Entertainment

20 Movies We Can't Wait to See This Fall

We guarantee that at least some of these movies will come out before the year is over.

wonder woman 1984
Gal Gadot in 'Wonder Woman 1984' | Clay Enos/Warner Brothers
Gal Gadot in 'Wonder Woman 1984' | Clay Enos/Warner Brothers

In a year when most movies release dates come with an asterisk attached, making plans for what you'd want to see in the fall is more complicated than ever. Trying to confirm which potential blockbusters and awards favorites will actually play in theaters can be as confusing as figuring out the plot to Tenet, the new Christopher Nolan movie you may or may not have seen. Luckily, we'll help you sort through the chaos. 

The movies below, which include superhero slugfests like Wonder Woman 1984 and possible Oscar contenders like David Fincher's Hollywood biopic Mank, offer a snapshot of the range of titles that will potentially be out this fall. As you'd imagine, this list contains many streaming titles from companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Apple; there are also a fair number of movies that will probably get moved to next year. Uncertainty is the name of the game right now -- but at least there's a Gerard Butler movie on the horizon. 

time movie
Amazon

Time

Release date: October 9 in theaters, October 16 on Amazon Prime
Cast: Sibil Fox Richardson, Robert G. Richardson
Director: Garrett Bradley
Why we're excited: This documentary about a woman fighting for the release of her husband, who is serving a 60-year prison sentence for armed bank robbery, was originally only intended to be a short, until Sibil Richardson -- known as Fox Rich -- gave director Bradley a bag of home video tapes totaling some 100 hours of footage. The resulting feature is a moving account of a woman's desperation to reunite her family, what it's like to grow up with an absent parent, and the abuse of the prison industrial complex, questioning the notion that jails make the country safer. 
(Watch the trailer)

the trial of the chicago 7
Netflix

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Release date: October 16 on Netflix
Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, Eddie Redmayne, Mark Rylance, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
Director: Aaron Sorkin (Molly's Game)
Why we're excited: Aaron Sorkin, the writer behind the '90s legal nail-biter A Few Good Men, is back in court with this retelling of the trial following the anti-war protests at the 1968 Democratic Convention featuring a stacked cast playing activists like Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen) and Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). We expect a lot of speechifying, gavel-banging, and some outlandish period costumes. 
(Watch the trailer)

american utopia, david byrne
HBO

American Utopia

Release date: October 17 on HBO
Cast: David Byrne
Director: Spike Lee (BlackKklansman)
Why we're excited: Spike Lee's filmed version of David Byrne's Broadway show American Utopia is something of a miracle in these times, a strange and beautiful alchemy of live theater and cinema, making you miss one while feeling grateful for the existence of the other. In a simple sense, Byrne's production is just a concert featuring songs spanning the artist's entire career. But it's so much more than that. Backed by his insanely talented band, Byrne orchestrates a dance piece as well as an optimistic, but not unrealistic, meditation on the resilience of community. Lee adds his own signatures, highlighting the political undertones in the piece. At one point, an image of Colin Kaepernick appears above Byrne. During a rendition of Janelle Monáe's "Hell You Talmbout," which calls out the names of victims of racial violence, Lee zooms in on images of the dead, turning the number into even more of a "requiem," as Byrne says. But American Utopia is also packed with joy: The joy of creating live music and spectacle, and the joy of celebrating that achievement in a room full of other people. It's a treasure.
(Watch the trailer)

rebecca
Netflix

Rebecca

Release date: October 21 on Netflix
Cast: Lily James, Armie Hammer, Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Goodman-Hill
Director: Ben Wheatley (Free Fire)
Why we're excited: Adapting Daphne du Maurier's 1938 gothic novel is no easy task, particularly when standing in the shadow of legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, so expect this remake to be met with more than a few arched eyebrows. (Judging from the trailer, the bright color palette of the new film is already a big change from Hitchcock's Oscar-winning black-and-white compositions.) Still, this tale of a young woman (LIly James) falling for a dashing widower (Armie Hammer) should at least provide some welcome opportunities for a game cast to sink their teeth into a classic suspense set-up. 
(Watch the trailer)

the witches
HBO Max

The Witches

Release date: October 22 on HBO Max
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci, Kristin Chenoweth 
Director: Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump
Why we're excited: Writer Roald Dahl's memorable twisted children's novel, which was adapted into an appropriately disturbing 1990 movie starring Angelica Huston, gets an update from filmmaker Robert Zemeckis, who will likely have a blast with all the special effects challenges that come with turning children into mice. Anne Hathaway plays The Grand High Witch here, providing the Academy Award winner with plenty of opportunities to chew the scenery, and, judging from the trailer, it looks like she'll have some over-the-top fun with the role. 
(Watch the trailer)

