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Summer Movie Preview


So here we are, creeping into another summer movie season, which will bring a deluge of potential blockbusters for which studios have invested the biggest portion of their marketing budgets in hopes of landing their next four-quadrant smash like “Barbie” or “Oppenheimer.”

If you’d asked me a month ago, I would have bet that the Ryan Gosling/Emily Blunt romantic action/comedy “The Fall Guy” would be the first surprise breakout of the year (not counting existing franchise sequels like “Dune: Part Two” and “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire,”). But its underperformance once again proves that I’m terrible about predicting what general audiences care about.

Still, I will keep trying because at some point the law of averages means I will eventually get better at my summer cinematic prognostications. So let’s look at the movies of the next few months that I’m excited about and I’ll guess if it’ll catch on culturally or be ignored by patrons across the world.

Now playing- “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes:” The “Planet of the Apes” franchise has (almost) always delivered thought provoking and exciting speculative fiction with groundbreaking effects, indelible characters and astonishing world building. In fact, in my review of the last film in the series, 2017’s “War of the Planet of the Apes,” I compared it to “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Apocalypse Now,” so I’m obviously hyped for this new entry in the series, which is set 300 years after “War.”

Will it Flop?: The last one made close to half a billion, so I don’t think it will flop, but it will probably underperform due to a full seven years since the last entry in the franchise.

May 24- “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga:” This acts as a spinoff and prequel to 2015’s “Fury Road,” which over the last nine years has become cemented as a bonafide classic and is widely considered to be one of the best action thrillers of all time. There are such massive expectations for “Furiosa,” I wonder if it’s possible to live up to them no matter how great the movie might be. George Miller is a visionary, so I trust the hell out of him.

Will it Flop?: “Fury Road” actually didn’t make that much money, but the cultural footprint of the film has grown immeasurably over the years, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this (along with the added Chris Hemsworth benefit) becomes a surprise hit.

June 14- “Inside Out 2:” The first one is beloved by everyone that saw it and taught an entire generation of children a new vocabulary for how to articulate feelings they didn’t or couldn’t understand. Can a sequel capture that same lightning in a bottle? Even after a few misfires, I still have faith that Pixar knows what made the original so special.

Will it Flop?” This will make a billion dollars and hopefully deserve every penny.

June 21- “The Bikeriders:” This will be a pretty big test for actor Austin Butler to see if he can pack butts in seats for a ‘60s set biker drama also featuring Tom Hardy and Jodie Comer, directed by the great Jeff “Take Shelter” Nichols.

Will it Flop?: So hard. So very hard. Period dramas haven’t been doing as well as they used to lately. The actors will be fine, but Nichols might end up in director’s jail for a while.

June 21- “Kinds of Kindness:” Yorgos Lanthimos and Emma Stone are coming off of one of their greatest successes (“Poor Things”) with this dark anthology that somehow manages to look stranger than his last few films. Lanthimos and Stone are brilliant and with a cast that includes Willem Dafoe, Jesse Plemons and Margaret Qualley, the film is going to be worth watching no matter what.

Will it Flop?: I hope not, but the advertising for this hasn’t done a very good job selling what exactly the film is about and what audiences can expect. This really might slip beneath the radar unless the finished product is so good that critics won’t quit championing the film.

June 28- “A Quiet Place: Day One:” The trailer for this isn’t great, but I’ve enjoyed the film series so far and director Michael Sarnoski was responsible for “Pig,” which was my favorite film of 2021. His deeply empathetic filmmaking could make this not just a great horror movie, but a great movie in general.

Will it Flop?: The second film made quite a bit less than the first one did, so it wouldn’t surprise me if this one comes and goes pretty quietly. There hasn’t been much marketing for it so far, so here’s hoping we’ll see more promotion for the film.

June 28- “Horizon: An American Saga- Chapter One:” Can Kevin Costner still pack theaters for a three-hour western? Based on the popularity of “Yellowstone” it certainly seems like he can, but this is just the first chapter in a two-part epic. There’s a lot riding on this one for Costner and his 100-million-dollar budget, so we’ll see.

Will it Flop?: There’s no buzz on this, and for a giant movie being released in two parts, several months apart, there needs to be word of mouth for this to break even. It might be a flop, friends.

There are other, smaller movies I’m really rooting for in July and August, like the third film in Ti West’s “X” film series “MaXXXine” (July 5), “Longlegs” (July 12), a deeply creepy looking thriller starring Nicolas Cage, and the very trippy looking “Cuckoo” (August 9). But these are all movies aimed at my particular type of weird that might flop hugely.

Honestly, at the end of the day, the quality of a film has nothing to do with how much money it makes. The only reason it’s interesting to pay attention is because it can help you chart the future of cinema. “Oppenheimer” makes a ton of money? Expect to see more three-hour-long biopics. Barbie makes a billion? Expect more female-led looks at capitalism. We can all become movie futurists if we pay close enough attention.


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