Whether you like it or not, the summer movie season is right around the corner! Of course, blockbusters sprout up all throughout the year, with movies like The Divergent Series: Insurgent and Furious 7 setting the box office on fire even before the "official" summer movie season kicks off...But the four-month period between May and August is simply jam-packed with big-budget tentpoles, outlandish comedies and even a few memorable indie dramas. Before you start snatching up tickets to your favorite summer movies, we have a handy guide breaking down all of the major studio blockbusters, and even a few independent flicks that have the potential to break out into the mainstream. Here our the 35 movies you simply can't miss this summer!
1Avengers: Age of Ultron - May 1
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner, Cobie Smulders, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Paul Bettany and James Spader
Director: Joss Whedon
What It's About: When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth's Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.
Our Thoughts: At this point, we all know that Avengers: Age of Ultron will be a huge hit. How big of a bit remains uncertain, but many will be watching to see if it will be able to eclipse the staggering success of Marvel's The Avengers, which took in $623 million domestic and $1.5 billion worldwide. Could it pass the first Avengers? Could it even break the all-time box office domestic record and pass Avatar's $760.5 million? We'll find out in just a few short weeks, along with how this will set up Marvel's impressive Phase Three slate.
2Hot Pursuit - May 8
Director: Anne Fletcher
What It's About: An uptight and by-the-book cop (Reese Witherspoon) tries to protect the sexy and outgoing widow (Sofia Vergara) of a drug boss as they race through Texas pursued by crooked cops and murderous gunmen.
Our Take: Every year there are at least one or two major studio movies that I had absolutely no idea even existed, and this year, Hot Pursuit is one of them. I was actually surprisingly amused by the trailer, and there is enough star power between Sofía Vergara and Reese Witherspoon to validate the early summer release date, but debuting the week after a Avengers: Age of Ultron could either be counter-programming brilliance, or, well, the opposite...
3Mad Max: Fury Road - May 15
Director: George Miller
What It's About: From director George Miller, originator of the post-apocalyptic genre and mastermind behind the legendary "Mad Max" franchise, comes "Mad Max: Fury Road," a return to the world of the Road Warrior, Max Rockatansky. Haunted by his turbulent past, Mad Max (Tom Hardy) believes the best way to survive is to wander alone. Nevertheless, he becomes swept up with a group fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by an elite Imperator, Furiosa (Charlize Theron). They are escaping a Citadel tyrannized by the Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), from whom something irreplaceable has been taken. Enraged, the Warlord marshals all his gangs and pursues the rebels ruthlessly in the high-octane Road War that follows.
Our Take: Any time a movie has been stuck in development (not to mention nearly three years of post-production) for as long as Mad Max: Fury Road, certain red flags go up in the minds of fans like me. Of course, most movies don't look as ludicrously amazing as Mad Max: Fury Road does, so I can only imagine that this will be well worth the wait.
Release Date: May 15
Director: Elizabeth Banks
What It's About: The sequel centers on the Barden Bellas entering an international a cappella competition that no American team has ever won. Pitch Perfect stars Anna Kendrick (Beca), Skylar Astin (Jesse), Brittany Snow (Chloe), Anna Camp (Aubrey), Rebel Wilson (Fat Amy), Adam DeVine (Bumper) and Alexis Knapp (Stacie) reprise their roles from the original blockbuster, alongside new cast member Hailee Steinfeld. Elizabeth Banks also returns as Gail, and makes her feature directorial debut with this highly-anticipated sequel.
Our Take: I'm apparently one of the few on Earth who have not seen the original Pitch Perfect, despite hearing nothing but good things about it. What I found interesting is that, when Hailee Steinfeld joined the cast, it was said that her character will essentially take the reigns of the franchise on future sequels, so it will be interesting to see how that unfolds. At any rate, I still have a few months to watch the original before the sequel hits theaters.
5Poltergeist - May 22
Director: Gil Kenan
What It's About: Legendary filmmaker Sam Raimi ("Spiderman," "Evil Dead", "The Grudge") and director Gil Kenan ("Monster House") contemporize the classic tale about a family whose suburban home is haunted by evil forces. When the terrifying apparitions escalate their attacks and hold the youngest daughter captive, the family must come together to rescue her before she disappears forever.
