With dozens of movies and TV shows finding their productions halted and their releases delayed due to COVID-19, 2020 became an unprecedented year for entertainment. So much so that this big rundown of the biggest movies coming in 2021 looks a hell of a lot like the preview we did for 2020 – with Wonder Woman 1984 being one of the few films to sneak in under the wire and make a 2020 release date (as it hits both theaters and HBO Max on Christmas Day).
So then, next verse same as the first, as they say.
As we head into 2021, with higher hopes for the overall cinematic landscape, we once again stare down the barrel of Daniel Craig’s final Bond film, No Time to Die, along with Marvel’s Black Widow and Eternals, Fast 9, and many others that were originally slated for 2020. And if it’s Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon or Warner Bros.’ entire 2021 slate — like Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat, and Dune — then expect to see it hit theaters AND streaming on the same day.
Here’s a closer look at Venom 2, Morbius, Jungle Cruise, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, four MCU: Phase 4 films, and more movies set for 2021!
2021 Movies Preview
Tom & Jerry
Release Date: Feb. 26 (US), March 5 (UK), Jan. 9 (AU)
Chloë Grace Moretz, Michael Peña, Rob Delaney, Colin Jost, and Ken Jeong star alongside computer-animated versions of legendary rivals Tom and Jerry for a new adventure that finds the cat and mouse’s feud reignited when Jerry moves into New York City’s finest hotel on the eve of “the wedding of the century,” forcing the event’s desperate planner to hire Tom to get rid of him. Both Tom and Jerry are voiced by creator William Hanna, the pair’s long-time voice actor, as well as Mel Blanc and June Foray via archival recordings.
Tom & Jerry is scheduled to hit theaters on February 26, 2021, while also getting a month-long simultaneous release on HBO Max.
Raya and the Last Dragon
Release Date: March 5 (US), March 12 (UK), March 25 (AU)
Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon, from Carlos López Estrada and Moana’s Don Hall, will hit both theaters and Disney+ on March 5, 2021. Featuring the voices of Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina, the film follows a fearless and passionate warrior princess and a water dragon who can transform into a human — and is the last dragon in existence.
Disney also announced the animated musical fantasy Encanto for November 24, 2021, about a Colombian girl who lacks powers despite coming from a magical family, and Pixar’s Luca, about sea monsters who take a vacation on the Italian Riviera, for June 18, 2021.
Raya and the Last Dragon Images
The King’s Man
Release Date: March 12 (US), March 12 (UK), March TBA (AU)
Matthew Vaughn’s The King’s Man, which began as a different movie not set in the Kingsman universe, is a prequel to the franchise and stars Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans, and Matthew Goode in the story of one man (Fiennes) and his protégé (Harris Dickinson) who race against time to stop history’s worst tyrants from enacting an evil plot to kill millions.
Release Date: March 19 (US), March 19 (UK)
The next big headliner to join the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters is Jared Leto’s Morbius the Living Vampire. Directed by Daniel Espinosa (Safe House, Life), Morbius stars Leto as genius scientist, Dr. Michael Morbius — a character who battled Spider-Man in Marvel Comics — who accidentally becomes a monster while trying to create a cure for his rare blood disease.
Morbius, releasing March 19, also stars Matt Smith, Adria Arjona, Jared Harris, Al Madrigal, Tyrese Gibson, and Michael Keaton.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Release Date: March (US)
With about 150 minutes of unseen footage included, and about four or five minutes of additional photography inserted (including Jared Leto as Joker), along with new designs for major characters, Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be released in four parts on HBO Max.
No Time to Die
Release Date: April 2 (US), April 2 (UK), April 12 (AU)
One of the first big tentpole films to get bumped out of theaters due to COVID was Daniel Craig’s final Bond film, No Time to Die. It is now scheduled to finally hit theaters a year after its originally intended release, on April 2, 2021.
Directed by True Detective’s Cary Fukunaga (with a script punch-up by Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge), No Time to Die takes place five years after the events of Spectre and follows James Bond as he comes out of retirement to face down a new villain, Rami Malik’s Safin, a hyper-intelligent terrorist out for revenge. Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, and Jeffrey Wright return as Bond’s support while Léa Seydoux reprises her role as Madeleine Swann. Lashana Lynch joins the franchise as a new “OO” agent, while Ana de Armas plays CIA agent Paloma.
Release Date: April 16 (US)
Warner Bros. will release the new James Wan-produced live-action adaptation of Mortal Kombat in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously, as new actors step into the roles of Liu Kang, Raiden, Shang Tsung, Sonya Blade, Sub-Zero, Scorpion, and more.
Meet the Cast of the Mortal Kombat Reboot Movie
A Quiet Place: Part II
Release Date: April 23 (US), April 23 (UK), April 22 (AU)
Along with No Time to Die, A Quiet Place: Part II was one of the first big theatrical releases to get yanked from theaters at the outset of the pandemic. And like the aforementioned Bond film, it’s also going to try to land in theaters in April 2021. A follow up to John Krasinski’s smash hit horror flick from 2018, Part II follows the remnants of the Abbott family who face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence — while also discovering new threats in the form of other humans scrambling, and killing, to exist. Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou also star.
