AceShowbiz - After months long of being confined in home and restricted to many leisure activities as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many can't wait to jump start 2021 in the hopes of opening a new chapter that will be filled with more positive things than what has been happening in the past 12 months. For movie lovers, one of the things to look forward to in the new year is being able to go back to theaters without having to worry about their safety to watch movies they have been highly-anticipating.
Finger-crossed that the said wish will come true, Hollywood studios are lining up a bunch of potential blockbusters and tentpoles that are expected to bring back the industry to life after COVID-19 lockdown basically shut down the business. Though the coronavirus outbreak has halted shootings of some projects, fans can rest assured that these production houses still have a bunch of exciting pics to offer. Additionally, with several films that were initially scheduled for 2020 having been pushed back to next year, there are more than enough options for fans to choose from.
Having been discussed and developed even several years before they will finally arrive, some of the movies have gained mass of eagerly-awaiting fans. If you're already struggling to decide which ones to watch when the time comes, or you haven't caught up with what are up in the sleeve for next year, AceShowbiz has prepared a guide to highly-anticipated movies in 2021 below.
For the past few months, whether or not "No Time to Die" will actually be released has been the question that many were wondering to know the answer. Well, the wait may finally be over next spring when the new 007 movie is unleashed in theaters. Bringing back Bond from his retirement, the pic will also introduce a slew of new characters, including a mysterious foe played by Rami Malek and a female "00" agent, portrayed by Lashana Lynch, who was supposed to replace Bond in MI6. Once again billed as the last one starring Daniel Craig, it will give fans another chance to bid farewell to his version of the British spy.
Entering summer, a new installment from another beloved franchise is ready to treat its loyal fans. After being pushed aside due to the development of the spin-off, "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw", "F9" will reunite the Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel)-led gang that people have been missed so much. Giving another reason not to miss the movie, this will be the third to last film in the franchise, which is planned to end with an 11th installment. The sentimental touch aside, "F9" is promised to present the suspense that has been in the vein of the film series since the beginning.
Still speaking of movie with high-octane action sequences, Tom Cruise has been hard at work to make sure "Mission: Impossible VII" remains on track for its July release. Already teased with leaked behind-the-scenes photos and footage were some death-defying stunts that the lead actor/producer was directly involved in the filming. With the high stakes that the cast and crew are willing to risk and the big budget prepared for the production amid the pandemic, the next "M:I" movie is guaranteed to not disappoint moviegoers.
Superhero and comic book adaptations have been major attraction to theaters in the last decade and that excitement will hopefully return when some titles from MCU and DCEU are coming to big screen in 2021. "Morbius", based on another Marvel character, is one of them. Developed as part of Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters, it is likely to take gritty and dark route in the vein of "Venom". With Daniel Espinosa at the helm and Jared Leto as the title character, it is expected to be the first of a new successful franchise for the studio.
Meanwhile, Warner Bros. is still putting so much hope on a popular DC Comics character, Batman. Once again rebooted with Robert Pattinson taking on the mantle, "The Batman" explores the early year of the Caped Crusader as the protector of Gotham City. Doubts were cast on the actor's casting due to his past portfolio that didn't support the genre, but he has appeared to show his seriousness in transforming into Bruce Wayne, citing Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans as his inspirations. With Matt Reeves, who has built his reputation with sci-fi films like "Cloverfield" and the "Apes" movies, as director, this new Batman movie seems to have a solid case to bring the superhero back to its glory.
Elsewhere at Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige is launching a new franchise as part of Phase Four of the MCU with "The Eternals", which features a superhero ensemble. Boasting a star-studded cast that includes Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh and Don Lee (Ma Dong Seok) among others, it doesn't only show the studio's commitment to race diversity, but also the inclusion of LGBTQ characters.
Other superhero movies and comic book adaptations to be released in 2021: "Black Widow" (May 7), "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" (Jul. 9), "The Suicide Squad" (Aug. 6), Untitled Spider-Man 3 Movie (Dec. 17)
Having been long plotted with each character earlier being introduced in its own solo movies, two of the earth's fictional mightiest monsters are set to face off against one another in "Godzilla vs. Kong". Being delayed from its planned November 2020 release due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the showdown will finally be happening in the summer of 2021, bringing bigger catastrophe than what has been witnessed in the Godzilla and King Kong films. To make the battle fair, King Kong appears to have gone through a massive growth spurt since he wasn't an adult yet in "Kong: Skull Island".
From the studio that has brought to audience the "Pirates of the Caribbean" film franchise before, comes a new film based on another Walt Disney's theme park attraction of the same name. "Jungle Cruise" pairs Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson with Emily Blunt as the main characters, who are on a mission into a jungle to find the Tree of Life which is believed to possess healing powers. With Jaume Collet-Serra, who are known for his works on horror and action films like "Orphan" and "Unknown", serving as director, it's interesting to see the direction he's taking for this Disney movie.
