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THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

All the movies and TV shows you need to know about in 2020

top gun maverick tom cruise
Paramount Pictures
Tom Cruise will feel the need again in June.
  • Adam Epstein
By Adam Epstein

Entertainment reporter

Enough about Star Wars. What new movies and TV series are coming out in 2020?

Not Star Wars, for one! For the first time since 2014 , Disney will not have any new Star Wars or Avengers content in the new year as it looks to pivot toward new franchises. Elsewhere, it should be a big year for WarnerMedia, which will release new films by directors Christopher Nolan (Tenet) and Denis Villeneuve (Dune), new installments in its Wonder Woman and Godzilla franchises, as well as launch its streaming service, HBO Max.

2020 will likely also be an important year for NBCUniversal as it looks to close the gap on Disney and Netflix. The company has a streaming service of its own, Peacock, due in April. Its theatrical slate includes more Fast & Furious and Halloween movies, and the latest film from the mind of Jordan Peele, a sequel to the horror movie Candyman.

And there’s a lot more where that came from.

Quartz grouped the films of 2020 into three categories: blockbusters, possible awards contenders, and then some more intriguing options that didn’t necessarily fit in the other two categories. For TV, we kept it simple: a list of the noteworthy new series to look out for over the next 12 months. (Many do not yet have official release dates.) If there is a trailer available, we linked to it.

These are the movies and TV series to keep an eye on in 2020:

The potential blockbusters

Warner Bros.
Christopher Nolan’s upcoming thriller, “Tenet.”

Birds of Prey (Feb. 7): A spin-off of the critically panned, but commercially successful, DC Comics film Suicide Squad, focusing on the antiheroine Harley Quinn and other female DC characters.

Bloodshot (Feb. 21): Vin Diesel plays the Valiant Comics character Bloodshot, a US Marine who is murdered, brought back to life, and made superhuman with nanotechnology.

Onward (March 6): The next original Pixar film stars (the voices of) Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Octavia Spencer in this fantasy comedy about two teenage elf brothers embarking on a quest to see their father one last time.

A Quiet Place: Part II (March 20): The sequel to John Krasinski’s 2018 hit sci-fi thriller A Quiet Place.

Mulan (March 27): Another Disney live-action adaptation of one of its animated movies! This one, though, looks pretty cool.

The New Mutants (April 3): The trailer for this movie came out two years ago. After years of delays and reshoots, the Marvel Comics movie about a group of young mutants will finally come out in April.

No Time to Die (April 8): Daniel Craig swears this is the last time he’ll play James Bond, but he’s said that before. Acclaimed filmmaker Cary Fukunaga directs this installment of the 007 franchise.

Black Widow (May 1): Disney might be done with the Avengers as whole, but that doesn’t mean it won’t make more movies about individual members of the Avengers. This one will give us more backstory about Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), also known as Black Widow.

Fast & Furious 9 (May 22): As long as these movies continue printing cash, we’ll never see the end of them.

Artemis Fowl (May 29): Based on the fantasy novel of the same name, Artemis Fowl follows the exploits of the titular boy genius who’s descended from a family of criminal masterminds.

Wonder Woman 1984 (June 5): We check in on Diana Prince in the mid-1980s as she does battle with two more villains, Maxwell Lord and the Cheetah.

Candyman (June 12): Written by Jordan Peele, Candyman will serve as a sequel to the 1982 horror film of the same name about the vengeful ghost of a black man who was lynched in the 18th century.

Soul (June 19): Another original Pixar film, Soul stars the voice of Jamie Foxx as a middle school music teacher who must figure out a way back home after his soul is separated from his body. Sounds weird!

Top Gun: Maverick (June 26): I feel the need… the need for speed. Almost 35 years since the original, Tom Cruise is back flying fighter jets, now as an instructor training a class of new Top Gun graduates.

Minions: The Rise of Gru (July 3): Oh god, they’re back. The tiny yellow subservient creatures have returned to please another despicable master.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife (July 10): Between Wonder Woman, Candyman, Top Gun, and now Ghostbusters, summer 2020 will really be the season of 1980s nostalgia. This sequel is directed by Jason Reitman, the son of the original Ghostbusters director, Ivan Reitman.

