Seems that we as a people didn’t quite realize how badly we’d miss going to the movies during the year-and-change of COVID-19. Things are changing, though, and, as theaters like Violet Crown reopen to the public and streaming services like HBO Max and Disney+ continue to lock down movies that would previously have only become available in our homes months after release, Hollywood continues to churn out cinema gold (and lead and, frankly, all points in between). We know New Mexicans will surely lean hard into the great outdoors this summer, and that’s wonderful, but for the pasty types, the nerds, the goths, the tranqs, zipheads and lobos—start your cinema planning now with this look at upcoming releases, some of which will reportedly (and hopefully) open in real-life theaters. Some are exciting in a good way. Some in a cheesy way. Some just are. Just note that release dates can and do change, and nobody can promise health orders won’t be in flux. For now, though, here’s what we know.
Cruella (May 28, PG-13)
In Disney’s never-ending campaign to eschew original thought by transforming properties it already owns into highfalutin complicated messes of visual flair and narrative disaster, find this year’s Cruella on the list. Starring Emma “I once played an Asian woman for some baffling reason” Stone, the movie follows a young Cruella De Vil in the lead up to her becoming a would-be dalmatian slaughtering maniac. This one’s reportedly coming to theaters, but will at least be on Disney+—probably with that $30 surcharge they tack on for newer releases.
A Quiet Place Part II (May 28, PG-13)
John Krasinski returns to the writer/director’s chair with the sequel to his surprisingly fun 2018 film A Quiet Place. As you can tell, Mr. K has been clever in the title department, and the follow-up continues its focus on the Abbots, a family living in a world destroyed by monsters who can’t see for shit but can hear, like, SO well. Emily Blunt takes the lead on this one with Cillian Murphy (Peaky Blinders) and Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of the Galaxy) tagging along in some capacity. We also see Krasinski on the IMBd cast list, so maybe his character isn’t as dead as we thought? Possible spoiler: They win, I bet.
Samaritan (June 4, Not yet rated, but probably PG-13; maybe R)
Those who would trash Sylvester Stallone probably never saw Copland, but either way—the Italian Stallion is back with Samaritan, yet another “twist” on the superhero genre. In the film, a young boy discovers that a superhero thought lost or killed or whatever might not be lost or killed or whatever. Martin Starr (Silicon Valley) is in this, too, so maybe it’ll be OK?
In the Heights (June 11, PG-13)
Lin-Manuel Miranda, who created a little show called Hamilton that you’ve probably never heard about, goes full-on real-life movie with his one-time stage musical In the Heights. The tale of a New York City bodega owner who just plain wants a better life, the movie version has a pretty stacked cast and was directed by Crazy Rich Asians filmmaker Jon M. Chu. Expect spectacle and tears and probably a few musical bits to which you could flawlessly sing Hamilton lyrics!
America: The Motion Picture (June 30, Not yet rated, but probably TV-MA)
Netflix continues its quest to be the service that makes you think “What the hell is that?” with America: The Motion Picture, an animated affair from director Matt Thompson about the American Revolution. This one’s got the yuks, though, as George Washington (voice of Channing Tatum) packs a chainsaw to fight ye olde British and folks like Simon Pegg, Judy Greer, Killer Mike and Amber Nash come along for the ride. Expect to be all like “Well, that probably didn’t happen that way, historically speaking!”
Black Widow (July 9, PG-13)
Here in the year of our lord 2021 do we finally get a non-Wonder Woman lady-led comic book movie, this time with the Avengers’ Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). Marvel/Disney is digging into the Russian assassin’s past this time out, including ties to characters like Red Guardian (Stranger Things’ David Harbour) and other hangers-on played by Florence Pugh (Midsommar) and Rachel Weisz (The Favourite). If you’ve ever seen a Marvel movie, it’ll be like that, and if you recall what we said about that extra Disney+ new release charge, it’ll also probably be like that.
Space Jam: A New Legacy (July 16, Not yet rated, but probably PG; maybe PG-13)
The somehow long-awaited sequel to the movie your friends all lie about loving because they don’t actually remember how bad it was, this “new” take on the basketball-star-somehow-joins-cartoons-for-basketball narrative finds LeBron James somehow joining cartoons for basketball. There will be riffs for adults and tired jokes for kids. If you’re a parent—brace yourself.
The Green Knight (July 30, R)
The inimitable Dev Patel returns to the big screen alongside Alicia “Tomb Raider” Vikander and Joel “Umm...Who?” Edgerton for a retelling of the legend of Sir Gawain. Who the heck is that, you ask? Well, according to Arthurian legend, he was the nephew of King Arthur and did a bunch of knight stuff under the moniker Gwalchmei, so you might call him an early kind of superhero. British/Welsh/sword stuff abounds in this one from Pete’s Dragon director David Lowery.
The Suicide Squad (August 6, Not yet rated, but probably PG-13)
Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn joins the DC side of the endless comic book movie onslaught with the bafflingly titled followup to 2016′s Suicide Squad. If you don’t know, this series focuses on baddies who have to be goodies because what good is it being bad if there’s no good Earth on which to be bad? International treasure Margot Robbie reprises her Harley Quinn role while Michael Rooker, John Cena, Idris Elba and other international treasure Taika Waititi come along for the ride. Bet it’ll feel just like Guardians and have a few crass jokes, a few moments of emotional clarity and that DC movie universe bummer feel.
Free Guy (August 13, Not yet rated, but probably PG-13; maybe R)
Ryan Reynolds is Guy, an everyday bank teller who suddenly realizes he’s actually a non-playable character in a Grand Theft Auto-style video game and decides he wants more out of “life.” What does this mean for the non-gamers? Well, he’s basically background immersion material, the kind of in-game asset you don’t really think about and whom you probably wouldn’t want becoming sentient. It sounds pretty bogus, but Taika Waititi is in this one, too, so maybe at least give it a chance?
Candyman (August 27, R)
Normally the thought of yet another remake/reboot/retelling/really tired take on an already-existent property sounds tiresome, but with Jordan Peele on co-writing duty with Little Woods director/writer Nia DaCosta, who also directs here, maybe this so-called spiritual successor to the 1992 horror flick might be worth it. Details are a little scarce, but from what we’ve found, the story takes place in present-day Chicago where gentrification is every bit as scary as a supernatural beard of bees. If you don’t get that reference, maybe go into your bathroom and say “Candyman” into the mirror five times.