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Wonder Woman and Mulan Are Back! Really! Here’s the Scoop on 16 Summer Movies

Published on May 14, 2020

Let’s start with good news! There will be summer movies in 2020. One more time with emphasis? DONE. There will be summer movies in 2020. And here’s the interesting twist: Even though the season has a reputation for its proliferation of sequels, spinoffs and revivals, this year’s edition will be a one-of-a-kind event of which we’ve never seen before. Because of our current health pandemic, a handful of anticipated movies will debut on your favorite at-home screen — who knew Trolls: World Tour would turn out to be such a popular trailblazer — while others are set to premiere at bona fide air conditioning-equipped theaters. And where are Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Fast & Furious 9, In the Heights, The Hitman’s Bodyguard’s Wife and Jungle Cruise? They’ll see you all sometime in 2021. But again, let’s focus on the positive. There. Will. Be. Summer. Movies. In. 2020. The proof is below, though obviously keep in mind that everything is subject to change. But so is life. Enjoy the much-deserved escapism!


Even if you weren’t losing sleep over the mystery of Scooby-Doo’s origin story — turns out Shaggy (Will Forte) first met his pooch as a stray on the beach — at least this CGI offering promises to be more watchable than those odd live-action versions from 20 years ago. And those meddling kids Fred (Zac Efron), Daphne (Amanda Seyfried) and Velma (Gina Rodriguez) are still on the scene to investigate crimes and make silly jokes. (Available to rent on VOD, Friday, May 15)



The Lovebirds

Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae play a couple who become unintentionally embroiled in a murder mystery, requiring them to a. solve the case and b. figure out the future of their relationship at the same time. You’re not wrong for thinking the plot sounds way-similar to the Tina Fey-Steve Carell vehicle Date Night from 2010. But Nanjiani (The Big Sick) and Rae (Insecure) have the chops to deliver the rom-com goods in any form. P.S. This was originally scheduled to be released in April by Paramount; Netflix is definitely the better option. (Streaming on Netflix, Friday, May 22)



The High Note

Per the studio press release, this romance drama is “set in the dazzling world of the L.A. music scene.” As if there’s any other kind. Grace (Tracee Ellis Ross) is the superstar with the ego to match her talents; Maggie (Dakota Johnson) is her overworked, put-on assistant. Though she’s stuck running errands, Maggie aspires to be a music producer. She gets help from Grace’s manager (Ice Cube). They all soon hatch a plan that could “change their lives forever.” (Available to rent on VOD, Friday, May 29)



Artemis Fowl

Word is that kids of all ages adore Eoin Colfer’s fantasy book series. Now the story of a 12-year-old criminal mastermind who captures a vicious fairy and attempts to harness her powers to rescue his family gets the Disney treatment. Unlike the source material, Commander Root is now a female, and played by Dame Judi Dench. The film, which encompasses the first two books, also stars Colin Farrell and Josh Gad. (Streaming on Disney+ on Friday, June 12)


The Old Guard

Ah, there’s nothing like Charlize Theron in take-no-prisoners action mode. (Bombshell doesn’t count, right?) Her character leads a small covert group of immortal mercenaries who must fight to keep their team together when they discover the existence of a new immortal. The source material is author Greg Rucka’s popular comic book series; Theron also co-produces. (Streaming on Netflix Wednesday, July 10)



The King of Staten Island

In just five years, Pete Davidson has gone from skinny goofball featured player on Saturday Night Live to headline-making breakout comedy star/professional celebrity boyfriend. Now it’s time to see if he can add “big-time actor” to his list of credits via this loosely autobiographical comedy. Growing up in New York City, his Scott is still coping with the death of his firefighter father on and is stuck in a state of arrested development. Directed and co-written by Judd Apatow, the king of 21st century comedy. (Available to rent on VOD on Friday, June 12) 




In honor of Father’s Day, check out this sweet documentary directed by Bryce Dallas Howard. It’s a firsthand glimpse into the trials and tribulations of modern-day fatherhood — with a slew of famous dads chiming in, such as Neil Patrick Harris, Will Smith, Jimmy Kimmel and Bryce’s own pop, Oscar-winning director Ron Howard. This was first screened at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was named second-runner-up for the People’s Choice Award for Documentaries. (Streaming on Apple TV + on Friday, June 19)