Tenet (July 17): Christopher Nolan’s next original blockbuster is giving us Inception vibes. Starring John David Washington, the global espionage thriller is doing something very strange with our perception of time, based on the trailer.

Jungle Cruise (July 24): When Disney gets bored re-adapting its own movies, it adapts its theme park rides. The result is Jungle Cruise, an adventure film starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, based on the popular Disneyland attraction of the same name.

Morbius (July 31): Jared Leto achieves his final form as the Marvel character Michael Morbius, a scientist who turns into a vampire after a failed biochemical experiment.

The One and Only Ivan (Aug. 14): The voices of Angelina Jolie and Bryan Cranston star in this Disney animated movie about a gorilla who lives in a cage at a mall, based on the children’s book of the same name.

The Conjuring 3 (Sept. 11): Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) have another spooky case to look into.

The King’s Man (Sept. 18): The prequel to the Kingsman film series traces the origins of the group of suave secret agents.

Venom 2 (Oct. 2): Tom Hardy returns to play the journalist Eddie Brock whose body hosts the alien symbiote that turns him into his villainous alter ego

Halloween Kills (Oct. 16): Intended to be the second movie of the rebooted Halloween trilogy, Halloween Kills stars Jamie Lee Curtis, reprising her role as Laurie Strode from the iconic horror franchise.

The Eternals (Nov. 6): Move over, Avengers, Disney has a new superhero franchise to launch. The Eternals are an immortal alien race imbued with godlike powers trying to protect humanity from the equally powerful Deviants.

Godzilla vs. Kong (Nov. 20): Our money is on the lizard.

Raya and the Last Dragon (Nov. 25): The latest original movie from Walt Disney Animation Studios follows a warrior named Raya searching for, well, yes, the last dragon in the world.

Dune (Dec. 18): Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049) directs this adaptation of the epic Frank Herbert novel of the same name about the far-future fight for control of the planet Arrakis and its valuable commodity, “the spice,” a substance with mind-enhancing abilities. The cast is insanely great.

Uncharted (Dec. 18): The adaptation of the popular adventure video game is finally being made. Tom Holland stars as the treasure hunter Nathan Drake.

Tom and Jerry (Dec. 23): A live-action adaptation of the famous cartoon cat and mouse. Sure, why not.

Some early Oscar contenders

20th Century Fox
Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of “West Side Story.”

Wendy (Feb. 28): A re-imagining of the Peter Pan story from Beasts of the Southern Wild director Benh Zeitlin.

Greyhound (May 8): Tom Hanks plays the commander of a convoy of Allied ships during World War II, pursued by German U-boats into the North Atlantic.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Sept. 25): Based on the true story of the seven anti-Vietnam War protestors charged by the US government with conspiracy. Aaron Sorkin writes and directs.

The Witches (Oct. 9): Robert Zemeckis directs this latest adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel of the same name about a young boy who is transformed into a mouse by the Grand High Witch (Anne Hathaway).

West Side Story (Dec. 18): Steven Spielberg directs this adaption of the celebrated musical by Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robbins, and Stephen Sondheim.

News of the World (Dec. 25): Tom Hanks again, baby! This time, the actor plays a traveling newsreader tasked with bringing an orphaned young girl back home after the American Civil War.

The Last Duel (Dec. 25): Ridley Scott directs Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in this medieval drama about the last officially recognized judicial duel in France.

Next Goal Wins (TBD): Michael Fassbender stars as Thomas Rongen, the Dutch-American soccer player and coach hired to help the American Samoa national team. Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit) directs.

Hillbilly Elegy (TBD): Ron Howard directs this adaptation of the best-selling memoir of the same name by J.D. Vance. Amy Adams and Glenn Close star.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things (TBD): Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind filmmaker Charlie Kaufman directs this mind-bending drama about a man on a road trip with his girlfriend, based on the book of the same name by Iain Reid.

On the Rocks (TBD): Sofia Coppola directs this story of a woman (Rashida Jones) reconnecting with her playboy father (Bill Murray).

Bad Blood (TBD): Jennifer Lawrence stars as infamous entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes in this drama about the downfall of blood-testing company Theranos. Adam McKay (The Big Short) directs.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (TBD): Viola Davis plays legendary blues singer Ma Rainey in this adaptation of the August Wilson play of the same name.

