The Biggest Movies To Watch In 2020
2019 was a record-breaking year for movies. For nearly a decade, James Cameron's sci-fi adventure Avatar remained at the top of the all-time box office chart, unchallenged by even the biggest recent Star Wars, Marvel, and Jurassic World movies. But finally, Avatar slipped into second place when Avengers Endgame claimed the title as the biggest movie of all-time.
With a worldwide box office gross of $2.29 billion, Endgame ensured Disney's hugely successful 2019. But the studio's fortunes didn't stop there--from Captain Marvel and Toy Story 4 to The Lion King and Frozen II, no other studio could come close. Nevertheless, there were successful and hugely acclaimed movies elsewhere. DC’s Joker became the biggest R-rated movie of all time, while films as varied as Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Us, Parasite, Uncut Gems, and Midsommar proved that ambitious and original movies still have a place amongst the blockbusters and franchise movies. Of course, it wasn’t all good news. There were still many safe, predictable films and big box office flops, including new Men in Black and X-men movies, and the change in the streaming landscape meant that highly acclaimed, awards-friendly films such as The Irishman and Marriage Story only received extremely limited theatrical releases.
While it's unlikely that 2020 will deliver a film as huge as Endgame, it's still set to be an exciting year for movie fans. In terms of the big franchises, Phase 4 of the MCU kicks off with Black Widow and The Eternals, while DC will hope its current run of success continues with Birds of Prey and Wonder Woman 1984. The new James Bond movie finally arrives, and there are new Bad Boys, Ghostbusters, Halloween, and Fast & Furious films on the way.
Beyond that, there are some intriguing reboots, such as Candyman and Dune, the latest film in Sony's universe of Spider-Man characters, and a pair of new, original Pixar movies. The year will, of course, deliver even more than that, so with so much on the way, we've chosen the biggest must-watch movies of 2020...
Release date: January 17
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has dominated Robert Downey Jr.'s career over the past decade, but with that (presumably) behind him, he's moving to other high-profile projects. First out of the gate is Dolittle, the latest movie adaptation of the classic children's stories. In this hugely expensive, CG-heavy new version, Dolittle lives in a huge house with all his animal pals and ends up on an epic ocean-based adventure. There have been various reports of reshoots, changing directors, and behind-the-scenes troubles, but with a voice-cast include Rami Malek, Octavia Spencer, and Emma Thompson, it has serious star power, at the very least.
Bad Boys for Life
Release date: January 17
Back in 1995, the original Bad Boys made TV actor and rapper Will Smith into a movie star and kickstarted the directorial career of Michael Bay. A sequel followed in 2003, but it's taken 17 years for the third movie to get here. Bad Boys For Life reteams Smith with Martin Lawrence as rule-breaking Miami cops Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett, who this time must take down a ruthless drug baron. Joe Pantoliano is also back as long-suffering Captain Howard, and the new cast includes Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical) and Alexander Ludwig (Vikings). Rising Belgian directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah are behind the camera this time, and the movie looks set to deliver everything you'd expect from a new Bad Boys movie--namely car chases, explosions, gunfights, and lots of wise-cracking comedy.
Release date: January 24
Director Guy Ritchie scored one of last year's biggest box office hits with the Disney movie Aladdin, but The Gentlemen returns to the type of movie with which he made his name. Like Snatch and Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, it's a London-set crime comedy with a star-packed cast that includes Matthew McConaughey, Colin Farrell, Hugh Grant, Charlie Hunnam, and Henry Golding. Expect lots of cursing, stealing, shooting, and general good-natured bad behavior.
Release date: January 24
This adaptation of Henry James's classic novel The Turn of the Screw was originally scheduled for release way back in February 2019 and is finally be with us 11 months later. It'll also one of two The Turn of the Screw adaptations due this year--Mike Flanagan's Netflix chiller The Haunting of Bly Manor being the other--but this one has plenty of talent both in front of and behind the camera. The cast is headed by Mackenzie Davis (Terminator: Dark fate) and Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things, It), and there's also a role for director Edgar Wright. The Turning is directed by acclaimed music video maker Floria Sigismondi, and it is something of a passion project for producer Steven Spielberg, who reportedly wanted to be involved with a scary movie again.
Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
Release date: February 7
While 2016's Suicide Squad was not well received, most fans and critics agreed that Margot Robbie' portrayal of insane former psychiatrist Harley Quinn was the highlight. Robbie returns in Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), in which Harley joins a new all-girl team, comprising Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), and Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco). Robbie previously teased the movie as an "R-rated girl gang film," and the filmmakers have stressed that the movie is definitely not a suicide Squad sequel. It’s directed by Cathy Yan, who will be hoping to replicate some of the success of the last R-rated DC movie, Joker.
Sonic The Hedgehog
Release date: February 14
Sonic the Hedgehog is such an iconic character that it's surprising it's taken until 2020 for a Sonic movie to be made. But blue-furred turbo-charged Hedgehog finally makes his live-action big-screen debut in February, following the infamous character redesign that caused that movie to be delayed by a few months. The new-look CG Sonic is voiced by Parks and Recreation star Ben Schwartz, and the human cast is headed by Jim Carrey as the evil Dr Robotnik and Westworld star James Marsden as a small-town sheriff who ends up befriending Sonic. The movie focuses Sonic trying to escape from Robotnik and the US government while collecting the franchise's iconic rings.
Release date: February 21
Vin Diesel returns for the latest Fast & Furious movie in the summer, but ahead of that, we have this violent sci-fi action movie. Bloodshot is an adaptation of the Valiant comics series and stars Diesel as a former soldier who is brought back from the dead via advanced nanotechnology and sent on a series of missions to blow things up and kill people in various gory ways. Guy Pearce (Iron Man 3) plays the shady doctor in control of his life, and it's directed by Dave Wilson, who worked on the acclaimed Netflix animated anthology Love Death + Robots.
Release date: March 6
Pixar has focused on sequels for the past few years, but the studio gets back to original films in 2020, with two new movies hitting theaters. The first to arrive is the fantasy comedy road movie Onward. Marvel stars Tom Holland and Chris Pratt play two Elf brothers who set out on a quest to restore their dead dad after a bungled spell only returns his legs. Onward's cast also includes Julia Louis-Dreyfuss (Veep) and Octavia Spencer (Ma), and it looks set to deliver a beautifully-animated mix of action, laughs, and tear-jerking family drama. In other words, business as usual for Pixar.
A Quiet Place 2
Release date: March 20
With A Quiet Place, The Office and Jack Ryan star John Krasinski proved that he wasn't just a talented actor--he also had serious chops as a filmmaker too. The movie was a tense, terrifying, and moving experience that transcended its gimmicky setup (make a sound and a monster will get you), and grossed more than $340 million worldwide. Krasinski also directs the sequel, which stars Emily Blunt once more, alongside Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou. Krasinski previously hinted that the sequel will expand the setting of the movie, stating, "[It] isn't just a character to remake or a group of characters or a story. It's actually a world, which is a whole different, very unique experience."
No Time To Die
Release date: April 10
No Time To Die is the 25th movie in the long-running James Bond series. Daniel Craig returns as the iconic British super spy for the fifth (and probably final) time, and now he's facing off against a mysterious villain named Safin, played by Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek. There are a few characters returning from previous films, including Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) and iconic criminal mastermind Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) from 2015's Spectre, and director Cary Joji Fukunaga has proved himself to be a stylish and exciting filmmaker with shows and movies such as Maniac, True Detective Season 1, and Beasts of No Nation. The Bond series might be nearly 60 years old, but it seems it's not ready to die quite yet.
Release date: May 1
She might have reached an unpleasant end in Avengers: Endgame, but Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanoff is back to headline her own movie. Black Widow is set after the events of Captain America: Civil War and sees Natasha return to Russia to sort out "unfinished business" involving the Red Room, the training program that produced Black Widow agents. Florence Pugh (Midsommar) plays Yelena Belova, another Black Widow, David Harbour is retired Soviet superhero Red Guardian, and Rachel Weisz plays Melina Vostokoff, a former agent also known as Iron Maiden in Marvel's comic books. The first trailer doesn't give too much away plot-wise, but it looks like an exciting mix of Bourne-style action and more traditional MCU thrills.
