Australia’s cinemas have finally reopened and there’s now hope we can start to see some new releases on our screens.
It has been a torrid year for the movie business – COVID-19 has taken a particular liking to how quickly it can infect a room full of sedentary people sitting nice and close for two hours.
So we’ve seen cinemas closed and movie releases pushed way, way back.
And in some cases, production houses have chosen to skip the cinema release altogether and go straight to streaming platforms, with mixed results. See Disney’s Mulan and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm on Amazon Prime for references.
But there might just be a glimmer of hope for the Boxing Day movie tradition, with news Warner Bros will proceed with a December 26 launch for Wonder Woman 1984.
Others, like Peter Rabbit, have been pushed back to a non-committal date some time in March, alongside blockbusters like Black Widow and the new James Bond No Time To Die.
At this stage, it’s the frontrunner in an extremely slim field of releases, as the pandemic whips into another front in the Northern Hemisphere, further delaying movies from the US.
We can expect to see some Australians on film in the new year, with crime thriller The Dry, starring Eric Bana, and Naomi Watts in drama Penguin Bloom to debut in January.
As for the rest of 2020, the Australian cinemas that have reopened – many of them open air or drive-ins – are bringing the classics back in lights to tempt audiences back into theatres.
There’s a handful of new releases arriving next month, and this is what they look like …
The War with Grandpa (December 3)
Starring Robert de Niro and Uma Thurman, this flick follows young upstart Peter, who’s forced to share his bedroom with his grandpa (De Niro). So he decides to try and win it back through a series of pranks and hijinks.
The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone (December 3)
Technically not a new release, but a re-release. The Godfather III has been re-edited as Coda, a cut that’s said to fix everything that was wrong with the original.
Filmed in 1990, nearly three decades after the original, it comes to us another 30 years on in what’s being dubbed the Sofia Coppola cut.
It promises a revised beginning, a different ending, and positions itself as an epilogue, rather than a third part.
The Witches (December 10)
Director Robert Zemeckis enlisted the help of Anne Hathaway and Octavia Spencer in a bid to not crush the childhoods of 1990s kids the world over.
(Can Anjelica Huston really ever be beaten? Really?)
Roald Dahl’s beloved The Witches comes to us with the promise of a new family favourite for the next generation.
Early reviews don’t hate it, but don’t love it either.
Words on Bathroom Walls (December 10)
Adapted from the novel of the same name by Julia Walton, this romantic drama follows Adam, a witty yet introverted young man on the edge of adulthood. In his final year of schooling, he’s diagnosed with a mental illness. Words navigates his journey to try and keep it hidden, but he begins to fall for a classmate who encourages him to be his true self.
The Midnight Sky (December 10)
Directed, produced and starring George Clooney, The Midnight Sky brings us along on the mission of a lone-wolf scientist in a post-apocalyptic world.
The world in the grips of a mysterious but deadly global catastrophe (sound familiar?) and Clooney’s scientist must alert a shuttle of astronauts who are on their way home: Do not land, whatever you do.
As one review taglined it, ‘Who needs nightmares like George Clooney’s The Midnight Sky when there’s the news?’ – but maybe audiences will have forgotten about their personal apocalypses by December 10.
Dreamland (December 17)
Our own Margot Robbie produces and stars in this romance flick, set in America’s Great Depression. (Again, maybe a little close to home.)
Finn Cole is Eugene, a teen bounty hunter who is plotting his escape from a small town in backwater Texas when he stumbles upon Allison (Robbie), a bank robber – wounded and on the run from the law.
Naturally, love blossoms. Eugene is faced with the choice of turning her in for a handsome bounty, or choosing a life of love.