In the Before Times, July movies made up the core of the summer blockbuster season. Escaping into an air-conditioned movie theater was just the way to beat the heat. But with the ongoing pandemic, many theaters remain closed and the moviegoing experience has shifted to streaming services and video on demand.
However, major theater chains like AMC and Regal are preparing to reopen in mid-July. But will there be any films to play? Actually, yes! Two event movies, Mulan and Tenet, are still scheduled to open in late July.
But since social distancing rules will still be in effect, there are quite a few movies debuting on streaming or premium video on demand. They include high-profile titles like the Hamilton movie on Disney Plus, the Tom Hanks World War II drama Greyhound on Apple TV Plus and the teen rom-com sequel Kissing Booth 2 on Netflix.
Here's a look at the July 2020 movies and where you can watch them.
Cast: Nasim Pedrad, Anna Camp, Robbie Amell, Heather Graham
When Wesley (Pedrad) falls for the perfect guy but doesn’t get a return call from him, she sends him an email rant. Later, she learns he was injured and has been recovering at a hospital in Mexico — oops! So, she enlists her friends for a crazy mission to delete the email from his computer before he sees it.
Hamilton (Disney Plus)
Cast: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Phillipa Soo, Daveed Diggs
We’re definitely not throwing away our shot to watch the Hamilton movie, the filmed version of the hugely popular and successful (and award-winning) Broadway stage production. The movie was originally supposed to open in theaters in 2021, but Disney Plus kindly moved it forward to ease our lack-of-entertainment woes in these coronavirus times. The hip-hop musical features the original Broadway cast, led by creator Lin-Manuel Miranda as Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.
The Outpost (VOD)
Cast: Orlando Bloom, Scott Eastwood, Caleb Landry Jones
The Outpost, based on the 2012 nonfiction book by Jake Tapper, tells the story of 53 U.S. soldiers at an Afghanistan base originally built to engage in local community development but which faced constant threats of attack from the Taliban. When the base is due to close, the soldiers wind up battling some 400 enemy insurgents in the Battle of Kamdesh.
Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo (VOD)
Cast: Danny Trejo
The inimitable character actor is in the spotlight in this documentary chronicling his journey from convict to celebrity. Trejo talks about his hard-knocks former life, stint behind bars for armed robbery, decades of sobriety and his transformation into the friend and collaborator of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.
Greyhound (Apple TV Plus)
Cast: Tom Hanks, Stephen Graham, Rob Morgan, Elisabeth Shue
Hanks was the first celebrity face of the coronavirus pandemic and now, for the first time, he’s testing the streaming waters of the new movie-watching normal. Greyhound was originally slated to open on Father’s Day weekend and it’s definitely a Dad Movie through and through. Based on a true story from World War II, the story centers on U.S. Naval Commander Ernest Krause who’s finally given command of a destroyer, the USS Keeling. He must battle pursuing German U-boats while also wrestling with self-doubts and personal demons.
The Old Guard (Netflix)
Cast: Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Theron headlines this gritty, action superhero drama from Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball). She plays a warrior who leads a covert group of mercenaries with the mysterious inability to die. They’ve protected the mortal world for centuries, but when their abilities are suddenly exposed, Andy and new soldier Nile (Layne) fight against those who want to abuse their powers for monetary gain.
Palm Springs (Hulu)
Cast: Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, Peter Gallagher, J. K. Simmons
Think Groundhog Day, but in addition to Bill Murray reliving the same day over and over again, the same thing happens to Andie Macdowell. At a Palm Springs wedding, Nyles (Samberg) and Sarah (Milioti) have a chance encounter and leads them into a seemingly infinite time loop, which forces them to relive the same day again and again. As the days pass, they grow increasingly wild and carefree. You can probably see where this is going, but that doesn't mean the ride won't be a blast.
Cast: Emily Mortimer, Robyn Nevin, Bella Heathcote
This haunted house horror film has a unique take on the awful state of dementia. When elderly matriarch Edna (Nevin) goes missing, her daughter Kay (Mortimer) and granddaughter Sam (Heathcote) journey to their remote family property to find her. When Edna returns, her dementia is manifested into a sinister presence that traumatizes the three generations of women.
Saint Maud (theatrical)
Cast: Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle
The psychological thriller first debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival way back in the Before Times, in 2019, but its scheduled release in March had to be pushed due to the pandemic. Now, it’ll scare the daylights out of moviegoers brave enough to venture into newly-reopened theaters. In Saint Maud, a newly devout hospice nurse, becomes obsessed with saving her dying patient’s soul but sinister forces and her own sinful past rear their ugly heads.
The Kissing Booth 2 (Netflix)
Cast: Joey King, Joel Courtney, Jacob Elordi, Molly Ringwald
The sequel to Netflix’s frothy teen rom-com brings back the three lovable leads, who all became social media stars thanks to the first film’s success. Elle’s incredibly romantic summer with Noah is over; he has to head off to Harvard, while she finishes her senior year of high school. She has to juggle a long-distance relationship, getting into her dream college and friendship with a handsome new classmate.
The Rental (theatrical and VOD)
Cast: Alison Brie, Dan Stevens, Jeremy Allen White, Toby Huss
Franco makes his directorial debut from a script he co-wrote (and which conveniently stars his wife, Brie). The thriller follows two couples who rent an Airbnb home. But the weekend getaway takes a turn when dark secrets are exposed and they begin to see each other in a new, harsh light. Plus, they begin to suspect that they’re not alone in the house.
Unhinged (theatrical and VOD)
Cast: Russell Crowe, Caren Pistorius, Jimmi Simpson
Could the first theatrical release of the reopening be a road rage thriller starring Russell Crowe? Right now, it’s looking like that’s the case. Unhinged takes an ordinary, everyday incident to its most terrifying conclusion in telling the story of a mother who leans on her horn at the wrong time, to the wrong guy.
Delayed to August 2020 movies
NEW DATE: AUGUST 12
Cast: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Michael Caine
Tenet was finally pushed back from its initial July release date. But even if it’s pushed back again, to the fall or later, we’re excited for Christopher Nolan’s first film since 2017’s Dunkirk. Tenet looks more in line with his twisty thrillers, like Inception. Not that much is known about the actual plot, of course; Nolan likes to keep his plots up his sleeve. The action epic is set in the world of international espionage and involves something called “time inversion,” which is not — seriously, not — time traveling.
NEW DATE: AUGUST 21
Cast: Liu Yifei, Donnie Yen, Jason Scott Lee, Gong Li
The live-action adaptation of Disney’s classic animated movie was set to be the first big release post-pandemic. However, with theater reopening delayed until the end of July, Mulan was sensibly delayed. We're hoping that we'll soon get to see Liu take on the role of the determined and brave Mulan, who poses as a man to take her father’s place in the Emperor of China’s army.