Are you ready for summer? Because I sure am! Admittedly, the last few months of movies haven’t been entirely unbearable—especially when you compare them to other years. After all, we’ve already seen movies like The LEGO Batman Movie, Beauty and the Beast, and The Fate of the Furious, so we’ve had a little bit of something fun for everyone. But once the calendar flips over to May, the real fun begins—or at least it’s supposed to. So as we’re all revving our engines and getting ready for those first exciting releases of Summer Blockbuster Season, let’s take a look at what’s coming over the next couple of months.
But first, as always, my preview disclaimer:
Keep in mind that release dates can change at the drop of a hat, while other releases may open gradually, over a number of weeks or even months. Also, in most cases, I list films by week, typically using Friday as the standard release date—but, especially on holiday weekends, films may open earlier in the week. So be sure to keep an eye on your local listings for exact release dates.
It just isn’t summer until Marvel says it’s summer. And, this year, Marvel kicks off Summer Blockbuster Season with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the eagerly awaited sequel to 2014’s unconventional intergalactic adventure. This time around, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) sets out to solve mysteries from his past with help from his new friends.
Since Marvel always releases a big movie the first weekend of May, other studios generally plan their release dates around it. For that reason, this week’s other releases are smaller indie releases—like The Lovers, starring Debra Winger and Tracy Letts as an unhappily married couple who manage to find their spark back. Also this week, parents decide how far they’ll go to protect their children in Oren Moverman’s The Dinner. And a mother and grandmother struggle to accept a teen’s transition from female to male in 3 Generations.
Kristin’s Pick: I can’t help but be a little geeked out about Guardians of the Galaxy—because the original was just plain fun. So it gets my pick.
Once Marvel kicks off the summer, the floodgates can open. Summer Blockbuster Season continues this week with a couple of recognizable names. Guy Ritchie directs King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, starring Charlie Hunnam as the legendary ruler. And Bourne franchise director Doug Liman helms The Wall, starring John Cena and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as a pair of American soldiers who find themselves in a game of cat and mouse with a sniper.
Meanwhile, for some Mother’s Day weekend comedy, there’s Snatched, starring Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn as a mother and daughter whose tropical vacation goes awry.
Also this week: an exploration of LA’s Low Rider culture in Lowriders and Diane Lane on a journey through the French countryside in Paris Can Wait.
Kristin’s Pick: There are plenty of intriguing options this week, but I’m going to take a chance on the simple suspense of The Wall.
The summer action continues this week with Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant, the second film in the Alien prequel trilogy (following the 2012 head-scratcher Prometheus).
Meanwhile, for the kids, there’s the comic road trip adventure of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul.
And no summer would be complete without a teen tearjerker. This year, it’s Everything, Everything, about a teenager with deadly allergies and her relationship with the boy next door.
Kristin’s Pick: To be honest, none of this week’s releases seem like must-see films (sorry, Ridley). So I’ll give my pick to The Long Haul, in hopes of at least a few good laughs.
Ahoy, mateys! Johnny Depp sets sail this Memorial Day weekend with the latest Pirates movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. In this supernatural swashbuckling adventure, Jack sets out to find Poseidon’s triton while battling ghostly pirates.
And, for those who are hitting the beach this holiday weekend, there’s director Seth Gordon’s comic adaptation of TV’s Baywatch, starring Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron as feuding lifeguards who have to work together to foil a dastardly plot.
Kristin’s Pick: As much as I love Dwayne Johnson—and no matter how many times I’ve been stung by Pirates sequels—I have to admit that I’m looking forward to setting sail with Jack Sparrow one more time.
Now that the box office has had some time to bounce back from the (inevitably) huge release of Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s time for another superhero adventure. This week, DC gets in on the action with Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot as the legendary warrior.
Or, for a very different kind of superhero origin story, there’s the animated comedy Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. Based on the popular kids’ books, it follows a couple of kids as they hypnotize their principal and turn him into an unlikely superhero.
Also this week: Demetri Martin directs and stars as an illustrator who’s dealing with grief and new love in Dean. And Errol Morris releases his latest documentary, The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography.
