At the beginning of 2020, moviegoers had a robust slate of entertainment to look forward to. Planned releases ranged from niche indie films with bold visions to action-packed, thrill-a-minute installments in major blockbuster franchises. Just a few months into the year, however, with the pandemic-necessitated closure of movie theaters, studios were forced to restructure their schedules, further delaying some long-anticipated movies.
Intended theatrical campaigns were soon replaced with premium video on demand releases, allowing audiences to rent newly released films such as “Invisible Man” and “The Hunt” from the comfort of their homes but at an increased price. At the same time, studios sold off parts of their slate to streaming services — Sony Pictures’ World War II action film “Greyhound” was released on Apple TV+, while Paramount Pictures’ “Coming to America” sequel will be available to Amazon Prime Video subscribers. The distribution revolution was further fueled by the announcement that Warner Bros.’ entire 2021 slate would be released concurrently on HBO Max and in theaters.
Now, as COVID-19 vaccines continue to roll out, film fans hope to safely enjoy theatrical screenings once again. Many of 2020’s most exciting titles were delayed into the new year, and though it’s been a headache to track the shuffling dates, schedules are now solidifying to reveal a jam-packed catalogue full of compelling movies.
Read on for a guide to some of the most exciting 2020 movies that are finally coming out in 2021.
“Saint Maud,” Jan. 29
A24 has a great track record when it comes to directorial-debut indie horror films. “Saint Maud,” the first feature film from writer-director Rose Glass, looks to follow in the haunting footsteps of Robert Eggers’ “The Witch” and Ari Aster’s “Hereditary.” Though it played at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and was released in U.K. theaters last year, this eerie thriller about a hospice nurse with a dangerous religious obsession only receives its North American theatrical release Jan. 29, followed by video on demand Feb. 12.
“The French Dispatch,” May
Wes Anderson’s first live-action film since 2014’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” sees the idiosyncratic auteur direct an ensemble cast composed both of familiar Anderson collaborators, such as Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton and Willem Dafoe, and new ones, such as Timothée Chalamet.
“The Green Knight,” July 30
“The Green Knight” is a medieval fantasy epic, based on the Arthurian tale “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” about a young nephew of King Arthur on a quest to confront the mysterious titular Green Knight. Writer-director David Lowery adapts the 14th-century legend, starring Dev Patel as Sir Gawain and featuring alluring cinematography by Andrew Droz Palermo, who also filmed Lowery’s “A Ghost Story.”
“Candyman,” Aug. 27
Initially set to be released last summer, the Jordan Peele-produced “Candyman” film stars UC Berkeley alumnus Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as an artist who comes face to face with a hook-handed killer. Directed by Nia DaCosta, who has since been tapped to helm the “Captain Marvel” sequel, and co-written by DaCosta and Peele, the new “Candyman” will serve as a direct sequel to the 1992 slasher film of the same name.
“The Beatles: Get Back,” Aug. 27
Peter Jackson’s upcoming documentary, “The Beatles: Get Back,” is a companion piece to Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s 1970 film “Let It Be.” Composed out of the copious amounts of extra footage filmed for Lindsay-Hogg’s film, Jackson revisits the period just before the Beatles broke up, seeking to clear up the various myths about the legendary band’s dissolution.
“Dune,” Oct. 1
Perhaps the most anticipated film of both 2020 and 2021, Denis Villenueve’s sci-fi epic “Dune” is the second big-budget adaptation of Frank Herbert’s lauded 1965 novel, after David Lynch’s poorly received 1984 attempt.
Villenueve’s film features one of the most star-studded casts in recent history, including Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, Jason Momoa and Javier Bardem. As with Villenueve’s previous sci-fi films, “Arrival” and “Blade Runner 2049,” “Dune” looks to be an audiovisual experience par excellence.
“No Time To Die,” Oct. 8
The production of “No Time To Die,” the 25th James Bond film, has been fraught with setbacks and complications since before the coronavirus, including the early departure of director Danny Boyle and a severe injury to leading star Daniel Craig. Now helmed by “True Detective” director Cary Joji Fukunaga and co-written by Fukunaga and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, “No Time To Die” is finally set for an Oct. 8 release date and will serve as the send-off to Craig’s Bond.
“Last Night in Soho,” Oct. 22
Edgar Wright’s upcoming film is a psychological horror story about a young fashion designer, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, who somehow gets trapped in a warped version of 1960s London.
“A Quiet Place Part II,” Sept. 17
“Halloween Kills,” Oct. 14
“The Last Duel,” Oct. 15
“Antlers,” Oct. 29
“Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” Nov. 11