The summer movie season is always jam-packed with huge films, but this summer is so chock full of potential blockbusters that it feels less like a box office race and more like a gladiatorial free-for-all. Seriously, the amount of big movies that will be invading theaters in the coming months is ridiculous.
Starting with Disney’s Aladdin on Memorial Day weekend, audiences will spend nearly every weekend watching either superhero movies, a reboot of a beloved sci-fi franchise, animated movie sequels, Disney live-action remakes, or scary horror flicks this summer. With a daunting summer ahead of us at the box office, here’s a rundown of the biggest movies you should see.
Aladdin (May 24)
Look, the whole Will Smith-Geniegate thing aside, there isn’t a ’90s kid on the planet – or one of their kids – who isn’t going to see this live-action remake of the Disney classic twice on opening weekend. The only question is will this version of Aladdin be as good as the original animated hit? We’ll soon find out.
Brightburn (May 24)
What if Superman crashed on Earth and was evil? That’s the inspired (and disturbing) premise behind Sony’s BrightBurn, which stars Elizabeth Banks as this movie’s version of Ma Kent. Produced by James Gunn, and co-written by his brother, this dark take on superhero origin stories aims to subvert the genre with a movie that fans expect to be both action-packed and truly unnerving.
Booksmart (May 24)
Olivia Wilde’s feature directorial debut is vying for “sleeper hit” status this summer, thanks to its rave reviews coming out of its SXSW premiere. The R-rated comedy centers on two bright high schoolers and best friends who, on the eve of their graduation, decide to cut loose and put academics aside for some fun. Kaitlyn Dever and Skyler Gisondo star opposite Lisa Kudrow and Wilde’s husband, Jason Sudeikis.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (May 31)
Dougherty’s follow-up to Krampus is this Godzilla sequel, which has been five years in the making. The trailers make it seem like the wait for Godzilla: King of the Monsters was totally worth it, as our favorite kaiju is forced to protect Earth from three of the most famous monsters to ever appear on screen with Japan’s most popular monster.
Fans will finally see Mothra, Rodan and, finally, the three-headed King Ghidorah. This movie’s monster mash, battle-royale is going to make the first film look like a square dance. Can’t. Wait.
Rocketman (May 31)
This hotly anticipated biopic about the rise of Elton John looks to be this summer’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
Taron Egerton stars (and sings) with direction from Dexter Fletcher, who stepped in to finish Rhapsody following that film’s production troubles. Rocketman could net Fletcher some long overdue awards attention, and you can bet Egerton will be in the running for his performance. All of the trailers make this movie look can’t-miss and welcome alternative to the normal summer movie fare.
Ma (May 31)
Blumhouse, the folks responsible for Get Out, Oscar-winner Octavia Spenser, and her The Help director Tate Taylor have teamed up to give you a permanent case of night terrors that offers a terrifying twist on home invasion.
In Ma, Spenser plays a lonely, middle-aged woman who is eager to make friends with a local group of teens. She opens up her home to them so they can have a party there and, well, things quickly go from “too-good-to-be-true” to nightmarish when their host starts to terrorize them.
Late Night (June 7)
Written by and starring Mindy Kaling, Late Night is a clever and witty comedy about a newbie writer (Kaling) that joins the writing staff of a veteran late night show that’s facing hard times. Emma Thompson plays the legendary, takes-no-BS host of the show, and judging by reviews out of Sundance, her performance is both hilarious and worthy of awards contention.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix (June 7)
The last X-Men movie to feature the First Class cast before Marvel proper takes over the franchise, Dark Phoenix hopes to right what went wrong with 2006’s X3 by doing justice to Jean Grey’s Dark Phoenix storyline. Jessica Chastain joins the cast as a mysterious figure who plays a key role in shaping Jean into the all-powerful cosmic being that will soon pose a threat to her fellow mutants. X3 co-writer and long-standing X-Men producer Simon Kinberg makes his feature directorial debut to this sequel that fans hope is a significant improvement upon the last installment, 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse.
The Secret Life of Pets 2 (June 7)
Illumination Entertainment is back with a follow-up to their smash 2016 hit with The Secret Life of Pets 2. The first film introduced us to Jack Russell terrier, Max (Oswalt) and his friends, shaggy dog Duke (Stonestreet), hot-tempered rabbit Snowball (Hart), and snobby Pomeranian Gidget (Slate).
This time around, the pets get into more hijinks while their owners are gone while meeting a few new friends voiced by Tiffany Haddish, Nick Kroll, Pete Holmes and Harrison Ford in his animated debut. This sequel looks to capture the wacky fun of the last.
Shaft (June 14)
Shaft is back, this time with some help from the family. When MIT grad and cybersecurity expert John Shaft, Jr. (Usher) learns of his best friend’s death, he reunites with his dad, John Shaft II (Jackson) in order to help solve the mystery of who killed his friend. But when the two get in over their heads, they must make it a family affair by calling in the patriarch of the family, the original John Shaft (Roundtree).
