clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Graphic treatment of the character Rey from the film Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Image: Lucasfilm/Disney via Polygon

Filed under:

The 11 biggest blockbusters dropping this fall

From Joker to Jumanji, the biggest movies hitting theaters this year

The past nine eight months have had their share of box-office-breaking — Avengers: Endgame, The Lion King, Toy Story 4 — but there are even more yet to come.

Some of the biggest titles hitting theaters this fall are sequels, with It: Chapter Two and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker set to wrap up their respective stories, but there are a lot of original stories en route as well. Ang Lee’s Gemini Man will make its debut in October, as will Joker, which reportedly will forgo pulling from any existing comics. In case that’s not enough for you, here are the 11 big blockbusters dropping this fall.

It - Pennywise inside a pipe
Pennywise, seen here in 2017’s It, returns.
Warner Bros. Pictures

It: Chapter Two

Directed by Andy Muschietti, opening Sept. 6

The boys (and one girl) are back in town! The hotly anticipated follow-up to It is hitting theaters almost exactly two years later, and will be delving into the aftermath of The Losers Club’s run-in with Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgård). Having promised to return home to destroy the clown should it ever return, the gang — now all adults — make their way back to face their demons once again.

joaquin smiling in joker
Joaquin Phoenix pulling a smile.
Warner Bros. Pictures


Directed by Todd Phillips, opening Oct. 4

Against my better judgment, I am all-in on the Todd Phillips/Joaquin Phoenix Joker movie. Though each new report on what the film is actually about (Thomas Wayne is supposedly “in the mold of a 1980s Donald Trump”) seems to indicate that this movie will be trying to tap into the zeitgeist in a way that seems less productive than promising, the King of Comedy vibe that emanates from every other detail — plus that delightful “Laughing” teaser — gives me hope.

Will Smith as a de-aged Henry Brogan (aka Junior) in Gemini Man.
Will Smith going through an existential crisis.
Image: Paramount Pictures

Gemini Man

Directed by Ang Lee, opening Oct. 11

You had me at “Ang Lee,” and you really had me at “Ang Lee and Will Smith.” I don’t even know what to say about the actual pitch: “Ang Lee and two Will Smiths.” In Gemini Man, Smith plays an assassin whose attempts at getting out of the game are stymied by a young clone of himself, who, in turn, will be played by a CGI clone of Smith. (Obviously, the effects masters at Weta Digital are on the case.) While you wait for the movie to come out, here is a picture of Ang Lee destroying a hamburger.

Jojo Rabbit - Jojo, Adolf Hitler, and Jojo’s mother at the dinner table
Roman Griffin Davis, Taika Waititi, and Scarlett Johansson in Jojo Rabbit.
Kimberley French/20th Century Fox

Jojo Rabbit

Directed by Taika Waititi, opening Oct. 18

Putting Hitler in a movie in any form is a gamble. If there’s anyone that I’d trust to do it well (?), it’s Thor: Ragnarok and What We Do in the Shadows director Taika Waititi. Jojo Rabbit, set during World War II, centers on a young boy whose imaginary friend is a version of Hitler who isn’t based on the dictator so much as he is an amalgam of the boy’s wishes for his father’s love. Waititi himself plays the made-up version of the Führer, because of course he does.

Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) tackles a zombie.
Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) having a good time.
Sony Pictures

Zombieland: Double Tap

Directed by Ruben Fleischer, opening Oct. 18

What if Zombieland became Ruben Fleischer’s Before trilogy? The franchise, which began in 2009 and is returning a decade later, seems to raise that particular thought experiment given that the exact same cast is reuniting for the sequel. It’s the same principle that Richard Linklater was operating on, isn’t it? Check in every so often on the same cast, except instead of telling a story about an on-again-off-again couple, this is about a group of people getting by in the apocalyptic wasteland.

An older, gray-haired T-800, Arnold Schwarzenegger, dressed in a leather jacket.
Schwarzenegger’s back, baby!
Kerry Brown/Paramount Pictures

Terminator: Dark Fate

Directed by Tim Miller, opening Nov. 1

Though the new Terminator movie will apparently disregard the last three Terminator films (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Terminator Salvation, and Terminator Genisys, which, hell, I liked), Arnold Schwarzenegger is once again set to return, as is the OG Sarah Connor, Linda Hamilton. The film will serve as a direct sequel to The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and will also feature a truly ripped Mackenzie Davis.

The new Angels: Ella Balinska, Kristen Stewart, and Naomi Scott.
The new Angels: Ella Balinska, Kristen Stewart, and Naomi Scott.
Sony Pictures

Charlie’s Angels

Directed by Elizabeth Banks, opening Nov. 15

The Charlie’s Angels franchise is revving back to life with Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska as the Angels, and Elizabeth Banks (who is also directing the movie) as Charlie. The crime-fighting trio will no doubt have their hands full, as the names they have to contend with range from Patrick Stewart to the internet’s boyfriend, Noah Centineo.

frozen 2 trailer teaser
The animated cast of Frozen II.
Image: Walt Disney Animation Studios

Frozen 2

Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, opening Nov. 27

Disney has been relatively tight-lipped about details on the new film, though we know this much: Elsa (Idina Menzel) finally figures out how to control her magic, and lets loose. (Letting it go?) Trailers for the sequel tease a movie that’s bigger on the action and lifting a little from Disney’s Marvel success story.

Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan face the desert.
The gang’s back together.
Sony Pictures Releasing

Jumanji: The Next Level

Directed by Jake Kasdan, opening Dec. 13

Thought the Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle kids wouldn’t find a way back into the game? Well, think again. This time around, players and characters have swapped around, as Spencer (Alex Wolff) disappears into the game and, when his friends arrive to help him, they get Spencer’s grandfather (Danny DeVito) and his friend (Danny Glover) sucked into the game, too. Yes, your dreams are coming true: We’re getting Dwayne Johnson doing a Danny DeVito impersonation.

Taylor Swift... as a cat, in Cats.
Yes, that’s Taylor Swift.
Image: Universal Pictures


Directed by Tom Hooper, opening Dec. 20

Cats. What is there to say about Cats? Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, and Judi Dench will be there. They’ll be playing cats. They’ll be sending another cat to the Heaviside Layer. If you need any further explanation, I highly recommend reading this.

Star Wars Episode IX trailer Death Star
The desiccated Death Star.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Directed by J.J. Abrams, opening Dec. 20

The final installment of the new Star Wars trilogy caps off the year, which is about as good a Christmas present as you could ask for. Though there’s not too much known about it besides the fact that it’s set to take place a year after the events of The Last Jedi, Episode IX still has the goods: Richard E. Grant is joining the Star Wars universe, as is Keri Russell, with Billy Dee Williams returning as Lando Calrissian.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Patch Notes

A weekly roundup of the best things from Polygon