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Top 10 Movies That Might Surprise You in 2019

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
Sometimes the best movies are the ones that catch us off guard. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Movies That Might Surprise You in 2019. For this list, we’re looking at movies that aren’t quite on mainstream audiences’ radars, or that are overshadowed by other titles, but which we think could exceed expectations. Watch the video at

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Top 10 Movies That Might Surprise You in 2019.

Sometimes the best movies are the ones that catch us off guard. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Movies That Might Surprise You in 2019.

For this list, we’re looking at movies that aren’t quite on mainstream audiences’ radars, or that are overshadowed by other titles, but which we think could exceed expectations.

#10: “Missing Link”
Release Date: April 12, 2019 [U.S]

In a year dominated by computer-animated sequels, we can count on studio Laika to stand out from the rest of the crowd with this stop-motion adventure comedy. Zach Galifianakis voices Mr. Link, a yeti searching for his place in the world. Teaming up with an explorer voiced by Hugh Jackman, the hairy creature sets out to find his people. Along the way, he just might get his big foot in the door of high society. Chris Butler previously worked as a storyboard artist for “Coraline,” directed “ParaNorman,” and co-wrote “Kubo and the Two Strings.” With his second directorial outing, we’re expecting something akin to “Smallfoot” meets “Wallace & Gromit.” “Missing Link” may even be an early contender for the Best Animated Feature Oscar.

#9: “Dumbo”
Release Date: March 29, 2019 [U.S.]

The new versions of “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” have soaked up most of the hype, but we have a feeling that “Dumbo” is the live-action Disney remake that’s going to surprise audiences in 2019. Where some Disney remakes have tried to replicate their animated counterparts verbatim, “Dumbo” seems like it’s taking a different approach with new characters and a unique art style. At its core, the story of a misfit elephant who uses his big ears to fly should remain intact. With a fresh set of eyes and ears, though, this familiar story may soar to new heights. Plus, you’ve got Danny DeVito playing a ringmaster in a Tim Burton film. Anybody who loves “Big Fish” has got to appreciate that.

#8: “Gemini Man”
Release Date: October 4, 2019 [U.S]

The premise for this sci-fi film is a bit like “Looper” without time travel. Will Smith plays a seasoned hitman being targeted by his younger clone, who’s always one step ahead of him. Smith will reportedly play both versions of himself through de-aging techniques previously exemplified in films like “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Two-time Academy Award winner Ang Lee is one of the most ambitious directors making movies today. Granted, sometimes Lee has proven too ambitious for his own good, as exemplified in his previous film, “Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk.” “Gemini Man” will hopefully be a return to form for the groundbreaking director, though, that lives up to his work in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “Life of Pi.”

#7: “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”
Release Date: November 22, 2019 [U.S]

The 2018 documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” was infamously snubbed at the 91st Oscars. The Academy may make it up to Fred Rogers, however, by recognizing this biopic. Having previously played Sully Sullenberger, Richard Phillips, and Walt Disney, Tom Hanks has built up a reputation for portraying clean-cut American icons. So, it was only a matter of time until he played everyone’s favorite neighbor. Hanks is joined by Primetime Emmy-winner Matthew Rhys, playing a skeptical journalist whose worldview is charged thanks to Mr. Rogers. With last year’s “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” Marielle Heller became a director to watch, and her latest film sounds like another fascinating true story. In such dreary times, we could use a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

#6: “Pet Sematary”
Release Date: April 5, 2019 [U.S.]

“It: Chapter Two” isn’t the only Stephen King adaptation coming out in 2019. King’s 1983 novel “Pet Sematary” was previously brought to the silver screen thirty years ago, earning a cult following over time. The second version stars Jason Clarke and Amy Seimetz as a married couple who move their family to Maine, where a strange graveyard is said to bring those buried there back from the dead. John Lithgow seems tailor-made to play the mysterious neighbor who warns the family to stay away from the cemetery. When a loved one is resurrected, however, the family faces a fate worse than death. Just as a cat has nine lives, this is a story that’ll give audiences chills no matter how many times they hear it.

