This year promises to be a truly huge 12 months in movies. Whether it’s Disney’s three live-action remakes (The Lion King, Aladdin and Dumbo), the epic finale of a superhero era (Avengers: Endgame), another instalment of a giant science-fiction space opera (Star Wars: Episode IX) or the return of an old favourite (Toy Story 4), there are some enormous films for you to sink your teeth into.
Of course, they’re not all big-budget beasts. Another music biopic comes our way with Rocketman, this time focused on the life of Elton John, Hereditary director Ari Aster returns with Midsommar, a tale of a festival gone awry, and Get Out’s Jordan Peele is back with more zeitgeisty horror beats thanks to Us. There’s even the long-rumoured Downton Abbey film. So get the snacks ready: here are the most-anticipated films of 2019.
Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
While its spin-off Lego Batman movie fell a little flat (we’re not sure we could stomach the wise-cracking character for a full movie on his own), the original Lego Movie was something of a high-point for ‘kids and adults will love it’ cinema. Big names including Chris Pratt, Margot Robbie, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are back to voice the characters.
Release date: February 7
Alita: Battle Angel
A James Cameron project that he’s been trying to get off the ground for almost 20 years, after fellow director Guillermo Del Toro made him aware of a Japanese Manga film. He’s spent the best part of two decades trying to bring it alive, only to pass it on to Robert Rodriguez to direct. A flashy cyber-punk adventure starring Christoph Waltz and an anime-style CGI version of Rosa Salazar, it’s not going to be for everyone, but looks like it could be a big hit.
Release date: February 14
Clear your diary – and your Twitter feed – for comedy actor turned directorial wonder Jordan Peele’s latest zeitgeist-capturing horror film. Like his ace debut flick Get Out, Us promises to wrap some seriously barbed racial commentary in visceral shocks. Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke and Elisabeth Moss are among the stars of the film, which will see a family return to the matriarch’s childhood beach house for a holiday, only for things to start getting strange.
Release date: March 15
Ever seen a live-action elephant fly? You will when Disney’s loose remake of its classic 1941 animation arrives this spring. Tim Burton is behind the camera so expect some gothic touches, and a quirky Danny Elfman score, as the stompy little mammal joins the circus. Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton and Danny De Vito are among the human stars.
Release date: March 29
Glaswegian cleaner and part-time country singer Rose-Lynn Harlan dreams of Nashville stardom in a drama that promises plenty of toe-tapping tunes and loads of raw emotion. It’s A Star Is Born with a vacuum and a showcase for the substantial talent of Irish actress-musician Jessie Buckley, who appears alongside more seasoned silver-screen stars Julie Walters and Sophie Okonedo.
Release date: April 19
Likely to be the biggest movie of the year, this one will definitely have the highest body count as the world absorbs the fallout from Thanos’s foul deeds in Infinity War. Who can succeed where the cream of the Marvel superheroes has failed to defeat the all-powerful titan? Someone call Bananaman.
Release date: April 26
There were some raised eyebrows when the first poster for this live-action Disney remake appeared, not least for Will Smith’s Genie’s hairpiece. It’s directed by Guy Ritchie, who presumably hasn’t moved the action to London’s East End and remade the classic tale into a gangster movie. It’s been a while since he’s done anything of note, so this could go either way.
Release date: May 23
This warts-and-all biopic of Elton John promises to be this year’s Bohemian Rhapsody – only, you know, with the warty bits left in. It stars Taron Egerton as Elton and Jamie Bell as his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin. Expect songs, spectacle and plenty of dream-like, stylistic sequences. It’s being directed by former Press Gang star Dexter Fletcher, who finished off Bho-Rap after Bryan Singer’s dismissal from the set. It should be good, then.
Release date: May 24
Toy Story 4
Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep and friends regroup for an unexpected but still much-anticipated fourth outing. This one – directed by one-time Pixar storyboard artist Josh Cooley – introduces new characters (look out for Forky) and, with Andy now at college, a new home for the toys. It appears Keanu Reeves is going to pop-up in some form as well, so we’ll be looking out for that.
Release date: June 21.
Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
Quentin Tarantino’s crime film is sure to grab attention and headlines when it lands in the summer. It promises to be a luridly realised Hollywood story with the backdrop of 1969’s Manson murders. Leonardo DiCaprio plays an actor trying to make it in the movie business and Brad Pitt is his stunt double. Margot Robbie is Sharon Tate and legends Al Pacino and Tarantino favourite Kurt Russell will also be appearing.
Release date: July 26.
With Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker, this dark spin-off movie should offer a pre-Halloween frightfest of its own. The actor is a master
of playing off-kilter characters and there are few as off-kilter as the DC master-villain. This smaller-scale film will chart his origins as
a failed stand-up comedian. Todd Phillips (The Hangover, A Star Is Born) is in the director’s chair for this version, which is not part of the bigger DC Extended Universe (until it’s a hit, we reckon).
Release date: October 4
Star Wars Episode IX
The latest, sure-to-be-enormous instalment is rumoured to pick up a year after The Last Jedi. Taking the reins again is JJ Abrams (The Force Awakens) as the Light and Dark Sides resume hostilities. The plot is very much under wraps, but we do know that Billy Dee Williams will
be back as cloak-wearing space scoundrel Lando Calrissian.
Release date: December 19
All release dates are subject to change throughout 2019.