50 most exciting movies coming in 2021

One Night in Miami (15 January)
Acclaimed actor Regina King makes her directorial debut with this fascinating drama, based on a play, which unites four Black icons — Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown — in a motel room to unpick the civil rights struggle. It’s already considered to be a major contender at the Oscars. (Credit: Amazon Studios) (Patti Perret)
Another Round (5 February)
What would happen if you were always very slightly drunk? That’s the premise of this Danish comedy-drama, starring Mads Mikkelsen as a teacher who, along with his friends, decides to test a philosopher’s theory that humans would function better with a permanent blood alcohol level of 0.05%. The movie won the top award at the London Film Festival in October. (Credit: Studiocanal) (Henrik Ohsten)
Cinderella (5 February)
Best known for writing the Pitch Perfect movies, Kay Cannon is returning to the world of musicals with a new take on the ever-resilient Cinderella story. Pop star Camila Cabello is taking on the title role, with Billy Porter as a genderfluid take on the Fairy Godmother. Several years after Kenneth Branagh’s steadfastly traditional adaptation of the material for Disney, this could be considerably more interesting. (Credit: Scott Garfitt/PA Images via Getty Images) (PA Images via Getty Images)
The King's Man (12 February)
Matthew Vaughn is taking his Kingsman franchise into the past with this prequel, which explores the origins of the organisation. Ralph Fiennes and Harris Dickinson are the Colin Firth and Taron Egerton of this tale, with Rhys Ifans playing the fascinating historical figure Rasputin — presumably with some distinctly Vaughn touches of chaotic bad taste. The director has seven more movies in mind, so this could be the tip of the iceberg. (Credit: 20th Century Studios)
Promising Young Woman (12 February)
Despite premiering almost a year ago at the Sundance Film Festival, general audiences have not had chance to see director Emerald Fennell’s Me Too-inflected black comedy. Carey Mulligan is the titular woman, who acts as an unusual vigilante, skewering the latent misogyny of “nice guys” who try to take advantage of her. (Credit: Focus Features/Universal)
Nomadland (19 February)
Ahead of her blockbuster debut with Marvel blockbuster Eternals, director Chloe Zhao has delivered a major Oscar contender — arriving in the wake of very impressive reviews from the festival circuit. It’s a movie examining America in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, with Frances McDormand playing a previously successful woman now living as a van-dwelling nomad. (Credit: Searchlight Pictures) (Courtesy of SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES)
Coming 2 America (5 March)
More than 30 years after his previous screen appearance, Zamundan prince Akeem is back, with Eddie Murphy again playing the African royal. The story picks up Akeem as he prepares to ascend to the throne, discovering a child (Jermaine Fowler) he never knew about in America. Murphy will hope to continue the momentum he has built since his comedy comeback in Dolemite is my Name. (Credit: Amazon Studios) (Courtesy of Amazon Studios )
Chaos Walking (5 March)
Long-delayed and at one point reportedly considered to be “unreleasable” by the studio, Doug Liman’s take on Patrick Ness’s YA novel is finally hitting the big screen. Daisy Ridley plays the young woman who arrives in New World, where there aren’t any women and the thoughts of the men are audible via something known as The Noise. Tom Holland, Mads Mikkelsen and Cynthia Erivo are also in the cast. (Credit: Lionsgate) (Murray Close)
Supernova (5 March)
This heart-breaking British drama follows Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci as a couple who have been together for 20 years. When Tucci’s character, Tusker, is diagnosed with dementia, they travel across Britain in an attempt to make memories before Tusker passes away. This was another huge hit at the London Film Festival. (Credit: Studiocanal)
Tom & Jerry: The Movie (5 March)
One of the most enduring rivalries in the history of American TV animation is making a leap to the big screen with this hybrid of live-action and CGI. The movie finds the duo in the midst of a rare truce, right up until Tom is hired by hotel employee Kayla (Chloë Grace Moretz) to solve the place’s mouse problem. Slapstick will, no doubt, ensue. (Credit: Warner Bros)
Raya and the Last Dragon (12 March)
Disney hasn’t made an original animated movie since 2016’s Moana, but they’re back at the crease for Raya and the Last Dragon. Kelly Marie Tran voices the fearless protagonist, with Awkwafina lending her vocals to the mythical fire-breather — the last remaining example of her species. (Credit: Disney) (Disney)
The Many Saints of Newark (12 March)
