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Holy ‘Cats’! ‘The Lion King’ Reigns! Here’s the Scoop on 19 Big Movies in 2019

Published on January 1, 2019

I interrupt your New Year’s resolution to adapt to a plant-based diet to bring you an important announcement: The 2019 movie lineup has the potential to be epic with an explanation point. Just consider, for example, that you will get follow-ups to beloved classics such as  Toy Story, Star Wars, Frozen and Avengers and that’s just the Disney slate. Here’s a sneak peek at the 19 films in ’19 that will motivate you to get off the couch. Or at least get off it to grab the remote control and turn up the volume.



Two-year-old spoiler: The end of Split was a doozy thanks to a surprise appearance from Bruce Willis’ David Dunn, the ever-durable security guard from 2000’s Unbreakable. In this sequel from writer-director M. Night Shyamalan, Dunn attempts to track down this disturbed man (James McAvoy) with 24 multiple personalities. The thriller also features the evil titular character (Samuel L. Jackson). Please let it not feature McAvoy’s character once again eating innocent women alive. (In theaters Friday, January 18)


What Men Want

For 18 years, we’ve had to watch Mel Gibson shave his legs and sing “Bitch” in his bathroom. Now it’s time for Taraji B. Henson to channel the opposite sex. She’s a sports agent who gets an edge over her sexist male colleagues when she develops the ability to hear the guys’ inner-thoughts. Costarring Pete Davidson and Shaquille O’Neal. (In theaters Friday, February 8)


Isn’t it Romantic

Rebel Wilson top-lines her first film, playing a New Yorker who tries to lose a man in 10 days even though it’s serendipity. Actually . . . she’s a down-on-her-luck cynic who hates the artifice of rom-coms. Then she bumps her head and wakes up stuck in her own shiny happy rom-com — complete with a huge apartment and hunky boyfriend (Liam Hemsworth). How will she find her way back to reality and realize once and for all that she’s a pretty woman? (In theaters Thursday, February 14)


Rhythm Section

If you saw A Simple Favor— you did, yes? — then you know Blake Lively is more than capable of selling a bonkers premise. Her character in this thriller assumes the identity of an assassin to track down the people responsible for the death of her family in a not-so-accidental airplane crash. It’s based on the first of Mark Burnell’s “Stephanie Patrick” series of four novels. So maybe don’t expect third-act closure. (In theaters Friday, February 22)



Two years ago, Jordan Peele wrote and directed the provocative and sublime thriller Get Out. His spooky-looking follow-up is, of course, shrouded in mystery. All that’s really known is that it revolves around two couples, one white and one black, that converge on a beach getaway. The cast includes Lupita Nyong’o, Elisabeth Moss and Black Panther’s Winston Duke. (In theaters Friday, March 15)


Avengers: End Game

Come on. Thanos (Josh Brolin) didn’t actually kill off Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) at the end of Avengers: Infinity WarRight? Right?????!!!! We’ll find out for sure in this ominously titled fourth installment. All the superheroes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe are set to appear, including late-to-the-party characters Captain Marvel (Brie Larson, who gets her own movie on March 8), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). (In theaters Friday, April 26)


Always Be My Maybe

The Netflix romcomainssance warrants a night in! Childhood sweethearts Sasha (Ali Wong) and Marcus (Randall Park) reconnect in San Francisco, 15 years after a nasty falling out. Although the old spark remains, the couple must overcome some bumps to get to the happily-ever-after phase.  Also starring Keanu Reeves, yay. (Available to stream on Netflix in the Spring)


Wine Country

Your recurring Saturday Night Live fever dream has come true. Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer and Tina Fey all star in a comedy about a group of friends — known as “The Girls” — that head to Napa to celebrate a special birthday. The good times go awry when past fights bubble to the surface. Poehler also directs. Cheers! (Available to stream on Netflix May 10)



Suddenly, the hottest film genre in the market is behind-the-scenes tales of outrageously talented British piano men. In this musical biopic, Elton John goes from a geek named Reginald Kenneth Dwight to glam 1970s icon. Kingsman actor Taron Edgerton portrays the Captain Fantastic rocker — and provides his own vocals. (In theaters Friday, May 31)


