Fall Movie Preview 2019: From ‘It: Chapter Two’ to ‘Little Women’

Summer may be ending, but that doesn’t mean there will be a dearth of content at the multiplexes. On the contrary, studios are filling up theaters with Oscar-season content, popcorn fare and family films through the end of the year. From Greta Gerwig’s star-studded “Little Women” adaptation to the highly anticipated sequel to “It,” Variety breaks down what movies you can expect when heading to theaters this fall.

“It: Chapter Two”

Release Date: Sept. 6

Stars: Bill Skarsgard, Finn Wolfhard, Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Sophia Lillis, Jack Dylan Grazer, Bill Hader, Jake Weary, Jaeden Martell

Why we want to see it: In the second installment of this re-imagined horror film, the “losers club,” now all grown up, are faced with the reality that their childhood nightmare never died. Rather, Pennywise was waiting for their eventual return home to finish what he started. Not to mention, director Andy Muschietti promises this second film will be even scarier than its predecessor.

-BreAnna Bell

The Goldfinch

Release Date: Sept. 13

Stars: Finn Wolfhard, Nicole Kidman, Sarah Paulson, Ashleigh Cummings, Ansel Elgort, Luke Wilson, Aneurin Barnard, Jeffrey Wright, Willa Fitzgerald, Oakes Fegley, Aimee Laurence

Why we want to see it: Ansel Elgort and “Stranger Things” star Finn Wolfhard are sure to shine in the film adaptation of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer-prize winning novel, “The Goldfinch.” Straddling two timelines, the audience witnesses both an adult Theo struggling with a drug addiction and young Theo whose life is drastically altered by the death of his mother in a terrorist bombing. Directed by John Crowley and assisted by legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins, the trailer’s visuals help maintain the excitement for its September release.



Release Date: Sept. 13

Stars: Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Cardi B, Lizzo, Madeline Brewer

Why we want to see it: Based on Jessica Pressler’s “The Hustlers at Scores,” the film follows the true story of a ring of strippers who conned their very wealthy clientele. Written, co-produced and directed by “The Meddler” director Lorene Scafaria, “Hustlers'” celebrity-packed cast draws attention to the movie, as musicians Cardi B and Lizzo make their acting debut on the big screen.


“Downton Abbey”

Release Date: Sept. 20

Stars: Hugh Bonneville, Jim Carter, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton, Penelope Wilton

Why we want to see it: The forthcoming spinoff film has a lot in store for “Downton Abbey” fans, who can expect royal grandeur and familial battles in the latest installment. Serving as a continuation of the Amazon Prime series also written by Julian Fellowes, the upcoming movie will follow King George and Queen Mary as they visit Downton, based on the real-life trip the royal couple took to Yorkshire in 1912.

-Anna Tingley

“Rambo: Last Blood”

Release Date: Sept. 20

Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Paz Vega, Oscar Jaenada

Why we want to see it: Sylvester Stallone’s John Rambo proves he still has a badass set of one-man army survival skills four decades after “First Blood.” In the fifth installment of the series, Rambo takes on the cartel for what promises to be a bloodbath — the last bloodbath, that is.

-Dano Nissen

“Ad Astra”

Release Date: Sept. 20 

Stars: Brad Pitt, Liv Tyler, Ruth Negga, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland

Why we want to see it: An astronaut (Brad Pitt) goes searching for his father (Tommy Lee Jones) in the depths of space. Dazzling visuals light up the trailer for what should be a thoughtful sci-fi flick.  


“The Irishman”

Release Date: Fall TBD

Stars: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Anna Paquin, Jesse Plemons, Bobby Cannavale, Sebastian Maniscalco, Ray Romano

Why we want to see it: The great film trio of Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Martin Scorsese are back together for the first time since 1995’s “Casino,” but now they’ve padded the stacked crew with Al Pacino. Scorsese uses groundbreaking technology to de-age the dream cast in a decades-spanning look at teamster Jimmy Hoffa and the man who claimed to kill him.


