20 movies we can’t wait to see in 2020
It's more than just superheroes and sequels: 2020 marks the return of Bill & Ted, Steven Spielberg's Broadway musical adaptation and Tom Hanks as the last man on earth.
The year 2020 is unusual one for the movie industry because it's the first in recent memory not to have an installment from the "Star Wars" franchise. But all that means is we can now focus our attention on a host of other cinematic goodies coming to theaters in the new year. Let us count the ways...
'Wonder Woman: 1984' / June 5, 2020
One of the most highly anticipated films of the year is the sequel to 2017's "Wonder Woman" when Israeli actress Gal Gadot returns as the Amazonian superhero. This time-shifting second installment in the franchise brings back love interest Steve Trevor, played by Chris Pine, and introduces two new villains: "Saturday Night Live" alum Kristen Wiig as Cheetah and "Game of Thrones" star Pedro Pascal as "greed is good" 1980s businessman Max Lord. Filming for the fantasy action superhero epic spanned the globe, with scenes being shot in the U.S., England and Spain. “The message of this movie is something that I deeply believe in and came to us while we were even working on the first movie,” director Patty Jenkins said. “Wonder Woman is sent out into the world being about love and a belief in [people] and trying to make people better.”
'Death on the Nile' / Oct. 9, 2020
The "Wonder Woman" sequel is not the only movie featuring Gal Gadot in 2020. The former Miss Israel has also joined the cast of "Death on the Nile," Kenneth Branagh's follow-up to 2017's "Murder on the Orient Express." Branagh returns as Detective Poirot, who is on vacation in Egypt when something goes murderously wrong. The film also stars Annette Bening, Arnie Hammer and Russell Brand amid a wide cast of potential suspects in the mystery whodunit. The film is based on the 1937 novel by Agatha Christie, whose dozens of books are now serving as a muse for the classically trained Branagh. "You feel as though there is a world," he explained. "Just like with Dickens, there's a complete world that she's created – certain kinds of characters who live in her world – that I think has real possibilities."
'In the Heights' / June 26, 2020
Ever since "Hamilton" debuted on Broadway, American audiences just can't get enough of the work of the show's creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda. Fans are in for a treat this summer when the film adaptation of his other musical hits the big screen. "In the Heights," which Miranda started writing in college, is about life in the Manhattan neighborhood in which he grew up. Premiering on Broadway in 2008, it was nominated for 13 Tony Awards and won four – including Best Musical, Best Original Score and Best Choreography. Miranda, who played the lead character when the show was on Broadway, will have a small on-screen role in the movie. Jon M. Chu, who directed "Crazy Rich Asians," is helming the film adaptation. "I believe that this movie is an amazingly beautiful movie that will change a lot of lives," Chu said.
'West Side Story' / Dec. 18, 2020
The Broadway bent continues, with director Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner bringing "West Side Story" to the big screen. It was first turned into a movie in 1961, but this new version is expected to hew closer to the storyline theatergoers are familiar with. Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler star as the two star-crossed lovers, Tony and Maria, who fall for each other in 1950s New York. The always-busy Spielberg – who is also working on a fifth "Indiana Jones" movie – has been interested in "West Side Story" since 2014, but finally found the time to devote to filming it in the summer of 2019 in the tri-state area. Puerto Rican actress Rita Moreno, who won an Oscar for her role in the 1961 film, is said to have a cameo in the new remake. Spielberg called filming the musical "a journey without precedence."
'Sonic the Hedgehog' / Feb. 14, 2020
How much are fans invested in the upcoming "Sonic the Hedgehog" movie? When the initial trailer was released, there was such a public uproar over the hedgehog's odd CGI features (human teeth? lanky legs?) that the studio decided to literally go back to the drawing board. A few months later and – voila! – a new trailer featuring a more hedgehog-looking hedgehog debuted online much to the delight of fans everywhere. That should come as welcome relief for the filmmakers, which includes Israeli screenwriter Oren Uziel and American film producer Neal H. Moritz. The film's director, Jeff Fowler, thanked fans on Twitter for their positive response to the redesign, calling their support "extraordinary." The film already has built-in audience enthusiasm, especially considering the movie is based on a beloved video game. The movie was originally scheduled for a November release, but due to the revamped animation is now set for a February bow.
'Godzilla vs. Kong' / Nov. 20, 2020
This monster action mashup is the 36th Godzilla movie and the 12th in the King Kong franchise. Besides featuring remarkably large animals, the movie stars Millie Bobby Brown from "Stranger Things" and Kyle Chandler from "Friday Night Lights." The filming took the cast and crew to Australia, Hawaii and Hong Kong – while more than a year was spent perfecting the special effects. "I really want you to take those characters seriously. I want you to be emotionally invested, not just in the human characters, but actually in the monsters," said director Adam Wingard. "It’s a massive monster brawl movie. There’s lots of monsters going crazy on each other, but at the end of the day I want there to be an emotional drive to it. I want you to be emotionally invested in them. I think that’s what’s going to make it really cool."
