The coronavirus pandemic derailed plans across the world in 2020. Flights were grounded, holidays were put on hold and iconic festivals like Glastonbury were cancelled.
Hollywood had no happy ending, either, with the very survival of cinemas in question after spending most of the year closed and major box office blockbusters postponed.
However, with vaccines approved and starting to be rolled out, many are hoping it’s going to be a busy year at the box office as people return to a sense of normality.
To get bums in seats, what films are expected to entice the masses this year?
Grab your popcorn because here come a lot of trailers…
Blithe Spirit, January 15
Dame Judi Dench, Dan Stevens and Isla Fisher head up this all-star adaptation of the Noel Coward story about a medium who, after holding a séance for a writer suffering from writer’s block, accidentally summons the spirit of his deceased first wife, leading to an increasingly comical and complex love triangle with his current (living) wife.
The film, which will give new meaning to ‘until death do us part’ is scheduled to be released in cinemas and on Sky Cinema on January 15.
One Night in Miami, January 15
Released in select cinemas on December 25, 2020, this profound film gets a digital wide release on Amazon Prime in 2021.
A fictional account portraying a meeting of four iconic black figures – Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke – this is the directorial debut of Oscar winning actress Regina King.
The Marksman, January 15
Fresh from most of us watching him as a genteel, grieving stepdad in Love Actually, Neeson is back to his burly best as a shotgun-swinging hero protecting a terrified young Mexican boy from the cartel.
The Dig, January 29
One of Netflix’s first big films of the year, The Dig is a period drama that stars Carey Mulligan as a widower with a really old ship in her backyard, discovered by a timid archeologist played by Ralph Fiennes.
The film takes place around the start of the Second World War, so expect some emotional scenes.
Cinderella, February 5
Cinderella gets to work in appealing to a new generation with this diverse, progressive update on the classic tale.
Popstar Camila Cabello plays Cinderella, Pose star Billy Porter plays the Fairy Godparent and Idina Menzel plays the stepmother.
With original music and a modern take on the story, Cinderella also stars Missy Elliott, Minnie Driver, Beverly Knight and Pierce Brosnan.
Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, February 12
Hopping into cinemas is the James Corden led sequel to the hit 2018 film based on the characters created by Beatrix Potter.
Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, and David Oyelowo will appear (in human form) alongside the animated voices of Elizabeth Debicki and Margot Robbie.
Nomadland, February 19
Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) fronts this Oscar-buzzy film.
Debuted in the film festival circuits to huge acclaim, director Chloé Zhao’s portrait of Fern (Frances McDormand) as a woman who, after losing her husband and her home, decides to embrace a life of wandering.
Using non-actors—real-life nomads—Zhao captures a different picture of America.
Cherry, February 26
The Tom Holland fronted movie might not be how Spidey fans are used to seeing the young Brit star.
Based on the semi-autobiographical story from American author and US Army veteran Nico Walker, Holland will play the soldier who struggles to return to civilian life, suffering from PTSD.
He becomes addicted to heroin, and to fund his habit, turns to bank robbing.
Coming 2 America, March 5
Over 30 years since the world was introduced to Eddie Murphy’s African Prince in Coming to America, the sequel sees Akeem returning to the United States once again.
This time it’s because he has a long-lost son and must return to America to meet the unexpected heir and build a relationship with him.
Most of the original cast return, including Arsenio Hall, Garcelle Beauvais and James Earl Jones.
Chaos Walking, March 5
Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley star in this futuristic thriller, adapted from the novel The Knife of Never Letting Go.
With a high-concept plot – all the women, bar Daisy Ridley, have gone missing and men’s thoughts are put on actual display by a mystery force – it’ll definitely be one to check out.
The King’s Man, March 12
History, for people who don’t actually like history.
The prequel to the Kingsman movies sees the origin story of the suave spy unit told, and it involves Russia’s infamous Rasputin.
Tom and Jerry, March 19
The beloved classic cartoon will see Jerry – the mouse – taking up residence in a hotel as Tom – cat – is hired to keep him from ruining an important wedding.
Chloe Grace Moretz, Ken Jeong and Rob Delaney star.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, March 19
One for the Nicolas Cage fans as Cage stars as… Cage, and various characters he’s played over the years.
Confused? Of course you are. The official plot summary states: ‘Nicolas Cage begrudgingly accepts a $1 million offer to attend the birthday of a Mexican billionaire super fan. When things take a wild turn, Nic is forced to become a version of some of his most iconic and beloved characters in order to extricate his wife and daughter from the fan who is a notorious drug lord.’
Morbius, March 19
Jared Leto stars in the latest Marvel film, based on a character from the Spider-Man comics.
Suffering from a rare blood disease, Michael Morbius (Leto) tries a dangerous cure that afflicts him with a form of vampirism
No Time to Die, April 2
The release schedule for the latest James Bond film was shaken and stirred by the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s finally coming out in the spring
No Time to Die is Daniel Craig’s final outing as 007.