“Pain and Glory”

Release Date: Oct. 4

Stars: Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz, Raúl Arévalo

Why we want to see it: The Spanish drama starring Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas made its debut at the Cannes Film Festival where it was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or. Taking home two awards (Banderas winning best actor, and composer Alberto Iglesias winning best soundtrack), Pedro Almodóvar’s latest creation can be expected to deliver a riveting story as it follows a declining film director (Banderas) as he encounters love and creative crises in his hometown of Madrid.

– AT


Release Date: Oct. 4

Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Marc Maron, Shea Whigham, Brian Tyree Henry

Why we want to see it: Batman’s most famous enemy gets his origin story by the way of a Martin Scorsese-inspired character study of a failed New York City comedian turned to theatrical villainy. Jack Nicholson, Jared Leto, Cesar Romero and Heath Ledger have left big shoes — and even bigger clown shoes — for Joaquin Phoenix to fill. Look no further than the trailer, where Phoenix bares his teeth for the classic Joker smile and puts his spin on the iconic cackle, to gain assurance that the three-time Oscar nominee is up to task.


“Lucy in the Sky”

Release Date: Oct. 4

Stars: Natalie Portman, Jon Hamm, Dan Stevens, Zazie Beetz, Ellen Burstyn

Why we want to see it: Bestselling author and “Legion” and “Fargo” creator Noah Hawley is finally taking his talents to the big screen with a heady space exploration mixed with love triangle drama. Plus, the Oscar-winning Natalie Portman is front and center. Say no more, we’re in.


“The Addams Family”

Release Date: Oct. 11

Stars: Charlize Theron, Finn Wolfhard, Chloe Grace Moretz, Oscar Isaac

Why we want to see it: MGM’s cartoon remake of the 1990s horror series may be the most mysterious and kooky version of the classic yet, made spookier by its added 3D effects. Charlize Theron, Finn Wolfhard, Chloe Grace Moretz and Oscar Isaac star as the titular family, with additional voice cast including Nick Kroll, Snoop Dogg, Bette Midler and Allison Janney.



Release Date: Oct. 11

Stars: Kang-ho Song, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Jo

Why we want to see it: The Cannes darling won the festival’s highest honor of the Palme D’or, joining ranks with some of the most innovative films in history. South Korean director Bong Joon Ho of “Snowpiercer” and “The Host” is back with a taut household thriller that looks to pack an idiosyncratic punch.


“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”

Release Date: Oct. 18

Stars: Teresa Mahoney, Angelina Jolie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Juno Temple, Elle Fanning, Michelle Pfieffer, Harris Dickinson, Sam Riley, Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton

Why we want to see it: Jolie’s Maleficent is sure to be extraordinarily evil in this follow-up to the original box office hit. After the once cursed Princess Aurora announces she’ll be getting married soon and Queen Ingrith reveals her plans to take the princess into her care, new alliances are formed to protect the fantasy kingdom from its threats.


“Zombieland: Double Tap”

Release Date: Oct. 18

Stars: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Rosario Dawson, Zoey Deutch and Luke Wilson

Why we want to see it: The first “Zombieland” banked its laughs on the rapport of the original cast. Guess what? They’re all back! The franchise is plugging and chugging with a winning formula. Expect over-the-top undead violence, comedy legend cameos and post-apocalyptic Hostess snacks.


“The Lighthouse”

Release Date: Oct. 18

Stars: Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe

Why we want to see it: Willem Dafoe says with a seafaring accent, “How long have we been on this rock? Five weeks? Two days?” Cabin fever — or lighthouse fever — sets in for what looks to be another one of young auteur’s Robert Eggers (“The Witch”) painstakingly researched horror period pieces.


“Jojo Rabbit”

Release Date: Oct. 18

Stars: Roman Griffin Davis, Taika Waititi, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant

Why we want to see it: As a coping mechanism for bullying, a little boy conjures up an imaginary friend, but not the cute fluffy kind — it’s Adolf Hitler. Taika Waititi, director of “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” directs and plays the imaginary version of the Nazi dictator in his next big-hearted, quirky movie.