The Prom (TBD): This Ryan Murphy-directed adaptation of the Broadway musical stars Meryl Streep, James Corden, Nicole Kidman, Awkwafina, Kerry Washington, and more.

The French Dispatch (TBD): Wes Anderson directs this “love letter to journalists” about an American newspaper in 20th century France. Every actor in Hollywood is in it (or so it seems). Sign us up!

Mank (TBD): David Fincher returns to the director’s chair to helm this biopic about Citizen Kane writer Herman J. Mankiewicz and the controversy over the film’s screenplay credit.

The Last Thing He Wanted (TBD): Anne Hathaway stars as a journalist who has to stop covering the 1984 US presidential election to care for her ailing father in this adaption of the 1996 Joan Didion novel.

Blonde (TBD): Ana de Armas stars in this biopic about Marilyn Monroe, based on the 2000 best-selling book of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates.

Shirley (TBD): Elisabeth Moss stars as American horror writer Shirley Jackson; Michael Stuhlbarg plays her husband, literary critic Stanley Edgar Hyman.

More intriguing movies

A24/Sundance Film Festival
“Zola.”

Dolittle (Jan. 17): Robert Downey Jr. stars as the Hugh Lofting character, a veterinarian who can talk to animals.

Bad Boys for Life (Jan. 17): Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are back in this third and final installment of the Bad Boys film series.

Sonic the Hedgehog (Feb. 14): The titular blue hedgehog looked so heinous in early previews that the studio completely changed the look of him. To its credit, Sonic does look better now.

Downhill (Feb. 14): Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus star in this black comedy, a remake of the 2014 Swedish film Force Majeure.

The Call of the Wild (Feb. 21): Harrison Ford stars alongside a CGI dog in this adaption of the Jack London novel of the same name.

The Invisible Man (Feb. 28): Elisabeth Moss, who is seemingly in every movie coming out in 2020, stars in this loose adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel.

The Way Back (March 6): Ben Affleck stars as a grieving, alcoholic former basketball star who returns to his high alma mater to coach the team.

Antlers (April 17): Keri Russell stars in this horror film produced by Guillermo del Toro. We’re not really sure what it’s about, but it looks creepy.

Promising Young Woman (April 17): Killing Eve writer Emerald Fennell writes and directs this #MeToo era thriller starring Carey Mulligan as a woman exacting her revenge after a promising future is derailed by an allegation that isn’t treated seriously.

Antebellum (April 24): We’ve watched the trailer and we still can’t really tell you what this is about, but we know it’s a thriller starring Janelle Monae, produced by one of the Get Out producers.

The Personal History of David Copperfield (May 8): Veep and The Thick of It creator Armando Iannucci directs this comedic adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel David Copperfield, loosely based on the Victorian author’s own life.

The Organ Donor (May 15): The ninth installment of the Saw horror franchise stars, and is based on a story by, comedian Chris Rock. That sentence is accurate.

In the Heights (June 26): Before Hamilton, there was In The Heights, the first Broadway musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda. He produces this film adaptation, which stars Hamilton performer Anthony Ramos and is directed by Crazy Rich Asians filmmaker Jon Chu.

Free Guy (July 3): Ryan Reynolds plays an NPC (non-player character) in a video game who decides to become the hero himself.

Respect (Aug. 14): Before she died last year, Aretha Franklin said she wanted singer Jennifer Hudson to portray her in the upcoming biopic, Respect. And so it shall be.

Bill & Ted Face the Music (Aug. 21): Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter reprise their roles in this third installment of the Bill & Ted sci-fi comedy franchise that started in 1989.

The Many Saints of Newark (Sept. 25): A prequel to the HBO mafia drama series, The Sopranos.

Last Night in Soho (Sept. 25): Edgar Wright’s (Shaun of the Dead, Baby Driver) next film is a psychological horror movie set in 1960s London.

Bios (Oct. 2): The last man on Earth, played by Tom Hanks (because who else would it possibly be?), builds an android to keep himself company. Directed by Game of Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik.

Those Who Wish Me Dead (Oct. 23): Sicario writer Taylor Sheridan writes and directs this Western thriller about a murder witness tracked by assassins in the Montana wilderness during a wildfire.

