New dates for long-awaited theatrical films finds a panoply of flicks rescheduled for late 2020 and into 2021, when hopes are high doors to actual movie theaters will swing open to audiences once more.
[Note: none of the films had been rated at press time.]

BY LAURA D.C. KOLNOSKI

2020

FREE GUY Expected December 11

Ryan Reynolds brings his unique wry comedic style to an action/adventure/comedy about a bank teller who discovers that he’s actually an NPC (non-player character) inside a violent urban video game, until he becomes the unlikely hero. Co-starring Taika Waititi and Jodie Comer. Fun fact: Reynolds and Waititi appeared together in 2011’s Green Lantern.

WEST SIDE STORY Expected December 18

This adaptation of Leonard Bernstein’s iconic musical about New York street gangs, originally based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, was directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Tony Kushner and Arthur Laurents. Ansel Elgort is Tony, a member of the American Jets, who courts the immigrant sister of one of his rival Shark gang members. EGOT (Emmy, Golden Globe, Oscar, Tony) award winner Rita Moreno, who starred in the original 1961 film as Anita, portrays a different character, Valentina, in this version.

Ambassador SPREAD

COMING 2 AMERICA Expected December 18

The sequel to the 1988 blockbuster “fish out of water” comedy about an African royal’s attempts to be a regular guy in America, again stars Eddie Murphy as Prince Akeem and Arsenio Hall as his aide and confidante Semmi. They return in present day after Akeem learns he has a son here. A trailer was not available at press time, and not much had been revealed about the rest of the plot, but Eddie Murphy said the sequel came about after attempts to turn the first film into a play fell through. The stellar cast includes Leslie Jones, John Amos, Tracy Morgan, Wesley Snipes, and James Earl Jones.

DUNE Expected December 18

Maybe the second time will be the charm. There is no lack of opinions about David Lynch’s 1984 version of the Frank Herbert science fiction novel about the son of a noble family entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset in the galaxy. This new adaptation of the hero’s journey follows Paul Atreides, a gifted young man born into a great destiny, who undertakes a dangerous journey to ensure the future of his family and his people. Guess what? There are “malevolent forces” in his way. The cast include a slew of superhero favorites: Jason Momoa, Josh Brolin, and Dave Bautista, along with stars Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, and Charlotte Rampling.

2021

WITHOUT REMORSE Expected February 26

This adaption of the 1993 Tom Clancy novel has been in development for decades with various actors and directors considered, including Keanu Reeves and Kevin Costner. The lead went to Michael B. Jordan, who portrays former Navy S.E.A.L. John Clark, out to avenge his wife’s murder. He becomes part of a larger conspiracy involving a drug and prostitution ring littered with corrupt persons in powerful positions in Baltimore. Co-starring Jamie Bell, who appeared with Jordan in 2015’s Fantastic Four.

GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE Expected March 5

Fans have been waiting since the 1980s for this sequel to the beloved series starring SNL greats Dan Ackroyd and Bill Murray, along with other comedy greats like the late Harold Ramis, who will rightly be paid tribute in this version. Ackroyd and Murray, along with Director Jason Reitman, Ernie Hudson, and Sigourney Weaver, are thankfully back. The story: a group of youths discover their predecessors’ equipment and the Ecto-1 languishing in a garage and take up the fight against ghosts and ghoulies. Finn Wolfhard of Stranger Things plays the grandson of one of the original Ghostbusters. Paul Rudd also stars.

THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK Expected March 12

When actor James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano) died suddenly in 2013, so did hopes of a sequel to the wildly popular television series. A prequel was undertaken instead, with Gandolfini’s son Michael cast as the young Tony. The origin story goes back to his Newark roots, primarily during the riots of the 1970s. Creator/writer David Chase, who took his story from real-life crime families operating in Union and Essex Counties and New York City, whose escapades and arrests filled local newspapers at the time, pointed to the era as the beginning of the excessive flow of drugs into the U.S. Among the cast are Ray Liotta, Vera Farmiga, and Leslie Odom, Jr.