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EDITOR’S NOTE: As expected, since running this preview originally a few months ago, tons of movies have once again been delayed. So, as a result, we’ve decided to overhaul our most anticipated movies in 2021 list to reflect the new release dates, all of which, I should mention, are subject to change.
Are you ready for the onslaught of movies coming your way in 2021? With the detestable 2020 firmly in our rearview, the future looks bright. The pandemic which barred us from one of our favorite pastimes – the movie theater – is looking to be on the way out, with the announcement and slow rollout of a vaccine. That means that movie fans can expect a deluge of content in 2021; all the movies we missed last year thanks to COVID-19, we’re going to be getting in spades in 2021. It’s a beefy slate, ladies and gentlemen, so without further ado: here’s our list of some of the most anticipated movies of 2021.
April 23rd – Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat is a mysterious, intergalactic tournament of ancient martial arts. Shaolin Monk Liu Kang, from Earth, gets invited as a competitor.
A big-screen reboot of the beloved Mortal Kombat franchise, produced by James Wan and his midas touch, is supposedly coming in April – although no trailer has been released and there’s barely a synopsis. We know that the cast is populated by a who’s-who of Asian talent. Ludi Lin as Liu Kang, Joe Taslim as Sub-Zero, Tadanobu Asano as Raiden and Hiroyuki Sanada as Scorpion ensure that even if the script is God-awful, the actors delivering it will be the opposite. The Mortal Kombat reboot is one of the 2021 movies that Warner Bros. will release theatrically and on HBO Max simultaneously, meaning you can finally enjoy some R-rated fataltities from the comfort of your own home.
NEW DATE: May 28th – A Quiet Place Part II
Following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family must now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence. Forced to venture into the unknown, they quickly realize that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.
One of the first movies to shift from its original release date in 2020, fans of the breakout horror A Quiet Place can now look forward to seeing what becomes of the surviving members of the Abbot family as they continue searching for a way to survive in their post-apocalyptic hellscape. Once again directed by John Krasinski, who proved himself a deft hand behind the camera last time around, the trailer promises more heart-stopping action, with added Cillian Murphy. A must-see sequel for 2021’s slate of movies, for sure.
June 4th – The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
The Devil Made Me Do It reveals a chilling story of terror, murder and unknown evil that shocked even experienced real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. One of the most sensational cases from their files, it starts with a fight for the soul of a young boy, then takes them beyond anything they’d ever seen before, to mark the first time in U.S. history that a murder suspect would claim demonic possession as a defense.
The latest instalment in the flagship series from the biggest horror movie franchise in history – $1.8 billion in box office receipts don’t lie – The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is one of the most anticipated movie releases on this 2021 list. Featuring the return of Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as renowned supernatural investigators Ed & Lorraine Warren, the movie follows the trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, also known as ‘the devil made me do it’ case; the first time in history a murder suspect used demonic posession as a legal defense. Should be a laugh riot.
June 25th – F9
After the events of The Fate of the Furious (2017), Dominic Toretto and his family must face Dominic’s younger brother Jakob, a deadly assassin, who is working with their old enemy Cipher, and who holds a personal vendetta against Dominic.
Can the Fast franchise survive the loss of The Rock to his spinoff? That’ll be the main question on everybody’s lips when Dom and the family come back for Fast 9 in 2021, but with Justin Lin returning to the helm and fan-favorite Han (Sung Kang) making a return… it’s easy to assume we’ll all be in for the same gonzo blockbuster ride we usually get. Throw in John Cena as Dom’s long-lost brother (I mean, sure!) and you should leave the theater being mildly entertained by this 2021 movie.
NEW DATE: July 9th – Black Widow
EDITOR’S NOTE: Black Widow will now release on Disney+ simultaneously with its theater release!
In Marvel Studios’ action-packed spy thriller “Black Widow,” Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.
