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New movies 2020: what you can watch when theaters reopen

(Image credit: Marvel; MGM; Disney)

Wondering which new movies are coming in 2020? The film industry has had a torrid year so far. The widespread global lockdown in the wake of coronavirus caused theaters around the world to close, first in China, and then in countries like the US and UK. Now, though, as governments start to ease lockdown measures, there are loads of exciting new movies in 2020 to look forward to. With many of them delayed from release dates earlier in the year, the big-hitters are coming thick and fast.

In this list, we'll explain which exciting new movies are coming in 2020 (with their updated, post-lockdown release dates), and which big films – some of them originally scheduled for this year – are now releasing in 2021. You won't find every single movie on this list, but we will highlight all the biggest and best upcoming movies that we think you'll want to check out as theaters reopen. If there's a trailer, too, you'll find it below. 

Note, too, that some of these movies are likely to move around as the various studios react to the current health crisis. That includes Christopher Nolan's Tenet, which just moved to mid-August from late July, and Disney's Mulan, which just shifted from July to late August.

Tenet

Release date: August 12, 2020
(Put back from July 17, 2020)

The list of filmmakers who get to spend hundreds of millions of dollars making a non-franchise movie is limited, but Christopher Nolan is one of them. Unfortunately for us, however, the Dark Knight, Inception and Interstellar director makes Marvel look like blabbermouths when it comes to plots, and even weeks away from release there's not much more to go on than Warner's official line that it's "an action epic evolving from the world of international espionage". The trailer above, though, suggests something a lot more complicated, involving the afterlife...

Tenet just got delayed again, until mid-August, but Warner Bros has promised the movie will have an extended theatrical run to ensure people get a chance to see it.

Mulan

Release date: August 21, 2020
(Put back from March 2020)

Disney's highly lucrative mission to turn its animated classics into live-action hits continues with Mulan. This looks set to be less of a fairytale than the likes of Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast, however, with the emphasis shifted to the realms of the historical war epic. The core story of Hua Mulan, a young woman who masquerades as a man to join the army in Imperial China remains intact, and we're expecting this to look stunning – though anyone looking for wisecracking dragon sidekick Mushu (memorably voiced by Eddie Murphy in the original) is likely to be disappointed.

This is Disney’s first theatrical release since lockdown began, and it was just delayed again from July to August.

The Empty Man

Release date: August 7, 2020

Just to remind us that big-screen comic book adaptations aren’t all about Marvel and DC, this supernatural horror brings Cullen Bunn and Vanessa Del Rey’s Boom! Studios graphic novel to the big screen. Iron Man 3’s James Badge Dale plays a bereaved ex-cop who encounters a sinister group trying to summon a malign supernatural entity while working a missing persons case. First-time movie director David Prior calls the shots.

Bill & Ted Face the Music 

Release date: August 28, 2020

Two of the most righteous dudes in cinema make a long-awaited comeback, but life hasn't gone quite the way they planned. Despite being destined to write the music that will inspire universal peace and harmony (as well as bringing mini-golf averages way down), the now-50-something Bill S Preston, Esquire, and Ted "Theodore" Logan are still waiting to live the dream. Thankfully Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves are both back to play Hollywood's best air guitar duet – along with William Sadler as Death and original writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon – so hopefully this will be more excellent than bogus. 

Originally set for release on August 21, Bill and Ted Face the Music will now release a week later on August 28.

The New Mutants

Release date: August 28, 2020
(Put back from April 2020)

Originally slated to come out before the dismal X-Men: Dark Phoenix, The New Mutants has spent the last couple of years being bumped around release schedules and plagued by talk of extensive reshoots. With its release date pegged for April until the coronavirus struck, part of us wonders if it'll ever actually make it into cinemas. Nonetheless, the idea of plunging mutant teens into a creepy, hospital-set horror movie is intriguing, and the young cast (including The Witch's Anya Taylor-Joy and Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams) has definite potential. 

A Quiet Place Part 2

Release date: September 4, 2020
(Put back from March 2020)

Every so often, a horror movie moves outside genre fandom to become a critical hit. And so in 2018, A Quiet Place came from nowhere to follow the similarly brilliant Get Out into conversations about awards. It was easy to see why: not only was the story's central hook of aliens hunting via sound frighteningly, devastatingly simple, director John Krasinski found the humanity in a family trapped in the middle of a silent nightmare. Plot specifics are currently scarce for a sequel that reportedly picks up immediately after the original, but the returning Krasinski surely won't want to mess around with the formula too much. 

