The Most Anticipated Movies of 2020

Daniel Craig stars as James Bond in No Time to Die (2020).
Daniel Craig stars as James Bond in No Time to Die (2020).
Nicola Dove/© 2019 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

It’s officially 2020 and the box office is preparing for a new crop of superhero movies, sequels (some of them long overdue), live-action Disney remakes, and more. However, a big difference from 2019 is that more than five of these highly anticipated tentpole films will be directed by women, including women of color. While that number might not seem like a lot, considering that 2019’s Captain Marvel was the very first MCU film to be directed by a woman (or at least co-directed, with filmmaking partners Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck at the helm), it’s needle-moving progress.

Another thing that will be different in 2020: While January has historically been a dumping ground for less-than-stellar films, major releases like Bad Boys and Dolittle will duke it out for box office supremacy. From horror films and superhero flicks to long-awaited sequels and literary adaptations, here are more than two dozen of the year’s most anticipated movies.

The Grudge

Release date: January 3, 2020

A remake of an American film (2004) which was a remake of the Japanese film Ju-On (2002), the 2020 version of The Grudge may or may not follow the mythology of the previous two films and its sequels. This time around, Eyes of My Mother director Nicolas Pesce will step in for Takashi Shimizu, who directed both the original 2002 film and its first American remake.

Dolittle

Release date: January 17, 2020

Robert Downey Jr. is no stranger to playing eccentric men—or starring in big-budget films. Based on the fictional Doctor John Dolittle, the character at the center of Hugh Lofting’s children’s books, the film is a loose remake of 1998’s Dr. Dolittle, which starred Eddie Murphy. Downey Jr.’s a veterinarian who can communicate with animals. Thoughout his adventures, he encounters a number of humans (including Antonio Banderas and Michael Sheen) and CGI animals voiced by everyone from Emma Thompson to Rami Malek.

Bad Boys for Life

Release date: January 17, 2020

The last time we saw buddy cops Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) and Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) battling bad guys was in 2003’s Bad Boys II. Now, almost 25 years after the original film, the stars will reprise their roles for a third go-around. But Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbio will replace Michael Bay, who directed Bad Boys and its sequel, in the director’s chair.

Birds of Prey

Release date: February 7, 2020

Margot Robbie spins off her Suicide Squad superheroine Harley Quinn and joins an all-women team of butt-kickers. The film, based on the ‘90s comic book, will mark the eighth film in the DC Extended Universe. Keeping with the female theme, Cathy Yan directed and Christina Hodson wrote the script. In 2021, Warner Bros. is scheduled to release a Suicide Squad sequel.

Onward

Release date: March 6, 2020

Like so many other Pixar movies, their newest release features a bit of magic and will probably make you cry. Tom Holland and Chris Pratt voice elf brothers who attempt to bring their dead father back to life using a magical staff. Ali Wong, Lena Waithe, Octavia Spencer, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus also supply voices.

A Quiet Place Part II (2020)

Release date: March 20, 2020

Not to spoil the first A Quiet Place—which grossed an unexpected $340 million worldwide in 2018—but writer-director John Krasinski’s character Lee died at the end, leaving his wife Evelyn (played by Krasinski’s real-life wife, Emily Blunt) widowed and tasked with protecting their children, including deaf daughter Regan, in a world full of sound-sensitive monsters. In the sequel, the Abbotts will continue to navigate the dangerous world. Though Krasinski doesn’t act in the film, he will return as both its director and sole screenwriter.

Mulan (2020)

Release date: March 27, 2020

Disney will continue its animated-to-live-action streak in adapting the 1998 film about Hua Mulan, the legendary Chinese warrior who disguised herself as a man to take her father’s place in the Imperial Chinese Army. BAFTA-winning filmmaker Niki Caro (Whale Rider) writes and directs a cast that includes Jet Li and Liu Yifei as Mulan.

The New Mutants (2020)

Release date: April 3, 2020

The New Mutants is meant to be the 13th and last installment of the X-Men series and follows a group of young mutants—including Anya Taylor-Joy, Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams, and Charlie Heaton—as they try to escape from a secret facility.

No Time to Die (2020)

Release date: April 8, 2020

Daniel Craig will return for one final outing as Bond. James Bond. True Detective season 1’s Cary Joji Fukunaga directs, and Rami Malek plays Safin, the film’s Big Bad. Craig personally requested that Fleabag creator/star Phoebe Waller-Bridge come in and punch up the script, making her the second-ever female credited in writing a Bond script, so you know it’s going to be the funniest and most feminist Bond movie yet.