Fans of The Sopranos will be able to return to the murky world of the Italian-American mob in New Jersey with this feature-length prequel to the classic HBO series. Set in the 1960s and 1970s and exploring racial tensions in the titular city, the movie is perhaps most notable for featuring Michael Gandolfini as Tony Soprano — the character made famous by his late father, James Gandolfini. (Credit: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP) (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Morbius (19 March)
Ahead of the return of Venom later in the summer, Morbius adds another wing to the growing universe of Sony movies existing around Spider-Man without ever featuring the webslinger. Jared Leto is Michael Morbius, who inadvertently develops bloodlust when he tries to cure himself of a rare disease. A cameo in the trailer from Spider-Man: Homecoming star Michael Keaton has led many to suggest this movie could connect the Sony universe with the MCU in a much more concrete way. (Credit: Sony)
The Boss Baby: Family Business (26 March)
Alec Baldwin is back in cinema’s tiniest suit for this sequel to the delightfully bizarre 2017 animated hit. This time around, he and brother Tim are all grown up, but agree to be regressed in order to carry out a mission with Tim’s daughter, who is also a Boss Baby. Keeping up? Whether it makes sense or not, the movie looks set to be a riot. And if that wasn’t persuasion enough, Jeff Goldblum is in it too. (Credit: DreamWorks/Universal) (Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation LLC)
No Time to Die (2 April)
Cast your mind back to early March. James Bond adventure No Time to Die was the first major blockbuster to delay its release due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nine months later, Daniel Craig’s swansong is currently set to debut as one of the first major blockbusters of 2021. It will see 007 brought out of retirement by the threat of Rami Malek’s mysterious villain Safin. Expect guns, martinis and very, very fast cars. (Credit: Eon/Universal)
A Quiet Place Part II (23 April)
Another of the first cinematic casualties of COVID-19, John Krasinski’s follow-up to his surprise horror success story will further explore the apocalyptic scenario of its predecessor. Emily Blunt’s Evelyn is now solely responsible for the safety of her children, as sound-sensitive alien beasties circle with murderous intent. When she discovers another group of survivors, she must decide whether they are more likely to be friends or foes. (Credit: Paramount) (Photo Credit: Jonny Cournoyer)
Last Night in Soho (23 April)
Edgar Wright is finally tackling a full-blooded horror movie. Inspired by the likes of Repulsion, it’s a scary tale set within the unique environs of the eponymous central London area. Anya Taylor-Joy and Matt Smith are part of the cast of the secretive genre tale, with the late Dame Diana Rigg also part of the ensemble in her final screen role. (Credit: Focus Features/Universal)
Black Widow (7 May)
It has been a long time since we’ve been able to get our fix of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. WandaVision is due to arrive on Disney+ in January, but that’s different to a bona fide big screen blockbuster like Black Widow. Set between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, the film will delve further into the past of Scarlett Johansson’s title character. The story is expected to see the mantle of Black Widow pass from Johansson to MCU newcomer Florence Pugh. (Credit: Disney/Marvel)
Godzila vs. Kong (21 May)
The last time Warner Bros allowed audiences into its MonsterVerse, things didn’t go so well. Godzilla: King of the Monsters was a huge disappointment, but it was always set to build to the main event — a titanic clash between the two most famous kaiju in cinema history. Horror specialist Adam Wingard is in the director’s chair. (Credit: Warner Bros)
Spiral: From the Book of Saw (21 May)
When this project was first announced, eyebrows were raised. A Saw movie conceived by and starring Chris Rock? But this was no April Fools gag. Franchise veteran Darren Lynn Bousman was brought in to direct, with Samuel L. Jackson joining Rock in the cast. The story follows a series of cops investigating homicides with eerie similarities to the violent history of the Jigsaw Killer. (Credit: Lionsgate)
Fast & Furious 9 (28 May)
Cinema’s most dysfunctional “family” is back with another blockbuster spectacle of cars smashing into various structures. John Cena is new to the cast as the secret assassin brother of Vin Diesel’s vehicular vigilante Dom Toretto. There’s also the enigma of Sung Kang’s return as beloved character Han, who was killed in 2006 movie The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. How is he back and how will this affect the fact that his killer, Jason Statham, is now a member of the crew — albeit one who will not be appearing in this movie? And that's not to mention the possibility of space. (Credit: Universal)
