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Must-Watch HBO Max Movies Coming In 2021 And Beyond

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The year 2021 is going to be a big one for HBO Max. With theaters still being closed in many cities — or operating at a limited capacity — the best and safest way for people to see movies has been through streaming services. And as avid filmgoers know, HBO Max's partnership with Warner Brothers means many of 2021's biggest releases are coming to the platform on Day One and streaming for an entire month.

This arrangement has already brought big movies like Wonder Woman 1984 and Zack Snyder's Justice League to HBO Max, but the fun is only beginning as the rest of 2021 has over a dozen must-watch films coming before the end of the year. In addition to the tentpole Warner Bros. releases, HBO Max will continue to exclusively house HBO Films productions. What follows is a comprehensive list of every new and exclusive movie coming to HBO Max for the rest of the year.

The Titans will battle it out in Godzilla vs. Kong (March 31, 2021)

Just on the horizon is the latest in Warner Brothers' MonsterVerse franchise. Godzilla vs. Kong is a direct follow-up to Michael Dougherty's 2019 entry, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, as well as a tie-in to 2017's Kong: Skull Island. And as for the behind-the scenes pedigree, the man in the director's chair is Adam Wingard, who's previously directed hit indie horror films like The Guest and You're Next, as well as the Netflix live-action adaptation of Death Note.

As for the cast, Godzilla vs. Kong stars Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Julian Dennison, Rebecca Hall, and Brian Tyree Henry. The film is set five years after the events of King of the Monsters, and the official synopsis tells us that the story is going to start off with "Kong and his protectors" going on "a perilous journey to find his true home." But along the way, they run across a very angry Godzilla, who's "cutting a swath of destruction around the globe." Eventually, the two will square off in a beastly battle, one that will involve a shady corporation, the Hollow Earth, and — most likely — an appearance from Mechagodzilla.

And in addition to returning names like Kyle Chandler and franchise newcomers like Lance Reddick and Eiza Gonzalez, Godzilla vs. Kong is set to deliver some epic action sequences. Recently released images from the movie show the scale we're working with here. These shots also show off the film's neon heavy aesthetic and art style, making Godzilla vs. Kong one of the most striking upcoming blockbusters of the year, and it'll hit HBO Max on March 31, 2021.

Mortal Kombat will soon be serving up fatalities (April 16, 2021)

Mortal Kombat fans have been not-so-patiently waiting for nearly 25 years for another MK movie to be released in theaters. Video game movies have a track record of being subpar, and Mortal Kombat certainly has a part to play in that history. Not counting WB Animations' direct-to-video release of Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpions Revenge in 2020, the last Mortal Kombat movie was 1997's Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. As any fan of the fighting game series knows, that movie was, to put it generously, not great. Even as a sequel to the 1995 original— now a campy cult classic and still one of the best video game movies ever madeAnnihilation was enough of a failure to completely end the MK film franchise. 

Until now.

The 2021 Mortal Kombat has been in talks since Warner Brothers acquired Midway Games in 2009, and now, the new MK is finally hitting theaters and HBO Max on April 16. The movie is getting off on the right foot by casting martial arts and stunt professionals from across the globe, including Lewis Tan and Joe Taslim. And along with actors such as Mehcad Brooks, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, and Hiroyuki Sanada, the cast is a good indicator that the new Mortal Kombat is fully embracing the fantasy franchise's martial arts tournament roots. Plus, James Wan — director of The Conjuring, Furious 7, and Aquaman – is working as a producer after originally being rumored as the director. The trailers so far aren't showing too much about the story, but if nothing else, expect some impressive stunts and intricately choreographed hand-to-hand fights.

Those Who Wish Me Dead will be a fiery, fantastic thriller (May 14, 2021)

If you're a fan of dark, modern-day Westerns, then keep your eyes on HBO Max. Those Who Wish Me Dead is based on the novel of the same title, one written by Michael Koryta and published in 2014. Koryta is one of the credited screenwriters on the project, alongside Charles Leavitt and director Taylor Sheridan, who also wrote both Sicario movies and the neo-Western hit Hell or High Water. Those Who Wish Me Dead stars Angelina Jolie and Nicholas Hoult in lead roles, alongside the likes of Tyler Perry, Aidan Gillen and Jon Bernthal.

