The Disney juggernaut is finishing 2019 strong with the releases of “Frozen II” — which just surpassed $1 billion at the global box office — and the sure-fire hit “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” this week.
Not that the Mouse House needs to be sweating it. After acquiring 20th Century Fox earlier this year, The Walt Disney Company took a number of Fox properties under its wing (or its mouse ears, anyway!). Now 23 Disney features are on deck for 2020, comprising everything from superhero franchises to British musicals.
Here’s a breakdown of the 2020 Disney slate, organized by genre:
Family and Animated Films
“The Call of the Wild,” February 21
Based on Jack London’s classic novel, this tale of adventure stars an extra-rugged Harrison Ford. When a dog is stolen and ends up in Alaska, Ford takes him in and introduces him to life on the Last Frontier. It’s not yet rated, but seems geared toward all ages.
“Onward,” March 6
I saw the preview for this one ahead of “Frozen II” last weekend (naturally): A pair of magical brothers come of age and are allowed to bring back their deceased dad for 24 hours — as long as they cast the spell correctly. Things don’t go quite the way they wanted, though, and hijinks ensue.
“Mulan,” March 27
Continuing Disney’s run of animated faves brought to life, “Mulan” retells the story of a Chinese girl who disguises herself as a man to join the war for China. Though it deviates from the beloved 1998 version quite a bit, it looks gorgeous! Take a peek:
“Artemis Fowl,” May 29
Just in time for summer vacation comes the screen adaptation of the blockbuster kids’ book series by Eoin Colfer. Artemis is a young antihero in a fantasy realm of fairies, centaurs, goblins and more. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, the movie stars Judi Dench, Josh Gad and Ferdia Shaw as the title character. The trailer below mentions an August debut, but Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox moved some release dates around.
“Soul,” June 19
This one is the latest offering from Pixar, the folks behind tearjerkers like “Up” and “Inside Out” — plus “Toy Story” and “The Incredibles.” The trailer doesn’t reveal much: A New York musician finds himself in a strange alternate dimension after falling through a manhole. What happens from there is mysterious, but I’m getting an emotional, “Inside Out” sort of feeling about it. Bring tissues.
“Jungle Cruise,” July 24
Just like the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, “Jungle Cruise” is inspired by a Disney Parks attraction. Starring Emily Blunt (aka “Mary Poppins”) and Dwayne Johnson (aka “The Rock”), it looks like a wild ride indeed.
“The One and Only Ivan,” August 14
Based on an award-winning children’s book by Katherine Applegate — which is itself based on a true story — it’s a story about a sweet interspecies friendship between an elephant and a gorilla. The cast includes all-stars like Angelina Jolie, Danny DeVito and Sam Rockwell doing voice work, along with live-action scenes featuring Bryan Cranston and others.
“Raya and the Last Dragon,” November 25
A fantastical tale about a young warrior’s hunt for the last dragon on the planet, this will be a Disney animated feature. Rising star Awkwafina lends her voice to the role of Sisu, the elusive dragon.
“Everybody’s Talking About Jamie,” October 23
An exuberant production about a teen stepping into the spotlight as a drag queen, it stars British fave Richard E. Grant and the hilarious Irish comedian Sharon Horgan. It’s based on a British-American musical drama.
“West Side Story,” December 18
This one’s almost guaranteed to be a hit next Christmas. For the first time, legendary director Steven Spielberg will try his hand at directing a musical — and he’s chosen a true classic. He brought on award-winning Broadway playwright Tony Kushner to rework the book for the screen, and made sure to cast Rita Moreno, star of the first “West Side Story” movie from 1961. It also stars Ansel Elgort as Tony and Rachel Zegler as Maria.
“The New Mutants,” April 3
The X-Men return to the big screen with a new team of teen mutants. Star power includes Antonio Banderas, Maisie Williams (“Game of Thrones”) and Anya Taylor-Joy (“The Witch”). This installment is a horror film, so prepare for plenty of scary moments.