Black Widow (2020)

Release date: May 1, 2020

Avenger Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow will finally get her own standalone film. Cate Shortland directs the action-packed plot, which takes place after 2016’s Captain America: Civil War and deals with Romanoff and her Russian past. David Harbour, William Hurt, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, and Rachel Weisz are also along for the ride. Following 2019’s Captain Marvel, this is the second MCU film to revolve around a female superhero.

The Personal History of David Copperfield (2020)

Release date: May 8, 2020

The Thick of It and Veep creator Armando Iannucci directed and co-wrote this screenplay, which is based on Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield. Dev Patel, who plays Copperfield, joins Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Ben Whishaw, Gwendoline Christie, and Peter Capaldi in the period comedy.

Fast & Furious 9 (2020)

Release date: May 22, 2020

Since the release of the first Fast and Furious in 2001, the films have racked up more than $5 billion in box office receipts. Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, and more of the previous cast will reprise their roles alongside Michael Rooker, Cardi B, and John Cena. And next year expect the 10th one.

Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

Release date: June 5, 2020

If you can’t tell by the title, the movie will take place in glorious 1984. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman/Diana Prince will combat foe Cheetah, played by Kristen Wiig. Patty Jenkins, who became the first woman to helm a superhero film, returns as director and co-writer. If the $821 million worldwide success of 2017’s Wonder Women is any indication, the sequel is bound to also break records.

Candyman (2020)

Release date: June 12, 2020

Jordan Peele co-wrote and co-produced the upcoming “spiritual sequel” to the groundbreaking 1992 horror flick, and Nia DaCosta, who directed last year’s indie Little Woods, helms the film. Tony Todd will return as the creepy Candyman. It’s unclear if the sequel will have anything to do with Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh and Candyman: Day of the Dead. The events in the new Candyman surround the gentrified Cabrini-Green in modern-day Chicago. In real life, the city demolished most of Cabrini-Green’s buildings in 2011 and replaced them with a Target store.

In the Heights (2020)

Release date: June 26, 2020

Even before Lin-Manuel Miranda wowed the world with Hamilton, he had already established himself as a creative force with2005’s In the Heights, his first musical. Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu directs a cast that includes Miranda as well as Hamilton’s Anthony Ramos plus Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Marc Anthony, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Jimmy Smits, and Stephanie Beatriz.

Top Gun: Maverick (2020)

Release date: June 26, 2020

Thirty-four years after Top Gun, do audiences still have the need for speed? Tom Cruise will once again don aviator sunglasses and play hotshot Navy pilot Maverick. He finds himself training Goose’s son, played by Miles Teller. Jennifer Connelly replaces Kelly McGillis as the love interest, and Val Kilmer makes a cameo. If the trailer is any indication, expect more beach volleyball.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2020)

Release date: July 10, 2020

In the third Ghostbusters film—Paul Feig’s 2016’s female reboot doesn’t seem to count as far as canon is concerned—the characters leave New York City for the cornfields of Oklahoma. Something strange starts happening at a family’s farm, and it’s suggested that the family is related to Egon Spengler (the late Harold Ramis). Original Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman’s Oscar-nominated son, Jason, directs; Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, and original cast members Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd, Annie Potts, and Ernie Hudson star.

Tenet (2020)

Release date: July 17, 2020

After 2017’s war film Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan will return to his layered mind-bending roots with Tenet. Robert Pattison and John David Washington star as secret agents who may or may not be time travelers and who might have to prevent World War III. Nolan’s frequent collaborator Michael Caine is in it, too.

Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)

Release date: August 21, 2020

It’s been almost 30 years since Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves played slacker musicians William “Bill” Preston, Esquire and Ted Logan, respectively, on screen. The guys now have daughters: Billie (Atypical’s Brigette Lundy-Paine) and Thea (Ready or Not’s Samara Weaving). Bill and Ted are tasked with coming up with a song that will save humanity, and we bet they’ll do it justice.

The Many Saints of Newark (2020)

Release date: September 25, 2020

In the prequel to The Sopranos, James Gandolfini’s son Michael plays a younger version of Tony Soprano. The awards season film is set in the 1960s and ‘70s and will show Tony’s upbringing, including his relationship with his parents (played by Jon Bernthal and Vera Farmiga). David Chase co-wrote the script and Alan Taylor, a regular director on the series, will direct.

