That was January, back when we were still looking ahead at 2020 with blind optimism and ill-fated excitement. Sigh, hindsight is 20/20 they say, right? Who knew. At the time, we had 50 exciting new titles we were anticipating, most of which have since been either postponed, dumped to VOD, or relegated to a limbo state.
It’s been an unnerving year for the film industry, to say the least. A year fraught with shutdowns, furloughs, layoffs, bankruptcies, and re-evaluations. All of that change has prompted a seismic shift in how everything’s run across the media landscape, and no one truly has a grip on things just yet. Odds are they won’t for quite some time.
Because of this, anticipating anything right now — let alone anything in pop culture — seems like a fool’s errand. Alas, Hollywood is still trying to salvage what it can, and here we are … a bunch of fools … trying to make the most sense out of it. And so, as we’ve done in pre-pandemic times, we’ve put together what’s left to anticipate.
All things considered, it’s not too shabby. Christopher Nolan’s Tenet will see the light of day, Netflix has a number of Oscar candidates heading to your living room, and there’s plenty of tricks and treats for spooky season. What’s more, if things stay the course, we might actually see the return of Bond and Wonder Woman.
It’s a mess, admittedly, and a lot of these dates hinge on the expectation that audiences will return to theaters, which isn’t ideal in the slightest. But, if there’s a silver lining to this list, it’s the notion that pop culture does endure. More importantly, it’s the comfort in knowing that there are still new escapes to be had in 2020 — and we’ll need ’em.
Having said that, here’s hoping most (if not all) opt for the safety of Video On-Demand. And in the event you do wind up going to the theaters, maintain social distancing at all costs, be mindful of others, and for Christ’s sake, wear a goddamn mask.
Release Date: September 2nd via WB
By now, you’re probably exhausted hearing about Tenet. All summer long — and really, ever since the pandemic started — the great debate has been whether or not Christopher Nolan will see his colossal blockbuster hit theaters. Well, after multiple delays and enough chatter to break a nation of teeth, the goddamn thing is finally seeing the flickering light of the silver screen. Reviews have insofar been divisive — some say it’s too ambitious, others say it’s his latest masterpiece — but the overall consensus is that Tenet warrants the Big Show experience. Whatever, dude, let’s just see it, already.
Release Date: September 4th via Disney+
Like Warner Bros. and Tenet, Disney had also been adamant on keeping Mulan a summer release, refusing to delay the picture for months on end. However, unlike Warner Bros. and Tenet, they opted out of the theater-going experience. Instead, they’re treating Niki Caro’s live-action adaptation like a canary in a coalmine, dropping it on their Disney+ network with the hopes that families across the world will plunker down $30 bucks to rent it. Whether or not this is successful will likely determine the fate of countless other tentpoles (and any other film for that matter). Still, we’re going to miss Mushu.
I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Release Date: September 4th via Netflix
Been awhile since anyone’s seen Charlie Kaufman. Well, as promised, Hollywood’s most brazen screenwriter has returned with his forthcoming adaptation of Iain Reid’s novel I’m Thinking of Ending Things. Without spoiling too much, the story follows a young man and his girlfriend on a road trip to meet his parents on their secluded farm, only she’s ready to exit stage left. Rest assured, it’s far more complicated than that, and you can expect to have a nice existential crisis by the time the credits roll and Netflix tries to sell you on Love Is Blind. Given Kaufman’s resume, that all sounds about par for the course.
Release Date: September 12th via HBO
The pandemic has paved the way for all kinds of experimental works. Take Shudder’s Host, for instance. Well, HBO’s trying their hand with Coastal Elites. Directed by Jay Roach and written by playwright Paul Rudnick, the film follows five characters who discuss their lives amidst this year’s pandemic, particularly how politics have divided everyone. It’s all told in a confessional-style manner — think: Zoom chat windows — that will rely solely on the performances of its cast. Fortunately for Roach, he put together one hell of a cast: Issa Rae, Dan Levy, Bette Midler, Sarah Paulson, and Kaitlyn Dever.
The Devil All the Time
Release Date: September 16th via Netflix
Weeks before The Haunting of Bly Manor opens its doors, Netflix is offering up another Gothic tale with The Devil All the Time. Based on Donald Ray Pollock’s 2011 debut novel, the story charts the violence and crimes of disparate characters in rural Ohio from the end of World War II to the beginning of the Vietnam War. Directed by Antonio Campos (Simon Killer, Christine) and produced by Jake Gyllenhaal, the true sell is the all-star cast that includes — grab a pen — Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson, Jason Clarke, Riley Keough, Sebastian Stan, Bill Skarsgård, and Mia Wasikowska. Christ, almighty, indeed.