloé Zhao directs.

Godzilla

Warners

‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ (Nov. 20)

We knew this was coming. You don’t spend years setting up a whole Monsterverse thing, re-establish both Godzilla and King Kong (see: Kong: Skull Island), and reintroduce them to a whole new generation of moviegoers, then not have them battle it out. So here it is. An international-market-friendly cast, including Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobbie Brown, Rebecca Hall, Eiza González, Zhang Ziyi, Demián Bichir, Brian Tyree Henry (when the fuck does this guy sleep?!?!), and Kyle Chandler will watch these two giant creature-feature titans slug it out to see who’s the biggest kaiju overlord of them all. Expect fire, primal yelling, smashed buildings, lots of people looking sternly into the distance, and more primal yelling.

Eddie Murphy9th Annual WSJ. Magazine Innovator Awards, Arrivals, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA - 06 Nov 2019

Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock

‘Coming 2 America’ (Dec. 18)

We’re in the middle of a real, honest-to-god Eddie Murphy resurgence, and this long-awaited follow-up to his 1988 comedy classic (along with a potential new stand-up tour in 2020!) should be the cornerstone of his Murphaissance period. The story involves African Prince Akeem searching for his son (Jeremy Fowler), who lives in Queens — hence, the royal and his loyal adviser Semmi (Arsenio Hall) have to go back to you-know-where. Craig Brewer, who directed the comedian’s wonderful Dolemite Is My Name!, is behind the camera. Black-ish‘s Kenya Barris and original Coming screenwriters David Sheffield and Barry W. Blaustein contributed to the script. Wesley Snipes, Tracy Morgan, and Leslie Jones join in the fun. This is going to be worth its weight in McDowell burgers. Sexual chocolate! [Drops mic]

Timothee Chalamet arrives for the Australian premiere of the movie 'The King' at The Ritz Cinema in Randwick, Sydney, Australia, 10 October 2019.The King film premiere in Sydney, Australia - 10 Oct 2019

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‘Dune’ (Dec. 18)

He who controls the spice controls the universe! Denis Villenueve (Blade Runner 2049) goes after the great white whale of cult sci-fi epics, Frank Herbert’s award-winning 1965 tome about interplanetary warfare, giant sandworms, a mind-expanding drug, and a messiah-like hero. And he’s enlisted an insane amount of screen talent to help him out: Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Josh Brolin, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem, Stellan John Skarsgård (as Baron Harkonnen!), Charlotte Rampling, Dave Bautista. There’s a lot riding on this one.

© 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.Photo by Ramona Rosales.Left to Right:Anybodys (Ezra Menas), Mouthpiece (Ben Cook), Action (Sean Harrison Jones); Jets leader Riff (Mike Faist); Baby John (Patrick Higgins); Tony (Ansel Elgort) and Maria (Rachel Zegler); Maria’s brother and Sharks leader Bernardo (David Alvarez); and Sharks members Quique (Julius Anthony Rubio), Chago (Ricardo Zayas), Chino (Josh Andrés Rivera), Braulio (Sebastian Serra) and Pipo (Carlos Sánchez Falú)

RAMONA ROSALES/2019 Twentieth Century Fox Films

‘West Side Story’ (Dec. 18)

Start snapping your fingers, Sharks- and Jets-style. No less than Steven Spielberg and Angels in America playwright Tony Kushner bring the Broadway classic back for a 21st-century cinematic coat of paint, though they’ve kept the period aspects (1950s New York), the general conceit (Romeo & Juliet, but street gangs), and those songs you’ve been singing since your middle-school theater department’s production. Baby Driver‘s Ansel Elgort and newcomer Rachel Zegler are the star-crossed lovers; Rita Moreno, Cory Stoll, and Brian d’Arcy James provide adult supervision. And not a single person will be sporting digital fur!

Chris Pratt'Parks and Recreation' 10th Anniversary Reunion TV Show Presentation, Arrivals, PaleyFest, Los Angeles, USA - 21 Mar 2019

Matt Baron/Shutterstock

‘The Tomorrow War’ (Dec. 25)

How do you combat an alien invasion on Earth? Why, by finding a way to bring back the best soldiers from past wars, of course! Chris Pratt is a grunt who gets flash-forwarded to sock E.T.s in their ever-lovin’ mugs and make sure us humans get a fair shake. J.K. Simmons, Yvonne Strahovski, Betty Gilpin, Sam Richardson, Theo Von, and Mary Lynn Rajskub also give it to those invaders from space (we think).

Sofia CoppolaPrada Resort 2020 show, Front Row, The Piano Factory, New York, USA - 02 May 2019

Lexie Moreland/WWD/Shutterstock

‘On the Rocks’ (2020)

A new Sofia Coppola movie is always something to look forward to; one that involves Bill Murray is enough to have us grinning ear to ear; and one that revolves around a woman (Rashida Jones) running around New York with her hard-living, hard-partying, charming rogue of a dad (guess who?) suggests that we may already have our pick for favorite film of the year sight unseen. This could be the American Toni Erdmann we deserve.

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