'Ghostbusters: Afterlife' / July 10, 2020
The latest installment in the "Ghostbusters" franchise has a decidedly less comedic flavor than its predecessors. Like "Godzilla vs. Kong," it also stars one of the kids from "Stranger Things," Finn Wolfhard. Watch the trailer above and you'll notice some of the same thematic elements between that popular Netflix show and this movie – a small town, a high school setting, teenagers discovering an unknown supernatural force. The movie was made by Jason Reitman, son of original director Ivan Reitman, and he made sure to pay homage to the iconic brand. "Jason Reitman wrote a beautiful, heartfelt script that takes the real DNA from the first two movies and transfers that directly to the third, the next generation," said Dan Aykroyd, who starred in the first two "Ghostbusters" film and, at one point, had written a script for an unmade third film. "It hands the legacy off to a new generation of stars, and players, and actors, and characters."
'Mulan' / March 27, 2020
Walt Disney has, as of late, made an entire cottage industry of turning its classic animated films into live-action remakes. (See "Aladdin," "Beauty and the Beast," "Dumbo," "The Lion King," "The Jungle Book," "Alice in Wonderland," "Cinderella" and more.) So it should come as no surprise that the famed studio is employing this tried-and-tested formula again for 2020's "Mulan." Based on the 1998 animated film, the remake follows Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, as she steps in to take the place of her ailing father. Chinese actress Liu Yifei was chosen for the title role after producers sent out a casting call that brought in more than 1,000 actresses. "[Disney was] extremely happy because we brought the film in on time – I mean, only 84 days, which is really a tiny number of days for filming at this size and scale – and slightly under budget," said Nikki Caro, the New Zealand-born director. "They ask themselves why, and I tell them it's because the film was run by women. Of course, you know, being women, we are extremely well prepared, and we were extremely communicative."
'No Time to Die' / April 8, 2020
"No Time To Die" is the 25th James Bond film, and the fifth to star Daniel Craig as the legendary British spy. It also features Ralph Fiennes and Rami Malek, fresh off his Academy Award-winning performance in "Bohemian Rhapsody." French actress Léa Seydoux returns in the role of a Bond Girl, which she also played in 2015's "Spectre." The globe-trotting spy movie was filmed throughout 2019 in Italy, Jamaica, Norway, Scotland and London – and, yes, you'll be seeing plenty of Bond's stylish Aston Martin as well. This film will be the last where Craig has a license to kill, as he will be retiring from the role. Looking back on his 14 years playing the beloved character, Craig said: "The biggest surprise was how much I get a kick out of it, and I got a chance to work with all these incredible people.” There is no word yet on who will replace Craig after this film, although Disney boss Bob Iger has expressed interest in acquiring the franchise.
'Black Widow' / May 1, 2020
Speaking of Disney, a summer at the movies wouldn't be complete without a superhero from the Marvel universe, and up next is "Black Widow." American actress Scarlett Johansson has portrayed the character many times in previous films, but this marks the first time the superhero will headline her own movie. Part Batman, part Jason Bourne, her fighting style, intelligence and strength have made her a fan favorite member of the Avengers. "I think that’s what drew me to the story," Johansson explained. "She’s got so many secrets, she’s got so much vulnerability, and I think that’s what makes her such a great heroine. In this film we get to understand her past and put the pieces of herself together and come out a whole person."
'Tesla' / TBA, 2020
The historical drama stars Ethan Hawke as the famous inventor, and comedian Jim Gaffigan – who has been taking on more dramatic roles in recent years – as fellow entrepreneur George Westinghouse. Made by American director Michael Almereyda and Israeli producer Avi Lerner, the biopic showcases the struggles Tesla faced in trying to create a system of wireless energy that he hopes will be world-changing. The film is the second in as many years to focus on the technological advancements of Nikola Tesla. "The Current War," a 2019 movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch, also explored the race to invent electricity in America at the turn of the 20th century. As for this new film, it will debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January and is expected in theaters later in the year.
'Dune' / Dec. 20, 2020
Based on the 1965 novel by Frank Herbert, "Dune" first arrived in theaters during the holiday season in 1984. Ever since then, filmmakers have been trying for decades to remake the science fiction epic. And that dream will finally become a reality in 2020 with a new version featuring an all-star cast: Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem and Zendaya, just to name a few. The film was shot on locations in Budapest, Hungary and Jordan. Director Denis Villeneuve has said that making a new "Dune" adaptation had been a lifelong ambition of his. "The ambition is to do the 'Star Wars' movie I never saw," he said. "In a way, it's 'Star Wars' for adults." The film will premiere during the holidays – exactly 36 years after the original debuted.
'The French Dispatch' / TBA, 2020
Fans of Wes Anderson, the mastermind behind such offbeat hits as "The Royal Tenenbaums" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel," have something to look forward to in the new year: the acclaimed director's 10th film, "The French Dispatch." Starring Frances McDormand, Bill Murray and the seemingly ubiquitous Timothée Chalamet, the movie is set in the aftermath of World War II and centers around a group of journalists at an office of an American newspaper in a small French town. The movie features a who's-who of cameos, including: Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan and Willem Dafoe. And, of course, it wouldn't be an Anderson film without an appearance by Jason Schwartzman.