Fans of the original Shaft — and Jackson’s 2000 movie — should love this one, but it looks like a ton of fun and action for everyone, even if they’re not familiar with the previous films.
The Dead Don’t Die (June 14)
For the better part of a decade, zombies have been a big deal thanks to Zombieland, The Walking Dead, and the White Walkers on Game of Thrones. Now, director Jim Jarmusch is getting in on the undead action with the zom-com The Dead Don’t Die.
The director’s follow-up to the underrated Patterson (also starring Driver), has assembled one of the best casts in the history of human events for his first zombie movie. The ensemble includes Bill Murray (who blasts zombies with a shotgun), Adam Driver (who hacks them with a machete), and Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton (yas queen!), who plays an eccentric mortician who wields a katana and goes all Kill Bill on the undead attacking her small town of Centerville.
Men in Black: International (June 14)
The hit Men in Black franchise is resurrected, this time featuring Thor: Ragnarok co-stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson. When Agent M (Tessa Thompson) joins the ranks of the MIB organization, she’s paired up with the talented Agent H (Hemsworth). But when the two discover a mole in the MIB’s ranks, it’s up to them to save the world.
Hemsworth and Thompson had amazing comedic chemistry together in Ragnarok, so it’s no stretch to believe they’ll be able to stretch their comedic chops even more with Men in Black: International. Bonus points if you pretend it’s Valkyrie and Thor undercover on Midgard.
Toy Story 4 (June 21)
When it was announced that Pixar was returning to infinity and beyond with Toy Story 4, we rejoiced. Toy Story 3 was a perfect (and perfectly heartbreaking) ending to the beloved franchise, so that rejoicing also came with surprise. But leave it to Pixar to craft an even better story than the last. When a new toy named Forky joins Woody and the gang, they set out on an epic quest to find Woody’s lost love, Bo Peep. In more fun facts, Keanu Reeves will be voicing a character in the movie – yes, John Wick himself.
Child’s Play (June 21)
The Child’s Play franchise gets a reboot for the modern age in this reimagining of the long-running horror franchise by Orion Pictures. When Karen Barclay (Aubrey Plaza) gives her son Andy a toy for his birthday, she has no idea of the sinister side the doll possesses or that it will soon terrorize her and Andy. The original Child’s Play franchise got more campy and humorous as it evolved over the years; this reboot looks to return it to its terrifying roots.
Annabelle Comes Home (June 28)
The next chapter in the frightening Annabelle series — which is another addition to The Conjuring universe — pits the demonic doll against the Warrens (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) and their ten-year-old daughter when Annabelle decides to wreak havoc upon them and their room full of supernatural artifacts. I mean, the Warrens should have seen this coming — nothing good can come from locking a creepy, homicidal toy in a room full of scary things. Nothing.
Limited Partners (June 28)
Not much is known about this movie at this time, so expect this to be updated as we learn more. What we do know seems like it has the potential to be a lot of summer fun. Limited Partners explores the friendship between two women with very different goals, with one being down-to-earth and practical and the other dreaming of living a lavish lifestyle. When they start a beauty company together, they have to learn to balance each other out lest the company – and their friendship – end in disaster.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged (June 28)
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water… This sequel to the surprise hit first film promises to up the shark factor and gore as four teenage swimmers find themselves trapped (naturally) in the ruins of an underwater city home to fish with knives for teeth. If the first movie is any indication, expect Uncaged to deliver plenty of guilty pleasure thrills and jump scares.
Yesterday (June 28)
Director Danny Boyle (28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire, Sunshine) brings a wildly unique story to life. When the world experiences a weird anomaly, struggling musician Jack (Patel) wakes up the next morning like any other morning…and discovers every person in the world has forgotten The Beatles and he’s the only one who remembers. When he takes their music and passes it off as his own, he suddenly rockets to fame. But the pressures of fame and living a lie start to tear his relationships apart. Yesterday looks to have a balance of dramedy sprinkled with fantasy and is sure to be one of the more inventive movies released this year.
Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 5)
Marvel and Sony’s follow-up to Spider-Man: Homecoming has the July 4th weekend all to itself as Far From Home finds a post-Endgame Peter Parker on a school trip to Europe where he will battle some elemental foes, meet Nick Fury, and (probably) duke it out with Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). Can’t. Wait.
Stuber (July 12)
Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Dave Bautista and The Big Sick‘s Kumail Nanjiani star in this two-hander that is an R-rated throwback to ’80s action comedies. Nanjiani plays Stu, an Uber driver who really struggles to earn a five-star rating when he picks up a cop (Bautista) hot on the trail of a killer. Lots of LOLs quickly ensue in this comedy gunning for the 21 Jump Street crowd.
