30 Most Anticipated Movies of 2020, From Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ to Sofia Coppola’s Bill Murray Reunion
It’s going to be a *very* good year for movies.
Not gonna sugarcoat it: with the 2020 presidential election, and round-the-clock Trumpworld coverage, this year is going to be a trash fire of epic proportions. So the two-hour respite of a satisfying film will be all the more necessary.
Fortunately, there are lots of promising movies scheduled to be released in 2020—including new ones from the likes of Wes Anderson, David Fincher, Steven Spielberg, Josephine Decker, Christopher Nolan, Sofia Coppola, Dee Rees, and Leos Carax.
Now, here are this year’s most anticipated movies…
30. THE LOVEBIRDS (Apr. 3)
For his hotly anticipated follow-up to The Big Sick, comedian-turned-filmmaker Michael Showalter—also responsible for the criminally underrated TV series Search Party—has decided to pair Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani as a couple on the rocks who get swept up in a wacky murder mystery.
29. BLACK WIDOW (May 1)
It’s been nearly a decade since Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow made her debut in Iron Man 2, so it’s pretty damn ridiculous that it’s taken this long for one of the most popular Avengers to get her own standalone film. Nonetheless, it’s finally here, courtesy of Aussie filmmaker Cate Shortland (Somersault) and co-starring 2019 breakout Florence Pugh and the inimitable Rachel Weisz.
28. NO TIME TO DIE (Apr. 10)
While two of the last three Bond films have been lackluster—Spectre and Quantum of Solace—producer Barbara Broccoli and co. have assembled quite the team for the 25th installment, including True Detective’s Cary Joji Fukunaga behind the camera and Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge as co-writer. If that weren’t enough, there’s Rami Malek as the big bad, Ana de Armas as the newest Bond girl, and Lashana Lynch as, according to the rumor mill, the first black, female 007.
27. DA 5 BLOODS (TBD)
Filmmaker Spike Lee has decided to follow his Oscar-winning BlacKkKlansman with a war epic centered on four African-American Vietnam vets who return to the war to search for their missing squad leader and hunt for buried treasures. The film stars Chadwick Boseman, Jonathan Majors, Delroy Lindo, Giancarlo Esposito, and Paul Walter Hauser, and will be released by Netflix.
26. NEWS OF THE WORLD (Dec. 25)
No, this new drama reuniting the Captain Phillips team of filmmaker Paul Greengrass and star Tom Hanks has nothing to do with the titular tabloid’s phone-hacking scandal; rather, it’s based on Paulette Jiles’ 2016 bestselling novel of the same name, and tells the story of a Civil War veteran (Hanks) who embarks on a personal mission to return an orphaned girl to her birth family. The film will be receiving a Christmas release from Universal—right in the thick of awards season.
25. THE LAST THING HE WANTED (TBD)
Filmmaker Dee Rees’ much-anticipated feature after the brilliant Mudbound is this adaptation of Joan Didion’s book of the same name for Netflix. Premiering at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, it stars Anne Hathaway as a gritty war correspondent who, thanks to her ailing father (Willem Dafoe), gets mixed up in some shady arms deals in Central America. The film also features Ben Affleck as a U.S. government official.
24. KING OF STATEN ISLAND (June 19)
While SNL’s Pete Davidson delivered a scene-stealing turn in Big Time Adolescence, which garnered positive marks out of Sundance in January (but has yet to see the light of day—though it was acquired by Hulu), his real star-making role will undoubtedly be this Judd Apatow film based on Davidson’s own life, including losing his firefighter-father to 9/11 and growing up in Staten Island with his mother, played by Marisa Tomei. The film also stars Bill Burr, Bel Powley, Pamela Adlon, Steve Buscemi, and Apatow’s daughter Maude.
23. WEST SIDE STORY (Dec. 18)
I recently re-watched Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins’ 1961 adaptation of the celebrated Broadway musical and, whew, some of the choices have not aged well. That being said, there are a number of classic songs here, and it’ll be interesting to see what director Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner cook up here. At the very least, Ansel Elgort should make a very solid Tony.