Our Take: I saw the original Poltergeist when I was WAY too young, so I have high hopes for this remake. Thankfully, there is some strong buzz building, especially since Fox pushed it from a late July release to late May, which shows how confident the studio is in this reboot.
6Tomorrowland - May 22
Release Date: May 22
Director: Brad Bird
What It's About: From Disney comes two-time Oscar winner Brad Bird's riveting, mystery adventure "Tomorrowland," starring Academy Award winner George Clooney. Bound by a shared destiny, former boy-genius Frank (Clooney), jaded by disillusionment, and Casey (Britt Robertson), a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity, embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space known only as "Tomorrowland." What they must do there changes the world-and them-forever.
Our Take: This movie has been shrouded in just as much mystery as Disney's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, so I don't know exactly what to expect from this adventure. Granted, it sure does look adventurous and ambitious, but I hope to learn just a bit more about this movie before rendering any kind of judgment. It has the perfect release slot, placed right in between Marvel's superhero adventures, so it shouldn't have any trouble finding an audience. The question is: will they respond to it?
7Aloha - May 29
Director: Cameron Crowe
What It's About: A defense contractor (Bradley Cooper) who is overseeing a weapons satellite launch from Hawaii teams up with (and falls for) an Air Force pilot (Emma Stone) to scuttle the launch. Mystical island forces and a talking a computer also play a part.
Our Take: Aloha? After years of being known as the Untitled Cameron Crowe Project, they go with Aloha? I was on the fence about this movie long before seeing the trailer, and even after I saw it, on the fence I remain. Trust me, I'm hoping Cameron Crowe will finally return to form as much as the next guy, but I also don't think this is the one he does so with.
8San Andreas - May 29
Director: Brad Peyton
What It's About: After the infamous San Andreas Fault finally gives, triggering a magnitude 9 earthquake in California, a search and rescue helicopter pilot (Dwayne Johnson) and his estranged wife make their way together from Los Angeles to San Francisco to save their only daughter. But their treacherous journey north is only the beginning, and when they think the worst may be over...it's just getting started.
Our Take: I'm definitely intrigued enough to give San Andreas a shot, but I'm curious how much people in other non-California areas will be taken by this story. Sure, it has star power and what looks to be some eye-popping visuals, but will people in other parts of the movie who don't even known what the Richter Scale is even care enough to check this out? I'm not saying it won't be a hit, but I'm just not sure how big of a hit it may be.
9Entourage - June 5
Director: Doug Ellin
What It's About: Movie star Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier), together with his boys, Eric (Kevin Connolly), Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and Johnny (Kevin Dillon), are back...and back in business with super agent-turned-studio head Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven). Some of their ambitions have changed, but the bond between them remains strong as they navigate the capricious and often cutthroat world of Hollywood.
Our Take: I've only seen bits and pieces of the Entourage TV series, not because I particularly hated it, but I just didn't have HBO for the longest time. The show is most certainly beloved, but TV to movie adaptations don't exactly have the strongest track record, even with a show with a large built-in fanbase such as this. I honestly wouldn't be surprised either way if the movie tanks or becomes a huge success, because it really could go either way.
10Insidious Chapter 3 - June 5
Director: Leigh Whannell
What It's About: The newest chapter in the terrifying horror series is written and directed by franchise co-creator Leigh Whannell. This chilling prequel, set before the haunting of the Lambert family, reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) reluctantly agrees to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl (Stefanie Scott) who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity.
Our Take: I was truly terrified by James Wan's original Insidious, and while the sequel Insidious Chapter 2 was not terrible by any means, something just felt off. I'm glad Leigh Whannell is stepping in to make his directorial debut (and return as Specs) because I think a different perspective at the helm could be just what this thrilling franchise needs. Setting this prequel before the Lambert family's haunting experiences not only opens up the series to new story lines, but keeps the first two movies intact, leaving them ripe to return in the future.
11Jurassic World - June 12
Director: Colin Trevorrow
What It's About: Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfill a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitor's interest, which backfires horribly.
Our Take: 14 years after the franchise nearly died with Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World looks to bring this beloved series back to its glory days, by taking us back to where it all started on Isla Nublar. With Chris Pratt leading a stellar ensemble cast, and the emergence of brand new dinosaurs, this certainly has the potential to be a hit with both fans and critics alike.
12Inside Out - June 19
Director: Pete Docter
What's It About: Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it's no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions - Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley's mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley's main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.