Filmed in New Mexico, the movie is actually set in the wilderness of Montana. This white-knuckle thriller finds a teenage murder witness being pursued by twin assassins. Needless to say, that's not a great situation to find yourself in, but at least this teen has the assistance of a survival expert (Jolie) tasked with protecting him. This chase is set among the background of a forest threatened by wildfires. Those Who Wish Me Dead is sure to be an intense ride for its characters while also being a commentary on the state of the environment. The film is set to hit HBO Max and theaters on May 14, 2021.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is about to possess HBO Max (June 4, 2021)

The Conjuring Universe has grown a whole lot since we were first introduced to the world of the Warrens in 2013. Since then, we've met the likes of La Llorona and Valak, and we've run into that creepy Annabelle doll on more than one occasion. But now, we're returning to the main storyline with the eighth film in the franchise and the third one with Conjuring in its title — The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are returning as real-life paranormal investigators and authors Ed and Lorraine Warren. Originally scheduled for a September 2020 release, The Devil Made Me Do It was delayed due to COVID-19 and will now be out June 4, 2021, in both theaters and HBO Max. It's directed by relative newcomer Michael Chaves, a filmmaker who's already making his mark in the horror world. Chaves is best known to Conjuring fans as the director of The Curse of La Llorona, the last movie released in the extended Conjuring universe in 2019.

The Devil Made Me Do It is based on the trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, who was the first murder suspect to ever claim demonic possession as a defense. The 1981 case became a controversial national news story, and it also involved the possession of an 11-year-old boy, which is certain to be a primary plot point and the source of many scares in the upcoming Conjuring film.

In the Heights is bringing back the musical (June 11, 2021)

Originally scheduled to be released last summer, the film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's first musical, In the Heights, was getting its release date tweaked up until the last minute. This was after over a decade of development hell. Multiple studio and director changes later, In the Heights is ready to go for June 11 on HBO Max and any musical fan is sure to be excited for this one.

Before Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda was a name on Broadway thanks to the success of In the Heights. Originating his pop-rap style of songwriting, the story of his first show is much more grounded than the bombastic historical hit. A community in Washington Heights has to deal with the sweltering heat of a New York summer while working through issues of family, race, and class. 

As for the rest of the talent involved, the film is directed by Jon M. Chu, most famous for his 2018 breakout rom-com Crazy Rich Asians or arguably Step Up 2: The Streets, depending on your age. On top of that, In the Heights features one of Hamilton's youngest stars, Anthony Ramos, as the lead Usnavi. The groundbreaking musical finally hits theaters and HBO Max on June 11, 2021.

Space Jam: A New Legacy is going to be a slam dunk (July 16, 2021)

For years — decades, in fact — fans have been clamoring for a sequel to Space Jam. When you consider that the 1996 Looney Tunes and Michael Jordan crossover is still the highest-grossing basketball movie of all time — and the 34th highest-grossing sports movie according to Box Office Mojo — you really have to wonder why it's taken so long for Hollywood to make a new installment. Well, wonder no more! Space Jam: A New Legacy is bringing the joy and the dunks to a new generation, and now, parents can show their kids just what they were missing in the '90s.

Instead of focusing on Jordan, this time, the basketball star of the day is LeBron James. Trapped in a virtual reality space with his son by a rogue A.I (Don Cheadle), LeBron has to team up with the Looney Toons to beat a team of elite basketball-playing algorithms. Directed by Malcolm D. Lee and produced by Ryan Coogler (Black Panther), Space Jam: A New Legacy will be the first live-action Looney Toons release since Looney Tunes: Back in Action way back in 2003. It will certainly be a blast for families and kids, and even if you're not a fan of Bugs Bunny and company, there will be something for everyone in this wacky flick, as James' journey through virtual reality will involve films like Casablanca and Mad Max: Fury Road. The game gets started on July 16, 2021.