Mortal Kombat, April 16
Many will be familiar with the game throughout the years, but film attempts have so far been less successful.
However, that could be all set to change. With a big budget, Mortal Kombat will hit the cinemas this April, and writer Greg Russo confirmed that this time around that the film would have an R rating (or an 18, in the UK) and that the games’ famously brutal Fatalities would finally be on the big screen.
A Quiet Place Part II, April 23
Thought nothing could get as scary as being stuck inside with your flatmate all year? Think again.
The sequel to John Kransinki’s unique, unsettling horror film starring his real-life wife Emily Blunt was originally slated for a release right before the coronavirus outbreak in 2020.
The sequel will pick back up with Emily Blunt and her kids as they navigate a dystopian future where the world has been decimated by predatorial creatures that are attracted to sounds.
Last Night in Soho, April 23
A time-travel romance between a fashion designer and a 1960s crooner turns dark in this trippy film directed by Edgar Wright.
Young fashion student (Anya Taylor-Joy) might be able to inexplicably travel to the 1960s to see her idol (Matt Smith) but 1960s London is not what it seems, and time seems to fall apart with shady consequences.
Black Widow, May 7
Scarlett Johansson returns as Black Widow, last seen making the ultimate heroic sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame.
The origin story of the superspy will also star Florence Pugh, David Harbour and Rachel Weisz.
Godzilla Vs Kong, May 21
Come May, we will finally know the answer to the question on everyone’s minds: Who would win in a fight between King Kong and Godzilla?
The film will star Alexander Skarsgård and Millie Bobby Brown, as well as Godzilla and King Kong, naturally.
Spiral, May 21
A blood-splattered rose by any other name… Spiral is the continuation of the Saw saga, though not a direct sequel.
Starring Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Rock plays a police detective who finds himself at the centre of a killer’s morbid game.
F9, May 28
After nine films, everyone is still fast, and still furious.
This time, WWE wrestler John Cena appears as Vin Diesel’s brother for some sibling rivalry.
Cruella, May 28
Academy Award winner Emma Stone will play the young Cruella de Vil as we get to see just why the puppy-hater became so wicked.
Emma Thompson and Mark Strong also star in this family flick.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, June 4
The third film in the Conjuring saga reveals a chilling story of terror, murder and unknown evil that shocked even experienced real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.
One of the most sensational cases from their files, it starts with a fight for the soul of a young boy, then takes them beyond anything they’d ever seen before, to mark the first time in U.S. history that a murder suspect would claim demonic possession as a defence.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife, June 11
If the guys in the Conjuring could wait a week, they could just call on these to help – the Ghostbusters are back!
After being evicted from their home, two children and their single mother move to a farm in Summerville, Oklahoma, inherited from their late grandfather.
When the town experiences a series of unexplained earthquakes, the children discover their family’s link to the original Ghostbusters.
Paul Rudd, Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd and Sigourney Weaver are some of the big names leading the cast.
In the Heights, June 18
Before Hamilton became, well, Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda found success in 2007 with this rap-musical that follows the lives of the Latino community in New York’s Washington Heights.
The film adaptation stars Anthony Ramos (A Star is Born) in the leading role of Usnavi de la Vega.
Venom: Let There be Carnage, June 25
Tom Hardy returns for the sequel to 2018’s Venom, where he played the Eddy Brock, who becomes the hero/villain Venom after coming into contact with a parasitic alien symbiote.
The sequel will introduce Venom’s rival from the Spider-Man comic books, Carnage, who is played by Zombieland star Woody Harrelson.
Minions: The Rise of Gru, July 2
A prequel to the Despicable Me films and a sequel to 2015’s Minions, The Rise of Gru will tell the story of how one 12-year-old follows his dreams to become the world’s greatest supervillain.
Top Gun: Maverick, July 2
Get ready to have your breath taken away again, as the long-awaited sequel to Top Gun flies into cinemas this summer.
Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer will reprise their roles from the 1986 original, with Jon Hamm, Miles Teller and Jennifer Connelly joining the cast.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, July 9
Marvel will introduce their newest saga with Shang-Chi.
When Shang-Chi, a master martial artist, is drawn into the clandestine Ten Rings organization, he is forced to confront the past he thought he left behind.
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, the film predominantly south-east Asian actors including Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, Awkwafina, Tony Leung, Fala Chen, Meng’er Zhang, Florian Munteanu, Ronny Chieng, and Michelle Yeoh.
The Forever Purge, July 9
The fifth and final instalment of the Purge franchise, depicting the annual Purge, a 12-hour span in which all crime, including murder, is legal.
Sure to be a feel-good film for all the family…
Space Jam 2: A New Legacy, July 16
Considering the cult classic status of the original Space Jam, fans will be hoping for a slam dunk in this long-awaited sequel.
When basketball icon LeBron James and his young son Dom – who dreams of being a video game developer – are trapped in a digital space by a rogue Al-G Rhythm, LeBron must get them home safe by leading the Looney Tunes – including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and Lola Bunny – to victory over the Al-G’s digitized champions on the court.