Perhaps the most notable movie to be shifted from the 2020 release calendar, Marvel’s Black Widow is finally set to be released on July 9th, 2021. After much hemming and hawing as to whether Disney would dump the blockbuster on its streaming service, the results are in – Black Widow will still get its theatrical release. You can’t help but feel bad for Scarlett Johansson, who is finally getting her own solo picture ten years after making her debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe... not to mention after her character kicks the bucket. The prequel, set between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, should give fans exactly what they expect from Marvel’s premier femme fatale. Roll on 2021, roll on this movie!
August 6th – The Suicide Squad
Imprisoned convicts from Task Force X are sent on a new, sentence-easing mission to the South American island of Corto Maltese to destroy Jotunheim, a Nazi-era prison and laboratory which held political prisoners and conducted experimentations.
After James Gunn’s momentary firing from Marvel Studios in 2018, Warner Bros. was quick to scoop the director up in order to help reboot one of its most popular DC Comics properties; The Suicide Squad. Drawing in a cast that reaches all the way from Idris Elba to Pete Davidson, Gunn’s take on Task Force X looks to be even more bonkers than David Ayer’s take ended up being in 2016. A returning Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn is sure to get the diehard fans returning and the film promises a catastrophic death toll for its insanely large cast. The Suicide Squad is sure to be one of the most entertaining movies on this whole damn 2021 list.
August 27th – Candyman
A “spiritual sequel” to the horror film Candyman (1992) that returns to the now-gentrified Chicago neighborhood where the legend began.
Nia DaCosta – soon to direct Captain Marvel 2 – directed this reboot of Candyman for Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions in 2019, and we would have already seen it were it not for COVID-19. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II leads the cast as an artist mysteriously drawn to Cabrini Green, the projects that the Candyman first haunted in the original movies. A hybrid sequel/reboot, Candyman is bringing back Tony Todd in the titular role as well as Vanessa Estelle Williams as Anne-Marie McCoy. Being a Monkeypaw production, quality is all but guaranteed, as Jordan Peele tends to turn everything he touches to gold these days.
NEW DATE: September 3rd – Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
When Shang-Chi is drawn into the clandestine Ten Rings organization, he is forced to confront the past he thought he left behind.
Not much is known about the plot of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which just wrapped its shoot in Australia. Considering the fact that its bad guys are obviously villainous MCU organization The Ten Rings – last seen scooping Trevor Slattery out of prison in Marvel One-Shot All Hail the King – fans should expect to see The Mandarin finally depicted properly on the big screen (for all those who didn’t buy into Guy Pearce’s “I am the Mandarin!” exclamation in Iron Man 3). Simu Liu steps into the role of the Master of Kung Fu, but we should probably expect a Shang-Chi that’s a little farther along from its exploitation roots. As one of the first movies from Marvel’s Phase 4, Liu has a lot of work to do to set the tone for the future of the MCU in 2021.
NEW DATE: September 24th – Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Who knew Tom Hardy and Sony’s Venom would gross nearly a billion dollars at the box office? Probably nobody, but it didn’t stop Sony wishing and hoping, and their dreams came true. Now, a sequel is well on the way, which will bring Woody Harrelson’s Carnage (last seen in the post credits tag for Venom) into the spotlight. Can lightning strike twice for Sony? Will we finally get a glimpse of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in the Venomverse? Keep an eye out when the movie sequel no one thought would ever happen takes a bow in June 2021.
NEW DATE: September 24th – The Many Saints of Newark
A look at the formative years of New Jersey gangster, Tony Soprano.
The prequel movie to The Sopranos you didn’t know you needed, The Many Saints of Newark is one of the movies to watch out for in 2021. Starring the late, great James Gandolfini’s son Michael as the younger version of the character James made famous, the film has a stellar cast rounded out by John Bernthal, Corey Stoll, Billy Magnussen, Ray Liotta and Leslie Odom Jr.
Written by David Chase and Lawrence Konner, who created and shepherded The Sopranos to greatness, the movie will be directed by Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones, Thor: The Dark World). Taylor directed nine episodes of The Sopranos back in the day, so should be no stranger to bringing out the best in Chase and Konner’s writing. Whether the prequel movie lives up to the well-deserved acclaim of the original series remains to be seen.