freaky movie
Universal Pictures

Freaky

Release date: November 13 in theaters
Cast: Vince Vaughn, Kathryn Newton, Celeste O'Connor, Misha Osherovich
Director: Christopher Landon (Happy Death Day)
Why we're excited: Pulling off a fun horror-comedy is one of the trickier balancing acts in genre filmmaking, requiring a deft mix of laughs and scares, but director Christopher Landon did it successfully with Happy Death Day and its irreverent sequel. He just might do it again with this body-swapping riff from Blumhouse, which uses Freaky Friday as a jumping-off point for something more sinister. Kathryn Newton of Big Little Lies and The Society plays a high schooler who trades places with a serial killer (Vince Vaughn), putting all of her classmates at risk, and, presumably, bloody hilarity ensues.
(Watch the trailer)

mank movie
Netflix

Mank

Release date: December 4 on Netflix
Cast: Gary Odlman, Amanda Seyfried, Lilly Collins, Arliss Howard 
Director: David Fincher (Gone Girl)
Why we're excited: After overseeing Netflix's serial killer drama Mindhunter for the last few years, director David Fincher returns to moviemaking with his first feature since 2014's Gone Girl. Working from a script by his late father, Jack Fincher, the showbiz drama follows Citizen Kane co-writer Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman) as he battles Orson Welles during the production and release of the legendary 1941 film. In an interview over the summer, producer Eric Roth, who previously worked with Fincher on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, indicated that the movie would come out around October, but an official release date hasn't been announced yet. Expect this one to be a big deal. 
(Watch the trailer)

nomadland movie
Searchlight Pictures

Nomadland 

Release date: December 4 in theaters
Cast: Frances McDormand, David Strathairn, Linda May, Charlene Swankie
Director: Chloé Zhao (The Rider
Why we're excited: The most talked about film out of the strange fall festivals this year was director Chloé Zhao's portrait of Fern (Frances McDormand), a woman who has lost her husband and her home, who decides to embrace a life of wandering. Using non-actors -- actual nomads -- Zhao paints a picture of an America that's stunning in both beauty and compassion, which can only exist outside the capitalistic structures to which most of us are forced to adhere.
(Watch the teaser)

free guy
20th Century Studios

Free Guy

Release date: December 11 in theaters
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Joe Keery, Lil Rel Howery
Director: Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum
Why we're excited: This frenzied-looking action-comedy chronicles the existential challenges of a "non-player character" (Ryan Reynolds) in an open world video game called Free World. Will Fortnite obsessives and Grand Theft Auto fans want to leave the house to see Deadpool wisecrack his way through a Ready Player One-like scenario they can't play themselves? It could be a tough sell. Still, the mix of snarky gags and goofy adventure worked for both the Jumanji movies in the same holiday spot in recent years, so it might work here.
(Watch the trailer

nicole kidman meryl streep
Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep | Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

The Prom

Release date: December 11 on Netflix
Cast: Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, James Corden, Andrew Rannells, Kerry Washington
Director: Ryan Murphy (Eat Pray Love)
Why we're excited: When this delightful musical about a bunch of washed-up musical theater stars, who decide to take it upon themselves to cure a small town of its homophobia, hit Broadway in 2018, it was downright underrated. Ryan Murphy has swapped out the stage version's wonderful performers for bigger stars -- hello, Meryl -- but hopefully kept its scrappy spirit.

coming to america
1988's 'Coming to America' | Paramount Pictures

Coming 2 America

Release date: December 18 in theaters
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones
Director: Craig Brewer (Dolemite Is My Name)
Why we're excited: Comedy sequels are always a dicey proposition, especially when a significant amount of time has passed since the original. (Remember, uh, Blues Brothers 2000?) But after Eddie Murphy's stellar performance in last year's biopic Dolemite Is My Name and his triumphant return to SNL, which found him slipping back into old characters with ease in the host spot, we're cautiously optimistic about this project, where Murphy's Prince Akeem Joffer returns to America after he discovers he has a son (Jermaine Fowler). James Earl Jones and Shari Headley will be back, and Dolemite scene-stealer Wesley Snipes is along for the ride in a supporting role, too. 

death on the nile
20th Century Studios

Death on the Nile

Release date: December 18 in theaters
Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Letitia Wright
Director: Kenneth Branagh (Murder on the Orient Express)
Why we're excited: Hercule Poirot is BACK, BABY, and this time he's heading to Egypt to solve a murder linked to an intriguing love triangle. While Branagh's first outing as Poirot in 2017's Murder on the Orient Express wasn't exactly great, it's still a ton of fun to watch a bunch of today's most famous actors chew scenery pretending to be turn-of-the-century aristocrats with silly accents and motives to kill.
(Watch the trailer)

the father movie
Sony Pictures Classics

The Father

Release date: December 18 in theaters
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Coleman, Mark Gatiss, Imogen Poots
Director: Florian Zeller
Why we're excited: Adapted from a play by director Florian Zeller, this Sundance favorite finds clever, moving ways to dramatize its subject matter, bringing the viewer into the mind of a man slowly losing his grip on his memories. Anne (Olivia Coleman) is growing frustrated with her father, Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), a stubborn former engineer with a bad habit of frightening off the nurses hired to keep an eye on him in his old age. Hopkins is especially good in a tricky, demanding role.
(Watch the trailer)

