There is something both exciting and daunting about the beginning of a new film year. It typically starts with the UK releases of a few Oscar contenders, accompanied by a couple of stragglers left over from the previous year. And then, before you know it, there are new Marvel movies, long anticipated sequels, and things no one in their right mind would have asked for.

In 2020, there are also major comebacks. New films from Christopher Nolan, Adrian Lyne and Edgar Wright are around the corner, while presumably brilliant new visions from the likes of Sofia Coppola, Wes Anderson, David Fincher, Charlie Kaufman and Leos Carax – who’s directing an Adam Driver musical – will drop somewhere along the line, too.

This year will also see Black Widow finally get her spin-off movie, Blake Lively embark upon international espionage, French and Saunders meet Hercule Poirot and Tom Holland playing an elf. 

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To whet your appetite, here are 19 of the most exciting films expected in 2020.

Queen & Slim

An intoxicating and romantic drama about lovers on the run, Queen & Slim marks the first feature film from Melina Matsoukas, the director responsible for music videos including Beyoncé’s “Formation”. Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith are the unlikely couple thrust together on a go-nowhere blind date, only for tragedy to transform them into folk heroes roaming across the USA searching for shelter. It’s a spellbinding debut. (Adam White)

Released 31 January

Parasite

South Korean director Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' could score a Best Picture nomination

Guaranteed to be one of the major players in next year’s Oscars, Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite works better the less you know about it. What you should know is that it is a devilishly inventive deconstruction of class, brimming with energy, dark humour and nervous tension. (AW)

Released 7 February

The Invisible Man

Rising from the ashes of the aborted Universal Monsters multiverse, which was due to star Johnny Depp and Tom Cruise, this rebooted Invisible Man uses the iconic branding to tell the smaller and far more intriguing story of a woman on the run from her invisible ex. Elisabeth Moss is the domestic violence survivor convinced that her supposedly dead boyfriend has merely mastered the art of invisibility. Leigh Whannell, who directed 2018’s wonderfully inventive sci-fi thriller Upgrade, is behind the camera. (AW)

Released 28 February

A Quiet Place: Part II

A Quiet Place would surely have been better off as a standalone film, but the financial success of writer-director John Krasinski’s B-movie-style horror tale put paid to that. This isn’t to say there’s no more story to tell. In fact, Krasinski made no secret of the fact he had a whole universe he could one day explore, and sure enough, joining returning stars Emily Blunt, Millicent Thomas and Noah Jupe (so brilliant in Honey Boy) are new additions in the form of Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou. (Jacob Stolworthy​)

Released 20 March

No Time to Die

Daniel Craig returns as James Bond, for the final time, in the trailer for ‘No Time to Die’

While Daniel Craig’s Bond tenure has been marked by severe whiplash in terms of quality, there remains something incredibly exciting about the arrival of a new 007 movie. No Time to Die, Craig’s final outing as the super-spy, also boasts an intoxicating array of talent on and off screen, from Cary Fukunaga on directorial duties, to a script co-written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and cast newcomers including Ana de Armas, Rami Malek and Lashana Lynch. (AW)

Released 3 April

Antebellum

Little is known about the plot for Antebellum, the feature film debut of artists and music video directors Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz. But the thriller’s trailer is a visual feast, with Janelle Monáe appearing to be caught between the present day and the horrors of a 19th-century plantation. From producer Jordan Peele, director of Get Out and Us, it also features Jena Malone, Gabourey Sidibe and Kiersey Clemons. (AW)

Released 24 April

The Woman in the Window

An adaptation of the pulpy bestseller (which itself was engulfed in mystery when a New Yorker feature claimed its author, AJ Finn, had extensively lied about his personal life and history), The Woman in the Window puts Amy Adams centre stage for the first time since 2018’s Sharp Objects. She’s an agoraphobic psychologist convinced she has witnessed a murder across the street from her apartment. Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman and Brian Tyree Henry co-star. (AW)

Released 15 May

Wonder Woman 1984

The sequel to 2017’s mega successful Wonder Woman is a rare thing: a DC film worthy of excitement. The first outing saw Patty Jenkins become the highest-grossing woman director in cinema history, and she’s looking to beat her own record with a follow-up centred on the Amazon princess’s battle against a villain named Cheetah (Kristen Wiig in her superhero film debut). That Jenkins describes it as “a grand tentpole like they use to make in the Eighties” is reason alone to mark its release on your 2020 calendar. (JS)