Release Date: May 7 (US), May 7 (UK)
After getting kicked down the road a few times during the pandemic, Marvel’s Black Widow, the first movie of the MCU’s Phase 4 (which will be preceded now by two Phase 4 TV shows on Disney+) is finally landing in theaters a year after it was supposed to on May 7, 2021. Taking place after Captain America: Civil War, Black Widow will follow Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff back to her Russian assassin-school roots as she reunites with old family members — including Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova — to dismantle a new Black Widow “Red Room” training facility run by The Taskmaster. Rachel Weisz and Stranger Things’ David Harbour also star.
Spiral: From the Book of Saw
Release Date: May 21 (US), May 20 (AU)
Saw franchise director Darren Lynn Bousman returns to the series to helm a new sequel/reboot of the Saw saga based on a story by Chris Rock, starring Rock as a police detective in charge of an investigation into grisly murders that are eerily reminiscent of the city’s gruesome past. Samuel L. Jackson and Max Minghella also star.
Spiral is scheduled to open May 21, 2021.
Godzilla vs. Kong
Release Date: May 21 (US), May 21 (UK)
This highly-anticipated culmination/showdown within Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary’s cinematic Monsterverse, directed by Blair Witch and You’re Next’s Adam Wingard, sets Godzilla and Kong on a collision course that will see the two most powerful forces of nature on the planet collide in a spectacular battle for the ages. Starring Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Kyle Chandler, and Rebecca Hall, Godzilla vs. Kong is among Warner Bros.’ 2021 movies that will be released the same day on HBO Max domestically and in theaters internationally.
The film will be available in theaters and on HBO Max on May 21, 2021.
Release Date: May 28 (US)
WWE Superstar John Cena joins the Fast and Furious franchise as Jakob, the evil assassin brother of Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto, who works for Charlize Theron’s criminal mastermind, Cipher. Fast 9 not only brings back Lucas Black, Bow Wow, and Jason Tobin from Tokyo Drift but also Sung Kang’s Han, who fans have longed to see return to the series since the character’s “death” in that film (though Han was featured in three films after that since those installments took place before Tokyo Drift in the Fast & Furious timeline). Fast 9 was pushed out of 2020 due to the pandemic, but only once as Universal smartly chose to delay the film an entire year. It’s now set to release May 28, 2021.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Release Date: June 25 (US)
Mo-Cap King Andy Serkis directs the Venom sequel, which pits Tom Hardy’s symbiote-smothered Eddie Brock against Woody Harrelson’s psycho killer Cletus Kasady, who becomes even more powerful when he merges with his own alien goo and goes on a rampage as Carnage. Venom: Let There Be Carnage, which also stars Michelle Williams and Naomie Harris, will land in theaters on June 25.
Top Gun: Maverick
Release Date: July 2 (US), July 8 (UK), July 1 (AU)
Tron: Legacy and Oblivion’s Joseph Kosinski directs this decades-later sequel, which stars Tom Cruise reprising his role as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell. Now a flight instructor, Maverick must confront his past while training a new squad of graduates for a dangerous mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice. Val Kilmer returns as Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky while Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Ed Harris, and Jon Hamm join the franchise.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Release Date: July 9 (US), July 9 (UK), July 9 (AU)
The second movie in the MCU’s Phase 4, opening less than two months after Black Widow, is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which will finally — after the character was teased in Iron Man and faked in Iron Man 3 (and said to be real in the Marvel One-Shot All Hail the King) — put the real Mandarin up on screen, played by Tony Leung. When Simu Liu’s expert martial artist Shang-Chi is drawn into the clandestine Ten Rings organization, he is forced to confront a past he thought he left behind. Awkwafina, Ronny Chieng, and Michelle Yeoh co-star. Just Mercy’s Destin Daniel Cretton directs.
Release Date: June 11 (US), June TBA (UK)
This decades-later sequel to Ghostbusters I & II, from Jason Reitman (son of original director Ivan Reitman), follows a family that moves to a small town where they discover their connection to the original Ghostbusters, an event many have somehow forgotten called the “Manhattan Crossrip of 1984,” and their grandfather’s secret legacy. O.G. Ghostbusters stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, and Annie Potts reprise their roles while new cast Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon, and Paul Rudd arrive as the “DNA of the first two movies” passes directly to the new generation, by introducing a fresh team of paranormal investigators.
Release Date: July 16 (US)
Tom Holland plays a younger version of Nathan Drake in the long-delayed Uncharted movie, which finally got off the ground this year after a turbulent series of setbacks that have stretched well over the course of a decade. Mark Wahlberg co-stars as Victor “Sully” Sullivan (complete with Sully mustache) while Sophia Taylor Ali plays video game character, and fellow fortune hunter, Chloe Frazer. Antonio Banderas is also on board with Venom’s Ruben Fleischer directing.
Uncharted is scheduled to release theatrically in the U.S. on July 16, 2021.