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Netflix

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom 

Release date: December 18 on Netflix
Cast: Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Colman Domingo, Taylour Paige
Director: George C. Wolfe (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks)
Why we're excited: There's, of course, a tragic reason this adaptation of August Wilson's play is so highly anticipated: The release will mark Chadwick Boseman's last performance filmed before his untimely death in August. Boseman plays the trumpeter Levee opposite Viola Davis as the titular singer in the piece that is part of Wilson's series American Century Cycle, which chronicles 10 stories of Black lives over each decade of the 20th Century. Produced by Denzel Washington and directed by the great George C. Wolfe, this interpretation of Ma Rainey will be undeniably bittersweet.

wonder woman 1984
Warner Brothers

Wonder Woman 1984

Release date: December 25 in theaters
Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal
Director: Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman)
Why we're excited: We loved Wonder Woman, one of the best films to come out of the modern day superhero onslaught, which means we're extra jazzed to finally see its pleasingly retro-looking follow up. Director Patty Jenkins returns and throws Diana Prince into 1984, where she visits malls and wears power suits. Somehow Chris Pine's Steve Trevor is also there, as are some new villains played by Pedro Pascal and Kristen Wiig.
(Watch the trailer)

soul movie
Walt Disney Pictures

Soul

Release date: December 25 on Disney+
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Questlove, Angela Bassett, Daveed Diggs
Director: Pete Docter and Kemp Powers
Why we're excited: They personified toys, and then they personified feelings, and now Pixar is anthropomorphizing the very concept of a human soul. Jazz musician Joe Gardner is in the middle of living out his dream performing his music onstage when an accident causes his soul to separate from his body, and he must find other souls-in-training to get him back to Earth before his body dies. Knowing Pixar, we're most definitely going to cry during this.
(Watch the trailer)

news of the world
Universal Pictures

News of the World

Release date: December 25 in theaters
Cast: Tom Hanks, Helena Zengel, Elizabeth Marvel
Director: Paul Greengrass
Why we're excited: A Texan, whose job is bringing the news of the world to people living in tiny, isolated communities, traveling through the Wild West hears of a young girl who's been kidnapped and sets out to find her and bring her back to her family. It's adapted from Paulette Jiles' excellent novel of the same name, published in 2016, and naturally Tom Hanks plays the gunslinger with a heart of gold.
(Watch the trailer)

one night in miami
Amazon Studios

One Night in Miami

Release date: December 25 in theaters; January 15, 2021 on Amazon Prime
Cast: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr.
Director: Regina King
Why we're excited: Based on a play by the writer Kemp Powers, the feature directing debut of Regina King, who recently won another Emmy for her starring role in HBO's Watchmen, takes an intimate look at a pivotal moment in AMerican history. Malcolm X (Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Odom Jr.), Jim Brown (Hodge), and Cassius Clay (Goree) cross paths at the Hampton House Mote on a balmy February evening in Miami in 1964. Expect big ideas and locked-in performances from this impressive cast.

promising young woman
Focus Features

Promising Young Woman

Release date: December 25 in theaters
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Laverne Cox, Molly Shannon
Director: Emerald Fennell 
Why we're excited: Writer and actress Emerald Fennell, best known for running the second season of Killing Eve, makes her film directorial debut with this cheeky-looking revenge tale. It features Carey Mulligan as a woman who pretends to be drunk at bars to entrap men who are looking to take advantage of members of the opposite sex. A trailer set to a violin cover of Britney Spears' "Toxic" only served to pique our interest further.
(Watch the trailer)

greenland movie
STX Pictures

Greenland

Release date: December 18 on VOD
Cast: Gerard Butler, Morena Baccarin, David Denman, Hope Davis
Director: Ric Roman Waugh (Angel Has Fallen)
Why we're excited: After saving the world in Geostorm and rescuing the President multiple times in the Has Fallen movies, Gerard Butler takes on the slightly more human-scaled task of saving his family in this disaster drama about a giant comet on the warpath to Earth. Where can they find safety? Greenland, of course! This thriller was originally supposed to come out in June and bumped around the schedule all summer -- it's already playing in Europe -- so hopefully it'll finally get released in America before the year is over. In these uncertain times, the world needs Gerard Butler more than ever.
(Watch the trailer)

Need help finding something to watch? Sign up here for our weekly Streamail newsletter to get streaming recommendations delivered straight to your inbox.

Follow the Thrillist Entertainment editors on Twitter: @ThrillistEnt.