The Suicide Squad is bringing the R-rated action to HBO Max (August 6, 2021)

Nope, not that Suicide Squad, silly. This is THE Suicide Squad, probably more commonly known as the James Gunn Suicide Squad reboot because that's basically what it is. Written and directed by the Guardians of the Galaxy director, The Suicide Squad keeps the incomparable Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, as well as Joel Kinnaman's Rick Flag and Jai Courtney's Captain Boomerang. However, Jared Leto's Joker and the majority of the 2016 cast have disappeared. Instead, the movie is opting for a fresh start, with new actors playing new characters. What we've seen so far of the film looks to be an utterly ridiculous blast.

Just the cast is completely amazing. From incredible award-winning actors like Idris Elba and Viola Davis to hulking he-men like John Cena and Sylvester Stallone, it just makes no sense in the most exciting way possible. The supporting cast goes even deeper than that, running the gamut of great comedic actors like Taika Waititi, Nathan Fillion, and ... Pete Davidson? It truly is nuts. And a spinoff show starring John Cena's Peacemaker is in the works and slated for the 2022 HBO Max lineup.

Between the cast and the adult tone projected, The Suicide Squad looks to be a funny, bombastic alternative to the hyper-grim world of Zack Snyder and the reserved humor of the recent MCU TV offerings. In the vein of the R-rated hilarity of Birds of Prey, this is hopefully a new trend for DC, and the team is coming to town on August 6, 2021.

Get ready to Reminiscence (September 3, 2021)

Reminiscence is an upcoming sci-fi thriller starring Hugh Jackman that looks to be scratching that Inception itch that Tenet couldn't quite scratch last year. Jonathan Nolan serves as a producer on the movie, so it's no surprise how reminiscent — heh, heh — this seems of his previous work. And Reminiscence is also the next collaboration between Nolan and his wife, director Lisa Joy, who previously co-created Westworld. So it's no shocker, then, that this one is ending up on HBO Max, especially given how a majority of Nolan's most popular work has been distributed by either Warner Bros. or HBO.

Not much else is known about the intriguing title outside of the premise. Jackman plays Nick Bannister, an ex-military man with certain professional skills. For the right price, he can offer the chance for people to relive any memory they desire. When he falls in love with Mae (Rebecca Ferguson), things get complicated when he gains access to her memories, and the truth about her dark past starts to come to the surface. If you like action, sci-fi, or thrillers, Reminiscence is a can't-miss watch when it comes to HBO Max on September 3, 2021.

Prepare to get freaked out by Malignant (September 10, 2021)

Horror fans, rejoice! A few months after a new Conjuring movie hits, we're going to get Malignant — the latest from Conjuring Universe creator James Wan, who's known just as well for Saw and Insidious. The prolific horror director has a new project that's sure to scare our pants off.

Seriously, fans of the frightening should be getting pretty hyped for Malignant. Aside from this being James Wan's first time directing a horror movie since 2016's The Conjuring 2, it also features a face that might be familiar to audiences who absolutely love being terrified. Annabelle Wallis has a starring role in Malignant, and she's best known for her role as Mia Form in (in a completely coincidental naming situation) the first Annabelle film.

Wan has said that Malignant isn't based on any pre-existing IP. It's a completely original horror thriller, but beyond that, not a whole lot else is known. It's probably best that way, too. There's nothing better to a horror fan than a completely surprising — and hopefully, just as shocking —moviegoing experience. Get ready for some scares on September 10, 2021.

Tony Soprano is coming back in The Many Saints of Newark (September 24, 2021)

Years after the infamous, ambiguous ending of The Sopranos, fans of HBO's era-defining mob epic are finally getting some closure. Oh wait, sorry, this is a prequel. 

The Many Saints of Newark is a collaboration between Warner Bros. and HBO Films that was originally scheduled for theatrical release in September 2020. Like many of the WB features on this list, The Many Saints was delayed exactly one year in order to hit a simultaneous release in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.

