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There was a time when the distinction between theatrical releases and original movies on streaming was clear. These days, with the outbreak of COVID-19 keeping the theater experience almost entirely out of reach, some audiences are looking forward the release of the most anticipated movies on demand more than the re-opening of their local megaplex. The live action update of Mulan is just one film that has recently fallen under that umbrella.
To look on the bright side, some of these films will still have the chance to grace the silver screen, such as the simultaneous release of Bill & Ted Face the Music on VOD and in a limited theatrical run, and a few, including Charlie Kaufman’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things, were already set for an exclusive release on streaming anyway. Plus, the option of home viewing is an effective treatment to keep the swelling of anticipation down.
While we still have mad respect for those in the United States who will gladly wait as long as necessary to see Tenet the way Christopher Nolan intended, we also sympathize with those who enjoy the convenience of watching movies from the comfort and safety of their own homes. With that in mind, we present these films we can look forward to streaming or renting on demand, as well as some that are already available now.
Mulan (Disney+ Premium Rental)
Yifei Liu plays the title character of Mulan, Disney's live action remake of their 1998 animated classic about a young woman from who poses as a male warrior in Ancient China, which will premiere on Disney+, for the price of $29.99, on Friday, September 4, 2020.
Bill & Ted Face The Music (Video On Demand)
The third installment of the hilarious fantasy franchise, Bill & Ted Face the Music, starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter as slackers destined for greatness now middle-aged, will debut both in a limited theatrical run and on demand Friday, August 28, 2020.
Antebellum (Video On Demand)
A best-selling author (singer Janelle Monáe in her first lead role) is abducted into a life of stolen emancipation in Antebellum, the feature-length debut thriller from co-directors Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz, set for VOD release Friday, September 18, 2020.
Enola Holmes (Netflix)
Based on the book series by Nancy Springer, Enola Holmes stars Millie Bobby Brown as the teenage sister of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary British detective (Henry Cavill) and premieres exclusively on Netflix in September 2020.
The One And Only Ivan (Disney+)
Dropping on Disney+ Friday, August 21, 2020, is The One and Only Ivan, a live action film in which Sam Rockwell provides the voice of the titular CGI gorilla who longs to see the jungle after spending most of his life in captivity.
I’m Thinking Of Ending Things (Netflix)
Acclaimed writer and director Charlie Kaufman's adaptation of Ian Reid's novel I'm Thinking of Ending Things stars Jessie Buckley as a woman who begins to question her relationship with her boyfriend (Jesse Plemons) on a trip to visit his parents (Toni Collette and David Thewlis) in this unique Netflix original thriller debuting Friday, September 4, 2020.
Phineas And Ferb The Movie: Candace Against The Universe (Disney+)
In Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe, premiering Friday, August 28, 2020, on Disney+, the inventive stepbrothers' (Vincent Martella and David Errigo Jr.) return with a new activity for the day: saving their older sister Candace (Ashley Tisdale) from aliens.
The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (Netflix)
Writer and director Aaron Sorkin's retelling of The Trial of the Chicago 7, revolving around the aftermath of a violent revolt at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, premiers Friday, October 16, 2020, on Netflix.
Recently acquired for distribution by Hulu, Run stars Kiera Allen as a homeschooled teenage girl who discovers a shocking secret kept from her by her mother (Sarah Paulson) in this horror thriller which has yet to get a release date.
Run Sweetheart Run (Amazon Prime)
Speaking of running, Run Sweetheart Run is another thriller acquired for streaming (in this case Amazon Prime) with a currently unspecified release date that follows a woman's (Ella Balinska) struggle to ditch a truly disastrous blind date (Pilou Asbæk).
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge On The Run (CBS All Access)
Rounding out our unintentional running theme of films with "run" in the title is the third feature-length adventure starring everyone's favorite animated sea sponge, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, which is transitioning to an exclusive release on CBS All Access in the US sometime in early 2021.
Black Beauty (Disney+)
Also scheduled for an unspecified release, but in 2020, is a new of Anna Sewell's novel Black Beauty, starring Kate Winslet as the voice of the titular horse, which has been acquired by Disney+.
Now Available On Video On Demand And Streaming
The following movies have already released on VOD or streaming.
The Lovebirds (Netflix)
Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani play a couple whose lives, and romance, are threatened by a night of violence, murder, and mystery in The Lovebirds, a Netflix exclusive originally scheduled for an April 3, 2020, theatrical release from Paramount.
Trolls World Tour (Video On Demand)
Also intended for theatrical distribution in April 2020 was Trolls World Tour, the musical sequel to the 2016 animated adaptation of a children's toy starring Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake, which did maintain its original scheduled date of April 10, but as a video on demand release.
Scoob! (HBO Max)
Another spring movie released on demand, and now available to stream on HBO Max, that is perfect for the whole family is Scoob!, a computer animated reboot of the adventures of Fred, Daphne, Shaggy, Velma, and, of course, Scooby-Doo.
The King Of Staten Island (VOD)
A VOD release less suitable for children is The King of Staten Island, starring Pete Davidson as a fictionalized version of himself coming to grips with life years after his fireman father's death on 9/11 in this film that is funnier than it sounds which he co-wrote with Dave Sirus and director Judd Apatow.
Greyhound (Apple TV+)
Tom Hanks is the writer and star of Greyhound, an adaptation of C.S. Forester's World War-II era novel The Good Shepherd about an allied Navy convoy fighting for their lives, which debuted exclusively on Apple TV+ Friday, July 10, 2020.
My Spy (Amazon Prime)
In the tradition of Burt Reynolds in Cop and a Half and Vin Diesel in The Pacifier, Dave Bautista plays a tough CIA agent who must play babysitter to a 9-year-old girl (Chloe Coleman) to avoid his blowing his cover in My Spy, now streaming on Amazon Prime.
Palm Springs (Hulu)
Trust me when I say that the less you know about Palm Springs, Hulu's jovial rom-com with an engaging, fantastic twist starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti, the better.
For those who cannot afford a Broadway ticket, now all it takes to see Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tony-winning history lesson in rhyme, is Disney+ subscription.
The Old Guard (Netflix)
For those who would love to see an eternity of Charlize Theron kicking butt, Netflix's action-packed adaptation of the Image Comic The Old Guard, which follows a squad of immortal mercenaries, just might do the trick.
Conceived and shot during the COVID-19 lockdown, Host depicts a group of friends' disastrous attempt to contact the dead over a Zoom meeting and is a rare kind of horror film I would highly recommend streaming on Shudder directly from your computer for a more authentic experience.
Project Power (Netflix)
A New Orleans police officer (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a young street dealer (Dominique Fishback), and a war veteran (Jamie Foxx) take on the distributors of a pill that makes temporary superheroes out of its users in Project Power, a Netflix original from the directors of Catfish.
Magic Camp (Disney+)
In Magic Camp, a Disney+ exclusive comedy that arrived on the platform on August 14, Adam Devine plays a down-and-out illusionist who returns to the camp from which he learned his earliest as a counselor for new generation of aspiring magicians.
What films are you looking forward to stream or rent the most? What is your favorite film released on streaming or VOD so far this year? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check back for additional information and updates about upcoming movies to be released on streaming or on demand, as well as our own recommendations of movies and TV shows already available, here on CinemaBlend.