“Black Widow,” May 1
Finally, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow gets her own “tentpole” film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Johansson stars, of course, along with Rachel Weisz, Florence Pugh and David Harbour from “Stranger Things.” “Black Widow” will also be the second Marvel movie directed by a woman, Cate Shortland. The first, helmed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, was “Captain Marvel”; that film and “Frozen” are the only movies in history directed by women to gross over $1 billion. Could this be the next?
“Eternals,” November 6
A new entry in the MCU, “Eternals” introduces a host of new characters for fans to obsess over. The Eternals are a superhuman race who’ve guided the events of human civilizations throughout history. Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek star alongside familiar faces like Kumail Nanjiani, Barry Keoghan and Gemma Chan.
“The Personal History of David Copperfield,” May 8
Charles Dickens’s classic novel provides the source material for this quirky comedy. Dev Patel stars as the title character, with Hugh Laurie, Peter Capaldi, Tilda Swinton and Gwendoline Christie along for the ride as well.
“Free Guy,” July 3
The reliably hilarious Ryan Reynolds stars as a regular dude who keeps having really terrible luck at his job. Then he discovers that he’s an NPC (non-player character) in a violent, “Grand Theft Auto”-style video game and takes matters into his own hands.
“The Last Duel,” December 25
This movie is a period piece set in medieval France (based on a book by Eric Jager), starring Matt Damon and the so-hot-right-now Adam Driver. Damon and Ben Affleck, who plays a supporting role, teamed up on the screenplay with acclaimed writer Nicole Holofcener. Action-movie legend Ridley Scott will direct. It looks to be what it sounds like: an intense drama about a potentially deadly conflict between friends who happen to be a knight and his squire. After a limited release on Christmas 2020, it’ll go into wider release in early 2021.
“Underwater,” January 10
Disney/20th Century Fox’s first release of 2020 is a creepy deep-sea thriller in the vein of “The Abyss.” It stars Kristen Stewart as a member of an ocean-floor research team that’s put in serious danger by an undersea earthquake — and the frightening creatures it unleashes.
“Antlers,” April 17
A new take on the spooky-kid trope, it stars Keri Russell as an Oregon teacher who learns that one of her students has a disturbing secret. Taking advantage of the rural, mountainous setting, this seems to be a super-creepy wendigo story. (Note: The trailer below has some pretty gory scenes — use discretion.)
“The Woman in the Window,” May 15
Reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic “Rear Window,” this thriller stars Amy Adams as an agoraphobic woman who witnesses a crime while observing her neighborhood from her house. The film also stars Academy Award winners Gary Oldman and Julianne Moore.
“The Empty Man,” August 7
Consider this supernatural horror flick an early entry in the Halloween scary-movie spooktacular. James Badge Dale plays a man haunted by his past, who discovers a terrifying underworld while searching for a missing child. It’s based upon a noir-style graphic novel.
“The King’s Man,” September 18
Starring Ralph Fiennes, Stanley Tucci and Djimon Hounsou, among others, this comedic thriller shows how one man (and his carefully selected team) can save the world from a murderous cabal of supervillains. The trailer below says the film comes out in February 2020, but the release has since been pushed back to September.
“Death on the Nile,” October 9
Here’s an Agatha Christie tale featuring her famous detective, Hercule Poirot, in a sequel to 2017’s “Murder on the Orient Express.” Kenneth Branagh — who’s been busy, as he also directed next year’s “Artemis Fowl” — directed and stars in this classic murder mystery from 1937. It also stars “Wonder Woman”‘s Gal Gadot and Armie Hammer.
“Deep Water,” November 13
A thriller starring Ben Affleck sounds pretty steamy: A man allows his wife to have affairs, but then her lovers start turning up dead. Guess who’s the number-one suspect? It’s not the wife.
Looks like it’s going to be another big year for Disney! Better put these dates into your calendar now.