Ultimate Guide to Disney’s Early 2020 Movies
As 2019 winds down, movie analysts punt on the current year and start thinking about the future. This is the time when they try to delude themselves into believing that other film studios could defeat Disney in the 2020 box office war.
Spoiler: They won’t. To prove the point, let’s take a look at the current lineup for next year. Here’s what we know about Disney’s 2020 movie schedule. In part one, we’ll discuss January through June releases.
1. Underwater – January 10th
Disney’s first title of 2020 won’t excite most people. The company acquired the entire Fox movie catalog, including titles yet to be released. And most of them aren’t exactly blockbusters. Underwater fits the description of The Meg wannabe, which isn’t all bad.
I happened to love The Meg. Anyway, the Fox film tells the story of researchers trapped several leagues underwater…with something. It does star Kristen Stewart, but movies released in January are usually wet garbage. The trailer is pretty decent, though.
2. The Call of the Wild – February 21st
Literary fans, your time is now! The legendary Jack London novel receives its first theatrical adaptation since 1972! Yes, the last time happened so long ago that the previous version starred Charlton Heston!
For those who don’t know about the story of The Call of the Wild, a grizzled man and a domesticated dog named Buck are forced together to brave the brutal conditions of the Yukon. Harrison Ford and Legion’s Dan Stevens star in the film.
Oh, and Disney fans will have another reason to watch. Chris Sanders directs. You may know him as the creator, director, and voice of Stitch!
3. Onward – March 6th
Someone at Pixar apparently thought, “What if we did a version of Weekend at Bernie’s?” I can think of no other explanation for the existence of Onward, but it’s one of my most anticipated movies of 2020.
In this story, a mother elf’s teen sons learn about a magical spell. It will bring back the family’s deceased father for a day, only…the spell goes wrong.
The trailer is legitimately laugh out loud funny, and Onward’s voice cast includes Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Hidden Figures Math Genius (Octavia Spencer), and Veep Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). For Disney/Pixar fans, Onward is one of the most important releases next year.
4. Mulan – March 27th
I shouldn’t need to tell you what Mulan is. If you don’t know, stop what you’re doing and pull it up on Disney+ right freakin’ now! In the animated story, Ming-Na Wen voices the protagonist, a heroic woman pretends to be a male soldier to prevent her father from re-enlisting in the military.
Her family then sends her a dragon named Mushu to protect her. Well, technically, they picked someone other than Mushu, but I don’t want to spoil anything.
Anyway, you know the deal by now. Live-action Disney movies do killer box office. More importantly, they remind Disney fans while we fell in love with the stories in the first place.
I hope that the 2020 version makes smart alterations a la Aladdin. The studio’s already confirmed that the character of Captain Li Shang won’t appear. Instead, Chen Honghui will play Mulan’s love interest.
Fun fact: Chris Sanders has a screenplay credit on the 1998 version of Mulan! Bring him back into the fold, Disney!
5. The New Mutants – April 3rd
The trailer for this movie debuted in October of 2017. The film’s current release date is April 3, 2020. You can do the math on how much confidence first Fox and now Disney have in the project.
Since Kevin Feige and his team at Marvel are incredibly protective of the brand, there’s a real chance that The New Mutants never receives a theatrical release. That’s the rumor that I’ve heard for 18 months now, as some insiders believe the film will launch on Hulu.
If you do get a chance to see it, you’ll learn about some less famous superheroes like Cannonball, Magik, Sunspot, and Wolfsbane. Comic book fans love The New Mutants, but the movie sounds like The Inhumans, a disastrous ABC television series based on a phenomenal Marvel comic.
6. Black Widow – May 1st
Since the Mutants aren’t officially a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) yet, even if that movie comes out, it won’t count. So, Black Widow qualifies as one of only two MCU releases in 2020.
Obviously, this film is highly anticipated as fans have clamored for a Black Widow standalone film for years now. This release might become the number one film of 2020 to date within two weeks of its debut.
7. Artemis Fowl – May 29th
Remember that time when Disney could have bagged the Harry Potter theme park license but didn’t close the deal? Theme park history was never the same, as Universal Studios happily grabbed the rights and built The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Disney execs have never forgotten this mistake. In 2020, they’ll attempt to right a previous wrong with Artemis Fowl. Based on a popular young adult book franchise, this story entails how a 12-year-old career criminal comes upon proof that Fairies exist. What follows is a series of choices based on greed and right versus wrong.
The stories are incredibly successful, and Disney believes that it could have a potential franchise here. With eight titles in the queue, it could feasibly match the number of Harry Potter films.
But I’m getting way ahead of myself. The first one has to perform well and be good before any serious talk of a sequel begins. I’m mentioning all of this to identify what’s at stake with the release of Artemis Fowl.
8. Soul – June 19th
In some years, Pixar doesn’t even release a movie. Next year, we’re so lucky that we’ll get two entirely original stories in 105 days!
We know the least about Soul, Pete Docter’s latest project. The director of Up, Inside Out, and Monsters, Inc. has arguably the best résumé of anyone at Pixar. So, his name at the top of any film means that it matters.
In the movie’s teaser, we’re introduced to Joe Gardner, a jazz musician with a day job as a middle school teacher. He absolutely crushes his set at the local club and thinks that maybe his dreams are about to come true. Then, the world falls out from under him, almost literally.
At this point, the jazz man’s soul gets physically separated from his body and sent somewhere else. All we know about the location is that it’s called the You Seminar, which is enough to sell me on the premise.
Soul bears at least surface similarities to Inside Out. Both take apart ordinary people and evaluate what makes them human.
It should be a much deeper movie than Onward, although the latter film will have a strong emotional core about the importance of family. Both movies sound spectacular, and I can’t believe we’re just six months away from watching both of them!
Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at the second half of the year for Disney movie releases. It’ll include the MCU equivalent of Soul, The Eternals.