22. WONDER WOMAN 1984 (June 5)
Filmmaker Patty Jenkins, star Gal Gadot, and—even though he presumably died in the first film—Chris Pine will all reprise their roles in this sequel to 2017’s superhero-blockbuster hit. This time, the action is set in 1984, and sees Wonder Woman (Gadot) and Steve Trevor (Pine) square off against a villainess imbued with cheetah-like abilities played by none other than Kristen Wiig (!).
21. PASSING (TBD)
Marking the feature-filmmaking debut of actress Rebecca Hall, this film centers on two high school friends—Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga—whose chance reunion sparks an obsessive relationship that turns their lives upside down. Alexander Skarsgard and Andre Holland also star.
20. NIGHTMARE ALLEY (TBD)
Guillermo del Toro’s follow-up to Best Picture-winning The Shape of Water is this remake of the 1947 film of the same name, about a con man and female psychiatrist who join forces to steal people’s money. In addition to del Toro behind the camera, the film boasts an all-star cast, including Cate Blanchett, Bradley Cooper, Willem Dafoe, Toni Collette, Rooney Mara, Ron Perlman, David Strathairn, and Richard Jenkins.
19. SHIRLEY (TBD)
One of the most criminally overlooked movies of 2018 was Madeline’s Madeline, an innovative drama that cemented director Josephine Decker as one of the most fascinating filmmakers around. Her latest is this Sundance-premiering drama featuring two of the best actors around, Elisabeth Moss and Michael Stuhlbarg, as the titular novelist and her professor-husband, who take in a young couple (Logan Lerman, Odessa Young) under curious circumstances.
18. MACBETH (TBD)
All we know is that the film will be an adaptation of the Shakespeare tragedy, directed by the legendary Joel Coen (breaking off from his filmmaking partner Ethan), produced by Scott Rudin, and distributed by A24, and it will star Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand. And frankly, that’s enough for me.
17. AFTER YANG (TBD)
Columbus (2017) not only featured dazzling turns from Haley Lu Richardson (in an Oscar-worthy performance) and John Cho, but announced the arrival of Kogonada as a director to watch. He’s increased the star wattage considerably for his sophomore feature, a sci-fi drama—starring Colin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith, and Haley Lu Richardson—that concerns a father and daughter who must revive their robotic live-in babysitter.
16. UNTITLED JONATHAN GLAZER PROJECT (TBD)
With all due respect to Variety, Jonathan Glazer’s mindfuck of a film, Under the Skin, was not only one of the very best films of 2014 but of the decade. Precious little is known about his follow-up, other than that it’s a Holocaust drama that will be distributed by A24.
15. THE CARD COUNTER (TBD)
Decent gambling movies are few and far between, really—in recent years, Rounders and Mississippi Grind come to mind—but Paul Schrader’s first film since the critically lauded First Reformed, starring Oscar Isaac as a card shark who takes a troubled young man under his wing, sounds like a winning bet.
14. THE LAST PLANET (TBD)
After a string of hit-or-miss efforts—and a truly disastrous one in To the Wonder—acclaimed filmmaker Terrence Malick returned to form with this year’s anti-fascist WWII drama A Hidden Life. Here, he takes on “the greatest story ever told”: the life and death of Jesus Christ. But most intriguing, perhaps, in addition to what will surely be awe-inspiring visuals, is Mark Rylance’s casting as Satan.
13. BENEDETTA (TBD)
With Elle and Black Book, not to mention Basic Instinct and the camp classic Showgirls, Dutch filmmaker Paul Verhoeven has emerged as perhaps the king of the erotic thriller. And this upcoming drama should be plenty risqué, following a 17th-century nun (Benedetta Carlini) who joins an Italian convent and falls in love with another nun.
12. C’MON C’MON (TBD)
I don’t know anything about this other than that it will be distributed by the reliably great A24, and pairs filmmaker Mike Mills (20th Century Women, Beginners) with star Joaquin Phoenix. Sign me up.
