The Summer Movie Preview: The season of blockbusters is off to a tepid start. With a few exceptions, it will remain tepid.

It’s summer, and it’s time for those big-budgeted, blessedly brain-dead blockbusters! LET’S ALL GO TO THE MOVIES! WHO’S WITH ME? 

Wait, what? You’re not excited? You honestly couldn’t care less? You’d rather go bowling, or play some golf, or drive your face through your living room’s picture window? 

The season started a few weeks ago, and blasé box-office returns for The Fall Guy, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes and John Krasinski’s IF seem to indicate that people have better things to do. Like taking rock-kazoo lessons, or fishing, or driving your car through the living-room picture window, because you tried to drive to the hospital after putting your face through that same window, and you had too much blood in your eyes to see clearly, so now you are going to be dipping into three kinds of insurance, because you’d rather inflict bodily harm upon yourself than go to a nice, old-fashioned movie theater.  

It’s fair to say that Hollywood still hasn’t recovered from the whole COVID thing, and those writer and actor strikes wound up delaying and/or postponing some films for months or even years. The result: As I research the next few months of movies, the cinematic landscape looks boring. Boring, boring, boring.  

A few titles might garner a bit of excitement, but something tells me people are going to be saying, “Eh, let’s wait ’til that one is streaming”—so much so that their respective parakeets will pick up the term and learn how to say it, along with, “Breakfast is ready,” “Come on kids; you are late for school!” and, “Fuck you! I hate you! You never really loved me!” Those parakeets can be interesting little echo boxes. 

For better or for worse, here’s a look at upcoming movies, both theatrical and streaming. Don’t get too excited, now. Keep your shit under control. 

(BTW … as I was putting the finishing touches on this article, I noticed that The Fall Guy, after just two weeks in theaters, is already available for purchase and rental on streaming platforms. The state of things in the cinema-viewing landscape is forever changed and kind of bizarre.) 

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (May 24): The critics and moviegoers went nuts for Mad Max: Fury Road, so why didn’t we get another Tom Hardy Mad Max movie? Hardy was signed for three films, and his follow-up has been a long time coming, with no date set for filming. I think it’s because he was a third-class douche on set during the filming of Fury Road. In the meantime, we get Anya Taylor-Joy playing the role made famous by Charlize Theron in Fury Road with this Mad Max prequel/origin story. Mad Max stalwart George Miller is directing, so all systems are go for something worthwhile. It just won’t have Hardy in it. Prediction: lots of dirt. (See the full review here.)  

The Garfield Movie (May 24): From the land of Who Gives a Rat’s Ass comes yet another attempt at the lasagna-eating cat getting a successful cinematic franchise. Does anybody, especially the young target audience, even know what Garfield is anymore?  

Bad Boys: Ride or Die (June 7): Will Smith is back, and so is Martin Lawrence, in a bid for both of them to become relevant again. Sadly, this is one of the bright spots on the schedule. Something tells me it’ll be kind of fun.  

Hit Man (June 7 on Netflix): Hollywood is trying hard to make Glen Powell happen. He’s got a couple of films this summer. This one has him as the title character, and you can take a wild guess at what he does. Hit Man is billed as a comedy. He most assuredly did not make me laugh in that Sydney Sweeney movie.  

The Watchers (June 7): There are a lot of horror films on the horizon. This one stars Dakota Fanning and is directed and co-written by Ishana Shyamalan, daughter of M. Night Shama-lama-ding-dong.  

Inside Out 2

Inside Out 2 (June 14): Pixar movies used to be events. Now … well, I guess technically they are still events. When you get down to it, almost anything can qualify as an event, really. I just walked some sliced cantaloupe back to the refrigerator. That was an event. It was boring and sad (the cantaloupe isn’t very good; I probably should’ve walked it to the trash), but it was still an event. Remember when Pixar was like Will Ferrell when he wouldn’t do sequels? Well, Ferrell started doing sequels, and now it feels like all Pixar movies are sequels. 

The Bikeriders (June 21): This is an interesting-enough-looking movie with Austin Butler and Tom “I Am Such a Douche That They Never Made My Mad Max Sequel” Hardy riding around on motorcycles. It’s directed by Jeff Nichols, who directed Take Shelter, so I’m curious.  

Kinds of Kindness (June 21): Oh, hey, look, a movie I am actually excited about! Emma Stone re-teams with her Poor Things director Yorgos Lanthimos for a comedy-drama that will most assuredly be a million strains of weirdness. Yay! 

A Quiet Place: Day One (June 21): John Krasinski’s original blind-alien premise gets stretched into a third film. This one wasn’t directed by Krasinski, because he was busy making the Ryan Reynolds imaginary friend movie IF that nobody cared about. 

A Family Affair (June 28 on Netflix): Hey, look, it’s a rom-com starring Zac Efron and Nicole Kidman. There aren’t a lot of rom-coms on this list. They seem to be a dying breed, which doesn’t make me unhappy.  

Horizon Chapter 1 (June 28) and Chapter 2 (Aug. 16): Kevin Costner gets back to the director’s chair for what will be a two-movie event that totals up to a billion zillion hours and gives him a chance to wear a cowboy hat and ride horses again. Kevin Costner … he wears cowboy hats and rides horses, and sometimes you can see him throwing a baseball. He’s always expanding his horizons, that crazy Kevin Costner.  

