The Complete Guide to Hollywood Movies Opening in January 2020

January is for movies gunning for an Oscar, as well as tiny movies that have nowhere else to go (see: Playing with Fire). There are a few big-hitters like Robert Downey Jr’s Dolittle (opening 16 Jan) and Will Smith’s Bad Boys for Life (23 Jan), but I’m not very excited about those. But award nominees like Sam Mendes’ WWI movie 1917 (9 Jan), Greta Gerwig’s Little Women (16 Jan) and Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse (30 Jan) look good, though I may not necessarily end up watching them.

Movies coming out in January 2020

(Click on the movie titles in the bullets to jump to that section if you don’t want to scroll through the entire list. You can also click on each movie’s heading to go to their IMDb pages. Release dates below are for Singapore, but if you’re outside Singapore, IMDb can tell you fairly accurately what’s the release date in your country.)

Opening on the week of 2 January

Jojo Rabbit (2 Jan)

Director: Taika Waititi (“Thor: Ragnarok”, “Hunt for the Wilderpeople”, “What We Do in the Shadows”)

Cast: Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Taika Waititi, Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, Alfie Allen, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson

Genre: Comedy, Drama, War

Synopsis: Writer director Taika Waititi (THOR: RAGNAROK, HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE), brings his signature style of humor and pathos to his latest film, JOJO RABBIT, a World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy (Roman Griffin Davis as JoJo) whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi), Jojo must confront his blind nationalism.

The Grudge (2 Jan)

Director: Nicolas Pesce (“Piercing”, “The Eyes of My Mother”)

Cast: Andrea Riseborough, Demián Bichir, John Cho, Betty Gilpin, Lin Shaye, Jacki Weaver

Genre: Horror, Mystery

Synopsis: Producer Sam Raimi brings us a twisted new take of the horror classic. THE GRUDGE is based on the film “Ju-On: The Grudge” written & directed by Takashi Shimizu.

Dark Waters (2 Jan)

Director: Todd Haynes (“Carol”, “I’m Not There”, “Far from Heaven”)

Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, Bill Camp, Victor Garber, Mare Winningham, William Jackson Harper, Bill Pullman

Genre: Biography, Drama, History

Synopsis: DARK WATERS tells the shocking and heroic story of an attorney (Mark Ruffalo) who risks his career and family to uncover a dark secret hidden by one of the world’s largest corporations and to bring justice to a community dangerously exposed for decades to deadly chemicals.

The Wolf Hour (2 Jan)

Director: Alistair Banks Griffin (“Two Gates of Sleep”)

Cast: Naomi Watts, Jennifer Ehle, Kelvin Harrison Jr.

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Synopsis: June was once a known counter-culture figure, but that was a decade ago. She now lives alone in her South Bronx apartment, having all but cut herself off from the outside world. It’s the notorious “Summer of Sam” and June only has to look out of her window to see the violence escalating with the brutal summer heat. The city is on a knife’s edge, a pressure-cooker about to explode into the incendiary 1977 New York blackout riots.

Opening on the week of 9 January

1917 (9 Jan)

Director: Sam Mendes (“Skyfall”, “Spectre”, “American Beauty”)

Cast: George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Madden

Genre: Drama, War

Synopsis: Sam Mendes, the Oscar®-winning director of Skyfall, Spectre and American Beauty, brings his singular vision to his World War I epic, 1917. At the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers, Schofield (Captain Fantastic’s George MacKay) and Blake (Game of Thrones’ Dean-Charles Chapman) are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers—Blake’s own brother among them.

Richard Jewell (9 Jan)

Director: Clint Eastwood (“Million Dollar Baby”, “Unforgiven”, “Letters from Iwo Jima”, “Sully”, “Invictus”, “American Sniper”)

Cast: Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm, Olivia Wilde

Genre: Biography, Crime, Drama

Synopsis: “There is a bomb in Centennial Park. You have thirty minutes.” The world is first introduced to Richard Jewell as the security guard who reports finding the device at the 1996 Atlanta bombing—his report making him a hero whose swift actions save countless lives. But within days, the law enforcement wannabe becomes the FBI’s number one suspect, vilified by press and public alike, his life ripped apart. Reaching out to independent, anti-establishment attorney Watson Bryant, Jewell staunchly professes his innocence. But Bryant finds he is out of his depth as he fights the combined powers of the FBI, GBI and APD to clear his client’s name, while keeping Richard from trusting the very people trying to destroy him.

