It’s official: 2020 is the year of strong female role models in film. From Bombshell to Wonder Woman 1984, there are plenty of narratives championing strong women, with award-winning actors and directors banding together to do the stories justice. Here’s what you can expect over the coming months…
1. Bombshell (17th January)
Featuring an impressive cast led by Charlize Theron (Long Shot), Nicole Kidman (The Goldfinch) and Margot Robbie (Mary Queen of Scots), Bombshell centres upon the sexual harassment allegations made against Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, and the three women who plot to expose him.
First announced shortly after Ailes’ death in 2017, the film is loosely based on the real-life experiences of the women who exposed him, Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson (Robbie’s character, Kayla Pospisil, is a fictional creation). In our current world where more and more individuals are speaking out about their own experiences, we cannot think of a better time for this story to be shared.
Directed by Jay Roach, Bombshell also boasts an impressive supporting cast including Kate McKinnon and Allison Janney, and has already garnered strong praise for the three female leads, including Golden Globe nominations for both Theron and Robbie.
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2. The Rhythm Section (31st January)
Based upon the novel of the same name, The Rhythm Section is an globe-trotting thriller depicting the story of Stephanie Patrick (Blake Lively). Following a plane crash which killed her family three years prior, Patrick embarks on a mission as an undercover assassin, desperate to uncover the truth behind their deaths.
Lively has emerged as a practitioner of strong characters, including 2016’s killer shark hit The Shallows, so we are intrigued to see her take on the role of an assassin. Directed by Reed Morano, who's behind the empowering The Handsmaid's Tale, the film also stars Jude Law (Captain Marvel) and Sterling K. Brown (Black Panther).
3. Birds of Prey (7th February)
Margot Robbie further asserts her stamp on 2020 by returning as anarchic DC antihero Harley Quinn.
She first appeared as the character in 2016’s critically derided Suicide Squad, but here the unpredictable, crazed Quinn can take centre stage as she battles vicious crime lord Black Mask (Ewan McGregor). Luckily she’s got help in the form of Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollet-Bell and Rosie Perez.
4. Like A Boss (21st February)
Rose Byrne and Tiffany Haddish star as two female friends who have the genius idea of starting a beauty company together. Only one problem: they both have very different approaches on how to run a business.
Byrne and Haddish have both proven their talents at comedic roles in the past (think Bridesmaids and Girl's Trip), and with a supporting cast including Jennifer Coolidge, we are expecting great things.
5. Military Wives (6th March)
Frosty Kristin Scott Thomas (Four Weddings and a Funeral) and irreverent Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe) are an appealing chalk and cheese pair in this heartwarming comedy-drama. Thomas is the tough-talking leader of a military wives choir who must bring a group of women together to cope with the trauma of their husbands serving in Afghanistan.
6. Mulan (27th March)
Liu Yifei is the proud warrior vowing to bring honour to her family in Disney’s live-action remake. The 1998 animated movie broke new ground in its depiction of a formidable female action hero, albeit one who must disguise herself as a man in order to battle the huns.
The 2020 remake is being pitched as a mega-budget martial arts epic, and director Niki Caro will no doubt be steering Yifei’s portrayal to popular acclaim.
7. No Time To Die (2nd April)
The 25th Bond movie is billed as Daniel Craig's final movie as 007. While that exerts a considerable amount of pull, we're curious about one of the supporting characters: Lashana Lynch's Nomi who, as per the trailer, is a new '00' agent. So while this may not be a female-led blockbuster in the strictest sense of the word, it's a watershed moment for being the first Bond movie to introduce a female '00'.
Nomi has been installed in Bond's absence – at the start of the movie, it's established he got married to Spectre character Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux), and retired to Jamaica. Judging from the trailer, Nomi appears to enjoy antagonistic chemistry with 007, and appears to match him in terms of fighting and espionage skills.
Rumour has it Lynch will take over from Craig when he hangs up Bond's holster for the last time...
8. Promising Young Woman (17th April)
The brilliant Carey Mulligan (Wildlife; The Great Gatsby) demonstrates her versatility again in this offbeat thriller from debut director Emerald Fennell. Mulligan plays Cassie, a traumatized individual seeking vengeance against those who wronged her. Bo Burnham, Clancy Brown and Jennifer Coolidge round out the supporting cast.
9. Black Widow (1st May)
After years of being relegated to supporting character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Black Widow finally gets her moment in her long-awaited solo outing. The Black Widow movie has been in development for years with star Scarlett Johansson consistently expressing her interest in finding out more about Romanoff’s backstory.
Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, it seemed unclear how a solo adventure could come into play. However, it’s been revealed that the Black Widow movie will take place between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. Alone and unsure of what lies ahead, Romanoff finds herself on the run and forced to confront her past.
Despite being one of the original Avengers, we've only been treated to snapshots of Romanoff's history, and we cannot wait to see what director Cate Shortland (Berlin Syndrome) has in store.
10. Legally Blonde 3 (8th May)
Despite having a release date scheduled for May this year, very little is known so far about Legally Blonde 3. Having initially been confirmed back in 2018, screenwriters Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith are believed to be back, having penned the first film back in 2001.
Since she first emerged, ditzy yet deceptive Elle Woods has been an inspiration for women everywhere, played to perfection by Reese Witherspoon (Wild). Last time we saw her, in 2003’s Legally Blonde 2, Woods was working in D.C. and looking to figure out her next move. The White House maybe? Maybe that’s where we’ll find her in 2020…
11. Wonder Woman 1984 (5th June)
Following the success of DC’s Wonder Woman back in 2017, it was inevitable that Gal Gadot’s virtuous, Themysciran princess would return for another adventure.
As per the title, the sequel takes place in the era of MTV, leg warmers and big hair, where Diana must face two formidable enemies: Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) and Cheetah (Kristen Wiig). There’s also the small matter of Steve Trevor’s reappearance, despite his presumed death following the events of the first film. How they’ve managed to get Chris Pine back is a mystery at this stage.
Directed once again by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman 1984 is easily one of our most anticipated releases of the year.
Which of these movies are you most excited about seeing? Let us know @Cineworld.
Hannah Dixon is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team. Follow her on Twitter.