It is summer blockbuster movie season, but there are no blockbusters in sight this month, and may not be for the rest of the year. COVID-19 has kept theaters closed so far, and although they were bound to re-open in July, increased cases and compromised industries may keep doors shut for a while longer. Christopher Nolan‘s Tenet was bound to be one of the first new films to arrive on screens alongside Disney‘s Mulan, but due to recent coronavirus spikes, studios pushed release dates pushed back to the end of the month before opting for a release in the middle of August. At this point, hopes for going to the theaters at all this year appears to be diminishing.
But don’t worry, there are a ton of new films and TV shows arriving on streaming platforms as well as for Video on Demand. The musical sensation Hamilton will arrive on Disney+ alongside Beyoncé‘s new visual album based on her 2019 effort The Lion King: The Gift. Over on the television side of things, The Grudge will return to its Japanese roots with Ju-On: Origins. At the end of the month, Umbrella Academy will also make its season 2 debut after its successful first season.
Check out the list below of the films and TV shows to look forward to in July, ranging from must-see releases to under-the-radar flicks.
Hamilton (July 3, Disney+)
The musical about American Founding father Alexander Hamilton — which draws heavily on hip-hop, R&B, soul, and pop — arrives via Disney+ on July 3. Earlier this year, it was reported that the media giant spent $75 million USD for the global rights to the recording, out-bidding a variety of rival studios interested in purchasing the rights. Rather than debuting the film in the theaters, Disney opted to send it directly to its streaming platform in May, scrapping its original theatrical release date of October 15, 2021.
Why it’s worth your time: The Broadway hit from Lin-Manuel Miranda has been nominated for 16 Tony Awards, scoring 11 wins including Best Musical, and even receiving the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for drama. Much of the praise surrounding Hamilton revolves around one of its central themes of how history is shaped by those who live long enough to tell it.
Palm Springs (July 10, Hulu)
Stuck in a time loop, two wedding guests develop a budding romance while living the same day over and over again.
Why it’s worth your time: This appears to be in a similar vein as Happy Death Day, a film that used the old Groundhog Day premise to deliver something fresh. We’re hoping for a fresh take here as well, since this will be more of a rom-com than a horror film, and may be able to use the tropes of its genre to tell a tale we’ve never seen before.
Greyhound (July, 12 Apple TV+)
Written by and starring Tom Hanks, Greyhound follows the Naval officer Ernest Krause in the early period of WWII when America first allies with England and the Free Forces. As the conflict heightens, Krause is given command of a Navy Destroyer — Greyhound — which becomes caught up in the Battle of the Atlantic. Krause’s leadership is then put to the test as he tries to secure victory and the safety of his crew and himself.
Why it’s worth your time: Apple’s streaming platform managed to win the rights to the movie after a bidding war between numerous streaming giants, ultimately costing them somewhere in the “$70 million range.” As such, Greyhound will be the biggest feature film on Apple’s relatively young streaming platform to date.
The Room (July 21, VOD)
A couple discovers a strange room in their new house that grants material wishes, but all they want is a child. (And no, it’s not the other The Room)
Why it’s worth your time: This film arrived on the streaming service Shudder exclusively last year. However, the title will make its Video on Demand debut in July. The premise of a house being able to grant its tenets anything they wish has the propensity to go sour and cause conflict very quickly. But then it gets into how these artificial creations lack tangibility outside of the home. We don’t want to spoil where the film goes with these situations, as such, we advise skipping out on the trailer altogether and checking The Room out with fresh eyes.
The Rental (July 24, VOD)
Two couples become suspicious that the owner of their oceanside rental house is spying on them. The otherwise perfect weekend trip instead becomes something sinister.
Why it’s worth your time: This is the directorial debut of Dave Franco, James Franco‘s brother. The story he’s telling rings true to real life, as it’s been reported that several Airbnb owners have spied on its residence. Putting a horror spin on the situation wouldn’t be too hard, and flipping the premise into something of substance is very possible with the given material. We have high hopes for this film.
Black Is King (July 31, Disney+)
“Black Is King is a celebratory memoir for the world on the Black experience,” Disney and Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment said in a statement. This couldn’t have arrived with a more organic marketing campaign with everything going on during the Black Lives Matter movement. Black Is King pays homage to “voyages of Black families throughout time,” telling the story of a “young king’s transcendent journey through betrayal, love, and self-identity.”
Why it’s worth your time: Based on the music of her 2019 album The Lion King: The Gift, the visual album is written, directed and executive produced entirely by Beyoncé herself. Several featured artists on The Gift will reportedly appear once more on Black Is King, with the list of collaborators including Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell, JAY-Z, Blue Ivy Carter and more.
Unsolved Mysteries: Season 1 (July 1, Netflix)
Continuing the legacy of the franchise, the investigations range from the human to the supernatural but will draw from cases in the United States and abroad. Additionally, episodes will utilize a familiar approach to storytelling defined by chilling music and re-enactments.
Why it’s worth your time: The first look at the official revival reveals excerpts from the first six mysteries set to be explored. Netflix notes that the first six episodes will be known as “Volume 1” and officially build on the original series which aired from 1987 to 2010, ending its 23-year run with more than 600 episodes.
Ju-On: Origins: Season 1 (July 3, Netflix)
Ju-On: Origins will center around Odajima, a paranormal investigator, and a television talent named Haruka Honjo who hears disturbing footsteps in her apartment. The pair are drawn to the franchise’s “cursed house” which opens them to terrifying encounters with an otherworldly force.
Why it’s worth your time: Originally remade in America as The Grudge, the series adaptation will lean closer to the original J-Horror classic, with Sho Miyake serving as director. Aside from Sam Raimi’s remake, the upcoming series will serve as the latest in The Grudge supernatural horror franchise and will span four decades of tales told within the franchise’s universe.
Muppets Now (July 31, Disney+)
The show will combine several formats, including a game show, a cooking show, and a talk show. Each segment will feature a Muppet character or two in an unscripted sketch. “From zany experiments with Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker to lifestyle tips from the fabulous Miss Piggy, each episode is packed with hilarious segments, hosted by the Muppets showcasing what the Muppets do best,” says an official press release.
Why it’s worth your time: It appears the show will be a return to form for the original stylings of The Muppets. The series will showcase a mixture of classic Muppets and newer ones like Pepe and Walter, who were initially introduced in 2011’s The Muppets movie. The show will also combine several formats, including a game show, a cooking show, and a talk show. Each segment will feature a Muppet character or two in an unscripted sketch.
The Umbrella Academy (Season 2) (July 31, Netflix)
According to an official plot synopsis from Netflix, following the use of time travel to escape doomsday, “the time jump scatters the siblings in time in and around Dallas, Texas.” Now three years after their initial 1960 landing, some, members have built lives and moved on. “Now the Umbrella Academy must find a way to reunite, figure out what caused doomsday, put a stop to it, and return to the present timeline to stop that other apocalypse.”
Why it’s worth your time: Although similar shows like Doom Patrol and Deadly Class arrived on the scene at the same time as The Umbrella Academy, the latter certainly came in runner-up next to the smash DC Universe series. Now that it’s returning alongside the second season of Doom Patrol, the shows will compete once more to win the spot as the premiere “wacky superhero team” currently running.