The COVID-19 pandemic has had a particular impact on the movie industry, namely that a lot of premieres have bumped forward their theatrical release. However, with the dawn of the new year comes some of the movies we’ve been tirelessly waiting for. From the newest iteration of Batman to a big return from James Cameron, see below for 11 of the most highly-anticipated movies of the year.
This beloved MTV franchise was supposed to hit theaters back in October, but it’s now making its way to audiences just ahead of Valentine’s Day weekend. Starting Feb. 4, catch Steve-O, Johnny Knoxville and the rest of the Jackass gang as they take on outrageous stunts and pranks for one more go-around. A few special friends like Eric André, Tony Hawk and Tyler, the Creator are set to make special appearances along the way.
The newest adaptation of the beloved DC superhero had notorious issues with filming due to positive COVID-19 tests among its cast. But come March 4, audiences better be prepared for Robert Pattinson’s take on The Caped Crusader under the eye of director Matt Reeves. The Batman finds our eponymous character head-to-head with The Riddler, played by Paul Dano.
The sequel to Legally Blonde may not be as beloved as the original, but with some passing of time and a writing team of original writers Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah, Mindy Kaling and Dan Goor, we trust the third installment will be a thrill. There’s not much information out about what exactly we can expect, but we do know that come May 20, Reese Withersoon and Jennifer Coolidge are set for the big screen.
The Belchers are getting the same treatment as The Simpsons. Initially set for a 2020 release, the animated Fox series will hit theaters on May 27 for an in-depth adventure of the Belcher family. A trailer has yet to be released, but knowing the quirks and chaos of Louise, Tina and Gene (let alone their parents), The Bob’s Burgers Movie will be an oddball, laugh-out-loud joy ride.
The stylings of writer-director Baz Luhrman are very specific, so to know whether or not his Elvis Presley biopic will land is to be determined. Still, based on the cast alone, Elvis is one worth looking out for. After a notoriously long search for the star, Austin Butler was deemed fit to play The King. He will also be joined by Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Yola, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Dacre Montogomery, among others. And yes, Priscilla Presley has been consulted. It's set to release June 24.
Finally, after five years, Thor is back with a new adventure. Film No. 29 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a direct sequel to Thor: Ragnarok, both of which were directed by Taika Waititi. Expected to be released July 8, plot details aren’t yet known, but we can expect to see, of course, Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Chris Pratt, Melissa McCarthy, Russell Crowe, Tessa Thompson and more.
All we know about the new Jordan Peele project is that it stars Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun. In other words, we’re already in. And yes, it’s a horror movie. The film’s website— the one place with details at this time— describes it as “a new terror from the mind of [the] Academy Award winner” and says that it will premiere July 22. The information overlays an image of lush, mountainous terrain encircling a town hued by multicolor lights.
DC is churning out the big titles this year. On July 29, see Dwayne Johnson debut as the titular anti-hero in this spinoff from 2019’s Shazam! The cast also includes Sarah Shahi, Noah Centineo, Pierce Brosnan and Aldis Hodge.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse was probably the best animated film of 2018, let alone the last handful of years. We have no doubt Across the Spider-Verse will live up to its predecessor’s high standards. Get ready to dive into a shared multiverse of alternate universes called the “Spider-Verse” where multiple Spidey People (including Gwen Stacy) come together to defeat one powerful villain. It stars Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld and Oscar Isaac.
Brought to you by director Anne Fletcher (Step Up, The Proposal, 27 Dresses), Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy are all set to return as the infamous Sanderson Sisters. Following the original 1993 film’s fanfare, Hocus Pocus 2 centers on three young women who accidentally bring back the trio of witches to modern-day Salem. Like Dani and Max Dennison before them, they must stop the child-hungry menaces before it’s too late. It’s set to premiere in the fall.
Marvel’s 2018 feature was a historic moment for both the studio’s and cinematic history, which is part of the reason that Chadwick Boseman’s death in 2020 felt like such an overwhelming loss. It was breathtaking to witness Boseman elevate the superhero tale into something so much greater. On Nov. 11, Black Panther continues the legacy with a deeper exploration of Wakanda and all its inhabitants.
When Avatar premiered in December 2009, the James Cameron film was heralded as an unparalleled special effects masterpiece. Over a decade later, Cameron fulfills his promise of a sequel on Dec. 16. This time around, Jake Sully and Ney’tiri are working hard at keeping their family together. However, they are forced to leave their home and explore Pandora and come up against an ancient threat, leaving Jake to fight a war against humans.
Photography by: Courtesy Paramount Pictures/MTV Entertainment Studios