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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

Wonder Woman (2017)

The next Wonder Woman movie, titled Wonder Woman 1984, promises to be a relatively standalone installment, similar to this first Wonder Woman movie. They are set in different times, the previous movie taking place during World War I in Europe and the upcoming followup taking place in America in the 1980s. It’s still a sequel and will have certain connections, so it’s worth your while to see the original. Plus it kicked off a trend of good movies in the DC Extended Universe.
Due date: June 5th

Candyman (1992)

Like Halloween, the sequel to Halloween, Candyman is getting a direct sequel also titled Candyman. That idea continues to be annoying, but the new Candyman is co-written and produced by Jordan Peele, so can we really complain about it? If you’ve never seen the original, now isn’t just your chance, it’s your requirement.
Due date: June 12th

Top Gun (1986)

Yes, they’ve finally actually made a sequel to Top Gun. The need for speed apparently wasn’t strong with the execs behind this idea more than 30 years later, but the need for speed does apply to anyone who has to now watch the original before the opening of Top Gun: Maverick. You’ve only got a few months!
Due date: June 26th

Despicable Me (2010) and Minions (2015)

At the end of the Despicable Me prequel/spinoff Minions, which showed the origins of the little yellow henchmen of the franchise, we were teased the origins of Gru, the main character of the main series. In the prequel-sequel Minions: The Rise of Gru, we’ll be seeing more of the little guy and the beginnings of his scarf-wearing villainy. Who is Gru? Oh, you’ll be needing to watch at least the first Despicable Me to meet him as an adult, too.
Due date: July 3rd

Ghostbusters (1985) and Ghostbusters II (1989)

Jason Reitman is ready to believe you that all you ever wanted was a Ghostbusters 3. So forget the women Ghostbusters movie from a few years ago and return to the main canon with Ghostbusters: Afterlife. While not following the main ghost-busting characters from the first two movies, there are definitely references to their events and at least cameos from most of those beloved players.
Due date: July 10th

The Purge (2013), The Purge: Anarchy (2014), The Purge: Election Year (2016), and The First Purge (2018)

Supposedly the next movie in the Purge franchise, currently simply titled Purge, will be the last. How much do you need to know before going into it? And do you need to watch the in-canon anthology television series? Who knows, but there are four installments to get through just in case the films are pertinent.
Due date: July 10th

Inception (2010)

While I don’t think this is true, some believe that Christopher Nolan’s new time-travel movie, Tenet, is somehow connected to the universe of his spectacular 2010 action sci-fi thriller Inception. If you’ve never seen it, you should do so just to play it safe. Maybe Leonardo DiCaprio will show up at the very end a la Bruce Willis at the end of Split.
Due date: July 17th

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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.