movies

A Full 2020 Digital Movie Rental Calendar

Cut Throat City. Photo: Well Go USA Films

This article is updated frequently as new titles enter the calendar.

How do you watch movies? With the film business going through industry-wide changes — even before the landscape-altering pandemic — more and more people are waiting out the theatrical experience to watch the latest hits at home. Now that most theaters are closed, movie fans have little other choice than to go the on-demand route. And while streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are a lot of people’s go-to, sometimes the best new releases are only available to rent.

As such, we’ve put together a handy calendar of upcoming video-on-demand rental availability for movies that we think might be worth your time. (Note: While films are often available digitally for purchase earlier than they are to rent, this is structured around rental availability.) Check back often and circle your favorites.

August 7

I Used to Go Here

Directed by: Kris Rey
Starring: Gillian Jacobs, Jemaine Clement, Kate Micucci, Hanna Marks, Jorma Taccone, Zoe Chao, and Josh Wiggins
Genre: Comedy

A down-on-her-luck author facing something of a life crisis is asked to do a reading at her alma mater, sending her back into her college insecurities in an unexpected way. Virtually premiered at SXSW 2020.

Made in Italy

Directed by: James D’Arcy
Starring: Liam Neeson, Micheál Richardson, Lindsay Duncan, and Valeria Bilello
Genre: Drama

A father and his estranged son are forced back together to deal with the estate of his late wife in this drama from IFC Films. Neeson’s son co-stars opposite in the role, adding a deeper layer to the entire thing, especially considering the tragic death of Natasha Richardson in 2009.

Out Stealing Horses

Directed by: Hans Petter Moland
Starring: Stellan Skarsgard, Bjorn Floberg, Tobias Santelmann, and Danica Curcic
Genre: Drama

A widower moves to the country after his loss, but a chance encounter with someone he knew a half-century earlier changes his trajectory. Based on the bestselling novel.

The Secret Garden

Directed by: Marc Munden
Starring: Dixie Egerickx, Colin Firth, Julie Walters, and Edan Hayhurst
Genre: Family

Yet another adaptation of the beloved Frances Hodgson Burnett novel about an orphaned girl who finds a magical harden in her uncle’s estate.

She Dies Tomorrow

Directed by: Amy Seimetz
Starring: Kate Lyn Sheil, Jane Adams, Kentucker Audley, Katie Aselton, Chris Messina, Tunde Adebimpe, Jennifer Kim, Josh Lucas, and Michelle Rodriguez
Genre: Horror

The highly buzzy film from the SXSW that never really was, this horror flick about a woman who becomes convinced she’s going to die tomorrow feels tailor made for Summer 2020. It turns out her existential dread is, well, contagious. We can relate.

The Tax Collector

Directed by: David Ayer
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Lana Parrilla, George Lopez, and Bobby Soto
Genre: Action

The director and star of Fury reunite for this action movie about a soldier in a crime empire whose family is threatened when a war breaks out between his boss and an old rival.

Waiting for the Barbarians

Directed by: Ciro Guerra
Starring: Mark Rylance, Johnny Depp, Robert Pattinson, Gana Bayarsaikhan, Greta Scacchi, David Dencik, and Sam Reid
Genre: Period Drama

Based on the novel by J.M. Coetzee, this is the story of a magistrate at a distant outpost who wonders exactly what he’s fighting for. It’s from the director of Embrace of the Serpent, who has been recently accused of sexual harassment and abuse.

August 11

Valley of the Gods

Directed by: Lech Majewski
Starring: Josh Hartnett, John Malkovich, John Rhys-Davies, Keir Dullea, and Jamie Ray Newman
Genre: Drama

A reclusive trillionaire and his biographer interact in a film that promises to include Navajo lore in a “mysterious and idiosyncratic vision of America.” Whatever that means.

August 14

The Bay of Silence

Directed by: Paula van der Oest
Starring: Claes Bang, Olga Kurylenko, Brian Cox, and Alice Krige
Genre: Thriller

A man stands by his wife when she’s accused of their son’s murder, but what if he’s wrong?

The Silencing

Directed by: Robin Pront
Starring: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Annabelle Wallis, Zahn McClarnon, Melanie Scrofano, and Hero Fiennes Tiffin
Genre: Thriller

A man who lives way off the grid joins forces with the local sheriff in an effort to track down the man who kidnapped his daughter years earlier.

Sputnik

Directed by: Egor Abramenko
Starring: Oksana Akinshina, Pyotr Fyodorov, Fedor Bondarchuk, and Anton Vasilev
Genre: Sci-fi

Adapting his acclaimed short film “The Passenger” into a feature film, acclaimed director Egor Abramenko delivers an acclaimed genre experiment that was set to premiere at Tribeca 2020. In 1983 Russia, a spacecraft crashes with only one cosmonaut survivor … and maybe an extra passenger.