Our Take: Pixar hasn't been on a hot streak lately, with Cars 2, Brave and Monsters University not exactly living up to the high standards fans have set for the studio. Inside Out looks like it could certainly be a return to form for Pixar, with a high-concept story about the emotions that reside inside us all, specifically in this case, an 11-year-old girl who is going through a transitional period in her life. The voice cast is simply superb, and with the return of director Pete Docter, who hasn't directed a film since 2009's Up, this could be Pixar's chance to break their slump of mediocrity.
13The Transporter Refueled - June 19
Director: Camille Delamarre
What's It About: The producers of Lucy and the Taken trilogy bring you the next adrenaline-fueled installment of The Transporter series, Transporter Legacy, starring newcomer Ed Skrein as Frank Martin, the most highly-skilled transporter money can buy. The stakes are greater and technology better, but the same three simple rules apply: never change the deal, no names and never open the package.
When Frank is hired by cunning femme fatale Anna and her three stunning sidekicks, he quickly discovers he's been played. Anna and her cohorts have kidnapped his father (Ray Stevenson) in order to coerce Frank into helping them take down a ruthless group of Russian human traffickers. Fueled by revenge, he will break all his rules and stop at nothing to rescue his father in this action-packed thrill ride across the French Riviera.
Our Take: I enjoyed the original Transporter movies enough, for what they were worth, but I'm still surprised that it spawned any sort of franchise. Untested newcomer Ed Skrein takes over the Frank Martin role from Jason Statham, and Relativity certainly does seem to have plenty of confidence in this movie, giving it a plum mid-June release date, but after three Statham movies and even a TV series, is there any juice left in this franchise?
14Ted 2 - June 26
Release Date: June 26
Director: Seth MacFarlane
What It's About: Seth MacFarlane returns as writer, director and voice star of Ted 2, Universal and Media Rights Capital's follow-up to the highest-grossing original R-rated comedy of all time. Joined once again by star Mark Wahlberg and fellow Ted writers Alec Sulkin & Wellesley Wild, MacFarlane produces the live action/CG-animated comedy alongside Bluegrass Films' Scott Stuber, as well as John Jacobs and Jason Clark.
Our Take: I loved the foul-mouthed original Ted just as much as the next person, and there is certainly plenty of fertile comedic ground left to be sowed here, but I am somewhat concerned about how good this may be. While this does bring back the whole creative team behind the first movie, it's also the same people who made the dreadful A Million Ways to Die in the West. Hopefully it delivers on the same level as Ted, and not the same level as A Million Ways to Die in the West.
15Terminator Genisys - July 1
Director: Alan Taylor
What It's About: When John Connor (Jason Clarke), leader of the human resistance, sends Sgt. Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) and safeguard the future, an unexpected turn of events creates a fractured timeline. Now, Sgt. Reese finds himself in a new and unfamiliar version of the past, where he is faced with unlikely allies, including the Guardian (Arnold Schwarzenegger), dangerous new enemies, and an unexpected new mission: To reset the future...
Our Take: While the first trailer was surprisingly impressive, I'm still somewhat on the fence about this one. The cast is great, and I'm intrigued about how they're handing time travel this time around, but I'm still not fully sold on this one quite yet. Paramount is certainly pinning a lot on this movie, with two more sequels already in development, and a TV series that branches off from a plot point in the original Terminator. Of course, if this first movie tanks (which I don't expect it to), those project may not move forward, but we'll have to wait and see.
16Magic Mike XXL - July 1
Director: Gregory Jacobs
What It's About: Picking up the story three years after Mike (Channing Tatum) bowed out of the stripper life at the top of his game, "Magic Mike XXL" finds the remaining Kings of Tampa likewise ready to throw in the towel. But they want to do it their way: burning down the house in one last blow-out performance in Myrtle Beach, and with legendary headliner Magic Mike sharing the spotlight with them. On the road to their final show, with whistle stops in Jacksonville and Savannah to renew old acquaintances and make new friends, Mike and the guys learn some new moves and shake off the past in surprising ways.
Our Take: I'm sure this one will do just as well as the first movie, but since I still have yet to see the original yet, I don't know exactly what to make of the sequel. Matthew McConaughey is not back for the follow-up, but the sequel adds a slew of new cast members such as Andie MacDowell, Amber Heard, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Strahan, Donald Glover. We'll have to wait and see if fans come out in droves for the follow-up as they did with the original.