This prequel to the series that spawned the term "prestige TV" is set in the 1960s and '70s in New Jersey. Penned by series creator David Chase, The Many Saints of Newark aims to tell a story about the 1967 Newark riots and the racial tensions in that time period between the Italian-American and African-American communities of New Jersey and the Eastern seaboard. The cast is absolutely loaded, with Corey Stoll as a young Junior Soprano and James Gandolfini's son, Michael, cast as a young Tony. Plus, we've got Vera Farmiga as Livia Soprano, and that's not mentioning appearances from Jon Bernthal, Leslie Odom Jr., and Ray Liotta of Goodfellas fame. Sopranos fans will have a lot to be thankful for this fall, when the gangsters make their way to HBO Max on September 24, 2021.

HBO Max is taking us to the world of Dune (October 1, 2021)

Denis Villeneuve's take on Dune is one of the most hyped movies of the year, following an entire year of being one of the most hyped movies of 2020. Still, the excitement persists with each released and leaked screenshot and every behind-the-scenes photo that comes out. For sci-fi fans of many ages, Dune is a fundamental work — a cornerstone of the genre — and this version looks to get a lot of things right where David Lynch's 1984 attempt to adapt it failed miserably. Look, even Lynch admits he messed up on that on one. 

Timothee Chalamet takes the reins as Dune hero Paul Atreides, and Oscar Isaac will appear as his father, Duke Leto Atreides, in this first entry in Villeneuve's two-part adaptation of the first novel in Frank Herbert series. (Yeah, that's a mouthful.) The rest of the cast includes Rebecca Ferguson, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Zendaya, Stellan Skarsgård, Jason Momoa, and Dave Bautista. In other words, this sci-fi epic is absolutely stacked. So, if you're ready to revisit the world of Arrakis, just remember that fear is the mind-killer and that Dune will be hitting HBO Max on October 1, 2021

Clint Eastwood will return to the silver screen with Cry Macho (October 22, 2021)

If you're a fan of films like Hang 'Em High, The Outlaw Josey Wales, or The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, have we got some great news for you. Cry Macho is the next Western from Clint Eastwood. It's based on the 1975 book of the same name written by N. Richard Nash, who co-wrote the screenplay in the '90s with Nick Schenk (Gran Torino, The Mule) prior to Nash's death in the year 2000. And as you've probably assumed, Eastwood is not only showing up in front of the camera, he's sitting in the director's seat.

The film will be a neo-Western, meaning it's set closer to the modern day than the heyday of cowboys in the 1800s. Still, we're pretty sure the Academy Award-winning director of Unforgiven will handle the century change just fine. As for the plot, Eastwood stars as a washed-up rodeo star and modern-day cowboy who, in 1978, takes a job from an ex-boss to bring the man's young son home and away from his alcoholic mother. The film was shot in New Mexico in November and December 2020, and if you're excited to see Eastwood back in the proverbial saddle, Cry Macho will ride onto HBO Max on October 22, 2021.

King Richard is an incredible sports origin story (November 19, 2021)

Slated as one of HBO Max's big releases of holiday season 2021, King Richard is setting itself up as an awards-season contender. The Warner Bros. biopic stars Will Smith as Richard Williams, father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams. The film is a look at their father's influence and how Richard coached them to success. King Richard features Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton as Venus and Serena, respectively. Jon Bernthal, Tony Goldwyn, and Dylan McDermott are also going to make appearances in supporting roles. Liev Schreiber was originally cast, but as reported in October 2020, he was replaced by Goldwyn.

Not a whole lot else is known about the project aside from its talent and premise. The script was penned by Zach Baylin, and Monsters and Men director Reinaldo Marcus Green was brought on to helm the project. Anyone looking for more serious drama fare on HBO Max is sure to perk their ears up when King Richard gets a release on the streaming service later this year, especially Will Smith fans and tennis aficionados. The match begins on November 19, 2021.

