From Dune to Wonder Woman: The most-anticipated movies of 2020

Sure, 2019 was a big year for movies, but have you looked at what’s hitting theaters in 2020? It’s shaping up to be kind of a big deal.

From the kickoff to the next chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to several long-awaited sequels in some of the most popular franchises of all time to original projects that have captured our attention, 2020 has a lot to offer cinephiles, no matter where their interests lie. In order to help you plan out your trips to the theater over the next 12 months, we’ve identified the films premiering in 2020 that we’re most excited about, listed in order of their expected release dates.

Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

Margot Robbie reprises her Suicide Squad role as the unpredictable, exceptional antihero Harley Quinn in this film that has her team up with a group of fellow female characters from the pages of DC Comics in order to protect a young girl from a vicious crime lord. The film’s supporting cast includes Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, and Ella Jay Basco, with Ewan McGregor playing Roman Sionis, aka the brutal Black Mask. The eighth film in Warner Bros. Pictures’ loosely connected DC Extended Universe, Birds of Prey puts some of DC’s most popular leading ladies front and center, and looks like a wild, wonderfully weird adventure with Harley Quinn.

Release date: February 7

A Quiet Place: Part II

most anticipated movies of 2020 a quiet place

One of the best films of 2018, A Quiet Place ratcheted up tension to terrifying levels with its tale of a family trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world filled with creatures that kill anything they can hear and the slightest sound can be deadly. John Krasinski returns as writer and director of the sequel, with Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe reprising their on-camera roles from the first film. While there are plenty of mysteries left to explore in a sequel — how many other survivors are still out there, for example, and how the family will use their newly acquired knowledge regarding the creatures’ weakness — the biggest question is whether the sequel can replicate the success of the first film’s unique premise and creative use of sound (or lack thereof).

Release date: March 20

The New Mutants

Given how many times this troubled film has been reshot, delayed, and otherwise surrounded by problems — including its confusing status after studio 20th Century Fox was acquired by Disney — there’s no certainty that the film will actually arrive in theaters as planned. If it does, however, it should offer an interesting spin on the X-Men universe with its horror-fueled tale of five young mutants with powerful abilities who are being held in a mysterious facility and who must first save each other if they have any hope of saving themselves. The Fault in our Stars filmmaker Josh Boone directs an impressive young cast that includes Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams, Charlie Heaton, Henry Zaga, Blu Hunt, and Alice Braga.

Release date: April 3

No Time to Die

Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective) and featuring Daniel Craig as James Bond (for the fifth and likely final time), No Time To Die introduces a new character who takes over the “007” designation. The announcement of a new 007 — the title is assigned to the MI6 organization’s top agent — was met with the expected amount of controversy, but as the No Time To Die trailer makes perfectly clear, James Bond is still the star of the story. The film finds Bond enjoying retirement until a friend pulls him back into action to help find a missing scientist. Along the way, he gets tangled up with the usual collection of former lovers, colleagues, and enemies, as well as an entirely new threat to the world played by Academy Award winner Rami Malek.

Release date: April 8

Black Widow

Scarlett Johansson returns as Marvel Studios’ superspy in this prequel film set before the events of Avengers: Infinity War and just after the events of Captain America: Civil War. The film finds Natasha Romanoff confronting a threat from her past that forces her to return to Russia and reunite with several former associates. The list includes Yelena Bolova (Florence Pugh), a fellow graduate of the Red Room, the secret school for spies and assassins that trained her. Black Widow also introduces Stranger Things actor David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov, aka the Red Guardian; Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff, aka the Iron Maiden; and a new Marvel Cinematic Universe villain named Taskmaster. This will also be the first MCU movie to hit theaters since Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home brought Phase 3 to an end, so … no pressure.

Release date: May 1

Wonder Woman 1984

The sequel to one of the most critically and commercially successful films in WB’s DC Extended Universe so far, Wonder Woman 1984 brings back director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot for a film set nearly 70 years after the events of Wonder Woman. It also introduces several new characters to the DCEU and brings back a few familiar ones. The Mandalorian star Pedro Pascal plays media tycoon Maxwell Lord in the film, while Kristen Wiig plays Barbara Minerva, the DC Comics character who eventually becomes one of Wonder Woman’s greatest foes, The Cheetah. Gadot’s Wonder Woman has become the crown jewel of the DCEU at this point, so if the sequel can measure up to the first film, audiences are in for a treat.

Release date: June 5

Top Gun: Maverick

It’s been more than 30 years since audiences felt the need for speed with Tom Cruise as ace fighter pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, and now he — and a few other familiar faces — are returning for a direct sequel to the 1986 film that has Maverick dealing with the U.S. military’s growing use of unmanned battle drones and dwindling need for human fighter pilots. Original Top Gun actor Val Kilmer is also expected to return for Top Gun: Maverick, and the film will introduce some new legacy characters, including Miles Teller as Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, the son of Maverick’s friend Nick “Goose” Bradshaw. Joseph Kosinski directs the film, which — much like its predecessor — is already earning praise for its breathtaking flight sequences.