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

Release date: September 11, 2020 

Once you’ve taken scale and budgets into consideration, The Conjuring movies may well be the most successful shared cinematic universe after the MCU. Having spawned spin-offs like Annabelle, The Nun and The Curse of La Llorona, it’s back to the spooky franchise that spawned it all, as real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) take on another mystery. This time they’re looking into 1981 case of a possessed boy that marked the first time demonic possession was ever used as a defence in an American court.    

The King's Man

Release date: September 16, 2020 (UK); September 18, 2020 (US)

After the fun action of Kingsman: The Secret Service, the franchise quickly went off the rails with the overblown The Golden Circle. There's a lot riding on this third instalment, then, which may be why it's gone in such a radical new direction, heading back to World War I to show the early days of top-secret, impeccably tailored spy organisation The Kingsmen. Ralph Fiennes is the M-type figure (shouldn't be too much of a stretch…) who recruits Harris Dickinson's Conrad to the club to combat an early 20th century brand of villainy. Sounds like a retro James Bond to us, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Wonder Woman 1984

Release date: October 2, 2020
(Put back from June 2020)

The movie that proved DC can (occasionally) go toe-to-toe with Marvel gets an eagerly anticipated sequel. After the first movie's World War One heroics, we rejoin Amazon princess Diana (Gal Gadot) in the mid-'80s as she faces off against new baddies Cheetah (Kristen Wiig), and media mogul Maxwell Lord, played by the man under The Mandalorian's mask, Pedro Pascal. Much of the internet buzz, however, surrounds the mystery of how Chris Pine's Steve Trevor – last seen dying in a heroically doomed plane in the first movie – has made it back in one piece for Wonder Woman 1984. Answers – and tearful reunions – should be heading our way in October…

(Image credit: 20th Century Fox/Disney)

Death on the Nile

Release date: October 9, 2020

Kenneth Branagh directs the sequel to his Murder on the Orient Express adaptation, where he returns to his role – and that impressively sculpted facial hair – as Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot. As in the first movie, he's taken a dazzling ensemble cast along for the ride, this time including Gal Gadot, Sex Education’s Emma Mackey and Black Panther's Letitia Wright. Don't expect any massive surprises in the plot – the story's over 80 years old – but with whodunits like this, the fun is always in watching Poirot sleuthing up a storm.

The French Dispatch

Release date: October 16, 2020
(Put back from July 2020)

Going on the trailer, the latest new Wes Anderson movie is quite possibly the most Wes Anderson-looking thing you could imagine. His first movie since the under-appreciated Isle of Dogs is an anthology about the stories composing the final issue of the titular magazine, an American publication made in France. Everything from the color palette to the ensemble cast (which includes Anderson regulars Bill Murray, Owen Wilson and Tilda Swinton) is in line with what we'd expect from a director whose name should appear alongside “quirky” in a thesaurus. Timothée Chalamet and Jeffrey Wright also star.

Halloween Kills

Release date: October 16, 2020

Say what you like about Michael Myers, he does so love a sequel. And with Jamie-Lee Curtis having made a spectacularly successful return to her breakout movie role in 2018’s Halloween reboot, the psycho killer in the William Shatner mask is back for another round of murders. The creative team from the 2018 movie have also made another trip to Haddonfield for this follow-up (part three, Halloween Ends, is coming in 2021), and reports say they’ll be diving into the backstories of supporting players from John Carpenter’s classic 1978 original.

Black Widow

Release date: November 6, 2020
(Put back from May 2020)

It's been a whole decade coming but the Avengers' Russian superspy Natasha Romanoff – aka Black Widow – finally gets a chance to headline her own movie in what's now Marvel's only big-screen release of 2020. It's a shame Scarlett Johansson had to wait (spoiler alert!) for her character to die in Avengers: Endgame to get a solo outing, but the Cate Shortland-directed movie heads back to the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War, Romanoff confronts her murky past. Expect rival female assassins, espionage overload, and Stranger Things' David Harbour as Russia's unlikely answer to Captain America.  

