The most exciting movie releases of 2020

Tom Beasley
Contributor
Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in 'Birds of Prey'. (Credit: Claudette Barius/Warner Bros/DC)

It’s now 2020 and so it’s time to look ahead to another year of movies — good and, almost certainly, bad. The catalogue of upcoming movies is already looking exciting and packed to the brim with original properties, sequels and adaptations.

This post will be regularly updated with all of the major film releases coming to UK cinemas and Netflix...

February

Awards season is in full swing, half-term is incoming, as is Valentine’s Day so expect prestige films, kids fare, and rom-coms aplenty in this rare 29-day February.

3 February

Parasite (15)

Bong Joon-ho’s hotly-tipped Oscar and BAFTA-nominated film finally arrives in cinemas on 3 February with a special live satellite Q&A with the acclaimed director of The Host and Snowpiercer. It goes on wide release nationwide on Friday, 7 February. It would be wrong to divulge too many plot details, but it’s fair to say this is a class warfare tale that straddles multiple genres and has to be seen to be believed.

Read more: Bong Joon-ho doesn’t think he’ll ever do a Marvel movie

7 February

Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (15)

Several years removed from the disaster of Suicide Squad, Margot Robbie is back as Harley Quinn. This time, though, she’s surrounded by a gang of female heroes and she has the freedom of an R-rating (15 in the UK) to spread her violent wings. Early reactions around Birds of Prey are good and Quinn is a very popular character, so this could be a monster hit.

Read more: How Trainspotting inspired Birds of Prey

Dolittle (PG)

Robert Downey Jr’s first role since bowing out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is as the man who can talk to animals, previously portrayed by Rex Harrison and Eddie Murphy. He’s surrounded by a galaxy of A-listers providing the voices of the aforementioned critters in a movie that, according to one film critic, “splats on to the screen like horse dung” and is on course to lose its studio almost £80m. Ouch.

Read more: Downey Jr hails real geniuses behind MCU

Underwater (15)

You like Alien, right? Well imagine that, but underwater. That’s the premise behind the descriptively named Underwater, which stars Kristen Stewart and T.J. Miller as members of a scientific team working at a laboratory on the ocean floor. When an earthquake rids them of their safe haven, they discover they aren’t alone down there.

Read more: True story behind Stewart’s new movie, Seberg

12 February

To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (Netflix)

When To All the Boys I've Loved Before and Crazy Rich Asians arrived within days of each other during August 2018, they appeared to mark a sea change for diversity in the romcom genre. Two years later, the former of those two stories is back with a sequel, again adapted from one of Jenny Han’s romance novels. This time around, the characters played by Lana Condor and Noah Centineo are dating for real rather than faking it, but this creates a load of new problems.

Read more: Centineo set to play He-Man

14 February

Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island (15)

Blumhouse can usually be relied upon to produce lean, mean horror movies with enjoyable evil at their heart. This one has a 1970s TV series as its inspiration and follows a mysterious businessman, portrayed by Michael Peña, who makes his guests’ fantasies come true at a secluded and idyllic tropical resort. Naturally, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Read more: Blumhouse working on new Thing movie

Emma (TBC)

Yes, it’s a Jane Austen adaptation, but trailers for Autumn de Wilde’s take on the writer’s classic 1815 novel appears to have a rather modern feel. Despite its period setting, trailers suggest that the writing is sharp and the tone feels almost akin to Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite. It’s Anya Taylor-Joy — star of The Witch and Glass — who takes the leading role, while she’s waiting for The New Mutants to finally come out.

Read more: Glass among most searched for movies of 2019

Sonic The Hedgehog (PG)

After a long road of production delays and a complete character redesign, the big screen outing for Sega’s prickly speed demon is finally set to land at the multiplex. Jim Carrey is playing the villainous Dr Robotnik and James Marsden is Sonic’s human companion. The CGI has certainly improved, but will the movie have risen to match it?