Last Night in Soho (2020)

Release date: September 25, 2020

Edgar Wright’s follow-up to 2017’s Baby Driver sounds nothing like the action comedy. The original concept, co-written by Wright and Krysty Wilson-Cairns, is a British psychological thriller in the vein of Don’t Look Now. It’s set in London in the 1960s and has a time travel element to it. Matt Smith, Anya Taylor-Joy, Diana Rigg, and Terence Stamp co-star.

Halloween Kills (2020)

Release date: October 16, 2020

Fact: Michael Myers will never die, or at least not yet. Because Halloween 2018 was so successful—it had the highest opening weekend starring a female over 55—David Gordon Green and Danny McBride signed on for the sequel and Halloween Ends (no it won’t), which will be released in 2021. In Kills, Anthony Michael Hall and Kyle Richards join the cast, and Jamie Lee Curtis and Judy Greer will be back.

The Witches (2020)

Release date: October 16, 2020

Yes, Hollywood remade The Witches, 20 years after its release. Based on Roald Dahl’s book, the 2020 version moves from 1980s England to 1960s Alabama. Robert Zemeckis directs and Black-ish creator and Girls Trip scribe Kenya Barris writes the script. Anne Hathaway replaces Anjelica Huston as the Grand High Witch, and Stanley Tucci, Octavia Spencer, and Chris Rock also star.

Eternals (2020)

Release date: November 6, 2020

With Eternals, Marvel will try to jumpstart a new franchise within the MCU. The comic book adaptation features a race of immortal humanoids known as Eternals. The Rider’s Chloé Zhao will direct Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, a very buff Kumail Nanjiani, Kit Harington, Richard Madden, and Gemma Chan.

Godzilla vs. Kong (2020)

Release date: November 20, 2020

This will mark Hollywood’s first remake of the 1962 Japanese film King Kong vs. Godzilla and the first time the two monsters will star in an American movie together. Who will win? The film is a sequel to 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters and 2017’s Kong: Skull Island. Millie Bobby Brown, Alexander Skarsgård, Kyle Chandler, and Brian Tyree Henry star, while The Guest’s Adam Wingard directs.

Dune (2020)

Release date: December 18, 2020

In 1984, David Lynch took a stab at adapting Frank Herbert’s complex sci-fi novel Dune, but the film bombed at the box office. In the 1970s, avant-garde director Alejandro Jodorowsky attempted to produce a 14-hour version of the novel, but he ran out of money; he chronicled his failure in the 2013 documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune. However, Denis Villeneuve finally figured out a way to maybe successfully adapt it from page to screen. Timothée Chalamet will play Paul Atreides and stars alongside Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Zendaya, and sandworms.

Coming 2 America (2020)

Release date: December 18, 2020

The last time audiences saw Prince Akeem Joffer of Zamunda was in 1988’s hit Coming to America. Eddie Murphy will return as the prince, and so will Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, Shari Headley, and John Amos. In the sequel, Prince Akeem discovers he has a son in America (played by Jermaine Fowler) and must return to America to find him. Dolemite Is My Name director Craig Brewer directs, and Wesley Snipes, Tracy Morgan, and Leslie Jones also appear,

Friday’s Best Amazon Deals Include Digital Projectors, Ugly Christmas Sweaters, and Speakers

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As a recurring feature, our team combs the web and shares some amazing Amazon deals we’ve turned up. Here’s what caught our eye today, December 4. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Good luck deal hunting!

10 Fascinating Facts About Samuel L. Jackson

SUHAIMI ABDULLAH/GETTY IMAGES
SUHAIMI ABDULLAH/GETTY IMAGES

If you watch enough movies, you’re bound to spot Samuel L. Jackson. The 71-year-old star (he'll turn 72 on December 21, 2020) is one of the most prolific actors in Hollywood, appearing in Oscar-winning films like Pulp Fiction (1994) as well as blockbuster franchises like Jurassic Park, Star Wars, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. From his background as an activist to the origin of his R-rated catchphrase, here are some things you should know about the Oscar-nominated actor.