Fast & Furious 9
Release date: May 22
2019's Fast & Furious spin-off Hobbs & Shaw gave Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham their own movie, but next summer, we return to the main series. The title of the ninth entry hasn't been announced yet, but all the old gang are back (minus Dwayne and Jason), so that's Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, and Ludacris. Helen Mirren and Charlize Theron will also reprise their roles from The Fate of the Furious (as Deckard Shaw's mom Magdalene and evil cyberterrorist Cipher respectively), and John Cena is among the new additions to the cast. This will be Justin Lin's fifth time helming an entry in the series, and by now fans will know what exactly what to expect. So buckle up for more insane, impossible car action and multiple uses of the word "family."
Wonder Woman 1984
Release date: June 5
The first Wonder Woman movie was funny, exciting, and at the time, a very welcome relief from darker DC Universe releases such as Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The sequel looks set to be even better, with Gal Gadot back as Diana Prince and Patty Jenkins directing once more. As the title suggests, this movie takes Wonder Woman to the mid-'80s where she and back-from-the-dead Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) will face two iconic DC villains--Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) and Cheetah (Kristen Wiig).
Release date: June 12
As well as directing the hit movies Get Out and Us, Jordan Peele has kept busy by writing and producing a slate of other genre TV shows and movies. He's co-written this new version of the terrifying '90s horror classic Candyman, which is based on the story by Clive Barker. It's described as a "spiritual sequel," and while there has been a bit of confusion about who will play the vengeful ghostly former slave of the title, it has been reported that it will in fact be original star Tony Todd. The cast also includes Aquaman's Yahya Abdul Mateen II, and it's directed by rising director Nia DaCosta (Little Woods, Top Boy).
Release date: June 19
Soul is Pixar's second movie of 2020. It focuses on a jazz musician named Joe who, after an accident, finds that his body and soul have been separated. His soul is transported to a spectral training center where souls are developed before being placed into newborn babies, and he must find a way to return to Earth and be reunited with his own body. It's definitely got a weird plot, but from Up to Coco, some of Pixar's best movies have had stories that seem very strange on paper. Soul's voice cast includes Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey, while writer/director Pete Docter has made a string of classic for the studio, including Monsters Inc, Up, and Inside Out.
Top Gun: Maverick
Release date: June 26
Top Gun was the most successful movie of 1986 and now stands as one of the decade's most-loved films. So it's surprising it's taken over 30 years for the sequel to arrive, but with Tom Cruise as big of a star now as he's ever been, there's no reason to think Top Gun: Maverick won't match the original's success. Cruise is back as hotshot fighter pilot Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, and the cast also includes Westworld's Ed Harris as a tough admiral, Miles Teller (Whiplash) as the son of the Maverick's late pal Goose, and Val Kilmer, who will reprise his role as Tom "Iceman" Kazansky. Time to get back into the Danger Zone.
Release date: July 10
With 2016's female-led Ghostbusters reboot disappointing at the box office, the latest movie in the supernatural comedy series is a sequel to the original '80s movies. The film takes the action from New York to rural Oklahoma, where the grandkids of one of the original team encounter something weird happening in their town and discover their link to the those first ghostbusting legends. The new cast includes Paul Rudd (Ant-Man) and Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things), and there will be appearances from many of the original cast, including Bill Murray, Dan Akyroyd, Ernie Hudson, and Sigourney Weaver. The first trailer gives off strong Stranger Things vibe, and director Jason Reitman will hopefully deliver some of the magic that his dad Ivan brought to the classic first movie.
Release date: July 24
While many big movies have been turned into theme park rides over the years, the opposite is sometimes true as well. Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean ride became a hugely popular five-film franchise, and the studio will be hoping for the same for Jungle Cruise. The river boat attraction has been turned into a big-budget adventure comedy starring Dwayne Johnson as a riverboat captain who specialises in cruises down a dangerous jungle river in the 1930s. Emily Blunt plays an adventurer in search of a mystical tree with healing properties and hires the reluctant Johnson to take her on the dangerous mission downriver to find it. Expect lots of laughs and Indiana Jones-influenced action.