Judy (9 Jan)

Director: Rupert Goold (“True Story”)

Cast: Renee Zellwegner, Jessie Buckley, Rufus Sewell, Finn Wittrock, Michael Gambon, Bella Ramsey

Genre: Biography, Drama, History

Synopsis: Winter 1968 and showbiz legend Judy Garland arrives in Swinging London to perform in a sell-out run at The Talk of the Town. It is 30 years since she shot to global stardom in “The Wizard of Oz”, but if her voice has weakened, its dramatic intensity has only grown. As she prepares for the show, battles with management, charms musicians, and reminisces with friends and adoring fans, her wit and warmth shine through. Even her dreams of romance seem undimmed as she embarks on a courtship with Mickey Deans, her soon-to-be fifth husband. And yet Judy is fragile. After working for 45 of her 47 years, she is exhausted; haunted by memories of a childhood lost to Hollywood; gripped by a desire to be back home with her kids. Will she have the strength to go on? Featuring some of her best-known songs, including the timeless classic ‘Over the Rainbow’, JUDY celebrates the voice, the capacity for love and the sheer pizzazz of “the world’s greatest entertainer”.

Playing with Fire (9 Jan)

Director: Andy Fickman (“Race to Witch Mountain”, “She’s the Man”, “The Game Plan”, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2”)

Cast: John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo, Tyler Mane, Brianna Hildebrand, Christian Convery, Finley Rose Slater, Dennis Haysbert, Judy Greer

Genre: Comedy, Family

Synopsis: When straight-laced fire superintendent Jake Carson (John Cena) and his elite team of expert firefighters (Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo and Tyler Mane) come to the rescue of three siblings (Brianna Hildebrand, Christian Convery and Finley Rose Slater) in the path of an encroaching wildfire, they quickly realize that no amount of training could prepare them for their most challenging job yet – babysitters. Unable to locate the children’s parents, the firefighters have their lives, jobs and even their fire depot turned upside down and quickly learn that kids – much like fires –are wild and unpredictable.

Bernie the Dolphin 2 (9 Jan)

Director: Kirk Harris (“Bernie the Dolphin”)

Cast: Lola Sultan, Logan Allen, Patrick Muldoon, Kevin Sorbo

Genre: Action, Comedy, Family

Synopsis: Kevin and Holly are thrilled that their dolphin friend Bernie has come back to the harbor. But so has their old enemy Winston, who’s just gotten out of prison. As the kids have fun with playful dolphin Rascal and sassy parrot Mango, Winston is forced by his old partner to help kidnap the talented Bernie. Can Kevin and Holly uncover the scheme and save their splashy friend before its too late?

Opening on the week of 16 January

Dolittle (16 Jan)

Director: Stephen Gaghan (“Syriana”, “Gold”)

Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jessie Buckley, Harry Collett, Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Jim Broadbent

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Family

Synopsis: Robert Downey Jr. electrifies one of literature’s most enduring characters in a vivid reimagining of the classic tale of the man who could talk to animals: Dolittle. After losing his wife seven years earlier, the eccentric Dr. John Dolittle (Downey), famed doctor and veterinarian of Queen Victoria’s England, hermits himself away behind the high walls of Dolittle Manor with only his menagerie of exotic animals for company. But when the young queen (Jessie Buckley, Wild Rose) falls gravely ill, a reluctant Dolittle is forced to set sail on an epic adventure to a mythical island in search of a cure, regaining his wit and courage as he crosses old adversaries and discovers wondrous creatures.

Little Women (16 Jan)

Director: Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”)

Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Dern, Meryl Streep, Bob Odenkirk, James Norton, Chris Cooper

Genre: Drama, Romance

Synopsis: Writer-director Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) has crafted a Little Women that draws on both the classic novel and the writings of Louisa May Alcott, and unfolds as the author’s alter ego, Jo March, reflects back and forth on her fictional life. In Gerwig’s take, the beloved story of the March sisters – four young women each determined to live life on her own terms — is both timeless and timely. Portraying Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth March, the film stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, with Timothée Chalamet as their neighbor Laurie, Laura Dern as Marmee, and Meryl Streep as Aunt March.