Cruella (28 May)
Emma Stone plays cinema’s most memorable doggie death-dealer in Disney’s latest live-action spin on a classic animated property. In the style of Maleficent’s rehabilitation of Sleeping Beauty’s villainous sorceress, Craig Gillespie — director of I, Tonya — is set to spin a new origin for the character who terrorised Pongo and Perdita in One Hundred and One Dalmatians. (Credit: Disney)
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (4 June)
The extended movie world around The Conjuring has effectively become horror’s answer to the MCU since James Wan’s first film became a box office hit in 2013. This third movie in the main franchise sees Wan replaced in the director’s chair by Michael Chaves, with Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga back as the husband and wife paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. The film will tell the story of the notorious, real-life trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, in which demonic possession was used as a defence to a charge of murder. (Credit: Warner Bros)
Ghostbusters: Afterlife (11 June)
Jason Reitman will follow in the footsteps of his father as he takes on the Ghostbusters franchise with this belated sequel to Ghostbusters II — mostly set to ignore the divisive 2016 reboot. The surviving members of the original cast are on board, with Captain Marvel actor Mckenna Grace and Finn Wolfhard of Stranger Things set to play kids with hidden connections to the team. (Credit: Sony)
Luca (18 June)
Pixar’s next big adventure is a coming-of-age tale set on the Italian Riviera, with added sea monsters. It’s the feature directorial debut of Enrico Casarosa, who previously made the La Luna short which was packaged with the release of Brave. A Pixar spin on Call Me By Your Name? Sounds like a lot of fun. (Credit: Pixar/Disney) (PIXAR)
Venom: Let There Be Carnage (25 June)
Tom Hardy’s unhinged superhero movie got Sony’s not-quite-Spidey universe off to a bang back in 2018, achieving $856m (£630m) worldwide despite vastly negative critical reviews. Andy Serkis is behind the camera for this sequel, which will provide the pay-off to Woody Harrelson’s introduction in the first movie’s post-credits scene — playing fan favourite character Carnage. Symbiotes everywhere means heads will be bitten off. (Credit: Sony)
Top Gun: Maverick (9 July)
Tom Cruise is seemingly set to attempt to break the stunts per year record in 2021 thanks to the delay to this belated sequel to the 1980s classic Top Gun and, of course, another big franchise effort. More on that later. Joseph Kosinski’s film sees Cruise reprise the role of test pilot Maverick and will feature Miles Teller as Rooster — son of Maverick’s late friend Goose. (Credit: Paramount) (Scott Garfield)
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (9 July)
Marvel’s first movie with an Asian-American lead will see actor Simu Liu take on Shang-Chi under the stewardship of Short Term 12 and Just Mercy director Destin Daniel Cretton. Tony Leung is on villain duties as The Mandarin, who is not only the leader of the Ten Rings terror organisation, but also Shang-Chi’s father. (Credit: Disney/Marvel)
Minions 2: The Rise of Gru (16 July)
The most adorable critters in modern cinema — sorry Peter Rabbit and the Porgs — are set to return for a sequel to their 2015 spin-off from the Despicable Me franchise — the highest-grossing animation series in history. This time, the story will focus on the early days of the minions’ bond with a young Gru, leading to him becoming the supervillain he is by the time we met him in the original Despicable Me film. (Credit: Universal)
Space Jam: A New Legacy (16 July)
The 1996 film Space Jam combined the sporting icon status of Michael Jordan with the cultural power of the Looney Tunes character roster for a movie that proved to be box office gold. It has taken 25 years to get around to a follow-up, with LeBron James the sporting star to meet Bugs Bunny and friends this time around. LeBron is trapped in a digital world by Don Cheadle’s rogue AI and must team with his new cartoon friends on the basketball court in order to escape. (Credit: Warner Bros/Uninterrupted)
Uncharted (16 July)
Having cycled through something like half a dozen directors on its route to the big screen, video game adaptation Uncharted has been a long time coming. Tom Holland steps into the shoes of treasure hunter Nathan Drake, with Mark Wahlberg as his mentor Sully. Voice actor Nolan North has given his blessing to Holland’s take on the character and shooting wrapped in October. (Credit: Sony)
Old (23 July)
After the big-budget disaster of passion project Glass, M. Night Shyamalan is heading back to his thriller roots for Old. Inspired by the French graphic novel Sandcastle, the movie follows the mysterious events around the discovery of a dead body on a secluded beach. The poster for the film hints at time playing a role in the mystery and the cast includes Gael Garcia Bernal, Eliza Scanlen and Thomasin McKenzie. (Credit: M. Night Shyamalan/Twitter)