Palm Springs

Hey, it’s a clever and charming comedy! Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti are a pair of cynical bandits looking for love and meaning in life while stuck in an old-fashioned time loop. (Indeed, they wake up every day miserable in sunny Palm Springs, California). Think of this as a raunchier version of the classic Groundhog’s Day — and just as endearing. Evidence: At the Sundance Film Festival back in January, the indie sold for an all-time record-breaking $22 million. (Streaming on Hulu in June)




When it comes to moviemakers who craft twisty original stories, few compare to Oscar-nominated director Christopher Nolan (Inception, Interstellar). That’s why his latest hush-hush project — an action epic evolving from the world of international espionage — promises to be the first blockbuster of the season (and will not do at an-home VOD run). Indeed, curiosity and anticipation is a potent combo. One more thing: It stars Robert Pattinson and John David Washington. (In theaters Friday, July 17)



After a four-month delay due to you-know-what, fans of the 1998 animated Disney fantasy-adventure will finally see the live-action treatment. To save her ailing father from serving in the Imperial Army, fearless Mulan (Liu Yifei) disguises herself as a man to battle Northern invaders in China. Confirmed: This iteration is more grounded and sophisticated than its original counterpart, and not just because Mushu the talking dragon has gone poof. But you’ll still hear Christina Aguilera belt out a version of “Reflection,” so yay. (In theaters Friday, July 24)


The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run 

All right, let’s throw the kids a treat. (Call it a small consolation prize for the cancellation of overnight camp.) The gang from the Bikini Bottom are ready to make a splash in a CGI extravaganza. In this adventure, SpongeBob and his pal Patrick Star embark on an adventure to the Lost City of Atlantic City to rescue Mr. Squarepants’ pet snail, Gary, and bring him home. Lessons about friendship ensue. (In theaters Friday, August 7)


Wonder Woman 1984

You don’t need the lasso of truth to admit you’re stoked that the amazing Diana Prince, the Princess of Themyscira (Gal Gadot), has fast-forwarded to 1984 for her next adventure. The D.C. Comics warrior will face off against two new foes: The Cheetah (Kristen Wiig) and Max Lord (Pedro Pascal). And even though Chris Pine’s dashing war hero Steve Trevor died in the 2017 original, he returns as well — in a way that better make sense. (In theaters Wednesday, August 12)

The One and Only Ivan

This live-action/CGI hybrid depicts the true story of a gorilla and other animals sharing a habitat at a shopping mall. Bryan Cranston is on the screen, while Angelina Jolie, Sam Rockwell and Helen Mirren supply the vocals. If the title sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because it’s based on the children’s book by Katherine Applegate — which was No. 1 bestseller and won a Newberry award. (In theaters Friday, August 14)

Bill & Ted Face the Music

Whoa, Bill and Ted are still ready to rock in 2020. Keanu Reeves (Ted) and Alex Winter (Bill) — we first saw them in 1989; don’t bother with the 1991 sequel — are now dads to two daughters and still seeking their destiny as rockers. In their quest to find a perfect song (despite their maturing ages), they’ll run into a slew of new historical figures, and some familiar characters as well. And iPhones aside, these dudes are still traveling via a totally awesome phone booth. (In theaters August 21)



A Quiet Place 2

Before all the multiplexes shut-down, the good buzz was loud and clear for this sequel. Plot: The Abbott family (led by fierce mama Emily Blunt) and a stranger (Cillian Murphy) fight for survival against the mysterious creatures that hunt and kill by sound. John Krasinski returns to direct and he wrote the screenplay — but he’s not part of the onscreen frightening fun, as he died to save his kids the 2018 original. (In theaters Friday, September 4)


An American Pickle

Another theater-to-farm-to-home release! An immigrant worker (Seth Rogen) is an immigrant worker at a pickle factory accidentally preserved for 100 years and wakes up in modern-day Brooklyn. He learns his only surviving relative is his great grandson, a computer coder he can’t connect with. Said great-grandson is also played by Rogen. This is a comedy, in case you can’t tell. (Streaming this summer on HBO Max)



Also published on Medium.