'Top Gun: Maverick' / June 26, 2020
Tom Cruise is reporting for duty as he returns to the role that turned him into a household name. Val Kilmer will also be reprising his role, and word has it that Kenny Loggins' song "Danger Zone" will, once again, be in the film. Cruise, who likes to do his own stunts, actually took pilot lessons so he could fly the F-14 in the film. "It was a dream of mine," he said. And he's excited about what fans of the original will see in the sequel. "So when you're seeing the G-Force, it's not a computer-generated image. It's actually the actors in there being the characters," he said, adding that he looks at the movie as a love letter to aviation. "I'm here to entertain you. That's the privilege of my job."
'Tenet' / July 17, 2020
Christopher Nolan, known his work on Batman's "The Dark Knight Trilogy," has written and directed this new action thriller. The cast, which includes Robert Pattinson and Michael Caine, had to bring their passports to set as they were flown to seven countries during filming: Denmark, Estonia, India, Italy, Norway, the U.K. and the U.S. This will be the fifth Nolan film to be released in mid-July, and the director is hoping lightning strikes again: all of the previous ones have gone onto box office success. The exact premise of the movie is being kept under wraps for now, but those who saw a special teaser trailer say it's sort of like Nolan's "Inception" – but with time travel.
'Dolittle' / Jan. 17, 2020
Robert Downey, Jr. – who has previously portrayed Sherlock Holmes – will be tackling another literary character from Victorian England with his new film adaptation of the classic 1922 children's book "The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle." In this retelling, the good doctor is sent to a mythical island in search of a cure for a gravelly ill Queen Victoria. Along the journey, he meets up with a menagerie of animals voiced by Hollywood A-listers like Emma Thompson, Selena Gomez, Octavia Spencer and Rami Malek. The film was directed by Academy Award winner Stephen Gaghan, who's known for his work on "Traffic" and "Syriana." For "Dolittle," is the first time that the Kentucky native tackled a film heavy on the visual effects. Universal Pictures, the studio behind the film, brought in additional help from the team that made the popular "Lego" movies to help bring it all together.
'Bad Boys for Life' / Jan. 17, 2020
Why fix something if it ain't broke? Will Smith and Martin Lawrence had a blockbuster franchise on their hands with "Bad Boys" and "Bad Boys II," so they figured why not take one more trip down memory lane. It's been 17 years since these two played the macho Miami cops – Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett – who never saw a car chase they didn't want to participate in. But the actors, now both in their 50s, left some of the more complex stunts to the professionals this time around. “I tried — like the first couple of weeks,” Smith said. “I probably got four days into shooting and I was like, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna let a young boy do that one.'”
'Coming 2 America' / Dec. 18, 2020
The theme for 2020 seems to be sequels to movies from our youth. Another welcome entrant in this category is "Coming 2 America." The original, starring Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall, became an instant classic when it debuted back in 1988. Both actors have been making a comeback in recent years – Murphy with several dramatic roles and Hall with a new Netflix comedy special. The film picks up where the first one left off: Prince Akeem is set to become the king of Zamunda when he discovers he has a son he never knew about in America – a street savvy New York native named Lavelle. James Earl Jones reprises his role as the king, and his dying wish is to groom this newfound grandson as the crown prince. So Murphy and Hall's characters return to Queens for a comedic reunion where, once again, Murphy will play the role of multiple characters. "I couldn't be happier with how it turned out," Murphy told Ellen DeGeneres on her show.
'BIOS' / Oct. 2, 2020
A bearded Tom Hanks appeared at an event during the filming of 'BIOS,' a post-apocalyptic film. (Photo: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock)
If Tom Hanks is in a movie, sign us up. Whether he's playing Mr. Rogers or Mr. Gump, we're buying our ticket the day it arrives in theaters. And "BIOS" looks to deliver the goods. It tells the tale of an ailing inventor, the last man on Earth, who builds a robot to keep him and his dog company as they embark on a journey across the country. Various cities in New Mexico stood in for the post-apocalyptic desert landscape of the movie. What's more intriguing is that it's directed by London native Miguel Sapochnik, best known for directing several episodes of "Game of Thrones," for which he won an Emmy. Also look for two other movies starring Hanks in 2020: "Greyhound" and "News of the World."
'Bill and Ted Face the Music' / Aug. 21, 2020
Keanu Reeves was practically unknown when he starred as one half of the time-traveling duo in 1989's "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure." Flash forward – past "Speed," "The Matrix" and "John Wick" – and the 55-year-old Canadian actor is returning to the role that made him famous. Along with Alex Winter, who moved on to roles behind the camera after 1991's sequel "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey," the two will be reprising their characters from the stoner classic. The new film finds Bill and Ted as middle-aged men (Ted's a lawyer) going through the monotony of their daily routines. They're visited by someone from the future who warns them that the world will end if they don't write a song that will save the universe. To quote the inimitable Reeves: "Whoa."
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