17Minions - July 10
Director: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin
What It's About: The story of Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment's Minions begins at the dawn of time. Starting as single-celled yellow organisms, Minions evolve through the ages, perpetually serving the most despicable of masters. Continuously unsuccessful at keeping these masters-from T. rex to Napoleon-the Minions find themselves without someone to serve and fall into a deep depression.
But one Minion named Kevin has a plan, and he-alongside teenage rebel Stuart and lovable little Bob-ventures out into the world to find a new evil boss for his brethren to follow.
The trio embarks upon a thrilling journey that ultimately leads them to their next potential master, Scarlet Overkill (Academy Award® winner Sandra Bullock), the world's first-ever female super-villain. They travel from frigid Antarctica to 1960s New York City, ending in mod London, where they must face their biggest challenge to date: saving all of Minionkind...from annihilation.
Featuring a soundtrack of hit music from the '60s that still permeates our culture today, Minions is produced by Illumination's Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy, and is directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda. Brian Lynch has written the screenplay for the 3D-CG comedy adventure, and Chris Renaud serves as executive producer of the film.
Our Take: After appearances in Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2, the lovable Minions get their own feature film. As it turns out, the Minions have been around for centuries, serving master after master, years before they come into Gru's service. It sounds like a wonderful origin story, of sorts, and with a fantastic voice cast in place, I have no doubt that this will bring in the big bucks at the box office this sumemer.
18Ant-Man - July 17
Director: Peyton Reed
What It's About: The next evolution of the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings a founding member of The Avengers to the big screen for the first time with Marvel Studios' "Ant-Man." Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.
Our Take: I think this will do quite well, and I'm not worried at all about the movie's quality, but I am wondering how exactly this character will fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The movie was originally supposed to be the first Phase Three movie, but now with the expanded nine-movie slate for Phase Three, Ant-Man will now be the last Phase Two movie. With a schedule already mapped out until 2019, the earliest we'd likely see a sequel is 2020, but that could all change if this is a big hit.
19Trainwreck - July 24
Director: Judd Apatow
What It's About: Having thought that monogamy was never possible, a commitment-phobic career woman may have to face her fears when she meets a good guy.
Our Take: There doesn't seem to be a lot of straight-up comedies this summer, but Trainwreck seems to be the best one out of the bunch. Judd Apatow's track record for finding comedic talent speaks for itself, and while Amy Schumer is primarily known for her Comedy Central series Inside Amy Schumer, Trainwreck should surely make this rising star a household name.
20Pan - July 24
Director: Joe Wright
What It's About: From director Joe Wright comes "Pan," a live-action feature presenting a wholly original adventure about the beginnings of the beloved characters created by J.M. Barrie.Peter (Levi Miller) is a mischievous 12-year-old boy with an irrepressible rebellious streak, but in the bleak London orphanage where he has lived his whole life those qualities do not exactly fly. Then one incredible night, Peter is whisked away from the orphanage and spirited off to a fantastical world of pirates, warriors and fairies called Neverland. There, he finds amazing adventures and fights life-or-death battles while trying to uncover the secret of his mother, who left him at the orphanage so long ago, and his rightful place in this magical land. Teamed with the warrior Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara) and a new friend named James Hook (Garrett Hedlund), Peter must defeat the ruthless pirate Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman) to save Neverland and discover his true destiny-to become the hero who will forever be known as Peter Pan.
Our Take: I need another Peter Pan movie like I need a hole in the head. Joe Wright does have plenty of talent, and this is an impressive cast he has assembled, but I just don't see the need for yet another Peter Pan movie. How will this fare at the box office? I have no clue, and I could honestly care less, but maybe I'll change my mind between now and July 24.
21Pixels - July 24
Director: Chris Columbus
What It's About: In Pixels, intergalactic aliens misinterpret video-feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of war against them and attack the Earth, using the games as models for their various assaults. President Will Cooper (James) has to call on his childhood best friend, '80s video game champion Sam Brenner (Sandler), now a home theater installer, to lead a team of old-school arcaders (Dinklage and Gad) to defeat the aliens and save the planet. Monaghan plays the team's unique weapons specialist.
