2010 Movie Preview: The Year's Most Anticipated Films

  • Publish Date: January 12, 2010
  • Comments: ↓ 40 user comments

UPDATE [1/14]: Trailer added for "The Ghost Writer" and description updated for "Inception."

How to follow a record-setting year? You don't.

ImageHe is Iron Man (again)

Regardless of how you felt about the overall quality of movies during 2009 -- and there were some gems, although maybe not as many as in previous years -- last year saw a singular achievement in cinema history, as total box office grosses exceed $10 billion for the first time.

However, a repeat performance in 2010 may be tricky, although expected increases in ticket prices -- and the continued trend toward 3D movies (and their costlier admissions) -- may help. While the next 12 months will see the release of highly anticipated sequels like Iron Man 2 and a potential blockbuster based on (gasp!) an original story idea (Christopher Nolan's Inception), nothing on the calendar looks like it will reach Avatar levels of pop culture domination. (Fortunately for exhibitors, James Cameron's film is still going strong in 2010.) And the number of movies that stand out (for any reason) in our lists below is underwhelming -- although the number of releases based on films from the 1980s is mind-boggling.

Of course, there certainly will be hits, at the box office and with reviewers. And there will be films that emerge from seemingly nowhere to wow audiences and award-voters. For those, you'll have to scan our lists of upcoming movies (on the next pages) and make your best guesses. First, let's see which 2010 movies have already captured the attention of fans, pundits, and critics. Here is a list of the most anticipated films of the year, based on a completely unscientific sampling of dozens of other preview lists and that phenomenon known as "buzz." These aren't necessarily the best films -- just the most discussed so far.

The 20 Most Anticipated Movies of 2010
  Title Notes Release
1 Inception Christopher Nolan's big-budget sci-fi action pic Jul 16
2 Iron Man 2 Easily the most-anticipated sequel of the year May 7
3 Toy Story 3 A Pixar movie may fail someday, but not this one Jun 18
4 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows The beginning of the end -- literally Nov 19
5 Robin Hood Ridley Scott + men in tights = summer hit? May 14
6 The Green Hornet Seth Rogen, superhero Dec 22
7 The Expendables Sly Stallone's action movie throwback Aug 13
8 Tron Legacy Today, most people are stuck inside videogames Dec 17
9 Alice in Wonderland Tim Burton's most intriguing film in years Mar 5
10 The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Isn't the last Twilight movie still in theaters? Jun 30
11 Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Edgar Wright's indie-rock comic-book comedy TBD
12 The A-Team If you have a problem, if no one else can help ... Jun 11
13 Kick-Ass A teenage superhero attempts to do just that Apr 16
14 Shutter Island Scorsese's thriller could scare up big Feb. numbers Feb 19
15 Predators This sci-fi sequel promises escapist fun Jul 7
16 Jonah Hex This comic-book Western might be cursed Jun 18
17 Sex and the City 2 It's like Cosmopolitan with cosmopolitans (again) May 28
18 Shrek Forever After A "fourgettable" sequel? May 21
19 A Nightmare on Elm Street Another pointless remake? Apr 30
20 The Last Airbender The twist? M. Night Shyamalan might have a hit Jul 2


What follows are descriptions and release dates for over 100 of the films likely to appear in 2010 -- the most promising, the most intriguing, the most likely to succeed, the most perplexing, and the most likely to be terrible movies of the next 12 months. We hope you didn't have a lot of work planned for today.

We start with this year's biggest sequels ...

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Comments (40)

  • James  

    Major omission! Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The 3rd in the Chronicles of the Narnia Series is considered one of the best in the 7 Part series. Lion Witch and Wardrobe, and Prince Caspian made tons of money. Can't wait to see the Voyage in December!

  • Jake  

    I love how the writer apparently knows nothing about the Avatar: The Last Airbender series. The series has a huge fan following of mostly people older than 12, more like older teens and young adults. While the show does appeal to younger kids, it ended up gaining a following a group Nickelodeon never expected. Personally i own all three seasons on DVD and it is a fantastic series that can make a great action adventure movie series.

  • Anon  

    WOW, no "Salt"? Disappointing.

  • Chris  

    Looks like a bunch of garbage to me.

  • The Biggest Movies o  

    [...] For the full list, along with plentiful clips, click here. [...]

  • rusty barns  

    what about the documentaries? Inception has got my attention and more Zach Galafann... is sweet but I want Docs!

  • Joseph  

    Repo Men is basically Repo! The Genetic Opera meets Minority Report. I don't know what to think about that.

    Definitely looking forward to Inception, Tree of Life, Tron Legacy, Shutter Island,I Love You Phillip Morris, A Prophet, The Green Hornet, and Kick-Ass.

  • » The #1 Most  

    [...] to Metacritic’s list (check out the entire list here). Of the 20 movies on the list, eight are straight-up sequels. Then there are the “I’ve [...]

  • Joshua S.  


    Sly, Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Flippin Lundgren!, Mickey Rourke


    If it 10% as awesome as Rambo 4 then I will again hi five my wife and smile for a week.


    [...] Twilight Saga: Eclipse (above, lower photo), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows are some of Metacritics‘ choices for the 20 most anticipated movies of [...]

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