Release date: July 31
Spider-Man might be staying with the MCU for the time being, but that doesn't mean that Sony's universe of characters from Spidey comics is waiting for him to join them. Morbius follows the hugely successful Venom and focuses on the "living vampire" of the title. Jared Leto takes on the lead role as scientist Michael Morbius, who is given vampiric superpowers after an experiment to cure a blood disease goes wrong. The original Morbius comics had a dark horror edge, and while there's no word yet if Morbius will have a PG-13 or an R rating, director Daniel Espinosa previously showed his genre skills with the sci-fi horror Life.
Bill & Ted: Face The Music
Release date: August 21
After nearly 30 years, Wyld Stallyns are getting back together. Bill & Ted Face the Music is the highly -anticipated third movie in the time-travelling comedy series, and it reunites Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter as now middle-aged rockers Ted "Theodore" Logan and Bill S. Preston, Esq. The plot has the pair trying to save the universe by going back in time to visit old friends, enemies, and younger versions of themselves, while accompanied by their now-adult daughters. Although it's been a long time since the last movie, it's in safe hands--series creators Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon have written the script, while director Dean Parisot also helmed Galaxy Quest, another '90s comedy classic. Get ready to party on!
The King's Man
Release date: September 18
The King's Man might be the third movie in the Kingsman series, but it's actually a prequel set decades before the first two films. It explores the origins of the franchise's secretive spy organization and stars Harris Dickinson as a young agent who is recruited to take part in a series of dangerous adventures. The film has an impressive cast list that also includes Repl Fiennes, Liam Neeson, Daniel Bruhl, Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and like the previous films, it's directed by Matthew Vaughn, so expect a similar mix of intrigue, comedy, and outlandish action.
Release date: October 16
The huge success of 2018's Halloween reboot/sequel proved there's still life in the long-running slasher series. Director David Gordon Green has shot the next two movies back-to-back, and the first will be with us in October. Original star Jamie Lee Curtis is back to fight her masked nemesis Michael Myers on the streets of Haddonfield once more, and series co-creator John Carpenter will provide another iconic score. The third movie, the almost-certainly inaccurately titled Halloween Ends, is due in 2021.
Release date: October 16
Roald Dahl's spooky children's classic has been adapted once before, back in 1990, with Anjelica Huston in unforgettably scary form as the Grand High Witch. Anne Hathaway takes on the role in this new version, and the cast also includes Octavia Spencer (Ma) and Stanley Tucci (Transformers: The Last Knight). It's directed by blockbuster veteran Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, The Polar Express), and although the location has been moved from the English coast to Alabama in the 1960s, with Guillermo Del Toro among the producers, it's a good bet that Dahl's mix of charming fantasy and macabre chills will remain intact.
Release date: November 6
While Black Widow kicks off Marvel Phase 4, that's still a film about a familiar and popular character. The Eternals presents an all-new cast and a team who are not nearly as well known as The Avengers. But that was equally true for Guardians of the Galaxy, and it didn't long for Star-Lord and his crew to become household names and expect this film to deliver the usual Marvel magic on a spectcaular cosmic scale. The Eternals stars Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry, and Salma Hayek as part of an immortal alien race who must protect mankind from the evil Deviants.
Release date: December 18
Frank Herbert's classic sci-fi novel is getting an epic new movie adaptation from Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve. Dune was previously adapted by David Lynch in the '80s and as a TV mini-series in the early 2000s, but both versions were very flawed, and Villeneuve's undeniable vision as a sci-fi filmmaker--plus the amazing cast he's assembled--promises great things from this saga of warring galactic families and giant spice-worms. Timothy Chalamet stars as Paul Atreides, with Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto, Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica, Stellan Skarsgård as Baron Harkonen, Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho, Javier Bardem as Stilgar, and Dave Bautista as "Beast" Rabban. Roll on December.
Release date: December 18
An Uncharted movie has been in development for over a decade now, but it looks like we're finally going to see it. Bumblebee's Travis Knight is directing, and it was recently announced that Mark Wahlberg will join star Tom Holland in the cast. Holland plays the game series' main character, adventurer Nathan Drake, while Wahlberg will be his treasure-hunter pal Victor "Sully" Sullivan (ironally, Wahlberg was set to play Drake in the movie when it was in development in the early-2010s). Of course, the long history of bad video game adaptations means that we should never get too excited about a new one, but with any luck this will be closer to the recent Tomb Raider movie than something like Assassin's Creed.