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The Movies You Need to Watch Before You Go to the Movies in 2020

Our annual backwards guide to the remakes, reboots, and franchise returns of the coming year.
Movies To Watch
By  · Published on January 9th, 2020

Suicide Squad (2016)

We’ll be getting a second Suicide Squad movie in 2021, though it’s not exactly a sequel to this 2016 movie. First, we’re getting a spinoff focused on its most popular character played by its most talented actor. Before seeing Margot Robbie lead an ensemble of women heroes and antiheroes in Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), meet Robbie’s take on Harley Quinn and see her relationship with the Joker as it’s acknowledged in the trailer with this mixed bag installment of the DC Extended Universe.
Due date: February 7th

Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie (1999)

Initially put out in 1996 as two episodes of a cartoon series based on the popular Sega video game, Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie was collectively released on video in 1999 “the movie.” Now Sonic is getting a live-action movie (Sonic the Hedgehog) in which he’s transported to the real world. Clueless about who Sonic and his nemesis Dr. Eggman/Robotnik are? If you aren’t interested in playing the game, you can watch this instead.
Due date: February 14th

Fantasy Island (1977)

One of the most iconic TV shows of the 1970s and 1980s, Fantasy Island began with a couple of TV movies, including this original and a sequel entitled Return to Fantasy Island, which aired a week later (the show itself would arrive a year later). Blumhouse’s upcoming horror take on the premise of an island promising the fulfillment of any fantasy — for a price — looks unrecognizable but will surely be best appreciated after becoming acquainted with its inspiration.
Due date: February 14th

Force Majeure (2014)

Arguably the best foreign-language film of 2014 (shockingly snubbed by the Oscars), Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure is not the sort of broad comedy you might expect given the casting of the American remake, retitled Downhill (starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell). Of all the newly redone works on this list, that one really should be seen paired with the original since it’s sure to be an interesting study in adaptation. Plus you’ll get double the Kristofer Hivju.
Due date: February 14th

Call of the Wild (1935)

The first film adaptation of Jack London’s short adventure novel The Call of the Wild was a silent feature released in 1923. It’s not lost, but it’s not as easily seen as the 1935 talkie starring Clark Gable that expands the plot (while shortening the title sans “the”). The new version led by Harrison Ford alongside a performance-capture CG dog looks to be more related to this version as well as the book. There are also other adaptations you can look at, including a 1972 movie starring Charlton Heston, a 1997 TV movie starring Rutger Hauer, and a 1978 Peanuts special that borrows from the plot titled What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown!
Due date: February 21st

Emma (1996)

Jane Austen’s Emma has been adapted numerous times for television, mainly in the UK and sometimes as miniseries rather than movies, but this 1996 release starring Gwyneth Paltrow was the first to hit the big screen. Unless you count the modernized teen movie version, Clueless, out the year before. There is also a Bollywood take called Aisha from 2010. The latest stars Anya Taylor-Joy as the young woman who enjoys matchmaking for everyone but herself.
Due date: February 21st

The Boy (2016)

Yes, you’re now assigned that horror movie in which a family’s “son” is really just a porcelain doll (or is he???). Because they made a sequel, titled Brahms: The Boy II, following a new family moving into the mansion from the first film and finding the doll there.
Due date: February 21st

The Invisible Man (1933)

Don’t worry, you don’t have to watch all of the Universal Monsters movies nor the recent version of The Mummy, which was supposed to kickstart a new cinematic universe (Dark Universe) continuing with an Invisible Man movie starring Johnny Depp. Instead, there’s a new version of the H.G. Well story focused on Elisabeth Moss dealing with an abusive ex-turned-stalker who becomes invisible. In addition to being the latest take on James Whale’s horror film adaptation of 1933 starring Claude Rains, the #metoo approach could also be seen as an answer to the 2000 film Hollow Man.
Due date: February 28th

Peter Pan (1924)

I’ll assign Disney’s Peter Pan when the studio finally releases its own live-action remake of the animated classic. For now, let’s go back to the first, a silent feature from Paramount adapted faithfully from J.M. Barrie’s stage play. What’s the reason this time? Another reimagining, this one from Benh Zeitlin and following a modern take with a little girl discovering a mysterious island where boys don’t grow up. Hopefully, Wendy is better than Pan.
Due date: February 28th

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.