Despicable Me 4: Who Gives a Shit? (July 3): Seriously, I’m working through these movie titles, and I am getting depressed. I think I stopped with the Despicable Me films after the first one. And the Minions can go to hell.  

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F (July 3 on Netflix): We live in a world where a new Beverly Hills Cop movie starring Eddie Murphy goes straight to streaming. The world has changed since his last (awful) appearance as the character 30 years ago. I just saw the trailer, and this looks like it could more than make up for that third one. Love you, Eddie! 

MaXXXine (July 5): This is part three of a horror trilogy directed by Ti West and starring Mia Goth. The first two were a sick blast. I’ll say this for the summer movie schedule: Horror seems like the prevailing, and perhaps most interesting, genre.  

Fly Me to the Moon (July 12): Here’s a fictional take on the moon landing in which the U.S. films a fake landing as a backup. It is also a love story. Sort of sounds like Capricorn One minus O.J. Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum star.  

Longlegs (July 12): Nicolas Cage as a serial killer? I’m in.  

Twisters (July 19): As I said before, Hollywood is trying to make Glen Powell happen. They are also trying to turn the original Bill Paxton Twister into a franchise. If there’s a cow in a tornado in this one, I will stand up and applaud. Powell just signed on for a Heaven Can Wait “reimagining.” So, first he will screw with Bill Paxton’s legacy, and then he will move on to Warren Beatty’s. I just sort of don’t like him.  

Deadpool & Wolverine (July 26): And here it is, folks—the one movie on the list that really says, “Hey, I’m a summer movie!” and might have a chance at making a few billion dollars. Hugh Jackman returns to the role that made him Hugh Jackman, and Ryan Reynolds gets to crack wise and cuss a lot while wielding various swords. Mark your calendars, kids. Tailgate parties in the parking lot! Tailgate parties in the parking lot! 

Cuckoo (Aug. 2): This is a weird-looking horror film that is already getting some positive buzz among critics and comes to us from NEON. Not enough is said about NEON films. A24 gets all the indie buzz, but NEON is usually a safe bet that it is going to be good.  

Harold and the Purple Crayon (Aug. 2): When I first saw this children’s book was being made into a movie, I had zero recollection of the book. Then I looked it up, recalled it, and remembered it was kind of badass, so maybe this will be fun. Zach Levi stars. 

The Instigators (Aug. 2 in select theaters; Aug. 9 on Apple TV+): Matt Damon and Casey Affleck star as thieves on the run in a film directed by Doug Liman. Affleck is still trying to make a comeback after getting cancelled. Liman, who threw a hissy fit when his Road House remake went straight to streaming, follows up with another straight-to-streaming release. OK, it has a one-week release in a few theaters before going to Apple TV+, but it’s basically his second streamer in a row. Let’s see if he gets all pissy during the press tour! 

Trap (Aug. 9): M. Night Shama-lama-ding-dong returns with an interesting-looking horror thriller that has a preview trailer that reveals way too much about the plot. Josh Hartnett, who has made a rather solid return to acting, stars. I used to hate Hartnett. I like him now. Who knew? 

Borderlands (Aug. 9): Guardians of the Galaxy rip-off alert! Guardians of the Galaxy rip-off alert!  

Alien: Romulus (Aug. 16): Originally set for a Hulu release like Prey, the surprisingly good Predator prequel, this new Alien movie is set after the events of Alien and before Aliens, and I have every reason in the world to be excited for it. So, there you go, that’s one more movie I’m sort of excited for this summer. I think that gets the count up to three or four.  

The Crow (Aug. 23): You know the summer movie season is officially going tits up when you are sitting in a theater watching a remake of the movie that killed Brandon Lee, this time starring Pennywise.  

Blink Twice (Aug. 23): Zoe Kravitz makes her directorial debut with this comedy/crime drama starring Channing Tatum, Kyle MacLachlan and Christian Slater (fresh off his role as a milkman in Jerry Seinfeld’s odd Pop-Tart movie). I am actually quite interested in seeing what Kravitz can do in the director’s chair. 

Reagan (Aug. 30): Yep, a movie with Dennis Quaid as Ronald Reagan is considered a major summer release. The apocalypse is nigh. There’s also a movie called The Apprentice with Sebastian Stan as Donald Trump that just premiered at Cannes but doesn’t have an official release date yet. Release it as a double-feature with this one!  

No, wait! Don’t do that! That would probably incite a massive MAGA/ultra-conservative wank-o-rama at local theaters, and the poor kids working there already have enough to mop up after audiences exit. Seriously, folks, you’ll want to wear a raincoat to any screenings of that hypothetical double feature. There’s going to be a lot of conservative masturbatory collateral sailing over your head toward the screen. Cover that popcorn!  

Beetlejuice Beetlejuice

Beetlejuice Beetlejuice (Sept. 6): A lot of folks might consider this a fall release, but technically, Sept. 6 is still during the summer, so I’m including it. Let’s end on a nice, optimistic note, shall we? The trailer for this came out while I was doing my final edit on this preview, and wow, this looks like worlds of fun—a major return to form for the once-great Tim Burton. Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara and, of course, Michael Keaton return, with new folks like Jenna Ortega, Willem Dafoe and Justin Theroux (his scream in the preview cracks me up) joining the afterlife shenanigans. This is the movie I am looking forward to the most in this article.