/Film’s 25 Most Anticipated Movies of 2019

We are at the start of a new year and you know what that means: a whole new year of movies to anticipate. The /Film crew recently sat down, put our heads together, and compiled a list of our top 25 most anticipated movies of 2019. You can see the fruits of our labor below.

And before you ask “But wait, why isn’t this movie on the list?”, please note that we recorded our deliberations as we formed this list as a podcast. So the answer you’re looking for is probably in that audio.

Note: several of these films have not released trailers or even stills yet. In those cases, we have used images of actors, directors and other talent involved in the project.

25. Flarsky

The Wackness, 50/50, Warm Bodies, The Night Before, and Snatched – the films of Jonathan Levine have not always connected with me, but the half of his filmography that has connected with me has done so in a big way. This comedy from writer Dan Sterling (The Interview, The Office, South Park) was listed on the 2011 “blacklist” of best unproduced screenplays. It tells the story of an unemployed journalist named Fred Flarsky, who is “battered by his own misfortune, endeavors to pursue Charlotte Field, his childhood crush and babysitter who now happens to be one of the most powerful and unattainable women on the planet.” Producer Seth Rogen plays the title character and the wonderful Charlize Theron plays Charlotte Field. We don’t know much about this film, but we do know the supporting cast is strong, including Alexander Skarsgård, Andy Serkis, Randall Park, and O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Peter Sciretta)

rocketman images

24. Rocketman

There’s a lot of buzz and love for Bohemian Rhapsody, but the movie doesn’t exactly do anything exciting when it comes to the rock biopic. That’s why Rocketman sounds all the more promising as Eddie the Eagle director Dexter Fletcher sets out to tell the story of Elton John. However, rather than being another typical biopic, this one is described as a musical fantasy, and the teaser trailer makes it look like something akin to Across the Universe, but hopefully with a more coherent story and script. Taron Egerton will be stretching his acting skills to a new level by portraying Elton John, not to mention belting some of his trademark tunes, and at the very least, this film’s soundtrack has us thrilled to check this one out. (Ethan Anderton)

23. Detective Pikachu

I’m as surprised as anyone by the inclusion of Detective Pikachu on this list, but that’s the power of a great trailer. In the abstract, the first live-action take on the ever-popular video game franchise sounds awful. But man, that first trailer is charming and weird and there’s no denying the strange thrill that comes with seeing Pokemon brought to life via life-like visual effects. Plus, director Rob Letterman was responsible for one of the great “this is far better than it has a right to be” movies in recent memory with the first Goosebumps, so I’m willing to let him surprise us all over again. I…I choose you, Detective Pikachu? Damn it. Yes, I do. (Jacob Hall)

scary stories to tell in the dark movie

22. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Like many people of my generation, I grew up enthralled by writer Alvin Schwartz and illustrator Stephen Gammell’s horror series, which retold classic ghost stories and urban legends for kids. And while Schwartz had a knack for making these tales easily digestible for the younger set, it was Gammell’s sickly, icky, surreal art that made these books iconic. If the upcoming big screen adaptation can capture that visual aesthetic, we may be looking at one of the best horror films of the year. And while Guillermo del Toro’s presence as a producer will draw a lot of attention, don’t sleep on director André Øvredal. His Trollhunter is a blast and his The Autopsy of Jane Doe is nothing short of terrifying. (Jacob Hall)

Men in Black International

21. Men in Black International

The Men in Black sequels may have left something to be desired following such a fantastic debut with the original film from director Barry Sonnenfeld. But rebooting the franchise with a sequel that gives us Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson as agents of the secret organization sounds pretty enticing, even if it sounds like Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones aren’t involved this time. With a director like F. Gary Gray behind the camera, this is undoubtedly going to be action-packed, and with a duo like Hemsworth and Thompson, we’re bound to get some laughs and great chemistry too. Plus, who isn’t up for more cool alien designs? (Ethan Anderton)

The Report Adam Driver

20. The Report

Scott Z. Burns, a frequent collaborator of Steven Soderbergh, makes his feature directorial debut with this political drama that’s sure to be a major player come next awards season (sorry, I know we’re not even through this awards season yet, and I should just shut up about it). Let’s look at the cast here: Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Jon Hamm, Tim Blake Nelson, Michael C. Hall, Matthew Rhys, Jennifer Morrison, Maura Tierney and Ted Levine. That is one heck of a line-up, folks. The Report tells the true story of a Senate staffer (Driver) investigating the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” – aka torture – used in the aftermath of 9/11. I love a great political drama – the more emotionally charged, the better. I can already picture the big, dramatic speeches that characters will be firing off here, and I’m practically slavating. (Chris Evangelista)