Read more: Baby Sonic melts the internet

19 February

The Call of the Wild (TBC)

Harrison Ford seems to like dogs. He gave his most motivated performance in years as the voice of farm pooch Rooster in The Secret Life of Pets 2 and now he’s teaming up with a St Bernard for a movie about the search for purpose. It’s a remake of a 1935 film based on a turn of the 20th century novel. Notably, the original film was the final movie released under the Twentieth Century Pictures label, whereas this one will be the first released by the post-Disney merger 20th Century Studios.

Read more: Ford called hypocrite over UN climate speech

21 February

Brahms: The Boy II (TBC)

When the 2016 horror movie The Boy proved to be a success, the greenlight was given to a sequel with ostensibly little relevance to the first film. This one sees a young boy befriend the Brahms doll when his family moves to the house from the previous movie. Hopefully there will be something to match the crazy twist they pulled off last time around.

Read more: Best horror movies of 2019

Greed (15)

Steve Coogan and Michael Winterbottom have worked together many times over the years, including for The Look of Love and 24 Hour Party People, but their latest collaboration focuses on a very topical subject. Coogan stars as a retail mogul heavily inspired by Sir Philip Green, at the centre of a satire about wealth and corruption that was controversial throughout its production.

Read more: Coogan blasts Sir Philip Green at premiere

Like A Boss (15)

Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne play best friends running a cosmetics company, who are threatened when a ruthless benefactor played by Salma Hayek tries to steal the business from under them. It’s a big, broad studio comedy with a selection of very funny performers at its heart.

Read more: Director says comedy needs to become more human

28 February

Color Out Of Space (15)

Despite the annoying US spelling in its title, Color Out of Space is a wild ride of a movie. It’s an adaptation of a weird story from the mind of genre legend H.P. Lovecraft and features Nicolas Cage as the patriarch of a family effectively fighting the effects of a blast of pink light from outer space. There is insanity to spare.

Read more: Cage to play Cage in new movie

Dark Waters (12A)

Todd Haynes’ new film is a legal thriller starring Mark Ruffalo as the attorney seeking to expose the huge DuPont organisation for chemical dumping and its associated environmental impact. Anne Hathaway and Tim Robbins are also in the cast.

Read more: Ruffalo provides MCU Hulk update

Downhill (15)

When it was announced that there was to be an English language remake of the Swedish film Force Majeure, few had Will Ferrell pegged as the obvious star. The story follows the fallout of a husband’s decision to prioritise his own safety over that of his family during an avalanche. Pleasingly, there’s a cameo in the trailer for Kristofer Hivju — best known as Tormund in Game of Thrones.

Read more: Ferrell and Adam McKay end creative partnership

Portrait of a Lady On Fire (15)

Lesbian romance Portrait of a Lady on Fire arrives in UK cinemas riding a wave of acclaim and awards. Director Céline Sciamma became the first woman to win the Queer Palm at the Cannes Film Festival and the film has 10 nominations at the César Awards — known as the French Oscars. The story follows an artist (Noémie Merlant), who is commissioned to paint a woman (Adèle Haenel) before she is married to a nobleman.

Read more: Most exciting original movies coming in 2020

The Invisible Man (TBC)

From the ashes of the doomed Dark Universe comes this intriguing take on a classic from director Leigh Whannell. Elisabeth Moss stars as a woman who comes to believe her recently deceased, abusive husband faked his death and is tormenting her while invisible. It looks set to be an interesting story about the way women have to fight to be believed.

Read more: Leigh Whannell unveils details of The Invisible Man


January

1 January

The Gentlemen (18)

Guy Ritchie is back in the gangster genre with this tale of Matthew McConaughey’s American expat drug dealer, who sparks a power struggle in the London underworld when he hints at selling off his marijuana empire. Hugh Grant appears as a private investigator, with Charlie Hunnam portraying McConaughey’s right-hand man. The rest of the cast includes Michelle Dockery, Henry Golding, Colin Farrell, Eddie Marsan and Jeremy Strong.