Jungle Cruise (30 July)
Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt have joined forces for this delayed blockbuster based on a theme park ride. Johnson plays the riverboat captain who takes Blunt and her brother (Jack Whitehall) into a dense jungle on a hunt for the mythical Tree of Life. Jaume Collet-Serra — veteran of several Liam Neeson actioners — is in the director’s chair. (Credit: Disney) (Frank Masi)
The Suicide Squad (6 August)
With this year’s excellent Birds of Prey, DC finally allowed itself to relax and get weird. That certainly seems set to continue with James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, seeking to banish the spectre of David Ayer’s critically reviled 2016 movie. Gunn has assembled a packed roster of characters and has teased that we shouldn’t get too attached to any of them. There will be blood and bedlam. (Credit: Jessica Miglio/DC/Warner Bros)
Candyman (27 August)
Almost 30 years after Tony Todd’s hook-wielding killer first appeared on the big screen, Nia DaCosta has directed this new take on the story, with Jordan Peele on board as a producer. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II plays a visual artist who ends up exploring the legend of the Candyman, with consequences which reverberate in his own life. Todd is back in some form, but the nature of his appearance remains shrouded in mystery. (Credit: Universal)
Dune (1 October)
Denis Villeneuve is unhappy about the method of delivery, but he’ll certainly be thrilled that his take on Frank Herbert’s hefty sci-fi is finally due to see the light of day in 2021. With a blockbuster cast led by the likes of Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya and Jason Momoa, this is either going to be a monster hit or a very expensive disappointment. No sign of Sting this time around, fortunately. (Credit: Warner Bros)
Respect (8 October)
Jennifer Hudson is playing Aretha Franklin. The actor was handpicked by the Queen of Soul prior to her death in 2018, so no pressure J-Hud. It feels like the Best Actress trophy in 2022 should have her name engraved upon it sharpish. Cats is but a memory… all alone in the moonlight. (Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/MGM) (Quantrell D. Colbert)
Halloween Kills (15 October)
Michael Myers is back once again for this sequel, which picks up immediately after the events of the 2018 franchise reboot. Jamie Lee Curtis is still Laurie Strode and she’s still trying to take down the serial killer who terrorised her as a teenager in the 1970s. It’s due to form a trilogy with the defiantly titled Halloween Ends, which awaits in 2022. (Credit: Universal)
The Last Duel (15 October)
Ridley Scott shows no sign of slowing down, despite him being well into his ninth decade of life. His latest is a historical epic set in 14th century France and based around the real duel between two friends after one accuses the other of raping his wife. Matt Damon and Adam Driver play the combatants, with Jodie Comer as Damon’s wife and Ben Affleck as King Charles VI. (Credit: Niall Carson/PA via AP) (AP)
Snake Eyes (22 October)
Henry Golding is stepping up to lead a big action blockbuster in Snake Eyes, which provides the origin story of the G.I. Joe supporting player — portrayed by Darth Maul performer Ray Park in earlier entries of the film franchise. As well as Golding, the cast includes The Raid leading man Iko Uwais, so the action looks set to be fast-paced, bruising and utterly thrilling. (Credit: Christopher Jue/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures) (Getty Images for Paramount Pictu)
Eternals (5 November)
Perhaps Marvel’s biggest swing since that bold Infinity War ending, Eternals is set to introduce a whole new crop of all-powerful superfolks. The titular alien beings — played by the likes of Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani and Richard Madden — have been in hiding on Earth for thousands of years. They reunite to take on foes the Deviants. The movie is also notable as Brian Tyree Henry will play the MCU’s first openly gay superhero. (Credit: Disney/Marvel)
Elvis (5 November)
When you think of glitzy musical excess on the big screen, the first name that comes to mind is likely to be that of Moulin Rouge! helmer Baz Luhrmann. So he seems like the obvious choice for a biopic of Elvis Presley. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Manson Family member Austin Butler is the star stepping into those daunting blue suede shoes, with Tom Hanks as the King’s manager Colonel Tom Parker. (Credit: P. Lehman/Barcroft/Getty/GAB Archive/Redferns/Jacopo Raule/Luisaviaroma)
Mission: Impossible 7 (19 November)
