Now that fall is almost here—the season doesn’t officially kick-off until September 23—we’re gearing up for a season of incredible films.
Netflix and nearly every major studio have something to offer this fall with films starring the likes of Will Smith, Alfre Woodard, Daniel Kaluuya, Cynthia Erivo, and more.
We’ve put together a fall guide to the must-see movies that are set to be released on a screen near you that will get you through the season and beyond.
Here are 21 films we can’t wait to watch.
Hustlers (Sept. 13)
We were lucky enough to see an early screening of Hustlers and this is one you do not want to miss. The film stars Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Keke Palmer and Lili Reinhart as a group of strippers who start stealing from the dirtbags of Wall Street in support of their own bank accounts. The film also includes appearances from Lizzo and Cardi B.
In the Shadow of the Moon (Sept. 27)
Cleopatra Coleman stars alongside Boyd Holbrook, Bokeem Woodbine and Michael C. Hall in this sci-fi thriller that follows a Philadelphia police officer’s lifelong obsession with a serial killer.
Dolemite Is My Name (Oct. 4)
Eddie Murphy makes a big return in Netflix’s Dolemite Is My Name. The biopic tells the story of comedian and musician Rudy Ray Moore, who became a Blaxploitation star in the 1970s. The film will have a limited theater release before heading to Netflix on October 25.
Gemini Man (Oct. 11)
Will Smith stars in this sci-fi thriller about a hitman who faces off against a younger clone of himself, which soon leads to eye-opening revelations and the fight to save his clone from following down the same path.
Miss Virginia (Oct. 18)
Uzo Aduba stars in this drama about an inner-city mother striving to provide a better education for her son. Soon, her efforts lead to a movement that could not only mean a better education for her child but thousands like him.
Moving Picture Institute
Trick (Oct. 18)
Omar Epps stars in this horror-thriller about a by-the-books cop tracking down a serial killer named Trick, who is terrorizing a small town.
RLJE Films / Photo via Blood Disgusting
Black and Blue (Oct. 25)
Naomie Harris and Tyrese Gibson are hoping to expose a few dirty cops in Black and Blue. The film follows Harris, a cop, who captures the murder of a local drug dealer on her body cam, which soon leads to the disturbing realization that a few of her fellow officers were involved. She’s forced to team up with a stranger (Gibson) when she’s unable to seek help to expose the officers and a local gang.
Farming (Oct. 25)
This insane drama tells the real-life story of writer-director Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. Farming follows a young Nigerian boy (played by Snowfall‘s Damson Idris) whose parents give him to a White working-class family in London in the 1960s with the hope that he will have a better life. Instead, the young man later joins a White supremacist gang.
Waves (Nov. 1)
In this film, Sterling K. Brown and Kelvin Harrison Jr. star as a father and son whose tense relationship starts to reveal cracks in the family’s perfect life.
Harriet (Nov. 1)
Cynthia Erivo brings Harriet Tubman to the big screen in this biopic about the abolitionist and activist’s journey from slave to hero as she worked tirelessly to change history and free hundreds of slaves.
Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project (Nov. 15)
Television producer, activist and archivist Marion Stokes recorded thousands of hours of television footage spanning 35 years, single-handedly creating one of the largest archives of television footage. In Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project, director Matt Wolf takes a look at the life of the woman who documented news and televisions changing landscape.
The Apollo (Nov. 6)
After a successful premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year, The Apollo will premiere November 6 on HBO. The documentary features interviews from those who have called The Apollo Theater home and performed on its stage, weaving together its story with important moments in Black history.
Bert Marcus Productions
Knives Out (Nov. 27)
LaKeith Stanfield stars opposite Daniel Craig and a star-studded cast in this film about two detectives investigating the death of a wealthy crime novelist and patriarch of an eccentric family.
Queen & Slim (Nov. 27)
Written by Emmy winner Lena Waithe and directed by Melina Matsoukas, Queen & Slim stars Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith as a couple on the run after a first date takes an unexpected turn.
Atlantics (Nov. 29)
Director Mati Diop became the first black female director to have her film premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival when Atlantics—or Atlantique for French viewers—was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or. The film follows construction workers who leave the suburb of Dakar in search of a better future. Among the workers is Souleiman, the lover of Ada who is engaged to another man and unaware that Souleiman has returned.
Ad Vitam / Netflix
Jumanji: The Next Level (Dec. 13)
Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan and Jack Black return for another round of Jumanji but things have changed since their last adventure. This time around there are new players and bigger threats as the four attempt to escape the game once again.
Cats (Dec. 20)
The trailer may have left us a bit confused and little terrified, to be honest, but if it’s anything like its Broadway predecessor, Cats promises to be quite a tale.
Spies in Disguise (Dec. 25)
Will Smith and Tom Holland star in this animated comedy about a top spy who is turned into a pigeon and forced to rely on his nerdy tech side-kick to save the world.
Twentieth Century Fox
Clemency (Dec. 27)
The cast of Clemency opened up to ESSENCE about the film earlier this year at Sundance, now the film is set to hit theaters December 27. The film follows Alfre Woodard’s Bernadine Williams, a warden who is forced to confront the demons of her job after years of carrying out executions. As she struggles to come to terms with her job, she forges a connection with the man she is sanctioned to kill.
Alfre Woodard and Alex Castillo appear in Clemencyby Chinonye Chokwu, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Courtsey of Sundance Institute | photo by Eric Branco
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Just Mercy (January 2020)
Michael B. Jordan executive produces and stars in this drama, based on the memoir from Bryan Stevenson, about a young civil rights lawyer who heads to Alabama to fight for a man wrongly convicted for murder.
Bad Trip (February 2020)
Eric André, Tiffany Haddish and Lil Rel Howery star in this hidden camera comedy about two friends on a road trip pranking people along the way.