August 18

Emperor

Directed by: Mark Amin
Starring: Dayo Okeniyi, James Cromwell, Kat Graham, Keean Johnson, Bruce Dern, Mykelti Williamson, Naturi Naughton, Paul Scheer, and Harry Lennix
Genre: Historical Drama

Based on the true story of Shields Green, an escaped slave who fled north and encountered legendary figures like John Brown and Frederick Douglass. It was once meant for a wide release but delayed toVOD due to COVID-19.

August 21

The 24th

Directed by: Kevin Willmott
Starring: Trai Byers, Bashir Salahuddin, Aja Naomi King, Mo McRae, Tosin Morohunfola, Mykelti Williamson, and Thomas Haden Church
Genre: Drama

The story of the 24th United States Infantry Regiment and the Houston Riot of 1917, from the Oscar-winning co-writer of BlacKkKlansman.

Cut Throat City

Directed by: RZA
Starring: Shameik Moore, Demetrious Shipp Jr., Denzel Whitaker, Keean Johnson, Rob Morgan, T.I., Terrence Howard, Joel David Moore, Eiza Gonzalez, Ethan Hawke, and Wesley Snipes
Genre: Action

The Wu-Tang mastermind directs this thriller about a group of young people caught up in a heist after Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans, leaving them with too few opportunities to escape.

The Pale Door

Directed by: Aaron B. Koontz
Starring: Melora Walters, Noah Segan, Zachary Knighton, Stan Shaw, Pat Healy, and Natasha Bassett
Genre: Horror

A gang of train robbers take shelter in a small ghost town and discover that it’s actually occupied by a coven of witches. Don’t you hate when that happens?

Tesla

Directed by: Michael Almereyda
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Kyle MacLachlan, Jim Gaffigan, Donnie Keshawarz, and Eve Hewson
Genre: Drama

Do we really need another telling of the life of Nikola Tesla? If the response from Sundance 2020 is to be believed, we do! This one got good reviews in Park City and features an unusual approach from the director of Marjorie Prime.

August 28

Bill & Ted Face the Music

Directed by: Dean Parisot
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, Samara Weaving, Kristen Schaal, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Erinn Hayes, Wiliam Sadler, Holland Taylor, Jayma Mays, Jillian Bell, Anthony Carrigan, Beck Bennett, and Kid Cudi
Genre: Comedy

Wyld Stallyns forever! Bill and Ted are finally back as middle-aged dads forced to save the universe again, dude.

Centigrade

Directed by: Brendan Walsh
Starring: Vincent Piazza, Genesis Rodriguez, and Mavia Simpson-Ernst
Genre: Horror

A married couple end up stuck in their frozen car after a horrible storm and struggle to survive.

Rogue

Directed by: M.J. Bassett
Starring: Megan Fox, Jessica Sutton, and Philip Winchester
Genre: Action

The star of the Transformers movies turns to action again, playing the leader of a squad of soldiers trying to rescue hostages in Africa. She’s stranded and forced to face a horde of lions. Yes, seriously.

September 1

Followed

Directed by: Antoine Le
Starring: Matthew Solomon, John Savage, Sam Valentine, Caitlin Grace, Kelsey Griswold, Karan Sagoo, and Tim Drier
Genre: Horror

This genre flick was already heavily delayed from an original 2018 release when it found its way into drive-ins in June 2020 and now VOD. It’s the story of a controversial social media influencer who stays at a cursed hotel. You can probably imagine how that goes.

Robin’s Wish

Directed by: Tylor Norwood
Genre: Documentary

Another doc about the life and legacy of one of the most beloved entertainers of all time, Robin Williams. This one focuses more on what led to his death, illuminating not just his depression but the disease that may have impacted his ultimate decision to take his life.

September 4

Critical Thinking

Directed by: John Leguizamo
Starring: John Leguizamo, Rachel Bay Jones, and Michael K. Williams
Genre: Drama

Initially scheduled to premiere at the SXSW that never happened, this is the true story of the 1998 Miami Jackson Senior High School chess team, the first urban team to win the U.S. Chess National Championship. The award-winning actor John Leguizamo makes his directorial debut.

Feels Good Man

Directed by: Arthur Jones
Genre: Documentary

Matt Furie created a lovable dude named Pepe the Frog and watched as hate groups took the image and made it their own. This doc chronicles the history of the icon and the effort to reclaim it. It premiered at Sundance 2020 to great reviews.

Measure for Measure

Directed by: Paul Ireland
Starring: Hugo Weaving, Harrison Gilbertson, Daniel Henshall, Doris Younane, and Fayssal Bazzi
Genre: Drama

The creators here interpret the classic William Shakespeare play of the same name for a new generation by moving the action to Melbourne’s notorious commission flats. There, a shocking event leads unique personalities to power struggles and even a love story.

The Owners

Directed by: Julius Berg
Starring: Maisie Williams, Sylvester McCoy, and Rita Tushingham
Genre: Thriller

A group of young people break into an empty house and find a safe full of cash…then the owners come home. Things probably don’t go well from there.

September 11

I Am Woman

Directed by: Unjoo Moon
Starring: Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Evan Peters, and Danielle Macdonald
Genre: Biopic

Another music biopic! This story of the life of 1970s artist and activist Helen Reddy premiered to mixed reviews at TIFF 2019.