October 1st – Dune
A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, “Dune” tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people.
We were supposed to get the Denis Villeneuve version of Dune this 2020 holiday season, but somebody upstairs hates us and now we’ll have to wait another ten months. Warner Bros. will be releasing Dune on HBO Max the same time it hits theaters, if your preference is to watch it while butt-naked on your couch (or dressed, whatever). 2021 is going to be an interesting movie year for Warner Bros. and their grand ‘day-and-date’ theater/VOD release schedule, and regardless of how much they’ve pissed off Villeneuve (and every other director in town), we’ll still get to enjoy Dune eventually. Timothée Chalamet looks to be having the time of his life as the young Paul Atreides, and who could blame him when he’s surrounded by Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Jason Momoa, Zendaya and more.
NEW DATE: October 8th – No Time to Die
Recruited to rescue a kidnapped scientist, globe-trotting spy James Bond finds himself hot on the trail of a mysterious villain, who’s armed with a dangerous new technology.
This is the fifth release date set for the last Daniel Craig Bond movie, after Danny Boyle initially left the helm (replaced by Cary Fukunaga) and COVID got in the way. Will it be worth the wait? Spectre was a little lacklustre, but with any luck this instalment will have Bond back on track… just in time for him to be ultimately replaced. Typical. At least Craig fans will finally be able to see his last hurrah – barring any more release date changes.
October 15th – Halloween Kills
The saga of Michael Myers and Laurie Strode continues in the next thrilling chapter of the Halloween series.
Following the successful reboot and relaunch of the Halloween franchise with 2018’s Halloween, director David Gordon Green is back in 2021 with the second in his planned trilogy; Halloween Kills. Last we saw Michael Myers, he was trapped in a flaming basement, but, come on – it’s Michael Myers. Of course he survived! He’ll be back to relentlessly, silently pursue Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her brood. Joining the fun this time is returning character Tommy Doyle – Laurie’s young babysitting charge from the first Halloween back in 1978 – only now, he looks just like Anthony Michael Hall. Hall should be fun in the role, with his horror credentials extending to that 2002 TV adaptation of The Dead Zone which was pretty enjoyable. 2021 just got a whole lot scarier with this movie!
October 15th – The Last Duel
King Charles VI declares that Knight Jean de Carrouges settle his dispute with his squire by challenging him to a duel.
The Last Duel is the first movie co-written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon since their Oscar-winning screenplay for Good Will Hunting back in 1997, and that should be worth the anticipation alone. Knowing the movie will be directed by Ridley Scott, returning to a Medieval playground we haven’t seen him in since the likes of Kingdom of Heaven and Robin Hood, helps build that anticipation. Adam Driver starring opposite Matt Damon with Jodie Comer as the object of their affection is the cherry on top, and we haven’t even gotten to the plot yet, which sees Damon and Driver’s French knights fighting to the death in a duel prescribed to them by King Charles VI (Affleck). Based on the book TheLast Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France, The Last Duel should satiate a lot of appetites when the movie debuts in October 2021.
NEW DATE: October 22nd – Last Night in Soho
A young girl, passionate about fashion design, is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s where she encounters her idol, a dazzling wannabe singer. But 1960s London is not what it seems, and time seems to fall apart with shady consequences.
Like almost every other movie on this list, Edgar Wright’s long-awaited picture following Baby Driver was shifted from 2020 into the great onslaught of movies releasing in 2021. Armed with a screenplay from Oscar nominee Krysty Wilson-Cairns (1917), Edgar Wright’s latest features performances by Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, Terence Stamp and the late, great Diana Rigg. Not much is known about the enigmatic movie, other than its vague snyopsis and the fact that this writer’s sister was offered a role as a stripper in the background of one sequence – which she politefully declined.
November 5th – Eternals
Marvel Studios’ Eternals features an exciting new team of Super Heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ancient aliens who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years. Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, an unexpected tragedy forces them out of the shadows to reunite against mankind’s most ancient enemy, the Deviants.
