2020 was a really challenging year for everyone, but especially so for everyone involved in movie production. With everything “opening up” again all over the nation this summer, movie fans are flocking to the theaters in an attempt to achieve some level of normalcy.
We’ve got your rundown of movies you can expect to see in theaters and streaming over the 2021 summer.
The Woman in the Window May 14, 2021
An agoraphobic child psychologist befriends a neighbor across the street from her New York City brownstone, only to see her own life turned upside down when the woman disappears and she suspects foul play.
A stellar ensemble cast brings Tracy Letts’ screenplay based on the gripping, best-selling novel to life, where shocking secrets are revealed, and no one, and nothing, is what it seems. Starring Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, Anthony Mackie, Wyatt Russell, Brian Tyree Henry, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Julianne Moore.
A Quiet Place II May 28, 2021
A sequel of 2018’s blockbuster phenomenon, This film picks up right where the last one left off. Following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family (Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe) must now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence.
Forced to venture into the unknown, they quickly realize that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.
Cruella May 28, 2021
Academy Award winner Emma Stone (La La Land) stars as the legendary Cruella de Vil. Cruella, which is set in 1970s London amidst the punk rock revolution, follows a young grifter named Estella, a clever and creative girl determined to make a name for herself with her designs. She befriends a pair of young thieves who appreciate her appetite for mischief, and together they are able to build a life for themselves on the London streets.
One day, Estella’s flair for fashion catches the eye of the Baroness von Hellman, a fashion legend who is devastatingly chic and terrifyingly haute, played by two-time Oscar winner Emma Thompson (Howards End, Sense & Sensibility).
But their relationship sets in motion a course of events and revelations that will cause Estella to embrace her wicked side and become the raucous, fashionable and revenge-bent Cruella.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It June 4, 2021
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It reveals a chilling story of terror, murder and unknown evil that shocked even experienced real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.
One of the most sensational cases from their files, it starts with a fight for the soul of a young boy, then takes them beyond anything they’d ever seen before, to mark the first time in U.S. history that a murder suspect would claim demonic possession as a defense.
Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson return to star as Lorraine and Ed Warren, under the direction of Michael Chaves (The Curse of La Llorona). The film also stars Ruairi O’Connor (Starz’ The Spanish Princess), Sarah Catherine Hook (Hulu’s Monsterland) and Julian Hilliard (Penny Dreadful: city of Angels and The Haunting of Hill House).
This should make the summer scary good.
Spirit Untamed June 4, 2021
An epic summer adventure about a headstrong girl longing for a place to belong who discovers a kindred spirit when her life intersects with a wild horse, Spirit Untamed is the next chapter in the beloved story from DreamWorks Animation.
In the Heights June 11, 2021
The creator of Hamilton and the director of Crazy Rich Asians invite you to a cinematic summer event, where the streets are made of music and little dreams become big.
In the Heights stars Anthony Ramos (A Star is Born, Broadway’s Hamilton), Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton, BlacKkKlansman), singer/songwriter Leslie Grace, Melissa Barrera (TV’s Vida), Olga Merediz (Broadway’s In the Heights), Daphne Rubin-Vega (Broadway’s Rent), Gregory Diaz IV (Broadway’s Matilda the Musical), Stephanie Beatriz (TV’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Dascha Polanco (TV’s Orange is the New Black) and Jimmy Smits (the Star Wars films, TV’s Dexter).
Luca June 18, 2021
Set in a beautiful seaside town on the Italian Riviera, Disney and Pixar’s original feature film Luca is a coming-of-age story about one young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer filled with gelato, pasta and endless scooter rides.
Luca shares these adventures with his newfound best friend, but all the fun is threatened by a deeply-held secret: they are sea monsters from another world just below the water’s surface.
Directed by Academy Award nominee Enrico Casarosa (La Luna) and produced by Andrea Warren (Lava, Cars 3), this should prove to be a perfect summer family film.
False Positive June 18, 2021
After months of trying and failing to get pregnant, Lucy (Ilana Glazer) and Adrian (Justin Theroux) finally find their dream fertility doctor in the illustrious Dr. Hindle (Pierce Brosnan).
But after becoming pregnant with a healthy baby girl, Lucy begins to notice something sinister through Hindle’s gleaming charm, and she sets out to uncover the unsettling truth about him, and her own “birth story.”