Our Take: I never thought I'd say this again, but I'm actually (kind of) looking forward to *gasp* an Adam Sandler movie. I love the short film that this is based on, and it seems the filmmakers have found an interesting way to craft a narrative behind this unique premise. Plus, there is plenty of nostalgia to go around, with numerous classic video game characters, not to mention a talented and diverse cast. Obviously there is plenty of interest in the movie, with 34.3 million people watching the trailer in the first 24 hours it was released. We'll have to wait and see if those numbers translates to a huge box office take.
22Mission: Impossible 5 - July 31
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
What It's About: Ethan and team take on their most impossible mission yet, eradicating the Syndicate - an International rogue organization as highly skilled as they are, committed to destroying the IMF.
Our Take: I have always been an unabashed fan of this franchise (well, except for the second one...), and each installment finds some way to deliver a new and amazing "holy s--t" moment that outdoes the last. After scaling the tallest building in the world in Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt is seen hanging off of a moving airplane as it takes off in the thrilling first trailer. I'm wondering if they will even have enough time to complete post-production though, since filming just wrapped a few weeks ago and Paramount pushed this up from Christmas Day to July 31, but the footage I've seen so far is impressive nonetheless.
23Self/less - July 31
Director: Tarsem Singh
What It's About: In this provocative psychological science fiction thriller, an extremely wealthy man (Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley) dying from cancer undergoes a radical medical procedure that transfers his consciousness into the body of a healthy young man (Ryan Reynolds). But all is not as it seems when he starts to uncover the mystery of the body's origin and the organization that will kill to protect its cause.
Our Take: Tarsem Singh does have a distinct visual style, but I'm not too sure about this one either. I love Ryan Reynolds and Ben Kingsley as much as the next guy, but something just feels a bit off about this one. Maybe the next trailer will do better job of convincing me, but we'll see.
24Southpaw - July 31
Director: Antoine Fuqua
What It's About: A boxer fights his way to the top, only to find his life falling apart around him.
Our Take: I'm really looking forward to this. When I spoke with Antoine Fuqua for The Equalizer, he was so incredibly excited for this project, and from the first look photo we saw last year, Jake Gyllenhaal is practically unrecognizable as a boxer whose personal life is full of turmoil. With a script from Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter, this drama should bring some much-needed grit to the summer movie season, and possibly deliver an early Oscar candidate as well.
25Fantastic Four - August 7
Director: Josh Trank
What It's About: A contemporary re-imagining of Marvel's original and longest-running superhero team, centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.
Our Take: I'm glad they decided to go with a much younger cast for this version of Fantastic Four, which is based on the Ultimate Fantastic Four comics. I've been a huge fan ofKate Mara for several years, and I hope this big-budget superhero movie gives her the push into the stratosphere that she most definitely deserves. Josh Trank as already a director to keep an eye on after his directorial debut Chronicle and his stock should continue to rise after this hits theaters.
26Masterminds - August 7
Director: Jared Hess
What It's About: Inspired by true events, Masterminds tells the story of a disgruntled bank employee who is ready to take a chance and risk it all for love, money, and a life he's only dreamed of. Teaming up with his work crush, they conspire to rob the financial institution. Together with their accomplices, the inexperienced criminals nab nearly $20 million - leaving a trail of evidence in their wake. Now the only thing tougher than pulling off the heist - will be getting away with it.
Our Take: Before we get to see the new Ghostbusters reboot next year, three of the four main characters (Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones) will be seen in Masterminds, a comedy that has been in development for several years. I'm not sure what to make of this at the moment, but it could do some solid business as summer comes to a close.
27Straight Outta Compton - August 14
Director: F. Gary Gray
What It's About: In the mid-1980s, the streets of Compton, California, were some of the most dangerous in the country. When five young men translated their experiences growing up into brutally honest music that rebelled against abusive authority, they gave an explosive voice to a silenced generation. Following the meteoric rise and fall of N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton tells the astonishing story of how these youngsters revolutionized music and pop culture forever the moment they told the world the truth about life in the hood and ignited a cultural war.
Our Take: This just might be the movie I'm most excited for this summer. The trailer was simply phenomenal, and the story of N.W.A. and their rebellion towards authority is more poignant now than it was back in the 1980s and 1990s. Their debut album Straight Outta Compton was one of the first to have the infamous Parental Advisory label, and they received threats from the government and several other advocacy groups at the time, but itquite literally created the "gangsta rap" genre and is considered one of the most important records of all time. I simply can't wait for this movie.
