The 21 Most Anticipated Movies of 2019

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Disney

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.

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1 'The Aftermath'

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?

2 'Us'

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.

3 'Captain Marvel'

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.

4 'The Best of Enemies'

Release date: April 5, 2019

Starring: Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell

Why it's a big deal: If living in 2019 makes you think the world is polarized, then maybe a look at how bad things got in 1971 could feel reassuring. Set during the desegregation of the South, this film tells the true story of renowned civil-rights activist Ann Atwater and local Ku Klux Klan leader C.P. Ellis (Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell), who became unlikely friends in the course of their debate over equal rights. It’s an ode to the idea that open dialogue is possible even in the most divided times.

5 'Teen Spirit'

Release date: April 5, 2019

Starring: Elle Fanning, Rebecca Hall, and Zlatko Buric

Why it's a big deal: Teen Spirit introduces us to Violet, a shy but talented British teenager (Elle Fanning) who can’t wait to escape her tiny hometown. Hoping to break out, she signs up for an American Idol–esque singing competition that ends up bringing her unexpected fame and glory. As gritty in some scenes as it is candy coated in others, this is the movie everyone will be talking about this season—and not just because the soundtrack is killer. (Fanning, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Jack Antonoff even collaborated on a new track, “Wildflowers.”)

6 'After'

Release date: April 12, 2019

Starring: Josephine Langford and Hero Fiennes-Tiffin

Why it's a big deal: Think of this movie as Judy Blume’s Forever for the Gen Z set and proof that the story of first love (and first heartbreak) is perennially captivating. After—as in, after your first love—is based on the unexpectedly best-selling 2014 novel by Anna Todd, who first published the story as a serial on the writing app Wattpad. Once it premieres, expect to see the movie’s gorgeous lead stars, Josephine Langford and Hero Fiennes Tiffin, everywhere.

7 'Little'

Release date: April 12, 2019

Starring: Regina Hall, Issa Rae, and Marsai Martin

Why it's a big deal: Take the classic rom-com trope of Big and 13 Going on 30—kid wakes up in a grown-up body—and flip it on its head for 2019. Regina Hall stars as a classic mean boss lady who wakes up one morning as her awkward, nerdy 13-year-old self, played by Marsai Martin. As if that weren’t enough, the situation also forces her long-suffering assistant (the reliably hilarious Issa Rae) to play mom until everything returns to normal.

8 'Under the Silver Lake'

Release date: April 19, 2019.

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Riley Keough, and Topher Grace.

Why it's a big deal: Under the Silver Lake is like watching a record- ing of a dream you only kind of remember, but in a good way. The neo-noir thriller follows a Los Angeles man (Andrew Garfield) who meets a mysterious manic-pixie-dream- girl type (Riley Keough) at his apartment complex one night. They spend a magical and romantic evening together and agree to meet up the next day, but he discovers in the morning that she’s vanished. The search for her sends him into an exhilarating world of conspiracy theories and unique L.A. weirdos.

9 'Avengers: Endgame'

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.

10 'The Hustle'

Release date: May 10, 2019

Starring: Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson.

Why it's a big deal: In Anne Hathaway’s second women-centric remake in as many years (she stole the show in Ocean’s 8), she and Rebel Wilson team up to play con women competing to dupe a twentysomething tech mogul in a reimagining of the 1988 classic Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. It’s about time the scammer movie got a feminist reboot.

11 '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: May (Nguyen Phuong Tra My) is a 14-year- old girl in 19th-century Vietnam who is married off to a wealthy landowner. Although she becomes pregnant quickly, gaining her husband’s favor, May’s life gets complicated when she starts exploring her sexuality and considering the prospect of motherhood. The film is the much-anticipated first feature from Vietnamese director Ash Mayfair.

12 'Aladdin'

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.

13 'Rocketman'

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 rock star, so a cookie-cutter biopic simply wouldn’t do. With Taron Egerton in the lead role, Rocketman bills itself as “based on a true fantasy,” taking viewers through John’s life and career in a way that’s raucous, sexy, and a little bit surreal— exactly what the living legend deserves. And Egerton has promised that—unlike what some people criticized Bohemian Rhapsody for—there’s no “straightwashing” here.

14 'Dark Phoenix'

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.

15 '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.

16 '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.

17 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'
CTMG/ANDREW COOPER

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.

18 '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.

19 'It: Chapter 2'
Warner Bros.

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.

20 'Frozen 2'
Disney

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.

21 'Star Wars: Episode IX'
Disney

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.

22 'Little Women'
BACKGRID

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.

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