How many movies are released in theaters each year? Well, with the still-new, still-unproven methods of getting movies to viewers being put into practice by streaming companies, that’s difficult to answer. But there’s little doubt that even though the moviemaking machines are in high gear, less of them are making it to the big screen. Which is a pity for true movie lovers who would rather have the cinema experience over a night on the living room couch.

A search through release schedules ranging from small art house fare to big mainstream productions suggests that approximately 250 films will get some sort of chance in theaters in 2020. The idea here is twofold: to present a hint of what looks to be the most promising of them, and to provide enough of them for viewers to go out to see a new movie once a week. This is part one, with titles opening between mid-January and Memorial Day. Because schedules may change, they’re listed chronologically, but without specific dates. Part two, covering the rest of the year, will appear in May.

JANUARY
“The Wave” - While celebrating a promotion, insurance lawyer Justin Long is dosed with LSD, and his world takes on a new shape.

“Bad Boys for Life” - Will Smith and Martin Lawrence (“Bad Boys,” “Bad Boys II”) reunite to break up a Miami drug cartel.

“The Gentlemen” - Guy Ritchie directs a crime tale with Matthew McConaughey as a drug kingpin, Hugh Grant as a blackmailer, and Charlie Hunnam as a henchman.


“The Last Full Measure” - The true story of Airman William H. Pitsenbarger (Jeremy Irvine). who was awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor three decades after his heroic actions in Vietnam.

“Gretel & Hansel” - This promises to be a fairly faithful version of the creepy tale with Sophia Lillis (“It”) as Gretel, newcomer Samuel Leakey as little brother Hansel, and Alice Krige as the witch.

“The Rhythm Section” - When a young woman (Blake Lively) discovers the plane crash that killed her parents was not an accident, she sets out on the road to revenge. Jude Law costars.

FEBRUARY
“Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn” - Bad gal Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) teams up with Huntress, Black Canary, Casandra Cain and Renee Montoya to take down the villainous kidnapper Victor Zsasz.

“Fantasy Island” - The corny old TV show is transformed into a full-out horror movie. The tagline: “Anything you desire. Everything you fear.”

“Downhill” - A dramatic comedy about a family that survives an avalanche in the Alps, then goes about reassessing their lives. With Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

“Greed” - Director Michael Winterbottom reteams with Steve Coogan in a razor-edged satire on the very rich in England.

“Emma” - It’s been 24 years since Gwyneth Paltrow played the Jane Austen heroine, and 25 since Alicia Silverstone played a version of her in “Clueless. Yes, it’s time for another one, now with Anya Taylor-Joy in the role.

“The Call of the Wild” - The newest adaptation of the Jack London novel about an Alaskan sled dog named Buck stars Harrison Ford as John Thornton and Karen Gillan as Mercedes. Buck is a CGI creation.

“The Invisible Man” - Director Leigh Wannell (“Upgrade”) puts a modern twist on - and invents a whole new romance-gone-wrong story for - the classic H.G. Wells horror novel.

MARCH
“The Roads not Taken” - A fever dream of a movie with Javier Bardem as a man losing grip with reality and his challenging relationship with his daughter (Elle Fanning) during 24 hours in New York.

“Deerskin” - A French horror-comedy about a man (Jean Dujardin) who is obsessed beyond rationality with his vintage deerskin jacket.

“Mulan” - An all-Chinese cast stars in the latest cartoon-to-live-action film from Disney, about a young woman who disguises herself as a warrior.

APRIL
“The New Mutants” - Characters in the newest X-Men universe spin-off include Magik (Anya Taylor-Joy), Wolfsbane (Maisie Williams), Sunspot (Henry Zaga), and lots more.

“The Lovebirds” - A comedy about a couple trying to hold their crumbling relationship together and possibly finding a way when they get wrapped up in a murder mystery.

“No Time to Die” - James Bond (Daniel Craig) has retired to Jamaica, but his old CIA pal Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) convinces him to do, you know, one more assignment. The newest Bond girl is Ana de Armas.

“Promising Young Woman” - Carey Mulligan plays a woman whose life took a bad turn, and she’s now, via a double-life existence, seeking revenge against all men that she considers wrongdoers.

“Monster Problems” - It’s post-apocalypse horror time, with monsters all over the world, and a young guy (Dylan O’Brien) being coached by a monster-killer mentor and looking for the woman of his dreams.

MAY
“Black Widow” - A flashback story about what Natasha Romanoff AKA Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) was doing between the Marvel films “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”

“Dream Horse” - A dramatic version of the 2015 documentary “Dark Horse,” about a group of Welsh villagers who chip in on, raise, train, and race a longshot horse.

“The Personal History of David Copperfield” - Dev Patel has the title role in a loose but still faithful reinterpretation of the Dickens novel.

“The Woman in the Window” - Director Joe Wright and screenwriter Tracy Letts adapt the complicated A.J. Finn novel about a child psychologist who believes something awful has happened when her neighbor disappears.
Ed Symkus writes about movies for More Content Now. He can be reached at esymkus@rcn.com.