The Peanut Butter Falcon (16 Jan)

Directors: Tyler Nilson (debut feature), Michael Schwartz (debut feature)

Cast: Shia Labeouf, Zack Gottsagen, Dakota Johnson, Thomas Haden Church, Bruce Dern, Jon Bernthal, John Hawkes

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Synopsis: A modern Mark Twain style adventure story, THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON tells the story of Zak (Gottsagen), a young man with Down syndrome, who runs away from a residential nursing home to follow his dream of attending the professional wrestling school of his idol, The Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church). A strange turn of events pairs him on the road with Tyler (LaBeouf), a small time outlaw on the run, who becomes Zak’s unlikely coach and ally. Together they wind through deltas, elude capture, drink whisky, find God, catch fish, and convince Eleanor (Johnson), a kind nursing home employee charged with Zak’s return, to join them on their journey.

Primal (16 Jan)

Director: Nick Powell (“Outcast”)

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Famke Janssen, Kevin Durand, Michael Imperioli

Genre: Action

Synopsis: When Frank Walsh (Nicolas Cage), a hunter and collector of rare and exotic animals, bags a priceless white jaguar for a zoo, he figures it’ll be smooth sailing to a big payday. But the ship bearing Frank’s precious cargo has two predators caged in its hold: the cat, and a political assassin being extradited to the U.S. After the assassin breaks free — and then frees the jaguar — Frank feverishly stalks the ship’s cramped corridors in hot pursuit of his prey, right up until the climax.

Opening on the week of 23 January

Bad Boys for Life (23 Jan)

Directors: Adil El Arbi (“Black”, “Patser”) , Bilall Fallah (“Black”, “Patser”)

Cast: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Paola Nunez, Kate Del Castillo, Nicky Jam, Joe Pantoliano

Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime

Synopsis: The Bad Boys Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) are back together for one last ride in the highly anticipated Bad Boys for Life.

Waves (23 Jan)

Director: Trey Edward Shults (“It Comes at Night”)

Cast: Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Lucas Hedges, Taylor Russell, Alexa Demie, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Sterling K. Brown

Genre: Drama, Romance, Sport

Synopsis: Set against the vibrant landscape of South Florida, and featuring an astonishing ensemble of award-winning actors and breakouts alike, WAVES traces the epic emotional journey of a suburban African-American family — led by a well-intentional but domineering father — as they navigate love, forgiveness and coming together in the aftermath of a loss. From acclaimed director Trey Edward Shults, WAVES is a heartrending story about the universal capacity for compassion and growth even in the darkest of times.

Opening on the week of 30 January

Underwater (30 Jan)

Director: William Eubank (“The Signal”)

Cast: Kristen Stewart, T.J. Miller, Vincent Cassel, John Gallagher Jr., Jessica Henwick

Genre: Action, Drama, Horror

Synopsis: UNDERWATER is a film that follows a crew of underwater researchers who must scramble to safety after an earthquake devastates their subterranean laboratory.

Bombshell (30 Jan)

Director: Jay Roach (“Trumbo”, “The Campaign”, “Meet the Parents”, “Meet the Fockers”)

Cast: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, John Lithgow, Margot Robbie, Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Mark Duplass, Rob Delaney, Malcolm McDowell, Allison Janney

Genre: Biography, Drama

Synopsis: Based on the real scandal, BOMBSHELL is a revealing look inside the most powerful and controversial media empire of all time, Fox News, and the explosive story of the women who brought down the infamous man who created it.

The Lighthouse (30 Jan)

Director: Robert Eggers (“The Witch”)

Cast: Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Synopsis: As the wavering cry of the foghorn fills the air, the taciturn former lumberjack, Ephraim Winslow, and the grizzled lighthouse keeper, Thomas Wake, set foot in a secluded and perpetually grey islet off the coast of late-19th-century New England. For the following four weeks of back-breaking work and unfavourable conditions, the tight-lipped men will have no one else for company except for each other, forced to endure irritating idiosyncrasies, bottled-up resentment, and burgeoning hatred. Then, amid bad omens, a furious and unending squall maroons the pale beacon’s keepers in the already inhospitable volcanic rock, paving the way for a prolonged period of feral hunger; excruciating agony; manic isolation, and horrible booze-addled visions. Now, the eerie stranglehold of insanity tightens. Is there an escape from the wall-less prison of the mind?

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