If you thought 2018 was a good year for movies, just wait until 2019. The release schedule for next year is jam-packed with must-see flicks, from buzzy superhero epics to live-action updates of animated classics, to sequels to some of the biggest franchises of all time. NBD.
Here are 21 of the most-anticipated movies of 2019; see them if you want to be a part of the cultural conversation. Be sure to check back as the year goes on. We’ll be updating and adjusting this list as new releases hit theaters (and streaming channels) to ensure only the year’s most heart-warming, crowd-pleasing, laugh-inducing movies make the cut—we know your viewing time is precious.
Release date: March 15, 2019
Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Anna Diop
Why it’s a big deal: It’s Jordan Peele’s follow-up to Get Out—about a family terrorized by their dopplegängers—and the trailer looks truly nightmarish.
Release date: March 15, 2019
Starring: Keira Knightley, Alexander Skarsgård, and Jason Clarke
Why it’s a big deal: Keira Knightley in period costumes. Alexander Skarsgård shirtless. Need we say more?
Release date: March 19, 2019
Starring: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, and Jude Law
Why it’s a big deal: After more than a decade of blockbuster superhero movies, Marvel is finally releasing its first female-led movie. About time.
‘The Best of Enemies’
Release date: April 5, 2019
Starring: Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell
Why it’s a big deal: In 2019, the world is polarized, full of people who struggle to talk through differences and take stock of their own deeply-held (and, in some cases, deeply-flawed) beliefs. This was also the case in 1971, when desegregation swept the South. The Best of Enemies tells the true story of a Civil Rights activist (Henson) and Ku Klux Klan leader (Rockwell) who became unlikely friends in the course of debating desegregation and will give you hope that open, productive dialogue is possible, even in the most divided of times.
Release date: April 5, 2019
Starring: Elle Fanning, Rebecca Hall, and Zlatko Buric
Why it’s a big deal: Anyone who has ever belted out a song in the shower or attempted to recreate an aspirational Instagram post will connect with this movie.
Release date: April 12, 2019
Starring: Josephine Langford and Hero Fiennes-Tiffin
Why it’s a big deal: Every ticket to this movie should probably come with a pint of cookie dough ice cream. Think of it as Judy Blume’s Forever for the Gen Z set—and proof that the story of first love (and first heartbreak) is timeless.
Release date: April 12, 2019
Starring: Regina Hall, Issa Rae, and Marsai Martin
Why it’s a big deal: It follows in the classic tradition of Big and 13 Going on 30 and stars the always-hilarious Issa Rae as the personal assistant of a quintessential mean boss (Hall) who has to deal when said boss wakes up as her 13-year-old self (Martin, who steals every scene she’s in).
‘Under the Silver Lake’
Release date: April 19, 2019.
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Riley Keough, and Topher Grace.
Why it’s a big deal: Watching Under the Silver Lake is like watching a recording of a dream you only kind of remember—but in a good way. It’s the movie all of your film snob friends are going to be talking about this spring.
Release date: April 26, 2019
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Letitia Wright, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Jeremy Renner, Evangeline Lilly, Jon Favreau, Paul Rudd, and Brie Larson
Why it’s a big deal: It’s the culmination of more than a decade of shared Marvel universe storytelling, one of the most ambitious projects in cinematic history. If you saw Infinity War, then you know we need answers and solutions and reversals of certain instances of people disintegrating into dust ASAP.
‘The Third Wife’
Release date: May 15, 2019
Starring: Le Vu Long, Tran Nu Yen Khe, Mai Thu Huong Maya, Nguyen Phuong Tra My, and Nguyen Nhu Quynh
Why it’s a big deal: This harrowing film, based on the hit novel by Lisa Jewell, is the first feature-length project from Vietnamese director Ash Mayfair and should be required viewing.
Release date: May 24, 2019
Starring: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnussen, and Numan Acar
Why it’s a big deal: It’s a live-action remake of Aladdin, which means you’re about to see your biggest pre-Flynn Rider Disney crush as a real-life human. Plus, props to Disney for hiring a diverse cast of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent.
Release date: May 31, 2019
Starring: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Steven Mackintosh
Why it’s a big deal: Elton John isn’t a cookie-cutter rockstar, so it wouldn’t be possible to tell his story with a cookie-cutter biopic. Rocketman, which bills itself as being “based on a true fantasy,” tells John’s life story with a surreal spin totally befitting the living legend, who is known for his eccentric style as much as his music.
Release date: June 7, 2019
Starring: Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters, and Jessica Chastain
Why it’s a big deal: Two words: Sophie. Turner. The Game of Thrones actress takes a starring turn as the protagonist/villain in this X-Men: Apocalypse follow-up.
‘Toy Story 4’
Release date: June 21, 2019
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, and Keanu Reeves
Why it’s a big deal: According to the cast, Toy Story 4 is even more emotional than Toy Story 3, which doesn’t even seem possible, honestly.
‘The Lion King’
Release date: July 19, 2019
Starring: Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Billy Eichner, John Oliver, Keegan-Michael Key, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, and James Earl Jones
Why it’s a big deal: It’s a photo-realistic CGI remake of the biggest animated movie of all time (imho) and a chance to relive a childhood classic. Plus Beyoncé.
‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’
Release date: Late Summer, 2019
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie
Why it’s a big deal: Quentin Tarantino tackles the Charles Manson/Sharon Tate murder.
‘The New Mutants’
Release date: August 2, 2019
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams, Charlie Heaton, Henry Zaga, Blu Hunt, and Alice Braga
Why it’s a big deal: Is anyone else geeking out a little that both of the Stark sisters are in X-Men movies in 2019? This one is also a horror film.
‘It: Chapter 2’
Release date: September 6, 2019
Starring: James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Jay Ryan, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, James Ransone, Andy Bean, and Bill Skarsgård
Why it’s a big deal: It was a huge success and the casting for the adult versions of the members of the Losers’ Club is nothing short of incredible.
Release date: November 22, 2019
Starring: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, and Jonathan Groff
Why it’s a big deal: Frozen marked a bunch of firsts for Disney—first Princess to ascend to Queen during her film, first non-romantic love story, first acknowledgement of the insanity of princesses getting engaged the day they meet their prince. It’s no wonder people are excited to see what girl power Frozen 2 can bring.
‘Star Wars: Episode IX’
Release date: December 20, 2019
Starring: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, Keri Russell, Mark Hamill ,Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, Carrie Fisher, Matt Smith, and Dominic Monaghan
Why it’s a big deal: It’s not just the next Star Wars movie. It’s the final installment of the original Star Wars story. Yes, Disney is going to keep pumping out stories set in this universe from here to eternity, but this is the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga.
Release date: December 25, 2019
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Dern, Bob Odenkirk, James Norton, Chris Cooper, and Meryl Streep
Why it’s a big deal: It’s a Greta Gerwig–directed remake of the beloved classic novel with perhaps the most genius casting in all of cinematic history.