Coming 2 America (Dec. 18): More 1980s nostalgia! Eddie Murphy reprises his role as Prince Akeem Joffer in this sequel to the 1988 comedy.

Zola (TBD): Remember that viral Twitter thread from 2015 written by a Detroit waitress who took a trip to Florida with a sex worker and her very violent pimp? Well, Hollywood sure does: It turned all 148 ridiculous tweets into a movie.

The Little Things (TBD): The Blind Side director John Lee Hancock helms this crime thriller which stars Denzel Washington and Rami Malek.

Eurovision (TBD): Wedding Crashers director David Dobkin reunites with Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams for this comedy based on the annual international singing competition, Eurovision.

New TV series

HBO
“Lovecraft Country” on HBO.

Messiah (Jan. 1, Netflix): This thriller about the CIA investigating a man who appears in the Middle East claiming to be the messiah is already drumming up controversy.

The Outsider (Jan. 12, HBO): Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, The Outsider follows a Georgia detective investigating the brutal murder of a young boy. Eyewitnesses, DNA evidence, and video footage place the primary suspect in two different places simultaneously.

Little America (Jan. 17, Apple TV+): An anthology series about the lives of immigrants in the US.

Avenue 5 (Jan. 19, HBO): Veep creator Armando Iannucci’s next series is a sci-fi comedy set aboard a luxury tourist spaceship in the near future.

Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens (Jan. 22, Comedy Central): Awkwafina plays a fictionalized version of herself in this comedy about growing up in Queens, New York.

Star Trek: Picard (Jan. 23, CBS All Access): Patrick Stewart returns as Jean-Luc Picard, the captain of the starship USS Enterprise from Star Trek.

Briarpatch (Feb. 6, USA Network): Rosario Dawson stars in this crime drama based on the Ross Thomas novel of the same name. Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail and journalist-podcaster Andy Greenwald produce.

Locke & Key (Feb. 7, Netflix): After years of development, this horror-fantasy series, based on the comics of the same name by Joe Hill, is finally coming to Netflix.

Mythic Quest (Feb. 7, Apple TV+): It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia actor Rob McElhenney created and stars in this Apple comedy about video game developers.

The Good Lord Bird (Feb. 16, Showtime): Ethan Hawke stars as American abolitionist John Brown in this miniseries based on the 2013 National Book Award-winning novel of the same name by James McBride, told from the point of view of a fictional freed slave who came across Brown during the Bleeding Kansas clashes.

Queen Sono (Feb. 28, Netflix): The streaming service’s first original series produced in Africa, about about a cross-continental female spy.

Dispatches From Elsewhere (March 1, AMC): Jason Segel stars and produces in this anthology drama about four people who stumble on a mysterious puzzle that changes their lives.

The Plot Against America (March 16, HBO): The Wire creator David Simon’s next project is this miniseries based on the Philip Roth novel of the same name about a working-class Jewish family in an alternate-history United States where aviator Charles Lindbergh becomes president and turns the country towards fascism in the wake of World War II.

Devs (March, FX on Hulu): Annihilation and Ex Machina director Alex Garland heads to TV to tell the story of a computer engineer investigating the secretive tech company she thinks is responsible for her boyfriend’s disappearance. The first FX-branded show that will be released on Hulu. (Disney now owns both companies.)

Lovecraft Country (TBD, HBO): A drama-horror series based on the novel of the same name about a black man on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America who not only must deal with extreme racism, but also Lovecraftian monsters. Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams produce.

The Undoing (TBD, HBO): Big Little Lies creator David E. Kelley reunites with Nicole Kidman for this miniseries based on the book You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz, about a successful therapist whose life completely unravels.

Perry Mason (TBD, HBO): The Americans star Matthew Rhys stars as the titular criminal defense lawyer in 1930s Los Angeles in this limited series based on the character by Erle Stanley Gardner.

The Third Day (TBD, HBO): A man (Jude Law) and a woman (Katherine Waterston) arrive on a mysterious island at different times in this HBO-Sky co-production.

We Are Who We Are (TBD, HBO): Call Me By Your Name filmmaker directs this coming-of-age miniseries about American teenagers living on a military based in Italy.