Read more: Hugh Grant on going dark for The Gentlemen

Jojo Rabbit (12A)

He might have the keys to the Thor franchise, but Taika Waititi has always been a unique and idiosyncratic filmmaker. His latest movie as writer-director is a comedy set in Nazi Germany in which he appears as Adolf Hitler — or at least a version of the Fuhrer conjured up as an imaginary friend by Hitler Youth boy Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis). It’s a bold movie and one that is winning as much criticism as praise, but Waititi cannot be accused of playing it safe.

Read more: Waititi and cast discuss limits of comedy

10 January

1917 (15)

After a pair of Bond films, Mendes is taking the budget level down but sacrificing none of his ambition for 1917. It’s a movie set within the trenches of the First World War, following George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman as soldiers sent to deliver a vital message. Mendes’ film stitches takes together to give the appearance of a continuous shot, with only one visible cut. It’s an impressive achievement in tension and style.

Read more: Mendes discusses the use of invisible CGI

Seberg (15)

Kristen Stewart has been on a hot streak of performances in interesting films recently, despite the lack of success for the Charlie’s Angels reboot. Her latest plum role is as French New Wave acting icon Jean Seberg in this tale of her surveillance by the FBI over alleged support for the Black Panther Party in the 1960s. Jack O’Connell, Anthony Mackie and Vince Vaughn also star.

Read more: Stewart up for playing a gay Marvel superhero

Uncut Gems (15)

A good Adam Sandler movie? Yes, it has happened. Uncut Gems is the latest pulse-pounding thriller from the Safdie brothers and follows Sandler as a jeweller with a penchant for sports gambling, which leaves him in debt to some terrible people. It’s a tense, stressful experience even for those who know nothing about either basketball or betting. Sandler is getting Oscar buzz, so head to cinemas from the 10th or Netflix from the 31st and find out for yourself.

Read more: Sandler threatens to make bad movie on purpose if he loses Oscar race

17 January

A Hidden Life (12A)

Terrence Malick is one of the most celebrated auteurs in Hollywood and a new movie from him is always notable. This one is an epic World War Two tale about an Austrian farmer who refused to join the Nazi cause. It features the final screen performances of acting legends Michael Nyqvist — who passed away in 2017 — and Bruno Ganz, who died last year.

Read more: Notable Hollywood deaths of 2019

Bad Boys For Life (15)

It has been 17 years since Bad Boys II, and 13 years since it inspired one of the best jokes in Hot Fuzz. After that lengthy gestation period, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are back as detectives. This time, they’re on the cusp of retirement — because of course they are — when a Romanian mob boss pulls them back in — because of course he does. Expect plenty of nods to the past.

Read more: Looking back at Will Smith’s biggest regret

Bombshell (15)

A trio of glittering female Hollywood stars — Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie — appear in this account of the sexual misconduct allegations made by Fox News staff against CEO Roger Ailes, played by John Lithgow. Oscars beckon.

Read more: Theron praises Bombshell make-up job

Just Mercy (12A)

Before he gets going on Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings for Marvel, director Destin Daniel Cretton has made this based-on-truth drama about an African-American man (Jamie Foxx) wrongly imprisoned and sentenced to death for the murder of a white woman. Michael B. Jordan plays the attorney fighting his cause. It’s sure to be a thought-provoking and powerful tale.

Read more: The road to Marvel’s diverse Phase Four

Waves (15)

The best way to follow an acclaimed horror movie like It Comes at Night is to do something completely different. Trey Edward Shults has certainly done that with Waves, which traces the turbulent life of an African-American family from numerous perspectives, including that of father Sterling K. Brown. Music is baked into the movie, alongside a vibrant visual style. It’s a treat.

Read more: Sterling K. Brown on his cut Frozen 2 song

Weathering With You (12A)

Makoto Shinkai delivered one of the best animations of the decade with Your Name, and has followed it up with the emotionally potent Weathering With You. The film follows a young man who flees his hometown for the big city, where he meets a young woman with the ability to control the weather. It’s a fantasy-tinged romance with a strong, compelling environmental message.