Based on characters created by Jack Kirby and the subject of one of Neil Gaiman’s most exciting Marvel comic books, the Eternals seemed an odd choice for Marvel Studios to bring to the big screen – only because they’re generally lesser known than a lot of their contemporaries. But the cast looks stacked, with everyone from Angelina Jolie to Kit Harington to Kumail Nanjiani getting involved; and the story looks to be one that spans millenia, following an ancient race of superpowered beings charged with protecting the Earth. Avengers? What Avengers?
November 11th – Ghostbusters: Afterlife
After being evicted from their home, two children and their single mother move to a farm in Summerville, Oklahoma, inherited from their late grandfather. When the town experiences a series of unexplained earthquakes, the children discover their family’s link to the original Ghostbusters, who have become something of a myth as many have long since forgotten the events of the “Manhattan Crossrip of 1984”, and the secret legacy that their grandfather left behind.
After the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot landed with a bit of a thud, we’re now being treated to a return to roots that finds the grandkids of Egon Spengler rising to answer the famous call… to something strange in the neighborhood. This time, the Ghostbusters find themselves directed by Jason Reitman, son of the original’s director, Ivan. Considering Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Annie Potts are supposedly all back, we should be in for a good time. Throw in Paul Rudd and that one kid from Stranger Things and baby, you got a stew going. This might be Ghostbusters‘ last shot at a big-screen revival if audience patience wears thin, so let’s hope this is one of 2021’s better movie offerings on this list.
NEW DATE: November 19th – Top Gun: Maverick
After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete Mitchell is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him.
If you’d been waiting since 1986 to get a sequel to the classic tale of pilot bros Top Gun, COVID-19 meant you’d have to wait a little longer. Top Gun: Maverick was meant to take a bow in 2020, but now Paramount’s franchise reboot will have to wait until July. Tom Cruise is back, re-teaming with director Joseph Kosinski after their so-so sci-fi effort Oblivion in 2013. The most recent Mission: Impossible scribe/director, Christopher McQuarrie, has also had a hand in the script for this one; with Cruise seemingly getting all his favorite collaborators to join in the fun, could Top Gun: Maverick be the rare decades-late sequel that’s actually good? Top Gun: Maverick will also be available on Paramount’s new streaming service Paramount+ 45 days after its theatrical release.
A continuation of Spider-Man: Far From Home.
With all the rumors swirling in the media that Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and perhaps every villain Spider-Man has ever fought in any iteration on the big screen will be returning, you can’t deny that Spider-Man: No Way Home sounds like it’s going to be an absolute blast. Crowded, sure – but a blast nonetheless. Here’s hoping Tom Holland has time for a storyline for his own Peter Parker in between all the cameos! Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange will be filling the ‘bearded mentor’ void left by Tony Stark, but with Holland’s Peter Parker having gone through so much on his own at this point (and survived) the question is – does he really need one? The worst part about the wait for this Spider-Man movie extravaganza to roll around at Christmas is the wait itself.
NEW DATE- December 22nd – The King’s Man
In the early years of the 20th century, the Kingsman agency is formed to stand against a cabal plotting a war to wipe out millions.
A prequel to Kingsman: The Secret Service, once again directed by Matthew Vaughan, The King’s Man is set during the early years of the 20th century, where the nascent spy agency (led by Ralph Fiennes) attempts to prevent Rasputin (Rhys Ifans) from starting World War I. With a new apprentice in tow (Harris Dickinson), the trailers – set brilliantly to a movie trailer redo of Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’ – suggest a good, old-fashioned history romp, accentuated by Vaughan’s slick action choreography and a quality supporting cast which includes Gemma Arterton, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Charles Dance, Djimon Hounsou, Daniel Brühl and Matthew Goode. Phew. It’s a shame its release date has been pushed back so many times, but fans of the franchise will finally be able to see the romp when the movie bows in 2021.
