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Hold on tight for a wild, unpredictable ride in movie releases this fall

Black Widow, Wonder Woman 1984, and No Time to Die are among the big releases scheduled to hit big and small screens this fall. Maybe.

Scarlett Johansson stars as Natasha Romanoff in "Black Widow," scheduled for a Nov. 6 release.
Scarlett Johansson stars as Natasha Romanoff in "Black Widow," scheduled for a Nov. 6 release.Read moreFilm Frame

“All dates subject to change.”

This is the disclaimer we routinely attach to the movie release dates in our seasonal Hollywood previews, more pertinent than ever as “subject to change” hangs like Damocles’ sword over every aspect of pandemic life.

Movies are just now starting to return to theaters as lockdowns ease, but fears persist that we’re one sneezing superspreader away from public health setbacks and trepidatious studios pulling their product from theaters.

Even as Tenet becomes the first would-be blockbuster to test the waters, earning $53 million around the world last weekend ahead of this weekend’s U.S. release, studios are juggling fall titles, second-guessing, moving releases from the fall schedule to 2021.

Two weeks ago, The King’s Man, an installment in the Kingsman franchise with Ralph Fiennes, was supposed to be a big September release. Now it’s moved to next spring. Tom Hanks’ sci-fi drama Bios has moved to 2021 as well. Ditto The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard with Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, and Salma Hayek.

» READ MORE: Fall 2020 TV is happening. But it won’t be the same. Here’s what you can expect.

Yet hope abides. In Wonder Woman 1984, scheduled as of this writing for early October, and in 007, with the anticipated November release of No Time To Die.

Hollywood also appears determined to reignite the moviegoing habit between now and Thanksgiving with new DC and Marvel blockbusters. And of course streamers like Amazon and Netflix will provide some stay-at-home alternatives.

Here’s the tentative schedule.

Subject to change.

Tenet. In director Christopher Nolan’s mind-bender, a spy (John David Washington) contends with forces from the future who can bend time in different directions. Characters must know the physics of time forward and backward in order to know whether they’re coming or going. Robert Pattinson is also along for the ride. In theaters as of this weekend, where theaters are open.

Mulan. A brave young woman poses as a man in order to take her father’s place in a battle against northern invaders in ancient China. Live-action remake directed by Niki Caro, starring Yifei Liu. Streaming on Disney+ as of this weekend.

The Broken Hearts Gallery (Sept. 11). When a young woman (Geraldine Viswanathan) is ditched, she starts a popular art gallery where people leave relics from defunct relationships. Directed by Natalie Krinsky.

The Devil All the Time (Streaming on Netflix Sept. 16). In rural Ohio, a young man (Tom Holland) contends with a variety of eccentric and sinister characters who threaten his family. With Robert Pattinson, Riley Keough, Jason Clarke, and Sebastian Stan.

All In: The Fight for Democracy (Streaming on Amazon Prime Sept. 18). Documentary about various tactics used to suppress voting. Directed by Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortes, featuring Stacey Abrams.

Antebellum (On streaming platforms Sept. 18). In this horror movie, Janelle Monáe plays a modern woman who’s written a self-help book, and also plays a pre-Civil War enslaved woman who endures horrific treatment on a Southern plantation.

Kajillionaire (Sept. 25). Evan Rachel Wood has been raised by her grifter parents (Richard Jenkins, Debra Winger) to be an emotionless and pitiless huckster. The family dynamic changes when a new con man joins the group. Miranda July directs.

Greenland (Sept. 25). As environmental apocalypse sets in, a family led by Gerard Butler attempts to reach the last habitable place on earth, Greenland.

» READ MORE: 10 big books for fall 2020

The Boys in the Band (Streaming on Netflix Sept. 30). Film version of the Mart Crowley play, about a group of gay men who attend a birthday party that is interrupted and disrupted by an unexpected guest. With Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer, and Andrew Rannells.

Wonder Woman 1984 (Oct. 2). Demigoddess Diana (Gal Gadot) runs afoul of scheming businessman Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) and an unbalanced archaeologist (Kristen Wiig) whose alter ego is Cheetah. The cast apparently includes Chris Pine, so maybe that zeppelin mishap in the original Wonder Woman wasn’t as bad as it looked.

