As of today, South African cinemas are open again. And, as elsewhere in the world, film studios are scrambling to make up for around five months of lost screening time, thanks to shuttered movie houses across the globe. As Kervyn exhaustively listed back in May, this is what should have been on the big screen this year, as well as these films.
While a chunk of those titles have shifted out to 2021, the release schedule for the rest of 2020 is still packed. This even as cinemagoers grapple with the new review metric of “Is it good enough to risk my life, and the lives of my loved ones?” Then again, the siren’s song of overpriced popcorn and watered-down soft drinks that only cinemas can provide may be enough to boost confidence in strict new health and safety measures, and erase memories of that skin-crawling scene in Outbreak. *cough*
Anyway, release dates could easily still shift at this point, but here are some of the biggest movies to look forward to in the last four months of 2020.
Tenet, 28 August
The latest from filmmaker Christopher Nolan is a mysterious globe-trotting espionage tale with a twisty kinda-time travel element. Consider this one a spiritual successor to Inception. Starring John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Clement Poesy, Michael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh.
The New Mutants, 4 September
Even before COVID-19, The New Mutants had been plagued by reshoots and rescheduling, which is rarely a good sign. Don’t expect it to be good, but this comic book adaptation certainly looks intriguing, as it refreshes the X-Men universe with a mash-up of horror and young adult themes. Maisie Williams and Anya Taylor-Joy head up the teenage cast.
Mulan, 11 September
In the US, Mulan, Disney’s latest live-action adaptation of its animated films, will be available to watch on Disney+ at home for $29.99. South Africa is one of the regions where the film is getting a big screen release. Liu Yifei stars as the title character, a legendary Chinese heroine who disguised herself as a man to go to war against Mongolian invaders. Just don’t expect wisecracking dragons and a love interest in this ultra-respectful-to-China take.
The King’s Man, 25 September
A prequel to Kingsman, and the third entry in the Kingsman series, loosely based on the Mark Millar comic. This time, audiences are taken back to the founding days of the well-mannered private intelligence agency, circa WWI. No Colin Firth and Taron Egerton, but the all-star cast includes Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans, Matthew Goode, Tom Hollander, Daniel Brühl, Djimon Hounsou, and Charles Dance.
Wonder Woman 1984, 02 October
Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) returns in her long-awaited second solo outing, and this time the Amazonian princess is facing 80s greed and a new set of iconic enemies – in the form of slimy businessman Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) and friend-turned-foe Cheetah (Kristen Wiig). Expect the sequel to be a big departure from the first WWI-set superhero film; closer to the George Perez comics of the 1980s instead.
Antebellum, 16 October
During Halloween month, two weeks before the Candyman reboot comes out, is this other horror film with Black Lives Matters significance. Successful author Veronica Henley (Janelle Monáe) finds herself trapped in a horrifying reality, where she’s evidently a slave on a pre-Civil War cotton plantation. She must uncover the mind-bending mystery of what’s really happening before it’s too late.
Death on the Nile, 23 October
This sequel to 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express is as star studded as they come. In addition to Kenneth Branagh returning as Agatha Christie’s moustachioed sleuth Hercule Poirot (Branagh is back in the director’s chair as well), the cast includes Annette Bening, Russell Brand, Ali Fazal, Dawn French, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Rose Leslie, Jennifer Saunders and Letitia Wright. This time the murder mystery unfolds on a luxurious Nile paddle steamer.
Black Widow, 06 November
Representing the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2020 is the first solo film (finally!) for Natasha Romanoff, AKA Black Widow. Facing the mistakes of her past as a covert Russian assassin, as well as deadly enemy Taskmaster, Natasha reunites with her unconventional “family,” played by Florence Pugh, David Harbour and Rachel Weisz. In case you’re wondering where Black Widow slots on the MCU timeline, it’s set after Captain America: Civil War.
No Time To Die, 27 November
The final outing for Daniel Craig as James Bond hits cinemas seven months later than originally planned, but it’s finally here. Continuing on the story from Spectre, with True Detective’s Cary Fukunaga directing, No Time to Die pits the ex-007 against Rami Malek’s Safin. Will this be a good Bond or a bad one? Given the alternating quality of the Craig series, this should be a standout for the right reasons.
Dune, 18 December
Let the hype spice flow! We’re still waiting for a trailer (UPDATE: It’s officially dropping on 9 September!), but the first part of Denis Villeneuve’s highly anticipated big screen Dune adaptation remains on track for a 2020 release. It’s been thirty-six years since David Lynch’s uneven but cultishly popular take on Frank Herbert’s sci-fi epic. With the director of Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 behind the camera this time, we’re due something special. Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Zendaya, and Dave Bautista are just some of the big names in the cast.
This is just a selection of high-profile cinema releases in the next few months. The Coming Soon section on Ster Kinekor’s website currently extends all the way to October 2021. There are a LOT of movies to squeeze in. The question, though, is are you willing to return to the cinema to watch these blockbusters on the big screen, as intended?
Last Updated: August 28, 2020