A new year, a new slate of movie releases to look forward to. Even though most movies will still likely be hitting home on streaming platforms in the early part of the year, we’ll get back to theaters again with some bigger releases later in the year. But big screen or small, big budget or small, there are plenty of movies to love in 2021.
Here are some of the movies we’re most looking forward to this year.
Release Date: Friday, February 12
Minari, writer-director Lee Isaac Chung’s touching tale about a Korean family that moves to rural Arkansas to start a farm in the 1980s, is already getting plenty of awards season buzz, and with good reason. Former The Walking Dead star Steven Yeun does the work of his life in a performance that is sure to net him an Oscar nomination.
Release Date: Friday, March 5
Based on the book, The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness, Chaos Walking has been literally years in the making, first stuck in development hell, then needing reshoots that got delayed. So long has it been that stars Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley signed on all the way back in 2016, and it shows: Holland looks absolutely baby-faced in the trailer. Still, it’s a fun, action-packed trailer and the duo are two of the brightest young stars in Hollywood, so we’re wildly curious to see what all the fuss is about after all these years.
No Time To Die
Release Date: Friday, April 2
No Time To Die is on our most anticipated list for two reasons: One, it’s the last movie in which Daniel Craig will play the titular role, so we’re looking forward to seeing how Cary Fukunaga gives this 007 his sendoff. And two, it’s the first truly big franchise blockbuster of 2021 and by the time it hits theaters, we’re hoping life is on the path back to normal again, making it something of a celebration.
Release Date: Friday, May 7
Speaking of sendoffs, normally, we wouldn’t be excited for a movie about a character whose ending we’ve already seen. But unlike most of the rest of the Avengers in the MCU, Natasha Romanoff’s story is one we’ve rarely seen. That’s all set to change with Black Widow, which will find Nat return to her roots in Russia. A solo spinoff for the OG Avengers’ low-key MVP (and only woman) should have happened years ago, but we’re happy to be getting one now.
In The Heights
Release Date: Friday, June 18
A movie adaptation of a hit Broadway musical from Lin-Manuel Miranda? Stop right there, we’re in. That’s it. That’s all we need. In the Heights looks to be the perfect summer movie, one full of big music and big emotion. We’re so ready.
The Green Knight
Release Date: Friday, July 30
We always sit up straight when indie studio A24 releases a new movie, and The Green Knight is no exception. A dark, horror-tinged adaptation of medieval poem “Sir Gawain in the Green Knight,” it stars Dev Patel as virtuous knight of the Round Table, Gawain. A24 could have sent this to a streaming service last year after its release was delayed due to the pandemic. The fact they chose to hold onto it for a theatrical release shows just how much faith they have in it. This could be a sleeper hit for the studio along the lines of Midsommar or Hereditary.
The Suicide Squad
Release Date: Friday, August 6
We know, we know: 2016’s Suicide Squad was a bit of a mess, thanks to a number of less-than-ideal circumstances. But Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn looks to set things right with The Suicide Squad, which will take most of the characters from the first movie and put them in perhaps the most James Gunn-esque movie ever. Take a look at the behind-the-scenes sizzle reel above and tell us that doesn’t look like an enormous ball of fun.
Release Date: Friday, August 27
Another movie that was set to come out long ago but was delayed due to the shutdown, Nia Da Costa’s Candyman is arguably our most anticipated horror movie of the year. Being dubbed a “spiritual sequel” to the original 1992 film, this one unfolds in the now-gentrified Chicago neighborhood where the Cabrini-Green housing project once stood and the eerie legend of the Candyman began. If this one’s as scary as the original, we’ll be awake for a few nights after watching.
Release Date: Friday, October 1
The spice must flow, and so must we, straight into theaters to see Denis Villeneuve’s epic adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel Dune. Villeneuve is one of the most visually stunning directors working today, and Dune looks set to be his most ambitious, gorgeous project yet. He may not get the respect he deserves, but Villeneuve is the best director working in spectacle sci-fi today. And with an all-star cast led by It Boy Timothée Chalamet in the lead role of Paul Atreides, this should be elevated beyond our expectations.
Spider-Man: Homecoming 3
Release Date: Friday, December 17
We’re wildly curious to see how Spider-Man 3 turns out simply because we can’t fathom how director Jon Watts and Marvel and Sony will possibly pull off a crossover this ambitious. With Jamie Foxx reprising his Amazing Spider-Man franchise villain Electro and Alfred Molina returning as Doc Ock for the first time since Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, it’s already a crowded movie. But with Andrew Garfield and and Tobey Maguire rumored to be reprising their respective Spider-Men, it’s looking like not only are Sony and Marvel setting up a Sinister Six movie, but they’re setting up a cross-studio multiverse, as well.
The Matrix 4
Release Date: Wednesday, December 22
How else could we possibly end the year but on Keanu Reeves? We know virtually nothing yet about Lana Wachowski’s long in the making sequel to 2003’s The Matrix Revolutions, outside of a few new cast members like Priyanka Chopra, Jonathan Groff and Jessica Henwick. But it doesn’t matter: It’s Keanu Reeves back in black as Neo, bending bullets and dodging Agents. What more do we need?