“Motherless Brooklyn”

Release date: Nov. 1

Stars: Edward Norton, Alec Baldwin

Why we want to see it: Edward Norton stars as a private detective with Tourette’s syndrome in the adventure film based on Jonathan Lethem’s best-selling novel. Set in 1950s New York, Norton becomes entangled in a conspiracy theory involving a pre-modern master-builder played by Alec Baldwin. The star-studded Warner Bros. thriller also features Bruce Willis, Willem Dafoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bobby Cannavale, Leslie Mann and Cherry Jones.



Release Date: Nov. 1

Stars: Cynthia Erivo, Janelle Monae, Joe Alwyn, Leslie Odom Jr., Nick Basta, Tim Guinee, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Clarke Peters, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Deborah Ayorinde, Tory Kittles, Omar J. Dorsey

Why we want to see it: Boasting an incredible cast of Janelle Monae, “Widows” star Cynthia Erivo, Joe Alwyn and more, this film details the true story of abolitionist Harriet Tubman and the events that led to her becoming an American hero. From freeing hundreds of slaves on the Underground Railroad to becoming a spy for the north in the Civil War, it’s a film that’s long overdue for a woman of this caliber.


“Terminator: Dark Fate”

Release Date: Nov. 1

Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mackenzie Davis, Linda Hamilton, Natalia Reyes, Tom Hopper, Edward Furlong

Why we want to see it: The time-jumping killer robot franchise is coming back, and so are the original “Terminator” castmates Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton. The metal liquid shapeshifting, highway chase scenes and bazooka action remind us why we love the series so much.


“Doctor Sleep”

Release Date: Nov. 8

Stars: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Cliff Curtis, Bruce Greenwood

Why we want to see it: Danny Torrance is all grown up for the adaptation of Stephen King’s 2013 bestseller and the long-awaited continuation of  Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 movie “The Shining.” The trailer is jam-packed with callbacks to the original, like the scrawling of “redrum” and its inverse “murder” on the wall and a young Danny tricycling around the Overlook Hotel. Ewan McGregor is haunting even in the short clips from the trailer.


“Ford v. Ferrari”

Release Date: Nov. 15

Stars: Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Caitriona Balfe, Jon Bernthal, Tracy Letts

Why we want to see it: Car buffs rejoice; old-school race cars are on display gunning at high speeds. Movie buffs rejoice; Matt Damon and Christian Bale, who both have track records of skillfully playing real-life figures, are joining forces to play Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles, respectively, the men who challenged Ferrari with a newly engineered Ford race car. 


“Charlie’s Angels”

Release Date: Nov. 15

Stars: Naomi Scott, Elizabeth Banks, Kristen Stewart, Ella Balinska, Noah Centineo, Sam Claflin, Patrick Stewart, Djimon Hounsou, Robert Maaser, Sarah Bennani

Why we want to see it: The top-secret agency has gone global with multiple Bosleys (Djimon Hounsou, Elizabeth Banks, Patrick Stewart) in this remake of the action-packed TV series. Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska star in the film as Charlie’s newest angels and the movie boasts a new single featuring Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande and Lana Del Rey.


“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”

Release date: Nov. 22

Stars: Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys

Why we want to see it: Nostalgia is sure to set in come November, when Tom Hanks’ portrayal of the beloved Mister Rogers hits theaters. The Sony movie is based on Rogers’ real-life friendship with the cynical journalist Tom Junod, who was assigned to write a long-form profile on the television host. Junod comes to realize the true kindness within Rogers, just as the viewers do, giving way to a much-needed feel-good movie this fall.

– AT

“Frozen II”

Release Date: Nov. 22

Stars: Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, Evan Rachel Wood, Josh Gad, Sterling K. Brown, Idina Menzel, Santino Fontana

Why we want to see it: The Disney phenomenon returns with the second story about the Snow Queen Elsa and her sister Anna as they venture away from their kingdom in search of answers, as Elsa needs to know why she was born with powers that may hurt her kingdom. Coupled again with snowman Olaf and Kristoff on their travels, it’ll be interesting to see how this follow-up compares to the original, which brought in $1.3 billion worldwide and earned two Oscars.


