Anticipated movies of 2021

Hannah Owens Pierre, staff writer

No one needs any reminders that 2020 was a wild year—unprecedented, even, one could say—but for movie fans that sentiment rings especially true. The beginning of 2020 held great promises, with the sequel to “A Quiet Place,” the sequel to “Ghostbusters,” and Daniel Craig’s last appearance as the titular James Bond character all slated to release. In the end, not one hit the big screen. COVID-19 caused theatres around the nation to shut down, pushing almost every major movie’s release date back and bolstering streaming platforms more than ever before. 

A new year has begun, though, and with it comes hope for a more regular stream of movies. Just recently Minnesota Governor Tim Walz loosened restrictions on indoor venues such as fitness clubs, restaurants, and yes, movie theatres, prompting both AMC Southdale and Landmark’s Lagoon Cinema to announce their reopening on Jan. 15. 

While much uncertainty remains as to how the future of filmmaking will operate, especially after Warner Bros. announced that all of their 2021 releases will come out on HBO Max on the same day as theatres, the time has come to look forward to the most anticipated movies that are planned to release in 2021. Notice that “Fast and Furious 9” is missing from this list—hopefully, that will send a message to Universal Pictures to finally let the franchise die. 


“Malcolm & Marie”

Release Date: Feb. 5

Where: Netflix

The fact that Sam Levinson, creator of teen drama “Europhia,” wrote the entire screenplay for the black-and-white drama “Malcolm & Marie” in a total of six days, then went on to shoot the movie in under a month during the COVID-19 lockdown is reason enough to put this movie on your list. Another good one is the fact that it stars Zendaya and John David Washington as a couple contemplating their relationship.  


“Judas and the Black Messiah”

Release Date: Feb. 12

Where: HBO Max and theatres 

“Judas and the Black Messiah” features Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield, two actors known for their roles in Jordan Peele’s critically acclaimed directorial debut “Get Out.” The biopic is based on Fred Hampton’s life as the deputy chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party and the subsequent infiltration of the group by William O’Neal, an FBI informant. Set to premiere at Sundance Film Festival, the movie has already been labeled as an Oscar contender. 


“To All The Boys: Always and Forever”

Release Date: Feb. 21

Where: Netflix

Noah Centineo has made quite a name for himself by playing the same character in 20 different movies. He’s also made a name for himself as a talented speechwriter and proclaimer of the words: “It matters not what you’ve done but what you do with what you’ve done for others.” Internet sensation or not, the first two installments of the “To All The Boys” franchise were well received by critics and audiences, sparking high hopes for the third and final film. Centering around the end of Lara Jean’s high school career as she contemplates her future relationship with Peter, “To All The Boys: Always and Forever” will join a select crew of only two other Netflix original films to receive a trilogy.


“No Time To Die”

Release Date: April 2 

Where: Theatres 

The 25th James Bond film will be Dainel Craig’s last hurray as the famous secret agent 007. It’s been a long time since Billie Eilish came out with her adaption of the theme song, but hopefully, it won’t go to waste. Rami Malek, who won Best-Actor at the Oscars, plays the villain in this spy film, the leader of a terrorist organization armed with advanced technology. 


“A Quiet Place Part II”

Release Date: April 23

Where: Theatres 

It’s hard to imagine how the sequel to “A Quiet Place” will manage building tension in a story where the problem has already been thoroughly explained, but given the immense success of the first film, writer and director John Krasinski is sure to make it work. Starring the same family as the last one, portrayed by Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe, “A Quiet Place Part II” picks off right where the original left us: in the midst of a dystopian nightmare in which the only hope at survival is to stay silent. 


“Black Widow”

Release Date: May 7

Where: Theatres 

Two years after Marvel (spoiler alert) decided to kill off the character of Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson returns to give the character a prequel that will simultaneously serve as the first entry in the fourth phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film takes place in the aftermath of “Captain America: Civil War,” when Natasha Romanoff is confronted with secrets from her past. Joining her is a family made up of famous actors David Harbour, Florence Pugh, and Rachel Weisz.


“Ghostbusters: Afterlife”

Release Date: June 11

Where: Theatres

The world may never forget the 2016 reboot of “Ghostbusters.” Its critics won’t, at least, considering that the trailer for the all-female lead movie was at one point the most disliked video on YouTube. But Jason Reitman, director of “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” has, and his 2021 reboot of the classic 1984 film has nothing to do with that installment. Known for directing the popular coming of age film “Juno,” Reitman is potentially the perfect man to take up the task, seeing as his father was the director of the original “Ghostbusters.” While the trailer for “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” indicates that it will likely have a different tone and style from its predecessors, the film is set to include notable cameos from Billy Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson. Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, J.K. Simmons, and Paul Rudd (who never seems to age), are among the new faces in the franchise. 



