Reel Talk: The Most Anticipated Films of 2019

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As we plow through the first quarter of the year, and through another awards season that honors the groundbreaking movies from the past year, we also have a full year of amazing films to look forward to. And 2019 promises to be big, with a whole lot of Hollywood star power gracing the big screen, some epic tales coming to theaters and some highly anticipated movies making waves across the country.

The upcoming year in film has some pretty big footsteps to follow. 2018 was a big box-office year, and for the fifth time in the past seven years the U.S. box office saw an increase in sales over the prior year. According to Forbes, 2018 sa record-breaking numbers, with more than $11.8 billion in revenue domestically and $41 billion worldwide in box office revenue. So 2018 was big, but we’re guessing that 2019 will be just as thrilling.

There are several beloved children’s classics getting a modern reboot and some cringe-worthy horror films that will keep you up at night. There are musicals and dramas and action-packed adventures, and everything in between. This year promises to be a good one where Hollywood films are concerned, and for the first time in a long time, we have several countdowns to get us psyched up for these release dates. Break out the popcorn — here are 20 of the most anticipated films of 2019.  

23Alita Battle Angel February 14th

This thriller, currently out in theaters, is based on Yukito Kishiro’s 1990s manga series Battle Angel Alita. It takes place in the distant future after a devastating war wiped out nearly every city on earth, except for one, Zalem, a floating city where humans and cyborgs live in the shadows. Anita, played by Rosa Salazar, a young cyborg who was abandoned and left in a scrapyard, gets adopted and repaired by Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz), a cybernetics genius who wants to protect Alita from her past. The movie is definitely mesmerizing and a work of cinematic art based on the trailer and special effects alone. Early critic reviews aren’t so hot, but fans seem to love the futurist sci-fi action.

22Knock Down the House Sundance 2019

This film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival follows the campaign stories of four women running for office in the 2018 election: Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, Paula Jean Swearengin and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was recently elected as the youngest woman ever to serve in Congress. The movie covers everything from their road to the white house to the struggles they faced as they faced off against powerful politicians and skeptics. The film tells the story of these women, all political outsiders, who against the odds united to change the face of American government, and ultimately resulting in a historic political upset.

21The Edge of Democracy January 2019

The Edge of Democracy also premiered at Sundance as a part of the World Cinema Documentary competition, and it shares the story of the political upheaval in Brazil. The documentary breaks down the political landscape in Brazil, from the earlier days of fascism to days of prosperity and then corruption. It’s a cautionary tale, brought to life through behind-the-scenes footage that tells the story of Brazil’s recent political scandals, successes and failures.  

20Captain Marvel March 8th

Finally! A female lead character to carry the plot of a superhero movie. We’ve been waiting for this day for what feels like forever. Captain Marvel, the latest from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, takes place back in the 1990s long before the Avengers had been assembled. It stars Brie Larson (who won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Room back in 2015) as Carol Danvers, an Air Force pilot who receives superpowers and saves the world. Early reviews are in and the critics who got an early screening of the film seem to love what they saw, calling the movie pure joy and praising Larsen for her starring role. Prepare to hear a lot more about this movie in the months and years to come.

19Us March 22nd

Ever since 2017’s Get Out, people are starting to see writer-director Jordan Peele in a whole new way, and quite frankly, it’s pretty terrifying. His latest thriller, Us, is about a family who go on vacation only to be stalked and attacked by 4 invaders who looking frighteningly like themselves. It’s a whole other level of creepy, and we cannot wait.

18Dumbo March 29th

Who could forget the adorable flying circus elephant with big ears? This 1941 classic gets a modern look thanks to the directorial talents of Tim Burton, which may seem like an odd pairing for a live-action children’s movie about a misfit elephant, but from the looks of the trailer, it’s just the right amount of weird.

17Avengers: Endgame April 26th

The latest in the Avengers series of movies promises to bring some resolution to the intense conflict between the world’s Superheroes and Thanos, The Mad Titan, who wiped out 50 percent of all living creatures on earth. It features the same all-star cast you know and love, and according to the trailer Tony is lost in space and running out of oxygen, so you know it’s going to be good.

16John Wick: Chapter 3 May 17th

This 3rd installment of the John Wick franchise picks up right where the last film left off, with Keanu Reeves as Wick, a super assassin on the run after killing a high-level crime lord and crossing some seriously dangerous lines.   

15Aladdin May 24th

It sure seems as if the magic-makers at Disney are trying to break some record for most live-action remakes in a year, but we’re not mad about it. Aladdin gets a realistic update with this live-action adaptation starring none other than Will Smith as the genie — we know, it sounds like a stretch, but based on the preview alone, it works.

14Ad Astra May 24th

Concept Trailer

Finally! Brad Pitt is back on the big screen! He plays an engineer whose father was lost in space 20 years prior, so he decides to take a trip to the outer reaches of space to find him. It sounds interesting, to say the least, but it also stars Tommy Lee Jones and Donald Sutherland, so we’re officially intrigued.