December 22nd – The Matrix 4
A movie I’m still not convinced is going to happen, but apparently is anyway, is the Wachowski siblings returning for a reboot/relaunch of The Matrix franchise. In the main role is the always-awesome Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who you will have caught earlier in the year in the Candyman reboot. Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss and Jada Pinkett-Smith are all returning, in addition to the incoming Priyanka Chopra, Jonathan Groff and Jessica Henwick. Plot details are firmly under wraps, so no clue at all what this 2021 movie is bringing our way; if Trinity died, why is Carrie-Anne Moss back? Is this a new Matrix universe, with new takes on Neo and Trinity? Where the hell is Laurence Fishburne? Too many questions, too much time to ponder them. To round out this 2021 list of movies, we can think of no more random a sequelboot than The Matrix 4.
NEW DATE: January 21, 2022 – Morbius
One of Marvel’s most compelling and conflicted characters comes to the big screen as Oscar winner Jared Leto transforms into the enigmatic antihero, Michael Morbius. Dangerously ill with a rare blood disorder, and determined to save others suffering his same fate, Dr. Morbius attempts a desperate gamble. What at first appears to be a radical success, a darkness inside him is unleashed and transforms this healer into a hunter.
Are you excited for Sony’s Spider-Man spinoff, Morbius? Is anyone? Its 90s-feeling trailer teased a crossover with the MCU, thanks to Spider-Man graffiti and an appearance by Michael Keaton’s Vulture, but it remains to be seen exactly how Jared Leto’s rendition of the Living Vampire will come into contact with either of them. The connection to the MCU is probably the main reason to see this movie when it launches in March 2021.
NEW DATE: Feb 18, 2022 – Uncharted
It’s been a long and rocky road to the big screen for Naughty Dog’s best-selling game franchise Uncharted; the movie has been in development at one level or another since 2008, even flaunting David O. Russell as a potential director at one point. Mark Wahlberg has been attached for so long that he’s even apparently aged out of the lead role Nathan Drake, instead now set to play Nathan’s mentor, Sully. Drake’s shoes will be filled by Tom Holland, who appears to be being dunked in everything Sony is releasing for the next ten years. Hopefully the development hell this movie has been through will produce a heavenly viewing experience when the Uncharted movie drops in
NEW DATE: February 11th, 2022 – Death on the Nile
Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot’s Egyptian vacation aboard a glamorous river steamer turns into a terrifying search for a murderer when a picture-perfect couple’s idyllic honeymoon is tragically cut short.
Kenneth Branagh is back in 2021 2022 with another movie adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. Following the success of Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile could have been lost in the shuffle when its producer – Fox – was bought by Disney. Luckily for fans of the erstwhile sleuth, Death on the Nile debuts its all-star murder mystery in September next year. The trailer was riveting, showcasing yet another atmospheric cover of a classic Depeche Mode song (this time, it was ‘Policy of Truth’), and the table is set for a fun whodunit. It’s a subgenre that’s making a welcome comeback, after the spirited family dynamics and razor-sharp wit of Rian Johnson’s Knives Out. More please.
NEW DATE: May 27th, 2022 – Mission: Impossible 7
We’ve all heard Tom Cruise completely verbally destroying some of his crewmembers on the set of Mission: Impossible 7; whether he was right or wrong to do so, you can’t deny that the man cares about his movie. The Mission: Impossible series has been one of the most reliable studio franchises ever since JJ Abrams relaunched it with Mission: Impossible III back in 2006. Director Christopher McQuarrie has skillfully led the last two entries, with an over-arching plot that followed a rogue clandestine organization called the Syndicate, which essentially resulted in Henry Cavill reloading his fists – worth the price of admission alone. Joining the fun this time around are Pom Klementieff, Vanessa Kirby, Hayley Atwell and Shea Whigham, as well as blast-from-the-past Henry Czerny returning as Eugene Kittridge from the first Mission: Impossible. Filming during COVID can’t have been easy, so we should consider ourselves thankful we’re getting another M:I movie at all in