Release Date: July 30 (US), July 30 (UK), July 29 (AU)
Inspired by the famous Disneyland theme park ride, Disney’s Jungle Cruise stars Dwayne Johnson, who’s been the world’s highest-paid actor for two years running, as a charismatic riverboat captain and Emily Blunt as a determined explorer on a research mission to find the Tree of Life, which is believed to possess healing powers.
Orphan’s Jaume Collet-Serra switches gears for this adventure comedy that also stars Jesse Plemons, Paul Giamatti, and Édgar Ramírez. Jungle Cruise is due out July 30, 2021.
Release Date: July TBA (US)
Inspired by the graphic novel Sandcastle by Pierre Oscar Levy and Frederik Peeters, M. Night Shyamalan’s latest film is slated for a July 2021 release. Not much is known about the story, except that the material it’s based on is about a group of people stranded on a haunted beach. The cast includes Gael García Bernal, Rufus Sewell, Eliza Scanlen, Thomasin McKenzie, Aaron Pierre, Alex Wolff, Vicky Krieps, Abbey Lee, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Ken Leung, Embeth Davidtz and Emun Elliott.
The Suicide Squad
Release Date: Aug. 6 (US), Aug. 6 (UK)
James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, for the DCEU, is one of many big Warner Bros. movies that will be released in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously in 2021. With “carte blanche” to kill off any Suicide Squad members he wanted to (even Harley Quinn), Gunn loaded up this sequel with cannon fodder obscurities like Blackguard, Javelin, Polka-Dot Man, Savant, and more. Meanwhile, John Cena’s Peacemaker has already landed himself an HBO Max spinoff series.
Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, and Jai Courtney return to the fold as the series adds Cena, Idris Elba, Pete Davidson, Michael Rooker, Peter Capaldi, Alice Braga, and more!
Who Is DC’s Peacemaker? John Cena’s The Suicide Squad Character Explained
Release Date: Oct. 1 (US), Oct. 1 (UK), Oct. 1 (AU)
Another part of Warner Bros’ 2021 movie slate that’s being released, the same day, on HBO Max domestically and in theaters internationally, is Denis Villeneuve’s highly-anticipated adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi novel Dune (which was previously brought to the big screen in 1984 by David Lynch). With an all-star cast featuring the likes of Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, and Javier Bardem, Dune takes us to the future, into a galactic conflict over a desert planet called Arrakis, which is the only source of the most valuable substance in the universe — “the Spice.”
Villeneuve, along with Christopher Nolan, has spoken out against the Warners’ decision to stream its 2021 movies on HBO Max, saying “with this decision, AT&T has hijacked one of the most respectable and important studios in film history.”
Dune is due out on October 1, 2021.
Release Date: Oct. 15 (US), Oct. 15 (UK)
As a movie that can really only be released during one month of the year, if you want to keep it on brand, Halloween Kills, the sequel to David Gordon Green 2018 Halloween (which itself was a new timeline sequel to 1978’s Halloween) really had no choice but to bump its release a whole year.
Set on the same night as the 2018 film, Halloween Kills stars Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, as she works with new and old allies to form a mob against Michael Myers who is still loose in Haddonfield.
Release Date: Nov. 5 (US)
Marvel’s Eternals, the third film in the MCU’s Phase 4, features a stellar cast including Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kit Harington. Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, and Salma Hayek. Reportedly the most “sci-fi” movie of the MCU, Eternals follows the exploits of an immortal alien race created by the Celestials — who have secretly lived on Earth for over 7000 years — as they reunite to protect humanity from their evil counterparts, the Deviants.
Every Actor and Character Confirmed for Marvel’s Eternals Movie
Mission: Impossible 7
Release Date: Nov. 19 (US)
Mission: Impossible 7 may be making headlines right now for leaked audio of star/producer Tom Cruise harshly admonishing his crew for not following COVID safety protocols, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the upcoming entry in Paramount’s highest-grossing franchise, which has been around for 25 years, has fans all over the world the excited. And when you take into consideration that director Christopher McQuarrie said “Any character, dead or alive, is fair game to return” — including the return of former IMF head Eugene Kittridge (once again played by Henry Czerny) from the original 1996 film — then you’ve probably got a surefire hit on your hands.
Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff, Shea Whigham, and Esai Morales (who replaced Nicholas Hoult as the villain in 7 and 8) join the franchise while Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, and Vanessa Kirby all return.
Release Date: Dec. 17 (US)
The third Tom Holland Spider-Man film, due out next December, is going full multiverse as Marvel Studios and Sony prep for what could be Spidey’s farewell to the MCU-proper (perhaps to join the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters) as reports and rumors buzz about past Spider-flick stars Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and Andrew Garfield appearing in the movie, along with villainous counterparts Doc Ock and Electro, reprised by Alfred Molina and Jamie Foxx. Plus, with Doctor Strange also appearing in the film, it’s assumed Spidey 3 will help lead the MCU into 2022’s Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.
Matt Fowler is a writer for and a member of the Television Critics Association. Follow him on Twitter at @TheMattFowler and Facebook at Facebook.com/MattBFowler.