28The Man from U.N.C.L.E. - August 14
Director: Guy Ritchie
What It's About: A fresh take on the hugely popular 1960s television series,"The Man from U.N.C.L.E." is set against the backdrop of the early 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." centers on CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and KGB agent Illya Kuryakin Armie Hammer). Forced to put aside longstanding hostilities, the two team up on a joint mission to stop a mysterious international criminal organization, which is bent on destabilizing the fragile balance of power through the proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology. The duo's only lead is the daughter of a vanished German scientist, who is the key to infiltrating the criminal organization, and they must race against time to find him and prevent a worldwide catastrophe.
Our Take: The original TV series was far before my time, but this could be the last big hit of the summer movie season. The cast is top-notch and director Guy Ritchie is still at the top of his game, so I have to imagine this will fare well at the box office. Still, I have somewhat of a funny feeling about this one, and even though there isn't as much competition for this movie, I'm not quite so sure it will fare as well as other summer blockbusters.
29Sinister 2 - August 21
Director: Ciaran Foy
What It's About: In the aftermath of the shocking events in Sinister, a protective mother (Shannyn Sossamon) and her 9-year-old twin sons (real-life twins Robert and Dartanian Sloan) find themselves in a rural house marked for death.
Our Take: To be completely honest, I totally forgot this movie was even coming out until I looked at the summer schedule for this preview. Since we don't have a trailer quite yet, it's tough to have any sort of take on it whatsoever, but it's nice that they brought back James Ransone, who portrayed the concerned sheriff's deputy in Sinister, for this sequel. Ciaran Foy has a very distinct visual style, and it will be interesting to see what he can do with producer Jason Blum, who has made a name for himself for churning out big hits on miniscule budgets.
30Hitman: Agent 47 - August 28
Director: Aleksander Bach
What It's About: Hitman: Agent 47 centers on an elite assassin who was genetically engineered from conception to be the perfect killing machine, and is known only by the last two digits on the barcode tattooed on the back of his neck. He is the culmination of decades of research and forty-six earlier Agent clones -- endowing him with unprecedented strength, speed, stamina and intelligence. His latest target is a mega-corporation that plans to unlock the secret of Agent 47's past to create an army of killers whose powers surpass even his own. Teaming up with a young woman who may hold the secret to overcoming their powerful and clandestine enemies, 47 confronts stunning revelations about his own origins and squares off in an epic battle with his deadliest foe.
Our Take: I played the first two video games quite a lot in the early 2000s, so I have somewhat of a soft spot for this franchise. This new reboot comes just eight years after 2007's Hitman, but I'm just as intrigued with this one as I was the previous one, although I hope this does turn out better. I don't expect this to set the world on fire, especially given the underperforming history of movies that come out in the last weekend in August, but, even if it's not a success, this video game adaptation will surely close out the summer season with a bang.
31Welcome to Me - May 1
Director: Shira Piven
What It's About: What happens when a young woman with Borderline Personality Disorder wins the lottery? In the case of Alice Klieg (Kristen Wiig), she quits her psychiatric meds and buys her own talk show. Inspired by the immortal Oprah, she broadcasts her dirty laundry as both a form of exhibitionism and a platform to share her peculiar views on everything from nutrition to relationships to neutering pets.
Our Take: I love a quirky indie comedy as much as the next... well, quirky indie comedy love, and this one looks to deliver in a great way. Of course, it's somewhat unfortunate that it's going up against Avengers: Age of Ultron, but even the biggest of blockbusters need some sort of counter-programming, and this gives indie-friendly fans something to do on the first weekend this summer. The premise is fantastic and it may have one of the most diverse casts of the entire summer season. If you aren't planning on seeing Avengers 10 times during opening weekend, give this comedy a shot if it's playing in a theater near you.
32Maggie - May 8
Director: Henry Hobson
What It's About: The film tells the story of a deadly zombie virus that has put a plague on the world. When Maggie, a vivacious young woman becomes infected, her father brings her home to let her be with their family. As Maggie's condition worsens, their relationship is tested, a father's love holding on stronger than the disease. This heart-wrenching twist on the zombie apocalypse puts a human face on an inexplicable horror.
