This winter, only a few theaters will be open — but there’ll still be plenty of movies.
With many cinemas still sitting dark because of the COVID-19 pandemic, moviegoing remains mostly a memory — and that’s unlikely to change in early 2021. Warner Bros. will be putting all its movies into theaters this year, though they’ll also be available on HBO Max for the first month of release. Paramount gave its long-awaited Eddie Murphy sequel, "Coming 2 America," to Amazon’s Prime Video platform, while Apple TV+ snapped up the crime drama "Cherry," starring Marvel icon Tom Holland. Meanwhile, Netflix will continue its usual outpouring of content with a schedule of some 70 movies for the year.
If there’s a trend emerging this winter, it’s Black-led titles. Rising star John David Washington ("Tenet") will appear opposite Zendaya in the romance "Malcolm & Marie." Lee Daniels ("Precious") directs Grammy-nominated singer Andra Day in "The United States vs. Billie Holiday." There’s early Oscar buzz around Daniel Kaluuya’s performance as Chicago Black Panther Party chairman Fred Hampton in "Judas and the Black Messiah." And don’t forget "Coming 2 America."
Here are 20 big streaming releases coming this winter to subscription services like Netflix, digital platforms such as iTunes and cable video on demand.
PENGUIN BLOOM (Jan. 27, Netflix) After a paralyzing accident, Australian outdoorswoman Samantha Bloom (Naomi Watts) recovers from depression by nursing a wounded magpie back to health. Based on Bloom’s book.
FINDING ‘OHANA (Jan. 29, Netflix) During a summer on O‘ahu, two Brooklyn-raised siblings embark on a quest for hidden treasure and reconnect with their Hawaiian heritage. With Alex Aiono, Lindsay Watson and Kea Peahu.
THE LITTLE THINGS (theaters and HBO Max, Jan. 29)
In Los Angeles, an out-of-town cop with a dark past (Denzel Washington) joins the search for a killer. With Rami Malek and Jared Leto. Written and directed by John Lee Hancock ("The Blind Side," "Saving Mr. Banks").
PALMER (Apple TV+, Jan. 29) Justin Timberlake plays an ex-football hero — and ex-con — who returns to his Louisiana hometown and becomes the reluctant caretaker of a bullied little boy (Ryder Allen). With Juno Temple and June Squibb.
SUPERNOVA (theaters, Jan. 29; digital Feb. 16) When Tusker (Stanley Tucci) is diagnosed with early onset dementia, he and his partner of twenty years (Colin Firth) set off on a road trip.
MUSIC (opens in select IMAX theaters for one-night only on Feb. 10; on demand Feb. 12) Pop phenomenon Sia makes her directorial debut with the story of Music (Maddie Ziegler), a teenage girl with special needs. The film includes several musical fantasy sequences and 10 original songs. Co-starring Jennifer Hudson and Leslie Odom, Jr.
MALCOLM & MARIE (Netflix, Feb. 5)
Shot entirely during the pandemic, Sam Levinson’s black-and-white drama focuses on a night of sexual tension and revelations between a young filmmaker (John David Washington) and his girlfriend (Zendaya).
MORE THAN MIYAGI: THE PAT MORITA STORY (digital, Feb. 5) A documentary on the late actor, who earned an Oscar nod for his performance as a humble sensei in 1984’s "The Karate Kid." Featuring his co-stars Ralph Macchio, William Zabka, Martin Kove and others.
BARB AND STAR GO TO VISTA DEL MAR (on demand, Feb. 12) "Bridesmaids" co-writers Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo reteam as Midwestern gals who leave their hometown for the very first time. Also with Jamie Dornan.
BREAKING NEWS IN YUBA COUNTY (theaters and on demand, Feb. 12)
A dark comedy starring Allison Janney as a suburban housewife who becomes a celebrity after her husband goes missing. With Awkwafina, Regina Hall and Mila Kunis. Tate Taylor ("The Help") directs.
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH (theaters and HBO Max, Feb. 12)
Daniel Kaluuya, of "Get Out," plays Illinois Black Panther Party chairman Fred Hampton. Martin Sheen is FBI director J. Edgar Hoover; LaKeith Stanfield is the inside informant William O’Neal.
FLORA & ULYSSES (Disney+, Feb. 19)
A girl adopts a squirrel that turns out to have superpowers. With Matilda Lawler, Anna Deavere Smith and Janeane Garofalo.
CHERRY (theaters, Feb. 26; Apple TV+, Mar. 12) Tom Holland, known to Marvel fans as Spider-Man, retears with directors Anthony and Joe Russo ("Avengers: Endgame") to play an Iraq War vet who robs banks to fund his drug addiction.
TOM & JERRY (theaters and HBO Max, Feb. 26) A hybrid of live action and animation, in which the classic MGM cartoon characters invade a posh New York Hotel. With Chloë Grace Moretz and Michael Peña. Directed by Tim Story ("Ride Along").
THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY (Hulu, Feb. 26)
Andra Day plays the jazz icon who generated controversy — and drew scrutiny from the federal government — for her song "Strange Fruit." Directed by Lee Daniels ("Precious").
MOXIE (Netflix, March 3): Amy Poehler directs herself as a onetime Riot Grrrl, now a mom, who inspires her daughter (Hadley Robinson) to start a feminist revolution at her high school.
COMING 2 AMERICA (Prime Video, March 5)
Eddie Murphy reprises his role as Akeem, the charming prince of Zamunda in 1988’s "Coming to America." Now he’s king — but he must return to Queens to meet the son he didn’t know he had (Jermaine Fowler).
DREAMCATCHER (theaters and digital, March 5) A young DJ attends an underground music festival, Cataclysm, that turns into a two-day nightmare of violence and mayhem. With Niki Koss, Zachary Gordon and Lou Ferrigno, Jr.
RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON (Disney+, Mar. 5)
An animated fantasy about the warrior Raya (the voice of Kelly Marie Tran), who must find a dragon that can bring peace to her land. Also with Awkwafina.
SHOPLIFTERS OF THE WORLD (theaters and on demand, Mar. 26) In the summer of 1987, a group of friends go on a bender following the breakup of their favorite band, the Smiths. With Ellar Coltrane ("Boyhood"), Elena Kampouris and Joe Manganiello.