Soul

Release date: November 20, 2020 (US); November 27, 2020 (UK) 
(Put back from June 2020)

When Pixar really wants to push the creative envelope, it generally turns to director Pete Docter. This is the guy who turned the stuff of nightmares into the cuddly Monsters, Inc, expertly navigated grief in Up, and literally got inside the human mind in Inside Out. The family-friendly existentialism continues with Soul, as a teacher/aspiring jazz pianist (voiced by Jamie Foxx) falls through a manhole, and winds up transported to a mysterious world where souls learn to be. Expect plenty of deep questions about pre-determination and the nature of self, all delivered with that trademark Pixar technical genius and wit.   

No Time to Die 

Release date: 12 November, 2020 (UK); 20 November (US)
(Put back from April 2020)

Daniel Craig draws his Walther PPK for the fifth and final time in the latest James Bond movie (originally set for an April release) as the 007 arc begun by Casino Royale back in 2006 comes to an explosive end. While James Bond begins the movie in retirement in Jamaica with Spectre survivor Madeleine Swann (Lea Sedoux) – there are rumors the couple now have a kid – he's soon drawn back into active service by a story involving Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), old MI6 colleagues M, Q and Moneypenny, and a new 00 agent in the form of Captain Marvel's Lashana Lynch. All eyes, however, will be on Bohemian Rhapsody Oscar-winner Rami Malek as a Big Bad called Safin.

Free Guy

Release date: December 11, 2020
(Put back from July 2020)

The history of movies inspired by videogames is not a glorious one, but Free Guy looks like it could have a clever solution to that particular problem – it’s not based on a specific franchise. Instead, it’s set in a made-up game where a non-player character suddenly becomes self-aware and becomes a hero. This looks like the perfect vehicle for Ryan Reynolds, who can do wise-cracking action hero in his sleep, while the trailer suggests the in-game reality will put a fun spin on the fights. The supporting cast is also great, with Killing Eve’s Jodie Comer, Stranger Things’ Joe Keery and all-round-legend Taika Waititi all playing along.

dune 2020 release date

(Image credit: Chiabella James/Warner Bros.)

Dune

Release date: December 18, 2020

Director Denis Villeneuve definitely isn't afraid of a challenge. Having negotiated the tricksy timelines of Arrival and lived up to fan expectations with the brilliant Blade Runner 2049, he's taking on Frank Herbert's epic space opera – a book largely believed to be unfilmable. David Lynch had a go in 1984, of course, but you'd hope that with 21st century effects, Villeneuve's storytelling skills, and an all-star cast – The King's Timothée Chalamet is the story's hero Paul Atreides, while Mission: Impossible's Rebecca Ferguson plays his mother, Lady Jessica – the new Dune might just achieve the impossible. The fact that the book is being split across two movies at least suggests they'll be giving the story time to breathe.

(Image credit: Disney)

West Side Story

Release date: December 18, 2020

The year is set to go out with something of a song and dance, as all eyes turn to Steven Spielberg’s first ever big screen musical. And let's be honest, the legendary director of Indiana Jones, Jaws and Saving Private Ryan couldn’t have chosen a bigger act to follow. Robert Wise's Oscar-winning 1961 movie version of the classic Bernstein and Sondheim production is undoubtedly one of the greatest screen musicals of all time, so it’ll be exciting to see what Spielberg can bring to the party.

Top Gun: Maverick

Release date: December 23, 2020
(Put back from June 2020)

Tom Cruise climbs back into that famous fighter jet cockpit for the first time since Top Gun made him the biggest star on the planet over 30 years ago. Resurrecting the most '80s of movies in the cut and thrust of the 21st century marketplace is a gamble, even for Cruise, but the production team are doing everything they can to recapture the old magic – aside from real action with real planes, they've even brought back synth legend Harold "Axel F" Faltermeyer on music duties. Plot wise, Pete "Maverick" Mitchell is still an instructor at the Top Gun school, while one of his students (played by Whiplash's Miles Teller) just happens to be the son of Mav's late co-pilot, Goose. We're still feeling the need for speed...

Promising Young Woman

Release date: TBA
(Put back from April 2020)

Following the genius that is Phoebe Waller-Bridge was always going to be a tall order, but Emerald Fennell did a good job when she took over as showrunner for Killing Eve's second season. Fennell's adding another string to her impressive bow (she also appears as the young Camilla Parker-Bowles in The Crown) as she writes and directs new revenge movie Promising Young Woman. Carey Mulligan stars as woman whose life was knocked off track by a mysterious event in her past, but now ends up righting past wrongs – the trailer suggests it's going to be a blast. 

With the film pulled from release schedules in the wake of Covid-19, a new date is yet to be confirmed.

Check out new movies coming in 2021 on the next page.