The most anticipated movies of 2021

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With awards season well underway, there’s no better time to look ahead at what’s coming down the pipeline in Hollywood.

2020 made for an odd year for the film industry since the coronavirus pandemic forced studios to delay movie releases and in many cases, send projects made for the big screen to streaming.

With franchises like Marvel piling movies up and Bond flick “No Time To Die” getting its premiere date pushed back multiple times, 2021 is shaping up to be jam-packed with releases across all genres.

Here’s a look at the most anticipated films for the rest of the year:

“Raya and the Last Dragon” (March 5)

Set in the fantasy world of Kumandra 500 years after dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity, a young warrior named Raya hopes to track down such a dragon in order to save the world.

“Raya and the Last Dragon” was originally set to hit theaters on Nov. 25, 2020. However, the pandemic has forced it to follow in the steps of Disney’s “Mulan” remake, and the flick will hit select theaters and Disney+ on the same day.

“Raya and the Last Dragon” will be available in theaters and to stream — for an extra fee — on March 5, 2021.

Rating: PG

Cast: Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan, Sandra Oh, Benedict Wong, Daniel Dae Kim and more

“Black Widow” (May 7)

One of several entries by Marvel coming this year is “Black Widow,” which will follow fan-favorite Avenger Natasha Romanoff in the time between “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”

The story will see the super-spy return to her roots and re-team with old allies to face her past and defeat a new threat.

“Black Widow” is currently slated for a May 7 theatrical release, but the slow vaccine rollout and limited theaters in large moviegoing markets have sparked speculation that the movie will again be pushed back or moved to Disney+ for an extra fee.

Rated: PG-13

Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz, William Hurt and more

“F9” (May 28)

The “Fast and Furious” franchise will return with “F9” this year.

The movie will follow the crew of daredevils as they take on the younger brother of Dominic (Vin Diesel), a deadly assassin with a serious grudge.

Originally set for a May 2020 release, “F9” was among the year’s movies to gracefully bow out to 2021 without much fuss. The movie will now premiere theatrically on May 28.

Rating: PG-13

Cast: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Charlize Theron, John Cena, Helen Mirren and more.

“In the Heights” (June 18)

An adaptation of the Lin-Manuel Miranda-penned Broadway musical, “In the Heights” tells the story of a young bodega owner in New York with a dream of closing the shop and moving on. However, once family tragedy strikes, he begins to struggle.

While not as well known as Miranda’s “Hamilton,” “In the Heights” has done well for itself, earning four Tony Awards in 2008, including best musical.

“In the Heights” is among the movies that will have a 30-day run on HBO Max beginning on the same day that the movie hits theaters: June 18.

Rating: PG-13

Cast: Anthony Ramos, Jimmy Smits, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Melissa Barrera, Marc Anthony and more

“Top Gun: Maverick” (July 2)

Well over three decades after the release of “Top Gun” comes the long-awaited sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick.”

Not many plot specifics have been shared, but the movie will see Tom Cruise’s iconic character engage in more Air Force adventures as he helps train a group of new recruits.

The movie will hit theaters on July 2. It is currently unclear if it will hit Paramount+ 45 days later, like some other properties from the studio are.

Rating: PG-13

Cast: Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Jon Hamm, Ed Harris and more

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” (July 9)

Simu Liu will star in Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.’ (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Plot details are somewhat scarce for the Marvel property, but it will follow Shang-Chi, a superhero-level master of martial arts as he takes on the Ten Rings organization.

In the comics, Shang-Chi is known as the Master of Kung Fu.

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is set to hit theaters on July 9.

Rating: PG-13

Cast: Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Michelle Yeoh and more

“No Time to Die” (Oct. 8)

James Bond flick “No Time to Die” was one of the first projects to bow out of its release date because of the pandemic.

The movie, which follows a retired Bond reuniting with an old friend to take down yet another threat, will hit theaters on Oct. 8.

The theme song of the same name is performed by Billie Eilish.

Rating: PG-13

Cast: Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Rami Malek, Ralph Fiennes, Lashana Lynch and more.

“Eternals” (Nov. 5)

‘Eternals’ will star, among others, Salma Hayek, Kit Harrington, Angelina Jolie and Gemma Chan
(Marvel Studios)

Yet another Marvel movie that was meant to debut in 2020, “Eternals” follows a race of beings that helped to shape humanity as we know it.

The movie was directed by Chloe Zhao, who recently bagged a Golden Globe for directing “Nomadland” and is a favorite to win an Oscar for the same category.

“Eternals” plans to hit theaters on Nov. 5, just under a year after its original, pandemic-effected release date.

Rating: PG-13

Cast: Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kit Harrington, Richard Madden, Gemma Chan and more

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” (Nov. 11)

The original “Ghostbusters” franchise receives a reboot with this flick.

The new movie will follow a single mother and her children after they arrive in a small town and discover their supernatural family history.

Original cast members Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd, Earnie Hudson and Annie Potts will also reprise their roles.

The movie will hit theaters on Nov. 11.

Rating: PG-13

Cast: Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Paul Rudd and more.

“Mission: Impossible 7” (Nov. 19)

Tom Cruise (left) and his ‘Mission: Impossible 7’ co-star Hayley Atwell.
(Getty Images)

Virtually nothing is known about the plot of the seventh installment of the “Mission: Impossible” franchise.

The movie has made headlines because of its strict and in-depth coronavirus safety protocols, as well as star Tom Cruise’s multiple outbursts toward crew members that were accused of allegedly breaking such protocols.

“Mission: Impossible 7” will hit theaters on Nov. 19 and will begin streaming on Paramount+ just 45 days later.

Rating: Not yet rated

Cast: Tom Cruise, Vanessa Kirby, Hayley Atwell, Rebecca Ferguson, Angela Bassett and more.

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” (Dec. 17)

Marvel’s fourth and final entry for 2021, “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” will once again follow Tom Holland’s titular teen superhero.

Plot details are under lock and key, but Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange is set to appear, as are Jamie Foxx and Alfred Molina, reprising their roles as Electro and Doctor Octopus, respectively, from past “Spider-Man” franchises.

The movie has had several different planned release dates throughout 2021, but has landed on Dec. 17.

Rating: PG-13

Cast: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Marisa Tomei, Jamie Foxx, Alfred Molina and more

“The Matrix 4” (Dec. 22)

Keanu Reeves will reprise his role as Neo for an upcoming fourth installment of the ‘Matrix’ franchise.
(Warner Bros.)

A name for the fourth movie in the “Matrix” franchise still has yet to be announced, so it’s no surprise that there isn’t much information floating around about the movies’ plot either.

However, like the franchise’s first three films, the movie will follow the adventures of Neo and Trinity, as well as a new cast of characters.

Being a Warner Bros. property, “The Matrix 4” will hit HBO Max on the same day that it debuts in theaters: Dec. 22, 2021.

Rating: Not yet rated

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Ann Moss, Jada Pinkett Smith, Priyanka Chopra, Neil Patrick Harris and more.

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