Kristin’s Pick: I’m always up for a superhero movie—and despite DC’s history, I can’t help but hope for the best from Wonder Woman.
This week offers up a little bit of everything. First, Tom Cruise battles a vengeful ancient princess in his remake of The Mummy. And in It Comes at Night, a man fights to protect his family from the horrors surrounding their home.
Also this week, Rachel Weisz stars as the beautiful—and possibly murderous—cousin of a grieving young man in My Cousin Rachel. Sam Elliot stars as an aging movie star in The Hero. Salma Hayek crashes a dinner party in Beatriz at Dinner. And in the real-life drama Megan Leavey, Kate Mara stars as a Marine Corporal who worked with her combat dog to save lives during the war in Iraq.
Kristin’s Pick: There are so many options this week! But I’m intrigued to see what writer/director Trey Edward Shults will do with It Comes at Night.
Another thing you can count on [almost] every summer: a big new Pixar release. This year’s offering is Cars 3, the latest installment in a series that somehow features some beloved characters in some less-than-beloved movies. So only time will tell if Lightning McQueen’s third adventure will be his best.
For some wild comedy, there’s Scarlett Johansson in Rough Night, the story of a wild bachelorette weekend that goes horribly wrong when five old friends accidentally kill a male stripper.
For some real-life drama, there’s All Eyez on Me, director Benny Boom’s Tupac Shakur biopic, or Maudie, starring Sally Hawkins as an arthritic aspiring artist in Nova Scotia.
For some drama and suspense, there’s The Book of Henry from Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow.
And, for some underwater action, a couple of sisters are trapped in a cage at the bottom of the ocean in 47 Meters Down.
Kristin’s Pick: This week is filled with intriguing options—and I’m looking forward to many of them. But I’ve got to give my pick to Pixar, in hopes that Cars 3 will turn the franchise around.
Hear that? That’s the sound of grinding metal and explosions. You know what that means? That means there’s a Michael Bay movie coming out this week! Mark Wahlberg returns for Transformers: The Last Knight, which digs into the history of Transformers on Earth to bring an end to the war between humans and Transformers.
The rest of this week’s movies, meanwhile, probably won’t be as noisy—like Sofia Coppola’s latest, The Beguiled, which tells the Civil War-time story of the drama that unfolds when a girls’ school takes in a wounded soldier.
Also this week, a couple tries to deal with their cultural differences in The Big Sick, and two people find love in a dystopian community of cannibals (no, seriously) in The Bad Batch.
Kristin’s Pick: If Michael Showalter’s The Big Sick is as charming as his last film, Hello, My Name Is Doris, it’s sure to be a great pick. If nothing else, it’s sure to be more charming that Transformers.
As is often the case, Fourth of July weekend offers plenty of options—a little bit of something for everyone. For the family, there’s Despicable Me 3, which follows Steve Carell’s Gru as he meets Dru, the twin brother he never knew existed. Or, for more grown-up laughs (or at least R-rated laughs), there’s The House, starring Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler as a suburban couple who spend their daughter’s college fund and are forced to start an illegal casino in their basement.
For horror fans, there’s Amityville: The Awakening, starring Jennifer Jason Leigh as a single mom who moves her family into a new house to save money, only to discover its deadly past.
For a little bit of action, there’s Edgar Wright’s latest, Baby Driver, starring Ansel Elgort as a young getaway driver on an ill-fated heist.
Or, for something completely different, there’s the German drama 13 Minutes, which tells the story of one man’s failed attempt to assassinate Hitler in 1939.
Kristin’s Pick: I’m a big fan of Edgar Wright—so even though I’m looking forward to Despicable Me 3, Baby Driver gets my Fourth of July pick.
And, with that, we’ve already come to the end of the first two months of Summer Blockbuster Season (that time when we all start saying things like, “Where has the summer gone?”). Of course, there’s so much more to come—but now’s the perfect time to take a break and pour yourself a cold, refreshing drink, and brace yourself for next week’s look at July and August.