11. ON THE ROCKS (TBD)
This comedy-drama reunites the Lost in Translation duo of director Sofia Coppola and star Bill Murray. Here, Murray will play a playboy-father who reconnects with his estranged daughter (Rashida Jones) over the course of a wild trip through New York City. The film, distributed by A24 and Apple TV+, also stars Jenny Slate, Marlon Wayans, and Jessica Henwick.
10. NEXT GOAL WINS (TBD)
Fresh off the critically acclaimed Jojo Rabbit and the stunning season finale of The Mandalorian, filmmaker Taika Waititi will next helm this adaptation of the 2014 documentary of the same name about a Dutch-American coach (Michael Fassbender) who tries to lead the American Somoa national team to qualify for the World Cup. The film also stars Elizabeth Moss, Kaimana, and Armie Hammer.
9. TENET (July 17)
The latest from visionary filmmaker Christopher Nolan looks a heck of a lot like a spiritual cousin to Inception—at least judging by the logline and poster. It stars John David Washington (of BlacKkKlansman fame) as a secret agent who attempts to use time travel to stop WWIII. It’ll be available in both IMAX and 70 mm, and also stars new Batman Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Michael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh.
8. NOMADLAND (TBD)
Chloe Zhao’s The Rider was, without question, one of the very best films of 2018, and should have earned her a number of Oscar nominations. While it flew under the radar, hopefully her latest, based on Jessica Bruder’s bestselling 2017 novel about American “nomads” who travel in campers across the country trying to find work, will get her the plaudits she deserved. With Frances McDormand starring, I think it just might.
7. MEMORIA (TBD)
Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives and Cemetery of Splendor should be on every single Best-of-the-Decade list, and his latest—his English-language debut—will feature Tilda Swinton as a Scottish woman who ventures down to Colombia where she begins hearing strange sounds. Sounds like another winner.
6. THE FRENCH DISPATCH (TBD)
Filmmaker Wes Anderson has described his latest as “a love letter to journalists set at an outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional 20th-century French city,” so Richard Jewell this is not. Anderson’s upcoming film, his first live-action movie since the lovely Grand Budapest Hotel, stars half of Hollywood: Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Timothee Chalamet, Jeffrey Wright, Benicio del Toro, Lea Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, Saoirse Ronan, Kate Winslet, Elisabeth Moss, Willem Defoe, Christoph Waltz, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Henry Winkler, and many more.
5. MANK (TBD)
David Fincher’s first feature since 2014’s Gone Girl is this biopic of screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, played by Gary Oldman, and his warring with director Orson Welles (Tom Burke) over the making of Citizen Kane. The film, distributed by Netflix, features a score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, was written by Fincher’s late father, Jack, and also stars Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, Tuppence Middleton, and Charles Dance.
4. I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS (TBD)
The latest from writer/director Charlie Kaufman (since 2015’s wonderful Anomalisa) is a surrealist flick about a man (Jesse Plemons) whose trip to introduce his girlfriend (Jessie Buckley) to his parents (Toni Collette, David Thewlis) kicks off a bizarre series of events, and will be distributed by Netflix. Odds are we’ll once again be hearing “Netflix” a lot during the 2020 awards season.
3. WENDY (Feb. 28)
Premiering at Sundance, this reimagining of Peter Pan is told from a young Wendy’s (Devin France) perspective, as she’s stolen away to a strange island where she falls for a playful young boy, Peter Pan (Yashua Mack). But most importantly, it marks filmmaker Benh Zeitlin’s long-awaited follow-up to his mesmerizing 2012 debut Beasts of the Southern Wild.
2. DUNE (Dec. 18)
If you were blown away by the visuals of his Blade Runner 2049, well, there should be plenty more here, as French Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve has decided to helm a new adaptation of Dune—starring Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, and Zendaya. Studio Warner Bros. is apparently so high on it that they’ve carved out an award-bait release date and already green-lit a sequel.
1. ANNETTE (TBD)
A musical by the great Leos Carax (Holy Motors) starring Adam Driver as a stand-up comedian and Marion Cotillard as a distinguished soprano whose daughter has been blessed with a mysterious gift? The most anticipated movie of 2020, folks.