False Positive is directed by John Lee, written by Ilana Glazer and John Lee, and produced by Ilana Glazer, John Lee, and Jonathan Wang. The film also stars Pierce Brosnan, Sophia Bush and Gretchen Mol.
F9 June 25, 2021
Delayed from last summer, F9 is the ninth chapter in the Fast & Furious Saga, which has endured for two decades and has earned more than $5 billion around the world. Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto is leading a quiet life off the grid with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and his son, little Brian, but they know that danger always lurks just over their peaceful horizon.
This time, that threat will force Dom to confront the sins of his past if he’s going to save those he loves most. His crew joins together to stop a world-shattering plot led by the most skilled assassin and high-performance driver they’ve ever encountered, a man who also happens to be Dom’s forsaken brother, Jakob (John Cena).
The film stars returning cast members Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel and Sung Kang, with Oscar winner Helen Mirren and Oscar winner Charlize Theron. F9 also features Grammy-winning superstar Cardi B as new franchise character Leysa and a cameo by Reggaeton sensation Ozuna.
Oh and the F9 crew goes to space!
The Forever Purge July 2, 2021
Vaulting from the record-shattering success of 2018’s The First Purge, Blumhouse’s infamous terror franchise hurtles into innovative new territory as members of an underground movement, no longer satisfied with one annual night of anarchy and murder, decide to overtake America through an unending campaign of mayhem and massacre.
No one is safe. Adela (Ana de la Reguera, Cowboys & Aliens) and her husband Juan (Tenoch Huerta, Days of Grace) live in Texas, where Juan is working as a ranch hand for the wealthy Tucker family. Juan impresses the Tucker patriarch, Caleb (Will Patton, Halloween), but that fuels the jealous anger of Caleb’s son, Dylan (Josh Lucas, Ford v Ferrari).
Black Widow July 9, 2021
At birth the Black Widow (aka Natasha Romanova) is given to the KGB, which grooms her to become its ultimate operative. When the U.S.S.R. breaks up, the government tries to kill her as the action moves to present-day New York, where she is a freelance operative.
Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger. Directed by Cate Shortland, Produced by Kevin Feige, and starring Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz.
Space Jam: A New Legacy July 16, 2021
Basketball champion and global icon LeBron James goes on an epic adventure alongside timeless Tune Bugs Bunny with the animated/live-action event from director Malcolm D. Lee and an innovative filmmaking team including Ryan Coogler and Maverick Carter.
This transformational journey is a manic mashup of two worlds that reveals just how far some parents will go to connect with their kids. When LeBron and his young son Dom are trapped in a digital space by a rogue A.I. LeBron must get them home safe by leading Bugs, Lola Bunny and the whole gang of notoriously undisciplined Looney Tunes to victory over the A.I.’s digitized champions on the court.
It’s Tunes versus Goons in the highest-stakes challenge of his life, that will redefine LeBron’s bond with his son and shine a light on the power of being yourself. The ready-for-action Tunes supercharge their unique talents and surprise even “King” James by playing the game their own way.
James stars alongside Oscar nominee Don Cheadle (the Avengers films), Khris Davis (Judas and the Black Messiah), Sonequa Martin-Green (TV’s The Walking Dead), newcomer Cedric Joe, Jeff Bergman Looney Tunes Cartoons), Eric Bauza (Looney Tunes Cartoons), and Zendaya (Malcolm & Marie).
Jungle Cruise July 30, 2021
Inspired by the famous Disneyland theme park ride, Disney’s Jungle Cruise is an adventure-filled, Amazon-jungle expedition starring Dwayne Johnson as the charismatic riverboat captain and Emily Blunt as a determined explorer on a research mission. Also starring in the film are Edgar Ramirez, Jack Whitehall, with Jesse Plemons, and Paul Giamatti.
Jaume Collet-Serra is the director and John Davis, John Fox, Dwayne Johnson, Hiram Garcia, Dany Garcia and Beau Flynn are the producers, with Doug Merrifield serving as executive producer.
The Green Knight July 30, 2021
An epic fantasy adventure based on the timeless Arthurian legend, The Green Knight tells the story of Sir Gawain (Dev Patel), King Arthur’s reckless and headstrong nephew, who embarks on a daring quest to confront the eponymous Green Knight, a gigantic emerald-skinned stranger and tester of men. Gawain contends with ghosts, giants, thieves, and schemers in what becomes a deeper journey to define his character and prove his worth in the eyes of his family and kingdom by facing the ultimate challenger.