Rent-a-Pal

Directed by: Jon Stevenson
Starring: Brian Landis Folkins, Amy Rutledge, and Wil Wheaton
Genre: Horror

A loner who is seeking companionship through a series of VHS dating tapes stumbles upon one that promises a best friend in digital form. It probably doesn’t end well.

September 18

Alone

Directed by: John Hyams
Starring: Jules Willcox, Marc Menchaca, and Anthony Heald
Genre: Thriller

A survival story about a recently widowed woman who is kidnapped by a serial killer but escapes into the wilderness, where she is forced to battle both her pursuer and the elements.

Antebellum

Directed by: Gerard Bush & Christopher Renz
Starring: Janelle Monae, Eric Lange, Jena Malone, Jack Huston, Kiersey Clemons, and Gabourey Sidibe
Genre: Horror

An author is faced with a nightmare when she’s sent back to the days of slavery through the kind of time-traveling thing that happens in movies inspired by Rod Serling.

Blackbird

Directed by: Roger Michell
Starring: Kate Winslet, Susan Sarandon, Sam Neill, Rainn Wilson, and Mia Wasikowska
Genre: Drama

A remake of the 2014 Danish film Silent Heart about a terminally ill mother who brings her family together one last time. Premiered at TIFF 2019 to mixed reviews.

Lost Girls & Love Hotels

Directed by: William Olsson
Starring: Alexandra Daddario, Carice van Houten, and Takehiro Hira
Genre: Drama

The True Detective star plays an English teacher living in Japan who lacks direction in her life until she meets a charismatic member of the Yakuza. Based on the book by Catherine Hanrahan.

Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs

Directed by: Sung-ho Hong
Starring (the voices of): Chloë Grace Moretz, Sam Claflin, Gina Gershon, Jim Rash, Patrick Warburton, and Nolan North
Genre: Animated

A fairy-tale parody about princes who have been turned into dwarfs and have to find a special pair of red shoes to return to normal. It’s a Korean production but has been given an English-language dub treatment.

Teenage Badass

Directed by: Grant McCord
Starring: Julie Ann Emery, Kevin Corrigan, James Paxton, Madelyn Deutch, and Elsie Hewitt
Genre: Comedy

Premiering virtually this year via the canceled SXSW, this comedy follows a small-town band that has a chance to make it big by performing on the local news, but the ego of the singer gets in the way. Isn’t that always the case?

September 25

The Artist’s Wife

Directed by: Tom Dolby
Starring: Bruce Dern, Lena Olin, and Juliet Rylance
Genre: Drama

The great Lena Olin plays Claire Smythson, the wife of a famous artist named Richard, played by Bruce Dern. When he’s diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and may not finish his paintings for his final show, she has to step up and complete his legacy.

Misbehaviour

Directed by: Philippa Lowthorpe
Starring: Keira Knightley, Greg Kinnear, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Jessie Buckley, Ruby Bentall, Lily Newmark, Stephen Boxer, Rhys Ifans, Keeley Hawes, and Maya Kelly
Genre: Comedy

A group of women seek to disrupt the 1970 Miss World competition in London in a film from a notable TV veteran of The Crown and Call the Midwife. Kinnear plays Bob Hope!

October 2

Death of Me

Directed by: Darren Lynn Bousman
Starring: Maggie Q, Luke Hemsworth, and Alex Essoe
Genre: Horror

The director of a few Saw sequels returns with his latest VOD offering, this one about a couple vacationing off the coast of Thailand who wake up with no memory of the previous night. They find a recording in which it sounds like the husband is murdering his wife, and they try to figure out exactly what’s going on before it comes true.

Eternal Beauty

Directed by: Craig Roberts
Starring: Sally Hawkins, David Thewlis, Billie Piper, Penelope Wilton, Morfydd Clark, Robert Pugh, and Alice Lowe
Genre: Drama

The wonderful Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins plays a woman grappling with schizophrenia and how it shapes the relationships in her life, including a new one with a “fellow lost soul” played by David Thewlis.

October 16

Love and Monsters

Directed by: Michael Matthews
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Michael Rooker, and Jessica Henwick
Genre: Adventure

A Paramount production, this is the story of a world in which monsters have taken over the planet, leading people underneath. A young man decides to venture to the surface to find his way to his high school sweetheart.

The Secrets We Keep

Directed by: Yuval Adler
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Joel Kinnaman, Chris Messina, and Amy Seimetz
Genre: Drama/Thriller

A woman living in America after World War II with her husband is startled when she begins to believe that her neighbor is a war criminal. She kidnaps him and tries to get the truth.

October 23

After We Collided

Directed by: Roger Kumble
Starring: Josephine Langford, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Dylan Sprouse, Selma Blair, Charlie Weber, and Louise Lombard
Genre: Drama

The sequel to the critically reviled 2019 drama After continues the story of that film’s genetically blessed leads. She questions their relationship after a revelation. Those damn revelations!

A Full 2020 On-Demand Rental Calendar