#5: “Brightburn”
Release Date: May 24, 2019 [U.S.]

People have mixed feelings about Zack Snyder’s interpretation of Superman, with many arguing that he came off as more reckless than heroic. Imagine if Clark Kent explicitly used his powers for evil, though. Then you’d get something along the lines of “Brightburn.” Elizabeth Banks and David Denman star as a couple who adopt an alien child after he crash-lands on Earth. Although they raise him to protect humankind, little Brandon Breyer is essentially Damien Thorn if you gave him Kryptonian abilities. Director David Yarovesky previously worked with producer James Gunn on the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies. Much like how those films flipped the sci-fi genre on its head, we imagine that “Brightburn” will do something similar for the basic Man of Steel origin story.

#4: “Knives Out”
Release Date: November 27, 2019 [U.S.]

Although Rian Johnson divided audiences with “The Last Jedi,” his career is showing no signs of slowing down. If anything, it’s only gaining momentum. We’re all well aware that Johnson is helming a new “Star Wars” trilogy, but fewer people likely know about this modern murder mystery he’s both writing and directing. Johnson commands an all-star cast that includes Daniel Craig, Lakeith Stanfield, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, Ana de Armas, Katherine Langford, Don Johnson, and Christopher Plummer, amongst others. While little is known about the plot, the project has drawn comparisons to classic whodunits like “Murder on the Orient Express” and “Clue.” For anyone who loves a good mystery, this ensemble piece should definitely hit its target.

#3: “Yesterday”
Release Date: June 28, 2019 [U.S.]

The premise for this musical comedy has genius written all over it, which shouldn’t come as a surprise when you have the director of “Slumdog Millionaire” and the writer of “Love Actually” onboard. Newcomer Himesh Patel plays Jack Malik, a down on his luck musician who wakes up from an accident to find nobody else knows who the Beatles are. With the rest of the world having no recollection of the Fab Four, Jack sets out to recreate their greatest hits and pass them off as his own. The immortal music of John, Paul, George, and Ringo has provided the basis for numerous films, although it’s hard to think of one with a more original setup than this. “Yesterday” can’t come soon enough.

#2: “Doctor Sleep”
Release Date: November 8, 2019 [U.S.]

Over three decades after writing “The Shining,” Stephen King revisited the Torrance family in a sequel. This adaptation of King’s 2013 novel will be directed by Mike Flanagan, who previously brought us “The Haunting of Hill House,” “Ouija: Origin of Evil,” and “Gerald’s Game,” the latter of which was also based on a Stephen King book. Ewan McGregor plays a grown-up Danny Torrance, who inherits many of his father’s demons. What remains unclear is if the film will take more inspiration from the original source material or from Stanley Kubrick’s cinematic interpretation of “The Shining,” which King has frequently criticized. Either way, “Doctor Sleep” should be anything but dull.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Jojo Rabbit”
Release Date: 2019 [U.S.]

“Where'd You Go, Bernadette”
Release Date: August 9, 2019 [U.S.]

Release Date: May 10, 2019 [U.S.]

#1: “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”
Release Date: August 9, 2019 [U.S.]

Audiences got their first glimpse of this horror film during Super Bowl LIII and the haunting imagery displayed has stuck with us ever since. Guillermo del Toro’s name alone is enough to pique our interests, having previously directed modern masterpieces like “Pan’s Labyrinth” and the Best-Picture winning “The Shape of Water.” We can’t think of a more qualified visionary to bring Alvin Schwartz’s book series to the big screen. While del Toro serves as a writer and producer, he hands directorial duties over to André Øvredal, who made the acclaimed “Trollhunter” and “The Autopsy of Jane Doe.” We’re anticipating a film that brings out the scared child in all of us, reminding audiences of a time when we were all afraid of the dark.

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