The Lion King

Can you feel the remake tonight? Rhetorical question. (I was just desperate to try the pun.) Anyone who’s ever teared up watching Simba mourn his dad is and should be thrilled about this live-action remake of the 1994 musical classic. The stacked cast includes Donald Glover as Simba, Beyonce Carter Knowles as Nala, and James Earl Jones as the poor Mufasa. Plus, Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner belt out “Hakuna Matana.” It means no worries. (In theaters Friday, July 19)



Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino’s latest odyssey is set in the summer of 1969 around the time of the grisly Sharon Tate murders. That’s when a Western TV actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double (Brad Pitt) embark on an odyssey to make a name for themselves in the film industry. Margot Robbie plays the doomed pregnant actress. This has to be great, and I’m not just saying that because Luke Perry is also in the cast (!!!) (In theaters Friday, July 26)



It: Chapter 2

What, you really thought Pennywise was gone at the end of It? Perhaps you didn’t realize that the Stephen King horror classic is about 3000 pages long. We’re flashing forward 27 years in the sequel, as the creepy clown (Bill Skarsgard) returns to torment the now-grown-up members of the Losers’ Club. Alas, there’s no safety in numbers. Bill Hader is Richie; Jessica Chastain is Beverly; James McAvoy is Bill. (In theaters Friday, September 6)




When we last left the iconic green-haired Batman villain, he was tormenting the Suicide Squad. Now the always intriguing Joaquin Phoenix takes over for Jared Leto (and his shaved eyebrows) in a stand-alone comic book tale. His Joker pic is reportedly a low-budget character study-type film. But considering that Todd Phillips (The Hangover, Old School) is co-writing and directing, maybe the joke is on us? (In theaters Friday, October 4)


The Woman in the Window

You read the novel with all the lights on. Hope you’re ready to see the thriller unfold on the big screen. Amy Adams portrays Anna Fox, the child psychologist suffering from agoraphobia due to a traumatic experience. While homebound (and making friends with a trusty bottle of Merlot), she spies on her neighbors and witnesses a devastating act of violence. The twists escalate from there. (In theaters Friday, October 4)


The Goldfinch

Another heavy bestseller comes to life. It’s time to picture Ansel Elgort in the role of Theo Decker, a young man who survives a terror attack at an art museum that kills his beloved mother. Following the incident — and a split-second decision in its aftermath — his life is changed forever. In other interesting casting news, Luke Wilson plays Theo’s angry alcoholic father who forces him to uproot to Las Vegas. (In theaters Friday, October 11)



Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Hot on the tennis shoes of the fantastic documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor comes this dramatized look at Fred Rogers. The story is based on a real-life friendship that developed between the beloved children’s TV host (Tom Hanks, obviously) and the edgy journalist (Matthew Rhys) assigned to write a magazine profile about him. Kindness, decency and empathy prevail and . . . you’re already tearing up, aren’t you. (In theaters Friday, October 18)


Last Christmas

It’s no careless whisper, friends. This holiday romance set in London is based on the Wham! Christmas chestnut from the 1980s. (Recap: I gave you my heart and the very next day you gave it away.) (How dare you!) And if you thought Love, Actually had the market cornered on impressive British comedy ensembles, note that this cast stars Emilia Clarke, Emma Thompson, Henry Golding and his Crazy Rich Asians mama, Michelle Yeoh. But presumably no Shannon Elizabeth. (In theaters Friday, November 15)



I already know your first question and the answer is no, Taylor Swift will not be belting out the show-stopping number “Memory.” That honor goes to Jennifer Hudson, one of the many stars of this musical adaptation of one of the longest-running shows in West End and Broadway history — which is based on T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.” The ever-growing cast also includes Ian McKellan, James Corden, Idris Elba, Judi Dench, Rebel Wilson and Jason Derulo. (In theaters Friday, December 20)


Little Women

The 19thcentury Louisa May Alcott classic about those headstrong March sisters is getting another adaptation. And this one sounds extra glorious: Oscar-nominated Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig is behind the camera; Meryl Streep, Emma Watson, Saiorse Ronan, Bob Odenkirk, Laura Dern and Timothee Chalamet are all in front. Merry Christmas, indeed. (In theaters Wednesday, December 25).


Also published on Medium.