Brace yourselves, movie lovers! Summer is almost hereóand this oneís going to be huge!
It seems as though Iíve been looking forward to 2015 for years nowóbecause everything is hitting theaters this year. Weíve already seen the release of the box-office-shattering Furious 7óand there are plenty of major releases (like Star Wars: Episode VII Ė The Force Awakens and the new Bond movie, Spectre) hitting theaters later this year. But Summer Blockbuster Season is where the fun begins. So in case youíre not already geeked-out enough, letís take a week-by-week look at the big (and not-so-big) movies that are making their way to theaters this summeróstarting with May and June.
Before we get started, though, just a quick note: For the sake of convenience, Iíve listed films by week. For most weeks, Iíve used Friday as the standard release date, though some will open earlier in the week. Others will be opening in limited release, so release dates in your area may vary. Be sure to check your local listings for exact dates.
Once again this year, Marvel kicks off Summer Blockbuster Season with a big, bold superhero adventure. Joss Whedonís Avengers: Age of Ultron reunites all of your favorite Marvel superheroes (while adding a few new faces) as they team up to take on yet another ruthless villain.
For something completely different, thereís also Far from the Madding Crowd. Based on the novel by Thomas Hardy, this period romance stars Carey Mulligan as a headstrong young woman who must choose between three suitors.
Also this week, Peter Bogdanovich directs Sheís Funny That Way, starring Imogen Poots as a former prostitute who ends up in a Broadway play directed by a former client.
Kristinís Pick: Iím going to be honest here: Iíve been looking forward to seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron ever since I walked out of the Avengers screening two years ago. So, as much as I enjoy a good period romance, this weekís pick is an easy one.
Itís a lesson that countless comic book villains have already learned: donít mess with the Avengers. So since Avengers: Age of Ultron will undoubtedly continue to dominate the box office during the second weekend of May, just one new major release dares to arrive in theaters this weekend. Director Anne Fletcherís Hot Pursuit stars Oscar nominee Reese Witherspoon as an awkward police officer whoís determined to protect a drug dealerís widow (played by Sofia Vergara). Hereís hoping that Witherspoon and Vergara can make a lady-cop comedy thatís less annoying than The Heat.
Kristinís Pick: Iíve enjoyed Fletcherís latest films, but Iím still going to recommend checking your listings this week for a worthwhile indie.
Three decades since the release of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, George Miller reboots his beloved post-apocalyptic adventure series with Mad Max: Fury Road, starring Tom Hardy in the role made popular by Mel Gibson.
Also this week, Elizabeth Banks makes her feature-length directorial debut with Pitch Perfect 2, the eagerly-anticipated sequel to 2012ís surprise musical comedy hit. The follow-up finds the Barden Bellas battling the odds to compete in a prestigious international a cappella competitionóand hilarity and harmony are sure to ensue.
And, finally, the romantic comedy of a certain age, Iíll See You in My Dreams, stars Blythe Danner as a 70-something widow who begins dating two different men.
Kristinís Pick: This weekís pick could go any wayóbut since the trailers for Mad Max: Fury Road suggest that Miller is sticking to the over-the-top grittiness of the original trilogy, Iíll give it my pick.
After taking a break to direct Tom Cruise in 2011ís Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Brad Bird returns to the Disney fold for Tomorrowland. George Clooney stars as an inventor who sets out on an adventure with a clever teen (played by Britt Robertson) to dig into the secrets of a place called Tomorrowland (I hear theyíve got some great rides there).
For something more terrifying, thereís the Poltergeist remake, starring Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt as a couple whose home is invaded by an angry supernatural force.
And, since no summer is complete without a Melissa McCarthy movie (for some reason), thereís also Spy, which stars the bumbling comic as a CIA analyst who agrees to go undercover.
Kristinís Pick: Iíll admit that Spy has a pretty impressive castóand Iím at least morbidly curious about the new Poltergeistóbut my pick still goes to Tomorrowland.
Itís been a while since weíve seen a really good disaster movieóso Iím hoping that Dwayne Johnson can give audiences something memorable (or at least something entertaining) with San Andreas. Johnson stars as a helicopter pilot who travels across California after a monumental earthquake in an attempt to save his daughter from certain doom.
Or, for Bradley Cooper fans, thereís Cameron Croweís latest, Aloha. Cooper plays a military contractor who returns to Honolulu and reconnects with an old love (Rachel McAdams) while falling for a new one (Emma Stone).
Kristinís Pick: Though Iím hoping for the best from San Andreas, I have to give my pick to the guy who gave us Say Anything.... Cooper and Crowe seem like a match made in rom-com heavenóso Iím looking forward to seeing Aloha.
Though Iíve never seen more than an episode or two of the popular HBO series, I know that fans are eagerly anticipating the Entourage movie, which reunites Jeremy Piven, Adrian Grenier, and the rest of the cast for more Hollywood hilarity.
Meanwhile, in Love & Mercy, Paul Dano and John Cusack follow the ups and downs of troubled Beach Boys songwriter and musician Brian Wilson.
Or, for horror fans, thereís Insidious: Chapter 3, a prequel focusing on psychic Elise Rainier (played by Lin Shaye). Only time will tell if the popular horror franchise can terrify audiences a third time.
Kristinís Pick: Since Iím a sucker for a John Cusack movieóand I have fond memories of Brian Wilsonís musicóIíve got to give my pick this week to Love & Mercy.
Twenty-two years after the prehistoric catastrophe of Jurassic Park, disaster strikes yet again in Jurassic World as the once-successful theme park struggles with a new attraction.
Kristinís Pick: Just as no one (except, perhaps, Chris Pine) would dare take on a mega-dinosaur, so no studio would dare take on this long-awaited new adventure. It may not have any competition this week, but Jurassic World would probably still get my pick if it were up against a dozen others.
After taking 2014 off, Pixar returns this week with Inside Out, a quirky animated adventure that follows the various emotions living inside one girlís mind as they battle for control.
Meanwhile, the coming-of-age dramedy Dope follows a smart high school senior as he sets aside his college applications and sets out on one life-changing night with his friends.
Kristinís Pick: Itís been too long, Pixar! As strange as Inside Out sounds, I know that the studio has managed to turn stranger subjects into pure animated geniusóso itís an easy pick.
The last week of June is loaded with action and [questionable] laughs. Up first, Mark Wahlberg returns for Seth MacFarlaneís Ted 2, which follows the foul-mouthed teddy bear as he attempts to prove that heís an actual person so he and his new bride can have a baby.
Also this week, in Big Game, Samuel L. Jackson plays a U.S. President whoís forced to rely on a resourceful teenager (played by Onni Tommila) to help him escape a terrorist attack.
And, finally, for more family-friendly adventures, thereís Max, the story of a retired military dog who struggles to adjust to his new life once he returns to the States.
Kristinís Pick: Since I wasnít a fan of the original Ted, Iím not exactly counting down the days to the release of the sequel. And though both of this weekís other releases seem a bit...iffy, Iím going to take a chance on Sam Jackson and give my pick to Big Game. But this might also be a good weekend to check out a good indie flick.
Well, there you have it: the first two action-packed months of this yearís Summer Blockbuster Season. Now that youíre thoroughly geeked out about whatís coming to theaters in May and June, take some time to refill your oversized soda, add some butter to your jumbo popcorn, and take a deep breathóbecause thereís more to come. Be sure to check back for previews of July and August.