Several tentpole movies directed by women coming in 2020, including ‘Black Widow,’ ‘Mulan’ and ‘Wonder Woman 1984’

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Gal Gadot again plays the title role in the eagerly awaited sequel “Wonder Woman 1984.” [Warner Bros.]

It’s almost time to bid farewell to 2019, and for film fans and industry observers, it’s time to start making the list of anticipated films of the New Year.

And it looks like 2020 could be a landmark year for women directors.

Five of the biggest titles scheduled for release next year — including all four major superhero movies on the slate — will be directed by women, reports Variety.

Mark your calendars: First, Cathy Yan’s “Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn” is due out on Feb. 7. The “Suicide Squad” spinoff sees Harley Quinn (Oscar nominee Margo Robbie) splitting with the Joker and joining DC Comics superheroes Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) to save a young girl from an evil crime lord.

Disney’s eagerly anticipated live-action remake of its 1998 animated hit “Mulan,” directed by Niki Caro, will bow in theaters March 27. It stars Yifei Liu as the titular Chinese maiden disguises herself as a man and becomes a warrior to save her father. Li Gong, Donnie Yen, Jet Li and Jason Scott Lee co-star.

After years of backing up the rest of Marvel’s Avengers for years,  Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff finally gets to go out on her own in “Black Widow,” due out May 1. Directed by Cate Shortland, it is reportedly set between “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War” in the sprawling Marvel Cinematic Universe. It also stars Florence Pugh, William Hurt, Rachel Weisz, David Harbour and Ray Winstone.

Again helmed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot, “Wonder Woman 1984,” the hotly anticipated sequel to the 2017 blockbuster, opens in theaters on June 5. As the title indicates, the film is set in 1984 and will feature franchise newcomers Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal as well as returning favorites Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright.

On Nov. 6, Marvel’s “Eternals,” directed by Chloé Zhao, will tell the tale of a race of immortal beings who lived on Earth and shaped its history and civilizations. Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kit Harington and Kumail Nanjiani star.

As Variety’s Adam B. Vary notes, it’s hard to overstate just how significant 2020 could be for female filmmakers, actors and audiences, with this number of tentpole movies made by and starring women.

Just think: It was big news in October when Stacy L. Smith of USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative told Variety that up to 14 of the top 100 highest grossing films in 2019 would be directed by women. It turned out to be 15, and those films account for roughly $1.23 billion in domestic grosses and $2.79 billion in global grosses for the year.

Two of those 15 films — “Captain Marvel” and “Frozen 2,” co-directed by Anna Boden and Jennifer Lee, respectively — are bona fide global blockbusters, both have crossed the $1 billion mark.

In 2020, just the five tentpoles listed above could easily surpass the 2019 numbers, particularly at the worldwide box office. Even if one or two of those films isn’t a breakout out smash, it will still go along way to blowing up the tired, outdated, so-called conventional wisdom that women can’t be trusted with big-budget films, especially if they don’t have any prior blockbuster experience.

And that would make it a very Happy New Year indeed.

-BAM

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