Sound-sensitive aliens are back on the rampage in A Quiet Place Part II, and Lin-Manuel Miranda brings his musical In the Heights to the big screen Black Widow is a stand-alone adventure for Scarlett Johansson’s first female Avenger, while Hugh Jackman stars in new sci-fi drama Reminiscence
The summer of 2020 is sure to go down as one of the most bizarre in movie-going history, in large part because hardly anyone went to the movies.
The global pandemic saw cinemas closed for much of the year, forcing Hollywood studios to pull their biggest titles from the schedule. With the exception of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet
, followed by Disney’s Soul
and the superhero movie Wonder Woman 1984
at Christmas, 2020 was pretty much devoid of big-budget tentpole releases.
A year on and most of those expensive, effects-heavy blockbusters remain unreleased. Some titles, like Tom Cruise’s high-flying sequel Top Gun: Maverick, the Paul Rudd-fronted Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and action prequel The King’s Man have set their sights on the November/December holiday window, while Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile and animated follow-up Minions: Rise of Gru are holding out until 2022.
With cinemas around the world starting to reopen for the first time in months, most of 2020’s intended big-hitters must now vie for the attention, and summer dollars, of an understandably apprehensive public alongside 2021’s own crop of new releases. Here are 15 films – new and not quite as new as they once were – that we’re still excited to see this summer (opening dates are for Hong Kong).
1. A Quiet Place Part II
One of the first casualties of last year’s lockdown, the long-awaited sequel
to actor-turned-director John Krasinski’s 2018 sci-fi horror hit
is back on track to terrorise the summer crowds.
This time, Emily Blunt’s plucky survivor must guide her two young children beyond the safety of their remote farmstead and into a world ravaged by sound-sensitive aliens. (Opens June 10)
2. Spiral: From the Book of Saw
Comedian Chris Rock delivers a rare dramatic turn as a world-weary cop investigating a series of murders eerily reminiscent of the notorious Jigsaw Killer.
Expect twists and turns aplenty in this latest instalment of the long-running Saw franchise, as well as a parade of deadly games that challenge their victims to examine their own dark morality. (Opens June 10)
3. Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard
Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson re-team for this explosive sequel to their surprise comedy hitThe Hitman’s Bodyguard , with Salma Hayek back as the eponymous spouse of Jackson’s deadly assassin.
Watch the trio bicker and wisecrack their way across Europe, while causing untold carnage as they go toe-to-toe with Antonio Banderas’ master criminal. (Opens June 17)
4. In the Heights
Lin-Manuel Miranda, the brains behind Broadway smash Hamilton, brings his earlier musical hit to the big screen.
Centring on a vibrant Dominican community in New York, it follows the dreams and romances of numerous individuals and the plight of their Washington Heights neighbourhood. The combination of Miranda’s infectious rhymes and direction from Step Up’s Jon M. Chu should be intoxicating.
Pixar follows up the Oscar-winning success of Soul with this fantastical tale of two young friends on the Italian Riviera, who are secretly sea monsters on a break from their ocean home.
Jacob Tremblay and Jack Dylan Grazer headline an impressive voice cast for this Mediterranean adventure that promises to at least dip a toe into classical Roman mythology. (Opens June 24)
6. Black Widow
It took forever for Marvel to give the green light to this stand-alone adventure for Scarlett Johansson’s first female Avenger, and now its release is proving equally elusive.
Scarlett Johansson (left) and Florence Pugh in Black Widow. Photo: Marvel Studios
Over a year after its originally scheduled opening, fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe can finally see the former Russian assassin head home for a family reunion that quickly escalates into a global catastrophe. (Opens July 7)
7. Space Jam: A New Legacy
Twenty five years after Michael Jordan teamed up with the Looney Tunes, LeBron James takes to the court in this live-action/animated follow-up.
King James, as himself, is sucked into a virtual world known as the Serververse, where he must join forces with Bugs, Daffy and the gang to win an all-or-nothing basketball tournament to save his son. (Opens July 15)
8. Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins
After wooing audiences as the romantic lead in Crazy Rich Asians , British-Malaysian actor Henry Golding turns his hand to the action genre, adopting the mantle of the iconic G.I. Joe commando.
Andrew Koji, Samara Weaving and Indonesian martial artist Iko Uwais also star in the film that charts the origins of the katana-wielding warrior. (Opens July 22)
9. Jungle Cruise
Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt set off down the Amazon in search of a legendary healing tree in Disney’s period action spectacular that hopes to prove that Pirates of the Caribbean wasn’t a fluke and you really can make a successful movie out of a theme park ride. Only time will tell, assuming this long-delayed movie ever appears. (Opens July 29)
10. The Suicide Squad
After assembling an eccentric band of misfits for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy films, James Gunn heads to DC for this kinda sorta sequel to David Ayer’sSuicide Squad(2016).
Margot Robbie, Viola Davis and Joel Kinnaman return, alongside a roster of some of the comic book world’s most demented villains, including King Shark voiced by Sylvester Stallone. (Opens August 5)
11. Free Guy
Ryan Reynolds stars as a non-player character in a violent, open-world video game who begins to question if there isn’t more to his passive, meaningless life, and teams up with Jodie Comer’s take-charge avatar in a bid to become a hero. Shawn Levy directs this high-octane blend of Groundhog Day, The Truman Show and Ready Player One . (Opens August 12)
The Inception vibe is strong in Hugh Jackman’s new sci-fi drama, the brainchild of first-time writer-director and Westworld showrunner Lisa Joy. Jackman plays a purveyor of memories in a near-future society, whose new lover (Rebecca Ferguson) is implicated in a series of violent crimes. Mind-bending, reality-shifting shenanigans are almost certainly on the cards. (Opens August 26)
In a summer packed with horror films, perhaps none is more anticipated than Nia DaCosta and Jordan Peele’s reimagining of this 1990s cult classic.Aquaman star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II plays an artist who stumbles upon the nightmarish urban legend of the Candyman, while original star Tony Todd again takes up the mantle of the hook-handed supernatural killer. (Opens August 26)
14. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Hong Kong movie legend Tony Leung Chiu-wai secures his place in the MCU as supervillain The Mandarin, original mentor of Marvel’s first Asian superhero, Shang-Chi.
Canadian actor Simu Liu takes the title role, opposite Awkwafina and Michelle Yeoh in a martial arts spectacular that details the character’s origins and his ties to the notorious Ten Rings crime syndicate. (Opens September 2)
15. Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Tom Hardy returns as the Jekyll & Hyde-like abomination in this darkly comic superhero sequel to the 2018 hit.
Directed by performance-capture pioneer Andy Serkis, the film promises a gleefully schizophrenic performance from Hardy, an equally deranged adversary in Woody Harrelson’s Carnage, and furthers the argument that Sony’s Spider-verse has got legs with or without Peter Parker. (Opens September 23)