Read more: The tortured history of remaking anime classic Akira

24 January

PAW Patrol: Ready, Race, Rescue! (U)

If you’re a childless adult, you probably haven’t heard of PAW Patrol. But if you’re the parent of a small child, it could well be an all-consuming force in your life. After last year’s feature-length outing Mighty Pups was a box office success, the TV show is once again heading to the big screen for PAW Patrol: Ready, Race, Rescue! The canine characters have to step in when their racing hero is unable to take to the track, and that’s the plot apparently.

Read more: Is animation just for kids?

The Grudge (15)

One of the most successful and recognisable J-Horror properties is getting another English language reboot this year. Indie horror rising star Nicolas Pesce is in the director’s chair, with genre icon Sam Raimi aboard as producer. It’s a starry cast, too, with John Cho, Andrea Riseborough, Betty Gilpin, Jacki Weaver, Lin Shaye and Demián Bichir.

Read more: Best horror movies of 2019

The Personal History Of David Copperfield (PG)

If Charles Dickens usually feels a bit dry and old-fashioned, then Armando Iannucci has arrived to change that perception with his take on one of the great novelist’s most renowned stories. Dev Patel plays the title character as he lives through the riches-to-rags-to-riches-again tale, with the likes of Peter Capaldi, Morfydd Clark, Ben Whishaw, Hugh Laurie and Tilda Swinton populating the stellar supporting cast.

Read more: Dev Patel shines in Copperfield trailer

31 January

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PG)

There are few pieces of movie casting that immediately make as much sense as Tom Hanks portraying American television icon Mister Rogers. But this is not a straight biopic, with Can You Ever Forgive Me? director Marielle Heller telling the story of a journalist writing a profile of the wholesome, sweater-wearing star. Much like the man himself, it’s as sweet as they come.

Read more: Stars who refuse to watch their own films

Queen & Slim (15)

The story of Bonnie and Clyde gets a modern twist with this timely, resonant story of a black couple forced to go on the run when a cop ends up dead following a traffic stop. Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya play the protagonists, with the story penned by Emmy-winner Lena Waithe for debutant director Melina Matsoukas.

Read more: Director says awards voters refused to watch Queen & Slim

The Rhythm Section (15)

This secretive thriller from director Reed Morano, adapted from a spy novel, follows Blake Lively as a woman investigating the mysterious death of her family in a plane crash years before. She assumes the identity of an assassin to work out just what is going on.

Read more: Production break was a blessing, says Rhythm Section director

Richard Jewell (15)

The Clint Eastwood real-life story is now essentially a genre in itself, with films like Sully and American Sniper recently proving to be hits with both audiences and critics. His latest tells the story of the security guard at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, played by Paul Walter Hauser, who alerted authorities to the presence of a bomb, only to be accused of being the one who planted it. Olivia Wilde plays a reporter, while Kathy Bates is receiving awards attention for her role as Jewell’s mother.

Read more: Wilde defends film over sexism controversy

The Lighthouse (15)

Robert Eggers made a huge impact on horror with The Witch, and has now produced something entirely mad and singular. This film depicts Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe as lighthouse keepers isolated during a storm, in which madness soon descends. The boxy frame and black and white cinematography only increases the sense of strange, quasi-supernatural distress. It’s an unforgettable film in just about every way.

Read more: How does Pattinson make himself cry on set?

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (15)

Few films have been in development hell for as long as Terry Gilliam’s take on Miguel de Cervantes’ classic 17th century novel Don Quixote. Adam Driver plays an advertising director, with Jonathan Pryce starring as the elderly cobbler he cast as Don Quixote while making a student film a decade earlier. After a 30-year battle by Gilliam to get the movie made, and then into cinemas, it has to be worth a trip to the multiplex.

Read more: Gilliam tears into Black Panther and its message