The Matrix 4 will teach us kung fu when it comes to HBO Max (December 22)

It's been quite a long time since we've seen any new project set in the world of The Matrix. The pivotal cyberpunk franchise has laid dormant since The Matrix Online went offline in 2009. But over a decade later — and nearly two decades since the last movie — Lana Wachowski is returning to direct a fourth live-action Matrix movie that doesn't yet have a title, although Resurrections has been heavily rumored as a potential option. Lilly Wachowski — who worked with Lana on the original trilogy and The Animatrix, as well as most of the siblings' other movies — is not returning and does not currently have any involvement in this brand new Matrix film. The production was interrupted by the COVID-19 lockdown, but it resumed filming last summer and wrapped up in November.

The Matrix universe is fascinating, but a new movie would be nothing without Neo. Thankfully, both Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are returning to the series as Neo and Trinity, respectively. But sadly, Laurence Fishburne has gone on record saying he wasn't asked to reprise his iconic role as Morpheus. Still, the cast isn't without its fair share of star power. Jada Pinkett Smith, Daniel Bernhardt, Lambert Wilson, Priyanka Chopra, Neil Patrick Harris, and Jonathan Groff will all be making appearances in the newest movie when it releases on December 22, 2021.

Oslo looks like it will be an impressive prestige project (TBD)

Oslo is an upcoming adaptation from producers Steven Spielberg and Marc Platt (Bridge of Spies, La La Land, and The Trial of the Chicago 7). Based on the J.T. Rogers play that took the world by storm in 2017 and won a Tony for Best PlayOslo is coming to the big screen in full force. Rogers wrote the screenplay, and the adaptation is being directed by Bartlett Sher, who directed Oslo on Broadway and earned a Tony nomination for his work. With Andrew Scott of Fleabag and Ruth Wilson of The Affair in the leading roles, this version of Oslo is shaping up to be the real deal. 

As for the plot, the film will tell the story of the secret 1990s Oslo Peace Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization. In other words, it's a story about people from wildly different backgrounds trying to build relationships and the struggles they face due to overwhelming political turmoil and change. And since this film is based on an award-winning play and backed by some very successful producers, it's clear that HBO wants this project to be a major hit, and it's likely to air on HBO and hit the streaming service later in 2021, just in time for awards season.

In the Same Breath will be one of the best docs of the year (TBD)

In the Same Breath is the first of two HBO Films documentaries in the works and slated for release on HBO Max some time in 2021. The social doc is HBO's expose on the COVID-19 outbreak and how it specifically affected China and the United States. In the Same Breath takes a look at the government response from each country and puts it in a wider global context. The documentary premiered at Sundance in January and SXSW Online in March to rave reviews. It currently holds an outrageously positive average of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.

A passion project for Chinese-American director Nanfu Wang, In the Same Breath focuses on the widespread governmental failures in handling the pandemic response by taking a deeper look at the two countries Wang has lived in. The film is one of the most anticipated documentaries of the 2021 film festival season, so hopefully it will find its way to the HBO Max streaming service before the year is up.

HBO is going to take a look at what happened with GameStop (TBD)

Like the rest of Hollywood, HBO Films is chomping at the bit to capitalize on the stock market anomaly that was GameStop earlier in 2021. Of course, this is just one of many announced projects that are centered around the GameStop and Reddit situation. The first, Hulu's documentary GameStopped, is already streaming. Aside from HBO, the other projects in the works include an MGM film based on a book that isn't yet finished, two Netflix projects (a dramatization and a docu-series), and a feature documentary by Console Wars director Jonah Tulis. And that's not even all of them! 

However, we're pretty sure this HBO doc will be something special, as the company has released some stellar documentaries over the years, such as Allen v. Farrow and Class Action Park. This currently untitled project has been confirmed by HBO, but it's only in extremely early stages of production. Andrew Ross Sorkin of TBTF Productions, Len Amato of Crash&Salvage, and Jason Blum of Blumhouse are all on board to serve as executive producers for the film. Sorkin is a best-selling financial journalist, but HBO fans probably know him best as co-creator of the TV drama Billions. It's an interesting mix of producers that will hopefully result in an in-depth expose of one of the most interesting companies of the year.