The Lion King Remake

19. The Lion King

After the success of The Jungle Book, Jon Favreau has returned to bring The Lion King to “live-action.” As far as we know, there are no actual live-action elements in this film, but it’s aiming for a photo-real reproduction of the animated classic. While the early trailers have played up the shot for shot recreation, we’re told that this new version will be a combination of scenes and songs we love and new material. I’ve been a huge fan of Favreau’s directing career and while I would be more excited about him doing an original project, I’m very interested to see how he pushes the limits of performance capture, or whatever technology he is employing to create this movie. (Peter Sciretta)

pet sematary set visit

18. Pet Sematary

Perhaps I’m biased here, because A) Pet Sematary is my favorite Stephen King novel, and B), I had a chance to visit the set of this film last year. But even if I hadn’t been privy to some insider information, the trailer for this film alone would be enough to get me excited. Directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer appear to have brought something fresh and creepy to the material, while also remaining true to King’s prose. They’ve also assembled a great cast:  Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, and John Lithgow. We’re in the midst of a Stephen King adaptation renaissance, and I have a strong suspicion Pet Sematary is going to be one of the best entries yet. Based on my interviews with the cast and crew, one thing became apparent: everyone was taking this very seriously. No one working on this movie is trying to make a cheap horror flick with jump scares. They’re going for something deeper, something more psychologically terrifying. And I couldn’t be happier. (Chris Evangelista)

TOY STORY 4 trailer

17. Toy Story 4

Ah, the Toy Story sequel no one wanted, but Disney decided to make. I think most fans of this franchise agree that Toy Story 3 was the perfect end for this franchise but John Lasseter (wait, can we even say his name out loud?) had an idea for another adventure. We initially heard it was a love story between Woody and Bo Peep, inspired by and dedicated to John’s wife. Now that seems a little icky and the story Disney has revealed seems…. different. “When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.” The addition of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have us a little bit excited and we’ve learned to never doubt Pixar, even when it comes to their franchise sequels – the Toy Story franchise has topped itself at each outing. (Peter Sciretta)

shazam suit

16. Shazam

This is easily the first big test for the new direction that the DC Extended Universe is taking after abandoning Zack Snyder’s grand vision for DC Comics superheroes. By taking the premise of Big and mixing it with superheroes, we get a movie that looks like a promising departure from the rest of the dark gritty comic book antics of Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad. Aquaman helped pave the way, for sure, but this looks like a true superhero comedy, and that’s something DC Comics hasn’t ever really done before, at least not intentionally or successfully (looking at you Batman & Robin). Zachary Levi looks like he’s having a blast, and I hope this movie delivers when it arrives in the spring. (Ethan Anderton)

joker video

15. Joker

Frankly, I never thought I’d be excited about a superhero movie from the director of The Hangover movies, but Todd Phillips’ Joker defies expectation at every turn. The initial shock of what sounded like a terrible idea has finally worn off, and I think we’re all extremely curious to see what a riff on Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy looks like with Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker as the Rupert Pupkin analogue. Hell, even if this film turns out to be an ill-conceived nightmare, Phoenix’s performance will still probably make it a must-see. (Ben Pearson)

velvet buzzsaw trailer

14. Velvet Buzzsaw

There’s nothing better than when Jake Gyllenhaal gets weird onscreen. And reunited with his Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy for Velvet Buzzsaw, it seems like he’s getting weird. Gyllenhaal and Gilroy’s last team-up gave us the unnerving takedown of the sensational tabloid industry, Gilroy turns his camera on the art world with Velvet Buzzsaw. Alongside Rene Russo, Toni Collette, and John Malkovich, Gyllenhaal stars as an art critic who helps discover the revolutionary work of an unknown artist — which may have some dire consequences. What at first seems like yet another character-driven thriller turns into a supernatural horror film as it’s slowly unveiled that all of the greedy art collectors are being attacked by…killer art. It’s messed up and bizarre, and totally fascinating. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

how to train your dragon the hidden world early screenings

13. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Dreamwork’s surprise 2010 hit turned into one of the most affecting and beautifully animated series of the past decade. And it all comes to an end with How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, which promises to be the most affecting of them all. The capper to the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy follows Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Toothless one year after the second film, when their peaceful dragon utopia is threatened by an evil new dragon hunter, Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham). Meanwhile, Hiccup and Toothless’ unbreakable friendship is tested when they discover that Toothless is not the last of his kind. Director Dean Deblois has never failed to deliver How to Train Your Dragon’s trademark whimsy and heart. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

Godzilla fire

12. Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Filmmaker Michael Dougherty previously directed two fun holiday horror films in Trick ‘r Treat and Krampus, but now he’s stepping into the huge canvas of tentpole blockbuster filmmaking. Godzilla: King of the Monsters sees the mutated dinosaur returning to the big screen for the first time since 2014’s Godzilla reintroduced him to American audiences, and from what we’ve seen in the marketing (especially that gorgeous first trailer), it looks like the character’s inevitable clashes with his fellow monsters are being captured with a beauty and reverence that we haven’t yet witnessed in Legendary’s MonsterVerse. (Ben Pearson)

Spider-Man Far From Home

11. Spider-Man: Far From Home

Now that we officially have a teaser trailer for the follow-up to Spider-Man: Homecoming, we can get truly excited for the sequel with Tom Holland as our friendly neighborhood webslinger. We’re still not sure how this corresponds with the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, but it honestly doesn’t matter. Even though Spidey is going abroad, this is still a neighborhood affair for him on some level since he has to keep his friends safe from these giant creatures known as Elementals. Plus, it’s hard not to get excited about seeing a villain like Mysterio on the big screen for the first time, especially when an actor like Jake Gyllenhaal is playing him. This should be a fun trip abroad for ole Spider-Man. (Ethan Anderton)

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