After the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged movie theaters and studios in 2020, and continues to wreak havoc amid a global winter surge in cases, the industry is counting on hope. Hope that bold, controversial new streaming strategies will work; that anticipated long-shelved titles can get the rollouts they deserve; that the theatrical model will make a grand return in the summer, with the worst of the virus behind us. A lot remains unsure, but there's one thing we know: The movies are there.
Over the next two weeks, we'll be posting special preview stories of more than two dozen of the below films every day, from exclusive trailers and photos to interviews with A-list actors and filmmakers. But to start we present our list of the movies we can't wait to see. Some of these releases may very well change; others aren't nailed down yet, but EW can report they'll hit by the middle of this year, our cutoff for this preview.
Check out the listings below.
This month, EW is offering exclusive looks at more than two dozen of 2021's most anticipated movies. Check out more of our preview here.
With the Oscars and Golden Globes pushing eligibility for their 2021 awards into the end of February, to accommodate for pandemic-caused delays and strategy shifts, the normally barren months of January and February will be stocked with premieres of awards contenders. Here are the 10 we're most eagerly awaiting.
CHERRY: Apple TV+'s big unseen contender, adapted from Nico Walker's novel of the same name, comes from The Russo Brothers and stars Tom Holland and Ciara Bravo. (In theaters Feb. 26, streaming on Apple TV+ March 12)
FRENCH EXIT: Michelle Pfeiffer plays a wealthy widow who flees to Paris with her adult son (Lucas Hedges) in Azazel Jacobs' quirky comedy-drama. (In theaters Feb. 12)
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH: Shaka King's bold and buzzy new drama stars Daniel Kaluuya as the charismatic Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, and LaKeith Stanfield as William O'Neal, an FBI informant posing as a member of the party. (In theaters and streaming on HBO Max Feb. 12)
MALCOLM & MARIE: Euphoria creator Sam Levinson shot this black-and-white two-hander, starring Zendaya and John David Washington as a romantic couple at odds, last spring, while the rest of Hollywood was shut down, lending it some extra intrigue. (Streaming on Netflix Feb. 5)
THE MAURITANIAN: Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald (One Day in September, The Last King of Scotland) examines the true story of a Guantánamo Bay prisoner (played by Tahar Rahim) held for years without being charged, and the lawyers (played by Jodie Foster, Shailene Woodley, and Benedict Cumberbatch) vying to get him his day in court. (Out Feb. 19)
PIECES OF A WOMAN: Vanessa Kirby collected raves for her turn in this heavy drama out of its premiere at Venice; as a woman experiencing a particular, agonizing form of grief, the Crown alum is a formidable Best Actress contender. (Streaming on Netflix Jan. 7)
SUPERNOVA: Awards veterans Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth reunite as a longtime couple in this quiet, heartbreaking British drama, directed by Hinterland's Harry Macqueen. (In theaters Jan. 29, available on-demand Feb. 16)
TWO OF US: For those looking for a little more Euro fare in their Oscar contenders, France's 2021 entry for Best International Film, about two older women who've been lovers for decades, should do the trick. (In theaters Feb. 5)
THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY: Grammy-nominated musical artist Andra Day is set to make a major movie debut with her transformation into Billie Holiday, in the Lee Daniels biopic costarring Trevante Rhodes, Natasha Lyonne, and more. (Release TBD)
THE WHITE TIGER: Ramin Bahrani's epic adaptation of the Booker Prize-winning novel introduces a major discovery in leading man Adarsh Gourav, and also features Priyanka Chopra Jonas in a rich supporting role. (Streaming on Netflix Jan. 22)
These 10 tentpoles' long journey to the screen may not be over yet (don't expect all of these dates to stick!), but we're getting closer.
BLACK WIDOW: Scarlett Johansson is donning the sleek catsuit one last time. Black Widow gets her solo film in a stunt-heavy, pre-Endgame-set caper that reunites Natasha with fellow assassins (Rachel Weisz and Florence Pugh). (In theaters May 7)
CINDERELLA: Camila Cabello as the Disney princess, with Billy Porter as the fairy godparent? Kay Cannon's musically-driven spin on the fairy tale has us very intrigued. (Out this winter)
THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT: The third installment in the critically acclaimed, widely popular horror franchise brings paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson) a new story of terror, murder, and "unknown evil." (In theaters and on HBO Max June 4)
CRUELLA: Emma Stone takes on a reimagined version of the classic Dalmatians villain, with Emma Thompson, Paul Walter Hauser, and more along for the ride. (In theaters May 28)
F9: The ninth Fast & Furious film will ride into theaters this spring, with Vin Diesel et al. in tow, after several delays. (In theaters May 28)
GODZILLA VS. KONG: One of the biggest movies to get a streaming premiere, Warner Bros. will ensure the latest chapter in the epic monster-movie series gets a wide audience. (In theaters and on HBO Max May 21)
NO TIME TO DIE: Daniel Craig can't truly put the suit away until his (supposedly) final Bond movie sees the light of day. Well, amid eye-popping reports regarding the film's studio MGM, he may soon get the chance: The tentpole is, as of now, only a few months away. (In theaters April 2)
A QUIET PLACE: PART II: John Krasinski is back behind the camera for the sequel to his chilling horror breakout, with Emily Blunt returning to her SAG Award-winning role, once more largely silent. (In theaters April 23)
VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE: One of the last big films to complete production before the pandemic hit last spring, the Venom sequel should find Tom Hardy back in his menacingly anti-hero mode. (Out this summer)
And stay tuned for more on lots of these titles.
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