Run (TBD, HBO): Phoebe Waller-Bridge and her frequent collaborator Vicky Jones produce this comedy-thriller starring Merritt Weaver and Domhnall Gleeson.

Snowpiercer (TBD, TNT): Based on the 2013 sci-fi movie of the same name about a train that contains the last remnants of humanity, this TV adaptation features Hamilton actor Daveed Diggs.

Y (TBD, FX): The long-awaited series based on the comics by Brian K. Vaughan, about the all-women global society created when every male creature on the planet (except one) is wiped out by a plague.

Mrs. America (TBD, FX on Hulu): A miniseries about the true story behind the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution.

Ratched (TBD, Netflix): Sarah Paulson stars as the monstrous nurse, Mildred Ratched, in this series about the origins of the antagonist of the Ken Kesey novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (and subsequent theatrical and film adaptations).

Space Force (TBD, Netflix): Steve Carell and the creator of the US version of The Office, Greg Daniels, reunite for this workplace comedy about the men and women tasked with establishing the sixth branch of the US military, the Space Force.

The Eddy (TBD, Netflix): La La Land director Damien Chazelle created and directs this musical drama series set in Paris.

Normal People (TBD, Hulu): A drama based on the novel of the same name by Irish author Sally Rooney about the relationship between two teenagers at a secondary school in County Sligo.

The Great (TBD, Hulu): A miniseries about the rise of Russian empress Catherine the Great, played by Elle Fanning.

The Stand (TBD, CBS All Access): Based on the epic post-apocalyptic novel of the same name by Stephen King, The Stand traces a struggle between good and evil after mankind is wiped out by a plague. Alexander Skarsgard stars as the demonic Randall Flagg.

Hunters (TBD, Amazon): More content produced by Jordan Peele! This series is set in an alternate history New York City in the 1970s as a group of Jewish Nazi hunters track down hundreds of former high-ranking Nazi officials who are planning a Fourth Reich in the US. Al Pacino stars.

Utopia (TBD, Amazon): Gone Girl scribe Gillian Flynn adapts the great British conspiracy thriller series of the same name about the search for the manuscript of a graphic novel that’s believed to predict world events.

The Wheel of Time (TBD, Amazon): An adaptation of the Robert Jordan fantasy book series of the same name.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (TBD, Disney+): Disney’s first Marvel TV series for Disney+ unsurprisingly follows Sam Wilson (Falcon) and Bucky Barnes (The Winter Soldier) in the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame.

Monsters At Work (TBD, Disney+): A series that serves as a direct sequel to the 2001 Pixar comedy Monsters, Inc.

Amazing Stories (TBD, Apple TV+): Steven Spielberg revives his 1980s NBC sci-fi anthology show of the same name, but now for Apple’s new streaming service. How the times have changed.

Love Life (TBD, HBO Max): Anna Kendrick stars in this rom-com for WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service, HBO Max. Each season will focus on one character’s quest for love, while each episode within that season will be about a different relationship.

Raised By Wolves (TBD, HBO Max): Ridley Scott co-creates this sci-fi drama about two androids raising human children on a mysterious planet.

Tokyo Vice (TBD, HBO Max): Ansel Elgort plays an American journalist embedded in the Tokyo Vice police squad in this new series.

Gossip Girl (TBD, HBO Max): A reboot-sequel of the popular CW teen drama that ended in 2012.

Dr. Death (TBD, Peacock): Based on the hit podcast of the same name, Dr. Death follows the true story of a surgeon who left dozens of his patients either permanently maimed or dead.

Battlestar Galactica (TBD, Peacock): A reboot of Ronald D. Moore’s popular 2000s sci-fi series of the same name, this time developed by Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail.

Brave New World (TBD, Peacock): Alden Ehrenreich (Solo) stars in this series based on the dystopian novel by Aldous Huxley.

Rutherford Falls (TBD, Peacock): A new comedy series from The Good Place creator Mike Schur, starring Ed Helms as the denizen of a small New England town.

Saved by the Bell (TBD, Peacock): A reboot of the American sitcom of the same name about high school friends and their principal. Zack Morris (reprised by Mark-Paul Gosselaar) is now the governor of California. What?

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