Tom Cruise’s second action spectacular of the year will see him once again teaming with Christopher McQuarrie to portray Ethan Hunt. Very little is known about the plot at this stage, but all of the usual suspects are back, including recent additions Rebecca Ferguson and Vanessa Kirby. COVID-19 couldn’t stop them getting this made, so we don’t rate the chances of Esai Morales’s villain. We wouldn't want to end up on the wrong side of a Cruise rant. (Credit: Samantha Zucchi/Insidefoto/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images) (Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Im)
West Side Story (10 December)
Originally set to be a major Oscars contender at the ceremony coming up in early 2021, Steven Spielberg’s reimagining of the 1960s Academy favourite now has the 2022 ceremony in its crosshairs. Ansel Elgort and newcomer Rachel Zegler play star-crossed lovers Tony and Maria, with the ensemble also including Hamilton performer Ariana DeBose. (Credit: Niko Tavernise/20th Century Studios) (Photo by Niko Tavernise)
Spider-Man 3 (17 December)
Is there anyone who has not been rumoured to appear in the third MCU-affiliated Spider-Man movie? Depending on which source you read, just about every ensemble player from every Spidey adventure ever is set to converge on whatever this film ends up being. Benedict Cumberbatch is confirmed to appear as Doctor Strange, which suggests Tom Holland’s Peter Parker might be set to explore the multiverse for real this time. (Credit: Sony/Marvel)
The Matrix 4 (22 December)
One of the most anticipated sequels of the year will see Keanu Reeves return to one of his most iconic roles — that of Neo. He’s rejoined by Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity and Lana Wachowski is back in the director’s chair, albeit without her sister Lilly. The plot is very secretive as things stand, but it’s certain to be a typically mind-bending journey into alternate realities. We’ll be queueing up to take that particular red pill. (Credit: Siemoneit/Sygma via Getty Images) (Sygma via Getty Images)
Everybody's Talking About Jamie (TBC, cinemas)
One of the West End’s most delightful hits is set to finally head to the big screen, telling the story of a teenager in Sheffield who overcomes prejudice as he attempts to live his dream and become a drag queen. Newcomer Max Harwood is to play the title role, though many eyes will be on Richard E. Grant as seasoned drag performer Loco Chanelle — a role recently portrayed on stage by RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Bianca Del Rio. This was set for a February release, but is now undated. (Credit: 20th Century Studios) (20th Century Studios)
Army of the Dead (TBC, Netflix)
Zack Snyder is currently deep in the weeds of the DC superhero universe as he puts the finishing touches on the famed ‘Snyder Cut’ of Justice League. Before that, he shot this zombie thriller with Netflix, which provides a slightly different perspective on the apocalypse. The story follows a team of mercenaries plotting an ambitious casino heist under the cover of zombie-induced chaos. Dave Bautista leads the cast and there are already multiple spin-offs in development. (Credit: David M. Benett/WireImage) (David M. Benett)
Don't Look Up (TBC, Netflix)
Jennifer Lawrence. Leonardo DiCaprio. Meryl Streep. Cate Blanchett, Chris Evans. Timothée Chalamet. Jonah Hill. Ariana Grande. Casts don't come much bigger than that. Adam McKay’s satirical disaster movie follows a pair of astronomers on a media tour to convince the world that a planet-ending asteroid is on course for Earth. The casting budget alone could probably finance a space flight to blast the thing to smithereens before it gets here. (Credit: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) (Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Red Notice (TBC, Netflix)
Dwayne Johnson is INTERPOL’s greatest tracker. Gal Gadot is the world’s greatest art thief. Ryan Reynolds is the world’s greatest con man. The combination of all three creates a massive action-comedy helmed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, who has recently worked with Johnson on movies including Central Intelligence and Skyscraper. Universal reportedly balked at the soaring budget, leaving the door wide open for Netflix’s exceedingly deep pockets. It's not yet clear whether it'll be the world's greatest movie.(Credit: Hiram Garcia/Dwayne Johnson/Instagram)

When we wrote our list of the most exciting movies coming in 2020 last year, we never expected that we’d still be waiting for so many of them. This has been a bizarre year and one that has forced movie studios to delay many of their biggest films.

But 2020’s loss is 2021’s gain and so there is an embarrassment of riches heading into multiplexes in the next 12 months, as long as cinemas are able to open and show these movies to us.

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