From visionary filmmaker David Lowery comes a fresh and bold spin on a classic tale from the knights of the round table.
The Suicide Squad August 6, 2021
One of the most anticipated films this summer. The government sends the most dangerous supervillains in the world Bloodsport, Peacemaker, King Shark, Harley Quinn and others, to the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese. Armed with high-tech weapons, they trek through the dangerous jungle on a search-and-destroy mission, with only Col. Rick Flag on the ground to make them behave.
From writer/director James Gunn comes Warner Bros. Pictures’ superhero action adventure The Suicide Squad, featuring a collection of the most degenerate delinquents in the DC lineup starring Margot Robbie (Birds of Prey), Idris Elba (Avengers: Infinity War), John Cena (Bumblebee), Joel Kinnaman (Suicide Squad), Jai Courtney (the Divergent franchise), Peter Capaldi (World War Z), David Dastmalchian (Ant-Man and the Wasp), Daniela Melchior (Parque Mayer), Michael Rooker (the Guardians of the Galaxy films), Alice Braga (Elysium), Pete Davidson (The King of Staten Island), Joaquín Cosio (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), Juan Diego Botto (The Europeans), Storm Reid (The Invisible Man), Nathan Fillion (Guardians of the Galaxy), Steve Agee (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), Sean Gunn (the Guardians of the Galaxy films), Mayling Ng (Wonder Woman), Flula Borg (Ralph Breaks the Internet), Jennifer Holland (Brightburn) and Tinashe Kajese (The Inspectors), with Sylvester Stallone (the Rocky, Rambo and Expendables franchises), and Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Suicide Squad).
Free Guy August 13, 2021
This is what summer films are supposed to be. A bank teller who discovers he is actually a background player in an open-world video game decides to become the hero of his own story, one he rewrites himself.
Now in a world where there are no limits, he is determined to be the guy who saves his world his way, before it is too late. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Joe Keery, Lil Rel Howery, Utkarsh Ambudkar and Taika Waititi, Free Guy is directed by Shawn Levy from a story by Matt Lieberman and a screenplay by Lieberman and Zak Penn.
Candyman August 27, 2021
Oscar winner Jordan Peele unleashes a fresh take on the blood-chilling urban legend that your friend’s older sibling probably told you about at a sleepover. Rising filmmaker Nia DaCosta (Little Woods) directs this contemporary incarnation of the cult classic.
For as long as residents can remember, the housing projects of Chicago’s Cabrini Green neighborhood were terrorized by a word-of-mouth ghost story about a supernatural killer with a hook for a hand, easily summoned by those daring to repeat his name five times into a mirror.
In present day, a decade after the last of the Cabrini towers were torn down, visual artist Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II; HBO’s Watchmen) and his girlfriend, gallery director Brianna Cartwright (Teyonah Parris; If Beale Street Could Talk), move into a luxury loft condo in Cabrini, now gentrified beyond recognition and inhabited by upwardly mobile millennials. A chance encounter with a Cabrini Green old-timer (Colman Domingo; Assassination Nation) exposes Anthony to the tragically horrific nature of the true story behind Candyman.
Anthony begins to explore these macabre details in his studio as fresh grist for paintings, unknowingly opening a door to a complex past that unravels his own sanity and unleashes a terrifying wave of violence that puts him on a collision course with destiny.
The Beatles: Get Back August 27, 2021
Acclaimed filmmaker Peter Jackson’s unique cinematic experience takes audiences back in time to The Beatles’ intimate recording sessions during a pivotal moment in music history. The film showcases the warmth, camaraderie and creative genius that defined the legacy of the iconic foursome.
Shot in January 1969 and compiled from over 60 hours of unseen footage (filmed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg) and more than 150 hours of unheard audio, all of which has been brilliantly restored, The Beatles: Get Back is the story of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr as they plan their first live show in over two years and charts the writing and rehearsing of 14 new songs, originally intended for release on an accompanying live album.
The summer film features for the first time in its entirety The Beatles’ last live performance as a group, the unforgettable rooftop concert on London’s Savile Row as well as other songs and classic compositions featured on the band’s final two albums, Abbey Road and Let It Be.
Stay with Reel 360 as we expand our coverage of the big summer movies, film festivals and concerts.
Joia DaVida reports on the entertainment industry in both Chicago and Los Angeles.