Our Take: A few months before you can watch Arnold return as his iconic android in Terminator Genisys, the action icon shows us his indie side in Maggie. Given the popularity of zombies these days, there certainly should be an audience for Maggie, which puts a new spin on the undead. After five seasons of The Walking Dead, anytime someone is bit, we know they'll be dead a few seconds later, so it's nice to see a project like this examining humanity in the face of such chaos. If this is as good as I hope it is, I'm crossing my fingers that positive word of mouth will help this little indie infect the entire country, just like the zombie plague it depicts.
33Good Kill - May 15
Director: Andrew Niccol
What It's About: The film tells the story of a Las Vegas fighter-pilot turned drone-pilot (Ethan Hawke), who fights the Taliban via remote control for half of his day, then goes home to his wife (January Jones) and kids in the suburbs for the other half. But the pilot is starting to question the mission. Is he creating more terrorists than he's killing? Is he fighting a war without end? One soldier's tale with epic implications. Good Kill is a visually stunning exploration of how a man's psychological, emotional and moral boundaries are challenged by the realities of 21st century warfare. The film initiates an important dialogue about the current techniques used in modern war, and in the same vein as The Hurt Locker and Full Metal Jacket, illustrates how war is constantly being redefined according to the technologies and methods in play.
Our Take: I've been a huge Andrew Niccol fan ever since Gattaca and The Truman show, but he just can't seem to find that project to take him into the directorial stratosphere that he deserves to be in. OK, I know, The Host didn't help matters much in this regard, but I'm hoping that Good Kill is just the first movie on his "comeback trail" so to speak. Drone warfare is an incredibly timely subject which is popping up more and more on the big screen, so it will be interesting to see how the viewing public reacts to this one.
34Dope - June 19
Director: Rick Famuyiwa
What It's About: A coming of age comedy/drama for the post hip hop generation. Malcolm is a geek, carefully surviving life in The Bottoms, a tough neighborhood in Inglewood, CA filled gangsters and drugs dealers, while juggling his senior year of college applications, interviews and the SAT. His dream is to attend Harvard. A chance invitation to a big underground party leads Malcolm and his friends into a, only in Los Angeles, gritty adventure filed with offbeat characters and bad choices. If Malcolm can persevere, he'll go from being a geek, to being dope, to ultimately being himself.
Our Take: Every year there are a handful of films that do so well at Sundance that they are picked up immediately and brought to theaters in just a few months time. Dope is one of those movies this year, and it looks like this could be that coming of age hit that transcends the arthouse and becomes a mainstream phenomenon. Of course, this all depends on how audiences in New York and L.A. respond to the film, but we've already seen a film like It Follows go from opening in just four theaters to over 1,600 in just a matter of weeks, so anything is possible.
35A Lego Brickumentary - July 31
Cast: Jason Bateman
Director: Kief Davidson, Daniel Junge
What It's About: Lego bricks have captured imaginations for generations, and today, the community of builders is bigger than ever: Adult Fans of LEGO (AFOLs) display their latest creations at Brick Conventions, self-proclaimed Master Builders create entire worlds out of the modular bricks, and a corporate design team plans the Times Square unveiling of the largest LEGO model ever created. Directed by Oscar-winner Daniel Junge and Oscar- nominee Kief Davidson, A Lego Brickumentary playfully delves into the extraordinary impact of the LEGO brick , its massive global fan base, and the innovative uses for it that have sprung up around the world. Junge and Davidson's delightful survey of boundless and surprising creativity will inspire audiences of all ages rediscover their inner child.
Our Take: The Lego Movie proved that LEGOs aren't just for kids, bringing in $468 million worldwide and spawning a sequel and two spinoffs. Admittedly, I don't see nearly as many documentaries as I should, but if any doc has the potential to break out, it's this one. With Jason Bateman providing narration, this documentary takes us inside the intriguing world of adult LEGO builders. If The Lego Movie got you inspired to dig those old Lego bricks out of the attic, then perhaps A Lego Brickumentary will inspire you to create something truly amazing with them.
That wraps it up for our Summer Movie Preview. Are there any Sleepers that you think should have been showcased? What movie do you think will be the most talked-about after the summer months come to an end? Let us know what you think below, or reach out to me on Twitter @GallagherMW. Regardless of what movies you think will hit or miss, this will surely be a summer to remember!