The Suicide Squad, August 6
Yes, there was a film called Suicide Squad released in 2016. No, this isn’t a sequel. They are, instead, rebooting the franchise altogether after the first attempt didn’t pan out as planned.
DC’s second attempt at the franchise will see some stars reprise their roles from the first Suicide Squad, including Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn.
Viola Davis will also return, and John Cena and Idris Elba will join the cast.
Candyman, August 12
You have to be scared of more than just cavities in your teeth with this Candyman.
Jordan Peele (Get Out, Us) gives the legend of Candyman a socio-political update.
The legend of Candyman, the killer with a hook for a hand who can be summoned by saying his name five times (so don’t read these sentences out loud – we’re up to three mentions), is told to the new inhabitants of the now-gentrified Chicago projects.
Anxious to maintain his status in the art world, one artist begins to explore the macabre Candyman legend in his studio, unknowingly opening a door to a complex past that derails his own sanity and unleashes a terrifyingly viral wave of violence.
Are you going to watch Candyman (that’s five…)?
Death on the Nile, September 17
The second film in Kenneth Branagh’s adaptations of the classic Agatha Christie oeuvre, following 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express.
Branagh returns to direct and star as Hercule Poirot, and this time he must solve a murder aboard the S.S. Karnak, which is occupied by stars including Annette Bening, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Dawn French and Sophie Okonedo.
Dune, October 1
Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya and Oscar Isaac will star in the newest adaptation of the sprawling, epic space opera based on the 1965 novel by Frank Herbert.
In the far future of humanity, Duke Leto Atreides accepts stewardship of the dangerous desert planet Arrakis, also known as Dune, the only source of the most valuable substance in the universe, ‘the spice’, a drug which extends human life, provides superhuman levels of thought, and makes faster-than-light travel possible.
Leto goes to Arrakis and takes control of the spice mining operation, which is made perilous by the presence of giant sandworms. A bitter betrayal leads Paul and partner Jessica to the Fremen, natives of Arrakis who live in the deep desert.
Halloween Kills, October 15
It’s impossible to tell which is harder to kill – Michael Myers or this franchise. After several decades and some flop remakes, the original team reunited to great critical acclaim in 2018.
They are back once again, as Michael Myers refuses to die and insists on terrorising Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis).
This film will be followed by a sequel called Halloween Ends, thought to be released in 2022.
Eternals, November 5
A new collection of heroes will be introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the release of Eternals.
After an unexpected tragedy following the events of Avengers: Endgame, the Eternals—an immortal alien race created by the Celestials who have secretly lived on Earth for over 7000 years—reunite to protect humanity from their evil counterparts, the Deviants.
The star-studded cast includes Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Salma Hayek and Kit Harington.
Elvis, November 5
The King of Rock’n’Roll will get the big screen treatment from the King of camp, Baz Luhrmann.
The director (Moulin Rouge, Romeo + Juliet, The Great Gatsby) will helm the film following the life and legend of Elvis Presley, played by Austin Butler.
Mission Impossible – Libra, November 19
Tom Cruise is back for a seventh outing as Ethan Hunt.
Not much else is known about the plot just yet, but a direct sequel has already been confirmed, and will follow the film in 2022.
West Side Story, December 10
When you think of Steven Spielberg and sharks, your mind may instinctively go to Jaws, but not after the release of his remake of the classic musical.
Spielberg’s update on the 1957 Broadway musical and 1961 film will once again see the Sharks and Jets engage in a vicious rivalry, despite two of their own falling in love with each other.
Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler star as Tony and Maria, fighting to be together despite their warring families and factions in New York City.
Untitled Spider-Man sequel, December 17
The third instalment to the latest Spider-Man saga doesn’t have a name yet, but details have started to emerge – and fans will get plenty of bang for their buck.
It has been widely reported that the latest Spidey film will see Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield back in their spandex, playing their versions of Spider-Man alongside current Spidey Tom Holland in a multi-dimensional mind-warp.
Matrix 4, December 22
After the year we all had, it feels like we’ve been living in one never-ending glitch in the Matrix, so what better time to revisit the genre-defining franchise?
Lana Wachowski, one half of the Wachowski sisters who wrote and directed the first three Matrix films, returns to helm this fourth instalment, which sees Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss and Jada Pinkett Smith reprise their roles.
Little is known of the plot, but that’s probably for the best – the Matrix films are always rife for debate and hidden meanings.
Release dates TBA
There are more films slated for release sometime in 2021, with no concrete release date.
These typically are some of Netflix’s bigger titles, as the streaming giant tends to announce release dates nearer to the time.
Netflix films expected to come in 2021 include Blonde, a fictionalised account of the life of Marilyn Monroe starring Knive’s Out’s Ana de Armas and Army of the Dead, a zombie heist film from Zack Snyder about a group of mercenaries plotting a heist on a Las Vegas casino during a zombie outbreak.
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