Crawl (July 12)
There’s a sub-genre of “alligators terrorizing people” out there (hi, Lake Placid!) and Crawl seems eager to join their ranks with its guilty pleasure, shlock-y action. Alexandre Aja directs the story of a young woman struggling to survive a hurricane while trapped in her flooding house. If the storm and rising water levels don’t kill her, the pack of alligators hunting her just might. You had us at “pack of alligators.”
The Lion King (July 19)
Disney’s second remake of one of their ’90s animated classics this summer is sure to mint money at the box office. Director Jon Favreau applies all the tricks he learned on The Jungle Book to make Lion King‘s CG animals come to life in the photo-real retelling of Simba’s ascension to royalty. Donald Glover, Beyonce, James Earl Jones, and Seth Rogen comprise the impressive voice cast that gives the original a run for its money.
Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (July 26)
Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio headline Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film, which is reportedly a Pulp Fiction-esque chronicle of various lives intersecting in Los Angeles during the summer of 1969.
As hippie culture comes to a head, former TV star Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Pitt) struggle to find their place in a town that they don’t feel at home in anymore. Their lives presumably get that much more interesting, and complicated, thanks to Rick’s next-door neighbor: Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie). Word ’round the campfire is (Tarantino reference!) that Tate and the infamous Charles Manson murders are a key element of the story.
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (Aug. 2)
If there’s anything better than another summer movie starring The Rock, we don’t wanna know about it.
Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs character from The Fast & Furious movies gets his own spinoff, along with Jason Statham’s Shaw, as the two get into “how-the-hell-did-they-do-that?!” fisticuffs with Idris Elba’s “enhanced” villain. The “top that!” set pieces teased in the trailer all but guarantee that this is a worthy side mission for the mothership franchise and we are here for it.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold (Aug. 2)
Dora the Explorer fans are finally getting the long-awaited movie adaptation of the popular Nickelodeon cartoon series. Isabela Moner (Sicario: Day of the Soldado) plays Dora, who soon finds herself on one of Dora’s signature adventures. This time, Dora is looking to save her parents and solve an ancient Incan mystery in a movie that promises to be a mix of Tomb Raider and Spy Kids.
Midsommar (Aug. 9)
The director of last summer’s sleeper horror hit Hereditary is back with another fright fest that promises to be 100 percent high-octane nightmare fuel.
In what looks like a spiritual cousin toThe Wicker Man, Midsommar centers on a young couple’s trip to a Sweden for its renown midsummer festival and how quickly their trip devolves into a violent and bloody affair at the hands of a creepy pagan cult. Judging by the teaser trailer, this movie will not just scare you — it, like Hereditary, will mess you up for life.
The Kitchen (Aug. 9)
Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, and Elizabeth Moss headline this dark and violent adaptation of the Vertigo comic. ’70s-set The Kitchen takes place in Hell’s Kitchen, where unsuspecting wives take over for the family business when their gangster husbands end up in jail. Think Widows by way of American Gangster, directed and written by Andrea Berloff (Straight Outta Compton).
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (Aug. 9)
After years in development, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is finally happening. Producer Guillermo del Toro is helping bring the popular book series to life with a very faithful adaptation, which promises to send a new legion of fans cowering under their beds — especially when they see The Pale Lady in action.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette (Aug. 9)
Director Richard Linklater (Boyhood) is back with Where’d You Go, Bernadette, another potential awards contender, along with Best Actress winner Cate Blanchett.
Based on the novel of the same, the movie – co-written by 500 Days of Summer scribes Michael H. Weber and Scott Neustadter – centers on Bernadette Fox (Blanchett), a woman who is very anti-people. When she goes missing, it is up to Bernadette’s daughter to find her. This late summer entry from Annapurna hopes to have more luck come awards time than the last movie the company released around this time: Detroit.
Good Boys (Aug. 16)
From producer Seth Rogen comes Good Boys, a foul-mouthed, hilarious companion piece to Rogen’s previous hit, Superbad. Cute kid Jacob Tremblay leads the pint-sized cast of R-rated 12-year-olds navigating pre-teen life when they’re invited to their first kissing party. Tremblay and his friends steal his dad’s drone to help them spy on a couple making out and quickly lose the drone. The three boys skip school to search for it and soon find themselves going down a road of increasingly bad (and funny) choices. SXSW audiences laughed themselves raw at the film’s advanced screening earlier this year, and summer crowds are primed to do the same when the movie hits theaters mid-August.
The Angry Birds Movie 2 (Aug. 16)
Yup, this sequel is happening. Red, Chuck, Bomb and the rest of the Angry Birds crew are back to deliver more kid-friendly laughs in this sequel to the 2016 hit. In the second movie, the Birds’ world is figuratively thrown upside down a green pig shows up and offers a temporary truce so they can join forces to combat a common threat.
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