1. Swearing helped Samuel L. Jackson manage his stutter.

Jamie McCarthy, Getty Images

Before he was one of Hollywood's most accomplished actors, Samuel L. Jackson had trouble speaking in front of others. He was bullied for his stutter as a child, and he avoided talking in school for nearly a year because of it. He eventually took the initiative to treat the issue on his own by researching breathing techniques at the library. He also came up with a unique anchor word: motherf***er. The expletive that helped him manage his speech impediment would also become his professional calling card later in life.

2. Samuel L. Jackson was an usher at Martin Luther King, Jr.’s funeral.

The assassination of Martin Luther King on April 4, 1968 thrust a young Jackson into the Civil Rights Movement. Jackson, who was a sophomore at Morehouse College at the time, flew from Atlanta to Memphis a few days later to march in support of a garbage workers' strike. Back in Atlanta, he agreed to be an usher at MLK’s funeral when he heard they needed volunteers. In 2018, he wrote about the experience for The Hollywood Reporter, saying, “I remember seeing people like Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier. People that I thought I'd never see, let alone have a relationship with later on in life. The funeral was pretty much a blur.” He later staged a lock-in at his college that got him suspended.

3. Samuel L. Jackson almost became a marine biologist.

Jackson attended college in the 1960s with the intention of becoming a marine biologist. After he held the lock-in at Morehouse, he saw a performance by the Negro Ensemble Company that inspired him to pursue acting. When his suspension ended, he switched his major to drama and joined the theater group that inspired him.

4. Samuel L. Jackson was a stand-in on The Cosby Show.

Before he made it big in Hollywood, Jackson worked as a stand-in for Bill Cosby during tapings of the sitcom. "I was the right height, and I was the right skin tone," Jackson told Vulture in 2012 about the gig. "We did the blocking, while they did the camera choreography because it was a three-camera show. For two to three years, they would put his crazy sweaters on me."

5. Samuel L. Jackson's famous Jurassic Park line was inspired by another film.

Not long before he found a permanent place on Hollywood's A-list, Jackson played a small part in Jurassic Park (1993). John “Ray” Arnold wasn’t the star of the film, but he did say one of its more memorable lines: “Hold onto your butts.” Jurassic Park screenwriter David Koepp recently revealed that he borrowed the line from director Robert Zemeckis, who uttered it before watching reshoots of his film Death Becomes Her (1992).

6. Samuel L. Jackson asked for a purple lightsaber in the Star Wars prequels.

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Jackson is such a big Star Wars fan that he immediately accepted the role of Jedi Mace Windu when George Lucas offered it to him. He did, however, make one request regarding the part: He wanted a purple lightsaber. Traditionally, lightsabers come in green for Jedi and red for Sith, but Lucas reluctantly agreed to make an exception for Mace Windu in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002). Jackson recounted the origins of his unique weapon on The Graham Norton Show: “We had this big arena, this fight scene with all these Jedi and they’re fighting or whatever. And I was like, well s***, I want to be able to find myself in this big ol’ scene. So I said to George, ‘You think maybe I can get a purple lightsaber?’”

7. Samuel L. Jackson is the highest grossing actor of all time.

Samuel L. Jackson has appeared in more than 150 movies, including blockbuster franchises like Star Wars and several of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including The Avengers series. So it’s not surprising that the actor has earned the distinction of being Hollywood’s highest-grossing actor. The combined box office earnings of all his films—which includes Avengers: Endgame, the biggest money-maker of all time—add up to more than $13 billion worldwide.

8. Samuel L. Jackson has his own wig consultant.

Jackson is bald in real life, but he has sported many iconic hairstyles over the course of his movie career. His ‘dos have become such a big part of his on-screen personas that he employs his own personal hair stylist and wig consultant. Robert L. Stevenson has used Jackson’s head as a canvas on dozens of films.

9. Samuel L. Jackson appears in Kill Bill Vol. 2.

After first collaborating with director Quentin Tarantino on Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown (1997), Jackson made a brief cameo in his Kill Bill series. The next time you watch Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004), pay close attention to Rufus the wedding piano player—he’s played by a familiar face.

10. You can hear Samuel L. Jackson on Amazon’s Alexa.

Jackson is known for his distinctive voice and colorful vocabulary. In 2019, the actor lent his vocal talents to Amazon’s Alexa. The Samuel L. Jackson Alexa option has many of the same capabilities as regular Alexa, including playing music, setting your alarm clock, and singing “Happy Birthday.” You can even let the feature use swear words for a more authentic experience.