2021 finally brings these highly-anticipated films to the theaters

After COVID-19 caused repeated delays in movie releases, 2021’s films appear quite promising.

By Elise Mulligan As the COVID-19 pandemic rocked the nation, countless blockbuster films pushed back their release dates to 2021 due to delayed production and limited exhibition in the few movie theaters that remained open. Fortunately, 2021 has finally arrived. Whether viewers plan to flock back to the irreplaceable movie theater experience or simply screen films from the comfort of their couch, there are plenty of upcoming opportunities to bust out the popcorn that’s been waiting on the shelf in quarantine. From films with star-studded casts to long-awaited sequels, these are the movies to keep an eye out for in the following months.

“Malcolm and Marie” Feb. 5 on Netflix Zendaya and John David Washington star as a couple facing emotional tension in the wake of Malcolm’s movie premiere. Directed by Sam Levinson, who also worked with Zendaya while directing the television show “Euphoria,” it is shot entirely in black and white and focuses on Malcolm and Marie as the sole on-screen characters.

“Raya and the Last Dragon” March 5 on Disney+ and in theaters This animated feature follows the story of warrior Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) as she tracks down the last dragon (Awkwafina) to help her defeat the evil Druun monsters. Despite the challenges of collaborating across Zoom, a majority of this animation’s production occurred during the pandemic.

“Black Widow” May 7 in theaters In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, audiences have been yearning for Black Widow to star in a movie of her own ever since her appearance in “Iron Man 2.” Their wish comes true in May, when Scarlett Johansson will fight alongside Florence Pugh and David Harbour in the latest Avenger breakout storyline.

“Cruella” May 28 in theaters Disney adds on to its ever-growing list of live-action adaptations with this villain origin story for “One Hundred and One Dalmatians” icon Cruella De Vil (Emma Stone).

“In the Heights” June 18 on HBO Max and in theaters Based on the Broadway musical of the same name, “In the Heights” tells the story of a Manhattan neighborhood and a bodega owner longing to return to the Dominican Republic. The original musical was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda of “Hamilton,” who also stars in the film. Adding to its repertoire, Jon M. Chu of “Crazy Rich Asians” directs the film.

“Jungle Cruise” July 30 in theaters If you’ve ever been to Walt Disney World, this movie title probably rings a bell. The action-adventure film is inspired by the theme park attraction, replacing animatronics with Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson as river explorers thrust into dangerous conditions.

“Candyman” Aug. 27 in theaters The urban legend that began with the 1992 “Candyman” film gets reignited in the upcoming sequel. The movie’s screenplay was written in part by Jordan Peele, popular for directing and writing other unnerving films like “Get Out” and “Us.”

“A Quiet Place Part II” Sept. 17 in theaters After the fourth delay in its release date, the post-apocalyptic horror sequel is set to premiere in September. John Krasinski returns to direct and appear in the film in which Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) continues her silent quest to protect her and her children from monsters that hunt by sound.

“Dune” Oct. 1 on HBO Max and in theaters Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Rebecca Ferguson and Dave Bautista create a star-studded cast for this sci-fi epic based on the novel by Frank Herbert.

“No Time to Die” Oct. 8 in theaters With delay after delay in its release date, the 25th installment of the James Bond franchise has been anticipated for quite a while. It will star Daniel Craig and Rami Malek.

This list only scratches the surface of cinema for the upcoming year, with plenty of additional productions pending official release dates. It’s uncertain what ups and downs 2021 will bring, but one thing is certain: The movie industry isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

Edited by Chloe Konrad | ckonrad@themaneater.com

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