Release date: June 26

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

After 2016’s Ghostbusters remake failed to launch a new film series, Sony Pictures is going back to the paranormal well for Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which serves as a sequel to Ghostbusters II and introduces a new generation of Ghostbusters — including the grandchildren of one of the original team’s members. Directed by Jason Reitman, the son of original Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, Afterlife also features the return of many of the 1984 film’s cast members. If this heavy dose of nostalgia doesn’t put the Ghostbusters back on top of the box office, it will be a disaster of biblical proportions.

Release date: July 10

Tenet

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Any time Christopher Nolan has a new movie hitting theaters, it’s big news. Like all of his films, though, we know next to nothing about Tenet at this early stage. Warner Bros. Pictures has indicated that the film is “set in the world of international espionage,” with BlacKkKlansman star John David Washington leading the cast, and Robert Pattinson and Elizabeth Debicki in featured roles. The mystery is part of the appeal, though, and at this point, Nolan has earned the amount of buzz his projects generate no matter what we know about them.

Release date: July 17

Morbius

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Jared Leto makes the leap from DC Comics to Marvel with this film based on the latter’s “living vampire” antihero, Morbius. Sony Pictures is hoping to create its own cinematic universe based on Spider-Man’s surrounding cast of characters in the comics, and Morbius follows 2018’s Venom as the second installment of the studio’s fledgling franchise experiment. The film casts Leto as a scientist whose attempts to treat his own rare blood disease resulting in him gaining superhuman abilities, but the abilities are accompanied by a powerful hunger for blood. Doctor Who actor Matt Smith plays a supporting role in the film, along with Adria Arjona, Jared Harris, Tyrese Gibson, and Charlie Shotwell. Can Sony build its own version of the MCU? Morbius will likely be the deciding factor in that ambitious plan.

Release date: July 31

Bill & Ted Face the Music

bill and ted's excellent adventure
Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

The follow-up to Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey arrives just shy of three decades after Bill S. Preston and Ted “Theodore” Logan last saved the universe through the power of rock ‘n’ roll, but the reunion of stars Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter has been years in the making. Bill & Ted Face the Music explores what happens when the two guys who were destined to change the universe become adults — and yes, parents — without ever getting around to doing that universe-saving thing they were supposed to do. Will the Wyld Stallyns finally get their encore? We’ll know in August.

Release date: August 21

Eternals

The Eternals #1 Cover

Sure, Black Widow is the first Marvel movie to hit theaters in 2020, but Eternals is likely to be the project that introduces the biggest cast of new characters to the MCU and sets the tone for the future of the studio’s interconnected universe. The film introduces the immortal figures known as The Eternals, who were created by the massive alien Celestials and have been protecting humanity from their evil counterparts, The Deviants, since the dawn of time. Plucked from one of the more surreal, cosmic corners of the Marvel Comics universe, the film has a seriously impressive cast with Angelina Jolie and Richard Madden joined by Kumail Nanjiani, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, Kit Harington, and other familiar faces. Much like Guardians of the GalaxyEternals is expected to tap into a massive collection of characters and story arcs from Marvel’s comics lore that haven’t found their way into the MCU yet.

Release date: November 6

Godzilla vs Kong

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It seems like a strange thing to say about a film franchise based on giant, city-destroying behemoths, but Legendary Entertainment’s interconnected MonsterVerse has quietly grown into a solid cinematic universe. After pitting Godzilla against a host of famous creatures in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the studio is poised to deliver the battle fans have been waiting for: Godzilla vs. the giant ape that started it all, King Kong. The plot has international monster research agency Monarch attempting to uncover more information about the massive creatures while Godzilla and Kong end up on a collision course. We’d list the human cast, but let’s be honest: No one’s buying a ticket for Godzilla vs. Kong for the humans.

Release date: November 20

Dune

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Director Denis Villeneuve, who only makes great films (at least, according to our “Best Movies of the Year” lists), turns his attention to one of the greatest science-fiction sagas of all time with this adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel. The story follows a noble-blooded family on a far-off desert planet who must fend off threats from both rival families and within the planet itself, only to find itself forced to come to terms with the true origins of the planet’s most valuable resource: The drug known as spice. Boasting one of the most impressive casts of any 2020 film so far, Dune brings together Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, and Javier Bardem for its epic adventure on a planet where giant worms tunnel beneath your feet and whoever controls the spice controls the universe.

Release date: December 18

Honorable Mention:

Along with the films listed above, we’re also looking forward to The Sopranos prequel movie The Many Saints of Newark (September 25) and action sequel Fast & Furious 9 (May 22), as well as the Tom Hanks post-apocalyptic adventure BIOS (October 2) and Ryan Reynolds’ video-game comedy Free Guy (July 3).

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