The SXSW, Tribeca, and Cannes Film Festivals have all either been canceled outright or delayed to a later date. America’s movie theaters remain closed as shelter-in-place orders are enacted across multiple states. Several blockbuster features have been removed from the release schedule entirely and entertainment production is at a standstill the world over. The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted Hollywood to an unprecedented degree.
But as progress is made toward a return to normalcy in other regions of the world, we too can hope for a similar outcome on the horizon. As such, here are seven upcoming films that remain on the release schedule to look forward to once COVID-19 is but a memory.
The Green Knight (May 29)
A24—home of recent critically acclaimed favorites such as Lady Bird, The Farewell and Uncut Gems—begins to stretch itself with this dark retelling of Arthurian legend. The Green Knight will not be the type of blockbuster sword-and-sandal epic that summer is known for, but filmmaker David Lowery (A Ghost Story) has a track record of delivering compelling and thought-provoking material, often in unexpected ways. Since the mid-budget drama is slowly being squeezed out of existence in Hollywood and there’s always room for serious-minded fantasy, we hope that the coronavirus won’t delay this unique offering.
The Green Knight stars Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander and Joel Edgerton.
Wonder Woman 1984 (June 5)
Despite whispers of a potential streaming or VOD release, Warner Bros. recently confirmed that the highly-anticipated sequel to 2017’s Wonder Woman will indeed be released in theaters (not that we ever doubted it). Director Patty Jenkins guided that picture, considered the first female-led superhero blockbuster of the modern comic book movie era, to widespread praise and more than $820 million at the global box office. More importantly, the original Wonder Woman was considered a paragon of positivity—an optimistic tentpole at a time when DC was more defined by dark and gritty cynicism. Call me crazy, but the world could use another dose of Gal Gadot’s upbeat heroine right about now.
UPDATE 3/24: Wonder Woman 1984 has been delayed until August 14, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Soul (June 19)
Simply put: Pixar rarely misses. Even Onward, stunted at the box office by COVID-19 and considered a so-so Pixar entry by the greater critical community, is still a hilarious, heart-warming (and wrenching) tale of brotherhood and family. It’s also an original concept as is Soul, which will continue Pixar’s emphasis on new material rather than sequels. Directed by Academy Award winner Pete Docter (Inside Out, Up) and Kemp Powers (One Night in Miami), Soul will push the boundaries of Pixar’s visual aesthetic while exploring new ground. It’s not often that a children’s movie touches upon the nature of the human spirit and travels to an afterlife of sorts.
Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey and Daveed Diggs lend their voices to Soul.
Top Gun: Maverick (June 24)
Hollywood studios shouldn’t solely rely on nostalgia to entice audiences, which seems to be the standard approach to movie-making these days. But that’s not to say that all nostalgia is bad. The original Top Gun came out in 1986 and, while incredibly popular upon release, is not considered a cinematic classic that will be tainted with a resurrection. Frankly, more movies should have fighter jets in them these days and if Tom Cruise is the only star willing to deliver aerial dog fights that churn your stomach then more power to him. Thirty-four years is enough of a buffer to run it back.
Tenet (July 17)
Director Christopher Nolan has become a brand unto himself—the rare filmmaker who can guarantee a solid opening weekend on name-power alone. He’s one of the few directors Hollywood has empowered to tell big budget original tales. Love him or hate him, his success is healthy for Hollywood lest the powers that be join forces to sell us nothing but reboots for the rest of eternity. Tenet, the mysterious upcoming spy feature that will play around with the time continuum, has put together an all-star cast that includes John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, and Elizabeth Debicki. Yet for all its bells and whistles, we still know almost nothing about the plot. Here’s to hoping Tenet lives up to the hype and strengthens the argument in favor of original storytelling.
The French Dispatch (July 24)
Certain directorial styles run hot and cold for audiences. Such is the case for Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), whose quirky and highly-stylized soft-spoken bombast either tickles your fancy or puts you to sleep. Personally, we think showmanship was the first quality to fall by the wayside with the advent of the streaming era, so don’t you dare threaten The French Dispatch‘s release, coronavirus. Anderson’s latest is an anthology film of sorts that follows the staff of a European publication when they decide to publish a memorial edition highlighting the three best stories from the last decade: an artist sentenced to life imprisonment, student riots, and a kidnapping resolved by a chef. Intrigue abounds.
Last Night in Soho (September 25)
Edgar Wright (Baby Driver) makes delightfully weird movies. They’re well-made, they’re clever, they’re just off-kilter enough to be interesting without being indistinguishable, and they’re fun. Now, the director is taking a sharp-left turn with his mysterious upcoming psychological horror film that apparently includes a time travel twist.
Hey, if the guy who made a zombie comedy out of Shaun of the Dead wants to make a psychological horror film that includes time travel, then we should oblige him. It helps that he’s pairing young stars like Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy with venerable veterans such as Diana Rigg and Terence Stamp.