Another movie postponed from 2020, "Dune" is the first of a planned two-part adaptation of the 1965 sci-fi novel of the same name by Frank Herbert. The sneak peeks have teased the stunning visuals to represent fictional planet Arrakis, while the ensemble cast features Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson (II), Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgard, Dave Bautista, Javier Bardem and Jason Momoa just to name a few. Showing its vote of confidence with the franchise, Legendary has been developing a spin-off series that will focus on the Bene Gesserit and serve as a prequel to the film.
If spooky is your definition of interesting, then here are a few options of films to watch that will meet your satisfaction. Following the success of 2018's "A Quiet Place", a sequel is a no-brainer. While the anticipation was high, the wait for "A Quiet Place: Part II" has been prolonged due to the delay caused by the pandemic. Still with John Krasinski at the helm, it follows the Abbotts who must now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence. Amping up the suspense, it brings new major threats in the form of new creatures that lurk beyond the sand path.
While a "A Quiet Place" franchise is bringing an unknown world to moviegoers, fans of horror films must be already familiar with "Candyman". The lore, which is based on the short story "The Forbidden" by Clive Barker, was first brought to life in 1992, with the upcoming movie being billed as a direct sequel. The previously-released trailer hints at a psychological twist in the plot that centers on a visual artist exploring the ghost story about a supernatural killer that is summoned by repeating his name five times into a mirror. With a screenplay written by Jordan Peele, it will hopefully bring justice to the underrated original movie.
Coming the pumpkin festival, a fictional serial killer is back terrorizing in "Halloween Kills". Developed following the critical and financial success of 2018's "Halloween", the the twelfth installment in the horror franchise once again pits Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) against her relentless chaser Michael Myers, portrayed by James Jude Courtney and Nick Castle. As majority of the film had been completed before its original planned release last October, producer Jason Blum claimed to have watched it and gushed in March, "I just saw 'Halloween Kills'. It was So good. So good. It's intense. It's huge. It really feels really big."
Being faint-hearted is not a reason to avoid going to theaters altogether as there is also a bunch of selections for the gentle soul. "Cruella" is one of this kind of spectacles that will help people come to understanding of how Cruella de Vil, the wicked villain in 1996's "101 Dalmatians", turned into the ruthless and terrifying legend she is known today. With Craig Gillespie, who was behind awards-winning movie "I, Tonya" as director, "Cruella" is likely more than just a family movie that is easy to watch.
Also seeing the formative years of a well-known figure, "Respect" is a biographical drama film based on the life of real singer Aretha Franklin. Oscar winner and singer Jennifer Hudson is taking on the lead role, having proven her singing prowess that hopefully will bring justice to the reenactment of the late Queen of Soul's musical performances. Not only depicting her journey to stardom, but it will also explore her interpersonal relationships, most notably how her abusive husband and autocratic father helped inspire and shape her epochal music.
In addition to those two films mentioned above, there is "West Side Story" for those looking for something more romantic. Directed by prolific and awards-winning filmmaker Steven Spielberg who doesn't need further introduction, its screenplay is expected to hew more closely to the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name than to previous film adaptation, which was released in 1961. Starring Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler as the film's leads, the musical drama is a new take on a star-crossed love story set in 1950s New York City.
Who doesn't know "Tom & Jerry"? After decades of being the central characters in the truest depiction of cat-and-mouse game, these longtime foes are getting their second only feature film adaptation. The upcoming movie makes use of the advanced technology and combines live-action footage with computer-animated graphics to present a more realistic look at the slapstick humor as the result of the title characters' mischief. The story follows Jerry taking up residence in a hotel as Tom is hired to keep him from ruining an important wedding, with Chloe Moretz, Colin Jost, Rob Delaney and Ken Jeong among the voice cast.
Never one to be left behind when it comes to a family entertainment, Walt Disney Pictures has prepared its own animated movie for 2021, "Raya and the Last Dragon". Coming from the studio that has brought to viewers critically-acclaimed films like "Moana", "Frozen (2013)" and many more, this upcoming original film is promised to deliver inspirational message about bravery and trust in humankind with a story about a warrior princess and the last dragon.
In a slightly different approach than those two films mentioned above, "The Boss Baby: Family Business" is an animated comedy family film that also offers adult humor. Though critics were divided over the first film's confusing tone, 2017's "The Boss Baby" that featured the voice of Alec Baldwin proved that its cutting-edge wits catered to not only kids, but also adults. The sequel will find The Templeton brothers becoming adults and being drifted away from each other.
Other comedy and family movies to be released in 2021: "Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway" (Jan. 15), "Minions: The Rise of Gru" (Jul. 2), "Space Jam: A New Legacy" (Jul. 16), "Hotel Transylvania 4" (Aug. 6), "Paw Patrol: The Movie" (Aug. 20) and "The Addams Family 2" (Oct. 8)