The Forty-Year-Old Version (Streaming on Netflix Oct. 9). Radha Blank’s semiautobiographical Sundance smash comedy about a Black female playwright struggling to succeed on the Great White Way and finding her voice in the hip-hop world at age 40, which comes with its own set of obstacles.

The War with Grandpa (Oct. 9). A boy (Oakes Fegley) who’s forced to surrender his room to his ornery grandfather (Robert De Niro) endeavors to oust the old-timer by hook or by crook.

Time (Streaming on Amazon Oct. 9). Award-winning documentary about Fox Rich, a woman who has spent decades working to free her husband from a 60-year sentence stemming from a robbery conviction.

Honest Thief (Oct. 9). When a small-town bank robber (Liam Neeson) falls in love (with Kate Walsh), he decides to go straight, but is double-crossed by crooked FBI agents.

Trial of the Chicago 7 (Streaming on Netflix Oct. 16). Aaron Sorkin wrote and directed this drama about the conspiracy trial of activists charged with disrupting the 1968 Democratic National Convention. With Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mark Rylance.

Candyman (Oct. 16). The evil spirit that haunted a defunct Chicago housing project has apparently survived gentrification, as an artist discovers when he says “candyman” into a mirror five times. Cowritten by Jordan Peele, directed by Nia DaCosta.

Rebecca (Streaming on Netflix Oct. 21). New film version of the Alfred Hitchcock/Daphne du Maurier classic, this time starring Lily James as a young bride who finds sinister secrets lurking in the mansion of her new husband (Armie Hammer). With Kristin Scott Thomas.

Death on the Nile (Oct. 23). Kenneth Branagh returns as Agatha Christie detective Hercule Poirot, this time investigating murder in Egypt. Cast includes Annette Bening, Russell Brand, and Armie Hammer.

Connected (Oct. 23). Chris Miller and Phil Lord (The LEGO Movie) return with another animated tale, this one about a college-bound girl (Abbi Jacobson) whose cross-country trip with mom and dad (Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph) goes awry.

Come Play (Oct. 30). Horror movie about a monster lurking inside a child’s smartphone and laptop that appears IRL and causes everything to be awful. I think it’s called Facebook.

Fatale (Oct. 30). A woman convinces a man to participate in a murder conspiracy. How is it that people who find themselves in Double Indemnity scenarios always behave as if they’ve never seen Double Indemnity? With Michael Ealy, Hilary Swank.

Black Widow (Nov. 6). Picks up where Captain America: Civil War left off. Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) rights wrongs incurred during her pre-Avengers career as a spy. Featuring Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz. Also starring David Harbour as Red Guardian.

Let Him Go (Nov. 6). An ex-sheriff (Kevin Costner) and his wife (Diane Lane) are on a mission to recover their orphaned and abducted grandson, by any means necessary. Based on the Larry Watson novel.

Deep Water (Nov. 13). Fatal Attraction director Adrian Lyne returns from a two-decade absence to direct this adaptation of a Patricia Highsmith novel about husband (Ben Affleck), at war with his wife (Ana De Armas).

The Comeback Trail (Nov. 13). Indebted movie producers bankroll terrible Western and overinsure its aging star, hoping he’ll die during shooting. Starring old-timers and Oscar winners Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Tommy Lee Jones.

No Time To Die (Nov. 20). Isn’t that a spoiler? Long-delayed release of the latest Bond movie, with Daniel Craig reportedly passing the baton to a new “00,” this one played by Lashana Lynch. Rami Malek is a bad guy, Christoph Waltz returns as Blofeld. Cowritten by Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Soul (Nov. 20). New Pixar animated movie. When an accident causes the soul to detach from the body of an aspiring jazz musician (Jamie Foxx), he must spend time in limbo convincing a cynical spirit (Tina Fey) that life is worth living. Featuring the vocal talent of Questlove.

The Happiest Season (Nov. 25). A woman (Kristen Stewart) meets the family of her girlfriend (Mackenzie Davis) over the holidays, but her plans to propose are complicated when she realizes her betrothed hasn’t come out to her conservative parents.