Released 5 June

Candyman

Watchmen star Yahya Abdul-Mateen III continues his incredible ascent with the starring role in this remake. Produced by the ubiquitous Jordan Peele, the new Candyman revives the hook-handed killer originated in 1992’s genuinely terrifying Bernard Rose film, but with a black and female director and predominantly black cast – which ought to mean the frustratingly ambiguous racial themes of the original can finally be given their due. (AW)

Released 12 June

Soul

Soul is a curious new Pixar film that appears to emulate the philosophical wonder of Inside Out with the lived-in cultural exploration of Coco. Jamie Foxx is a struggling musician who finally gets his big break, only to experience a freak accident that propels him into a mysterious netherworld in which souls are imbued with talents and passions, before being implanted in newborn babies. It looks gorgeous, is potentially insane, and is co-written by Tina Fey. (AW)

Released 19 June

Tenet

Hours after the first reviews of both Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Cats took over social media, Warner Bros dropped the trailer for Tenet, Christopher Nolan’s top secret espionage thriller. It’s fair to say plenty of sunshine was stolen – and for good reason. Tenet marks Nolan’s return to the mind-melting thrills of Inception and, while the plot remains unknown, it seems to focus on a team of heroes who must rewind time to prevent the outbreak of war. Sign us up. (JS)

Released 17 July

Top Gun: Maverick

New trailer for Top Gun: Maverick (2020)

Tom Cruise is taking a (short) break from carrying out impossible missions in 2020. Instead, he’ll return to the cockpit for a sequel to the daddy of all Eighties films, Top Gun. There’ll surely be an element of “teach new dogs old tricks” in the Joseph Kosinski-directed film as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell mentors a new generation of US navy fighter pilots. We’re hopeful the result will – wait for it – take our breath away. (JS)

Released 17 July

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar

It’s not the Bridesmaids sequel everyone begged for nearly a decade ago, but Barb and Star is its spiritual follow-up at least. Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumulo, the women behind the 2011 smash, write and star in this new comedy, playing two best friends who venture out of their small midwestern community for the very first time. They soon get mixed up in a villainous plot to kill an entire town, while Jamie Dornan and Damon Wayans Jr also star. (AW)

Released 24 July

The Many Saints of Newark

Whether you like it or not, a film prequel based on The Sopranos is being released in 2020. The presence of David Chase, the HBO show’s creator, goes a long way to abate any concerns fans might have, and it’ll at least be a fine chance to explore the mobsters’s family history. The film is expected to focus on Dickie Moltisanti, the father of Christopher, whose memory loomed large over the series. (JS)

Released 5 September

Last Night in Soho

Edgar Wright is adding “psychological horror” to his filmmaking repertoire with Last Night in Soho, a neon-soaked thrill ride starring quite the ensemble (Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, Diana Rigg). The intriguing plot focuses on a young girl for whom “time falls apart” after she’s somehow transported to the 1960s. It sounds like a cult hit in waiting. (JS)

Released 18 September

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

The feel-good West End smash is transformed into a feel-good movie, with Richard E Grant, Sarah Lancashire and Sharon Horgan leading the story of a teenage boy who overcomes insecurity by embracing drag. Newcomer Max Harwood portrays the title character. (AW)

Released 21 October

The Eternals

Regardless of whether you’re a keen follower of the Marvel Cinematic Universe or not, The Eternals should pique your interest. Sure, it may be spearheading a brand new phase of Marvel franchises – there really is no end to the studio’s box-office stronghold – but it features what has to be one of the most eclectic casts ever seen in a superhero film: Angelina Jolie, Kit Harington, Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry and Salma Hayek. Colour us intrigued. (JS)

Released 6 November

Dune

A remake of David Lynch’s Dune would ordinarily cause our eyeballs to rattle around our sockets, but not when Denis Villeneuve’s in the director’s chair. Warner Bros are so committed to the director’s vision that they ignored the fact his breathtaking Blade Runner sequel flopped and set him to work on a fresh adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel. He did direct Prisoners, Enemy and Arrival, after all. Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya head up the cast. (JS)

Released 18 December

West Side Story

Long in the works, Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story looks set to be a festive smash this time next year. Speculated to be closer in spirit to the original Stephen Sondheim musical than the iconic 1961 film, this new version casts Ansel Elgort as Tony and newcomer Rachel Zegler as Maria – the latter, incredibly, beat out more than 30,000 candidates for the role, after submitting an audition video via Twitter. (AW)

Released 18 December

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