“Knives Out”

Release Date: Nov. 27

Stars: Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Daniel Craig, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Lakeith Stanfield, Christopher Plummer, Jamie Lee Curtis

Why we want to see it: Big name after big name flood this chamber piece, including James Bond, Sonny Crockett and a foul-mouthed Captain America. Rian Johnson has put his modern twist on old-school genre films with “Brick” and “Looper” and this Agatha Christie-esque story should be no different.


“Queen & Slim”

Release Date: Nov. 27

Stars: Jodie Turner-Smith, Daniel Kaluuya, Indya Moore, Chloe Sevigny, Bokeem Woodbine, Sturgill Simpson

Why we want to see it: “I ain’t gonna bend the world. As long as my lady remembers me fondly, that’s all I need,” Kaluuya says as Slim in the trailer for Emmy Award winner Lena Waithe’s newest project, directed by Melina Matsoukas. Based on the work of James Frey, “Queen & Slim” redefines the traditional “Bonnie and Clyde” tale to fit today’s climate as Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith, after their first date, run from authorities following the shooting of a police officer in self-defense during a routine traffic stop.


“Jumanji: The Next Level”

Release Date: Dec. 13

Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Jack Black

Why we want to see it: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black will make their return to the jungle in the latest adventure movie, only to find the video game world looks a little different this time around. With appearances by Danny DeVito and Danny Glover, who get stuck as Johnson and Hart’s avatars from the original, the newest “Jumanji” adaptation can be expected to be a box-office smash.


“Black Christmas”

Release date: Dec. 13

Stars: Aleyse Shannon, Brittany O’Grady, Lily Donoghue, Caleb Eberhardt

Why we want to see it: Blumhouse Productions is bringing some spook to the holidays this year with its remake of the horror pic that follows a group of sorority girls who are stalked by a stranger on Christmas break. The bloody feature will see its leads, played by Aleyse Shannon, Brittany O’Grady and Lily Donoghue, fight back against their anonymous stalker.



Release Date: Dec. 20

Stars: Idris Elba, Rebel Wilson, Taylor Swift, Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Francesca Hayward, James Corden, Jennifer Hudson, Laurie Davidson, Jason Derulo

Why we want to see it: The new CGI technology completely redesigns the look of these Jellicle cats of T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” as they await the decision of their leader Old Deuteronomy (Judi Dench) to see which of them will cross to the Heaviside layer to begin a new life. Along with the work of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Steven Spielberg, Angela Morrison and this star-powered cast, fans of the Broadway production are antsy to watch its film adaptation.


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Release Date: Dec. 20

Stars: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Ian McDiarmid, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson

Why we want to see it: The third trilogy in the Skywalker saga is coming to an end. The momentous closer (for now) to the decades-long globe-spanning cultural phenomenon is a must-see. And that laugh at the trailer’s end hints we’re in store for the return of the baddest bad guy of them all.


Little Women

Release Date: Dec. 25

Stars: Florence Pugh, Emma Watson, Timothee Chalamet, Saoirse Ronan, Meryl Streep, Laura Dern, James Norton, Eliza Scanlen

Why we want to see it: Written and directed by Greta Gerwig, this new take on the classic tale will follow the March family as they leave their childhood home and will look back at each woman’s adolescence through a series of flashbacks to reveal the adults they become. With this star-studded cast, and Timothee Chalamet as love interest Laurie, the anticipation continues to build for the Christmas movie’s release.



Release Date: Dec. 25

Stars: George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Richard Madden, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch

Why we want to see it: Two British soldiers receive what seems to be a sure death directive to carry out across the perilous trenches of World War I combat. If the film lives up to the heart-pounding trailer and the previous titles of its director Sam Mendes (“American Beauty,” “Skyfall”), viewers should be in for a treat.


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