13Rocketman May 31st

Following the success of other biopics such as the most recent award-winning and Oscar-nominated film Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman tells the story of Sir Elton John, from his upbringing in London, to the start of his career and his creative partnerships, to his struggles as a gay musician in the 70s, and ultimately his rise to stardom. And since he is currently wrapping up his final tour, you can expect this movie to feature an epic concert-like vibe. Plus the soundtrack is sure to deliver all of your favorite Elton John hits.

12Pet Sematary April 5th

This movie adaptation of Stephen King’s 1983 haunting novel is likely to be equally terrifying, if last year’s IT is any indication. It follows a man and his family who move to rural Maine from Boston, only to discover a pet graveyard in the woods behind their house, that has the power to bring back the dead.

11Toy Story 4 June 21st

It feels like we’ve been saying “to infinity and beyond” forever since the first Toy Story debuted over 20 years ago (back in 1995!) And while the epic trilogy ended on an incredibly satisfying note, we’ve still been wanting more, and the Pixar powers that be are answering our prayers. We don’t know much about the plot of Toy Story 4, but we do know that it hits theaters this summer and it’s bringing back together the all-star voiceover cast of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Pots and Laurie Metcalf.

10The Lion King July 19th

Another Disney film that is sure to break records and be a huge draw for children and parents alike is The Lion King, a classic that is getting a modern reboot as a live action film. The voice cast alone is epic, with Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé as Nala, Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner as Pumbaa and Timon and John Oliver as Zazu, just to name a few. The trailer looks insanely realistic and gave us goosebumps, so we can only imagine what it will feel like on the big screen. Prepare to be wowed and to introduce this family-favorite to a whole new generation of filmgoers.

9It: Chapter Two September 6th

Speaking of IT, this follow up to the 2017 film tells the rest of the story of the shapeshifting, evil clown Pennywise. The film picks up nearly 30 years after the most recent movie, and the main characters are now adults, brought back together to face their fears and put an end of evil once and for all. Warning: if you already have a fear of clowns, this movie is NOT for you.

8Downton Abbey September 20th

For those of us who binged this PBS series and have been in mourning since the last episode of this UK period drama, there’s really good news: Downton Abbey is hitting the big screen this fall. And yes, several of the primary cast members will be returning to reprise their roles, which is amazing news because let’s be honest, without Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess of Grantham the movie would never be the same.

7The Goldfinch October 11th

This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel made waves when it was released in 2013, and became an instant best seller. And now we’re finally getting a film adaptation this story that follows the life of Theo Decker, a NYC teen who survives a terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that claims the life of his mother. After the attack he makes a split-second decision and steels a priceless piece of art known as The Goldfinch, and this choice alters the path of his life as he becomes immersed in a world of crime. The story is incredible and so is the cast.

6A Beautiful Day in The Neighborhood October 18th

If you grew up watching and loving Mr. Rogers and you enjoyed the recent documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? about his life and career then you are definitely going to want to check out A Beautiful Day in The Neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks as the late children’s show host.

5Frozen 2

Sure, you have a long time to wait before the second installment of Disney’s record-breaking animated film is released in November. But Frozen 2 is going to be big, with a plot line and magical musical numbers that could thaw any frozen heart. The upcoming film brings back the original characters, an incredibly talented cast of voice actors and singers, and introduces new drama, at least from what little we can tell from the trailer. The teaser trailer has already broken records; it was viewed 116.4 million times in its first 24 hours, making it the most viewed animated trailer ever, according to Hollywood Reporter. We can expect equally groundbreaking and record-breaking result when this much anticipated movie hits theaters this fall.

4The Irishman Sometime in 2019

The big story here is that finally, after 25 years apart, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro are coming back together to collaborate on this new Netflix project, their first together since Goodfellas. The Irishman also stars Joe Pesci, Al Pacino and Harvey Keitel, so clearly Netflix is going big, with a big budget of $140 million. The film tells the story of Frank Sheeran, a mob hitman who confessed to assassinating Jimmy Hoffa.

3Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile Sometime in 2019

This movie stars Zac Efron as Ted Bundy (we know, it’s hard to imagine the devilishly handsome Efron as a killer but trust us), and tells the story of his heinous crimes from the perspective of his longtime girlfriend who struggled to believe the truth about him.

2Little Women  December 25th, 2019

Trailer yet to be released at time of publishing.

Greta Gerwig, the visionary and talent behind Lady Bird — arguably one of the best coming-of-age films in recent years — puts her spin on the classic Louisa May Alcott novel. Her involvement in itself is enough to get us excited, but the cast is equally intriguing, starring Saoirse Ronan as Jo March, Emma Watson as Meg, Laura Dern as their mother, Meryl Streep as their fussy aunt and Timothée Chalamet as young Laurie.

1Carmen Sandiego Sometime in 2019

If you grew up in the 80s or 90s then you most likely remember an amazing animated computer game franchise called “Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego.” Cue the catchy theme song that will now be stuck in your head for days. Well Carmen Sandiego is back, with a modern twist. The Netflix project is a live-action version of the show, and the movie stars Gina Rodriguez of Jane the Virgin fame, who will also produce the film through her I Can and I Will Productions company. In addition to the film, which will start streaming this year, Rodriguez will also voice the lead character for an animated Carmen Sandiego series, also slated for 2019.