For many, summer movie season is the best time of the year. Most of the high-profile sequels and spinoffs come at a time when it’s hot outside, cool inside and the theater has new movies every week that you can’t wait to see.
No studio, of course, plays to the crowd better than Disney, which holds the record for the most money a studio has grossed in a single year, just north of $3 billion. It crossed that threshold twice, in 2016 and 2018. It may cross $3 billion again in 2019 — by the end of the summer!
Consider: “Avengers: Endgame” has already grossed more than $800 million, “Aladdin” just hit theaters and “Toy Story 4,” “Spider-Man: Far From Home” and “The Lion King” are still to come. With “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” arriving in October, “Frozen II” in November and “Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker” in December, the heretofore unheard of $4 billion is certainly within reach for the year.
Of course, this summer there’s much more than Disney to keep us entertained.
What follows is my annual lighthearted look at what to expect on the big screen through August, ending with the third part of a trilogy few people are asking for.
Octavia Spencer plays the sweet and kind Ma, who lets teenagers party at her house and turns out to not be so sweet and kind.
Many will view this, a biopic of the flamboyant Elton John (played by “Kingsman” star Taron Egerton), as a spiritual sequel to “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Here’s another connection: This was directed by Dexter Fletcher, who also took over directing duties when Bryan Singer was fired off “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
“Godzilla: King of the Monsters”
Godzilla faces three of its mightiest foes (including Mothra!), but the real challenge will be if it can conquer its greatest foe of all: the box office.
Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) is about to go cray-cray, and only the X-Men can save the day.
“The Secret Life Of Pets 2”
It’s like “Toy Story” for pets: Owners leave, pets get into trouble, then try to cover it up by eating their own puke. Oh wait, I’m told that’s just every day at my house.
Emma Thompson plays a washed-up late night talk show host, and Mindy Kaling plays her new writer. This could be good for laughs.
Ron Howard directs this documentary on the famous opera singer that features Spike Lee, Bono and Princess Diana. And, one would assume, Pavarotti.
“Men In Black: International”
No Tommy Lee Jones or Will Smith this time, but we do have Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and fellow Asgardian Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) fighting aliens in London. Maybe some of the other Avengers will cameo! Hold on, wrong franchise.
Cool idea here: The original Shaft (Richard Roundtree), his son (Samuel L. Jackson) and grandson (Jesse T. Usher) team up to solve the mystery of an untimely death.
“The Dead Don’t Die”
Interesting title, considering the dead can’t die because they’re already dead. Regardless, this Jim Jarmusch (“Paterson”)-directed action comedy starring Adam Driver and Bill Murray has plenty of promise.
“Toy Story 4”
In addition to the main cast back for another adventure, Keanu Reeves joins as the greatest daredevil in all of Canada, “Duke Caboom.” I’d pay money just to hear Reeves say that name.
The 1988 original was 95 minutes of campy fun. This remake is 120 minutes — why?
Clever premise here, about a struggling musician (Himesh Patel) who discovers he’s the only person in the world who has heard of The Beatles. Directed by Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”).
“Annabelle Comes Home”
Demonologists Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) Warren bring evil doll Annabelle to their home, where it proceeds to torture the Warren’s 10-year-old daughter (Mckenna Grace). Clearly Annabelle doesn’t understand that the surest road to getting invited back is being a minimally invasive house guest.
“Spider-Man: Far From Home”
After the events of “Endgame,” our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man (Tom Holland) is going abroad on a school trip, which begs the question of who’s protecting the neighborhood while he’s gone.
Ari Aster, the writer/director of last year’s brilliant “Hereditary,” returns with the tale of a couple (Florence Pugh and Jay Reynor) on vacation in Sweden. Don’t expect things to go well.
A Category 5 hurricane wreaks havoc while a young woman (Kaya Scodelario) looks for her father (Barry Pepper) and giant alligators float into town. It’s a Florida movie if ever there was one. So naturally it was shot in Serbia (seriously, it was).
An LAPD detective named Vic (Dave Bautista) asks his Uber driver Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) for help with an investigation. Look, I’ve asked my Uber drivers for a lot of things: breath mints, a bottle of water, to not kill me. But a police investigation? Vic better leave a sweet tip.
“The Lion King”
A CGI-filled remake of the 1994 animated sensation. Directed by Jon Favreau, who did similar work with “The Jungle Book” in 2016. Returning from the original is James Earl Jones as Mufasa, because nobody could do it better.
“Once Upon A Time In Hollywood”
Writer/director Quentin Tarantino. Leonardo DiCaprio. Brad Pitt. Margot Robbie. Set in 1969 Hollywood, the end of the studio era. If this doesn’t excite you, you don’t love movies.
“Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw”
Fun fact: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Vin Diesel hate one another so much that The Rock couldn’t bear to have Diesel in this spinoff to the highoctane franchise.
“Dora And The Lost City Of Gold”
Starring Dora the Explorer (Isabela Moner). If you don’t know who she is, ask your kids or grandkids.
Good girls turn bad in this story of three mafia wives (Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, Elisabeth Moss) who take over their husbands’ rackets after the men are sent to prison. Word is it’s a drama, so don’t expect many funny moments from the otherwise hilarious McCarthy and Haddish.
“The Angry Birds Movie 2”
In the 2016 original that grossed more than $100 million, we found out why the birds are angry. This time … they’re still angry.
“Where’d You Go, Bernadette?”
Director Richard Linklater’s (“Boyhood”) latest follows a mother (Cate Blanchett) who chooses to pursue her passions after dedicating herself to her family for years. Based on the trailer, Blanchett looks in top form once again.
“Angel Has Fallen”
Third part of a trilogy, following “Olympus Has Fallen” and “London Has Fallen,” in which the Scottish Gerard Butler plays a Secret Service agent. With a cast including Morgan Freeman, Nick Nolte and Jada Pinkett Smith, how bad could this be? Yup, that bad. ¦