Release Date: June 30

Where: Theatres

Produced by seemingly every movie fan’s favorite movie company, A24, “Zola” is perhaps the first movie to be based on a Twitter thread. Not just any Twitter thread, either, but a 148-tweet long one, and filled with more surprises than one may believe could ever happen in real life. “Zola” is the biographical story of a waitress named Zola who meets a sex worker at her job and agrees to go on a road trip with her that quickly devolves into chaos. 


“Venom: Let There Be Carnage”

Release Date: June 25

Where: Theatres 

The follow up to “Venom,” a superhero-slash-dark-comedy movie that showed potential in witty dialogue and a talented cast, yet ultimately wasted that potential on an incredibly messy plot, “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” features Woody Harrelson playing the villainous serial killer Carnage alongside the return of Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock. As heavily implied, the sequel will feature a lot more death and gore than the first film, with speculations that it may even be rated R, as many fans expressed regret towards the PG-13 rating of the original. Among these rumors, there is also heavy suggestion that the movie is leading up to a Marvel Cinematic Universe crossover. 


“Space Jam: A New Legacy”

Release Date: July 16

Where: HBO Max and theatres 

While it initially received poor reviews from critics, the original “Space Jam” was a box office hit, and in the years that followed went on to gain a cult following. Before its release, no one had ever planned to see a live-action animated sports film about post-retirement Michael Jordan teaming up with the Looney Tunes to take down aliens seeking to enslave the world. “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” though it doesn’t feature Michael Jordan or Danny Devito, seeks to remake the magic of the 1996 film with LeBron James taking up a lead role alongside Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes gang in a similarly cataclysmic plot. 


“The Suicide Squad” 

Release Date: Aug. 6

Where: HBO Max and theatres

After the absymal failure of 2016’s “Suicide Squad,” Warner Bros. Pictures went through over ten different writers and directors for the planned sequel before finally securing James Gunn, who was fired from directing “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” in 2018, to write and direct. Given the amount of trouble that has gone into producing “The Suicide Squad,” which is meant to serve as a soft reboot to the original supervillian team-up, we can only hope it will live up to Gunn’s high expectations. While most of the original cast is set to return, including Margot Robbie as the beloved Harley Quinn, a set of newcomers is also expected to join the cast, with Pete Davidson and John Cena playing important roles. 



Release Date: Aug. 27

Where: Theatres

Jordan Peele is a jack of all trades. Though he began his career in Hollywood as a comedian, more recently he has achieved filmmaking fame for writing and directing innovative horror films “Get Out” and “Us.” While Peele is not directing “Candyman,” the sequel to the 1992 supernatural horror movie of the same name, he is a co-writer of the screenplay and producer. The original “Candyman” follows the ghost of the son of a slave who was murdered for being in an interracial relationship and returns from the dead to haunt the neighborhood where his ashes were scattered. Just make sure not to say his name five times. 



Release Date: Oct. 1

Where: HBO Max and theatres 

Dennis Villeneuve has made a name for himself by directing movies such as “Blade Runner 2049” and “Arrival.” This year, he returns for another visually stunning sci-fi movie by taking on the highly anticipated re-adaptation of “Dune.” Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, and Oscar Isaac are already being praised for performances that are only displayed in one trailer, so hopefully the script will do the famous science fiction novel it is based on justice. 


“The Matrix 4”

Release Date: Dec. 22

Where: HBO Max and theatres

The Matrix franchise has been going on for a long time—since 1999, in fact—and it seems like it will keep going that way for a while, as Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss return to play the well-known characters of Neo and Trinity in the fourth installment of the franchise. This time around, Neil Patrick Harris, Jonathan Groff, and Jessica Henwick will also be joining the cast in this action-filled sci-fi film, which is yet to reveal any secrets regarding the plot. 


“The French Dispatch”

Release Date: TBD 

Where: Theatres

“The French Dispatch” has been called the most Wes Anderson of all Wes Anderson movies, and it’s a mystery as to whether or not it will fulfill those high standards. Self-described as a “love letter to journalists” and set in a fictional French city, “The French Dispatch” stars Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Saoirse Ronan, and an entire list of famous actors.