As you can probably tell, Hollywood is not exactly having an ideal summer at the box office. In fact, this whole year has been something of a disappointment in terms of returns barring a few exceptions. Streaming services may partly be responsible for this situation.
There are still several studio-backed projects that remain to be released and may turn the tide in Hollywood’s favour. Here are the top films you need to watch this year.
The Lion King
The Lion King is directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man) and is based on a screenplay penned by Jeff Nathanson. Disney has been remaking its classic animated films as live-actions and The Lion King is one of them. The original animated classic is one of the most recognisable Disney films and it will be incredibly difficult for the newer version to come close to the impact the original has had. James Earl Jones returns to voice King Mufasa. Donald Glover voices the adult Simba, with Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver, Beyoncé also lending their voices. The film releases on July 19.
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
This Fast and Furious spinoff features reluctant partners Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw who team up to fight Idris Elba’s Brixton Lore. The trailers promise a surprisingly funny film with well-choreographed action. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw will release on August 2.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Quentin Tarantinto’s much awaited film takes place in the backdrop of the infamous Manson murders. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the role of an aging TV actor Rick Dalton and Brad Pitt is his stunt double Cliff Booth. The two are on a journey to make their name in Hollywood. Margot Robbie plays the role of Sharon Tate, starlet and Roman Polanski’s then wife who was murdered by members of the Manson Family. Emile Hirsch, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Austin Butler, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, and Al Pacino also star in the film. In India, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is scheduled to be released on August 9.
Scary Stories to tell in the Dark
Co-produced and co-written by Oscar-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, the movie is based on the short children’s story book series of the same name by Alvin Schwartz. Norwegian director André Øvredal, who directed the acclaimed horror film The Autopsy of Jane Doe, is helming the film. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark releases on August 9.
It: Chapter 2
The successor to 2017’s superhit It, It: Chapter 2 continues the adventures and horrors of The Losers Club as they face the frightening entity (called It) that terrorises their town and violently kills children. James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, and Andy Bean join the cast as adult versions of The Losers Club and Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Wyatt Oleff return. Bill Skarsgård will also be back in the role of the titular monster. It: Chapter 2 releases on September 6.
The Goldfinch is a film adaptation of the Pulitzer Award winning novel of the same name. It is being directed by John Crowley and Peter Straughan has penned the screenplay. Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Oakes Fegley, Aneurin Barnard, Finn Wolfhard, Sarah Paulson, Luke Wilson, and Jeffrey Wright star in The Goldfinch. It will release on September 13.
The Downton Abbey movie will continue the story of the noble family of the Crawleys and their servants who reside at the Yorkshire Country estate. The story will pick up two years after the events of the TV series. Michael Engler is directing Downton Abbey. It will release on September 20.
Ad Astra is a science fiction film starring Brad Pitt in the lead role. It is directed by James Gray (The Lost City of Z). The film is about a mission undertaken by Pitt’s Roy McBride to find his father Clifford McBride (played by Tommy Lee Jones). The official synopsis goes, “Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet. His journey will uncover secrets that challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos.” Ad Astra will release on September 20.
Rambo: Last Blood
The fifth installment in the Rambo franchise, Last Blood has Sylvester Stallone’s iconic character travelling to Mexico to save a friend’s sister who has been kidnapped by the Mexican cartel. Rambo: Last Blood will release on September 20.
Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman stars as an NYPD detective who has to puts New York City on lockdown so that he and the other authorities can catch a gang of bloodthirsty cop killers. The film is produced by the Russo Brothers. The film has a strong cast and features names like JK Simmons, Sienna Miller, Taylor Kitsch, Stephan James, and Keith David. The film will release on September 27.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Angelina Jolie returns to portray the titular role. The film is set seven years after the events of the first film, Maleficent. Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville return in their roles, while Michelle Pfeiffer, Ed Skrein, and Chiwetel Ejiofor join the cast of the film. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil will release on October 18, 2019.
Zombieland: Double Tap
— Zombieland 2: Double Tap (@Zombieland) January 29, 2019
The sequel to acclaimed 2009 horror-comedy, Zombieland’s sequel will hit theaters 10 years after the first film. Venom director Ruben Fleischer returns to direct. Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin and Bill Murray return while Zoey Deutch, Avan Jogia, Rosario Dawson, Thomas Middleditch, Luke Wilson and Dan Aykroyd join the franchise. The US release date is October 18, 2019 and Indian release date is not known.
Starring Ewan McGregor in the title role and directed by Mike Flanagan of The Haunting of the Hill House fame, Doctor Sleep follows an adult Danny Torrance (McGregor), who is battling alcoholism and dealing with the trauma of what happened to him as a child in the Overlook Hotel. The film, also featuring Rebecca Ferguson and Kyliegh Curran, will release on November 8 this year.
Ford v Ferrari
This film, starring Christian Bale and Matt Damon, is based on automotive visionary Carroll Shelby (Damon) who was tasked by Ford to build the greatest race car the world had ever seen, and that could beat the then reigning champion Ferrari at 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race. Also, he has a temperamental British driver Ken Miles (Bale) to test it. The job was thought to be impossible. Ford v. Ferrari is scheduled for release on November 15.
The Good Liar
The Good Liar, directed by Oscar winning filmmaker Bill Condon, is a thriller based on the novel by Nicholas Searle. It stars Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren in the main roles. It will release on November 15.
Rian Johnson’s ambitious Knives Out is a murder mystery à la Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. A detective arrives at a mansion to find out who killed the family patriarch. Every one of the family members is a suspect. The cast features Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, and Christopher Plummer. Rian Johnson has also written the screenplay. The film will release sometime in December.
Jumanji: The Next Level
A sequel to 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, The Next Level continues the story and adds Awkwafina, Danny Glover, and Danny DeVito to the already star-studded cast. Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Ser’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman, Morgan Turner, and Alex Wolff reprise their roles from Welcome to the Jungle. The film will release on December 13.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
The Rise of Skywalker brings back JJ Abrams from the first film (The Force Awakens) and will be the final chapter of the sequel trilogy. It will also likely wrap the arcs of Rey, Finn, Kylo and Poe. Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Naomi Ackie, Richard E Grant, Keri Russell, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Carrie Fisher (old footage), Billy Dee Williams and others star in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The film’s US release date is December 20.
Based on the musical of the same name, Cats is directed by Tom Hopper (The King’s Speech), and features a voice cast of Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, James Corden, Rebel Wilson, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Ray Winstone, Ian McKellen and Judi Dench. The film releases in the US on December 20.
Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig is directing this coming-of-age period drama. It is an adaptation of 1868 novel of the same name by Louisa May Alcott. The story explores the lives of sisters in 1860s Massachusetts. The cast boasts Meryl Streep, Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Timothée Chalamet, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, James Norton, Louis Garrel, Bob Odenkirk, Chris Cooper and Abby Quinn. The film’s US release date is December 25.