While it seems like spring is just arriving in Northwest Arkansas, it’s already summer at local movie theaters with Marvel’s latest blockbuster “Avengers: Infinity War” chewing up the box office and clogging multiple screens across the region.
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The film did the unthinkable last week by topping “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” with the highest opening weekend domestic gross in history by drawing $258 million at the box office, and Forbes predicted it will cross the $1 billion mark globally by Sunday, if not before.
However, the summer cinema fun doesn’t end with Iron-Man, Captain American, Thor and the rest of their super-powered cohorts. They are just sounding the opening bell for an exciting summer at the movies.
Here’s a list of highly anticipated movies that will debut this summer.
Deadpool 2 – May 11
Ryan Reynolds is back as Deadpool after the surprising success of the first film in 2016. The movie promises all the R-rated wisecracking, fourth-wall breaking, inside-joke making comedy and action of the original, plus the introduction of such Marvel fan favorites Cable (Josh Brolin) and Domino (Zazie Beetz) among others.
Will it be as fresh and funny the second time around? We’ll know next week.
Solo: A Star Wars Story – June 25
This is a movie I’ve been anticipating for about 40 years. While all my little buddies wanted to be like Luke Skywalker after seeing “Star Wars” way back in 1977, I wanted to be like the shoot-first, take-names-later scruffy-looking nerf-herder Han Solo. Unfortunately, Harrison Ford has aged out of the role, but Alden Ehrenreich is a talented young actor who may be a star after this film that details how Han Solo became the scoundral George Lucas introduced us to so many years ago. With a script by Lawrence Kasdan (screenwriter of “The Empire Strikes Back”) and Oscar winner and Star Wars fan Ron Howard directing, I’m more than willing to give this movie a shot. Donald Glover (Lando Calrissian), Emilia Clarke, and Woody Harrelson in supporting roles are three more reasons to be excited about the movie. As for Chewbacca, he’s the big, hairy cherry on top.
Hereditary – June 8
While “A Quiet Place” has already set a high standard for horror movies this year, the buzz around “Hereditary” at the Sundance Film Festival suggests writer-director Ari Aster’s film might be even more thrilling. It features Toni Collette as a woman mourning for her mother when strange occurrences begin to reveal secrets that drive her family batty.
Ocean’s 8 – June 8
While I’m not the biggest fans of the Ocean’s series, any movie that co-stars Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling and Helena Bonham Carter has my attention and probably my money.
Incredibles 2 – June 15
All of the kids who first thrilled to “The Incredibles” in 2004 have grown up, and some, no doubt, are parents themselves. Fourteen years is an eternity for a sequel, but based on the trailers, “Incredibles 2” might be worth the wait. It’s hard to bet against Pixar, and the idea of Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) playing Mr. Mom to the kids, while Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) leads the way on the hero front is a very appealing twist. Adding Bob Odenkirk to the animated cast makes the movie that much more interesting.
Under the Silver Lake – June 22
Writer-director David Robert Mitchell (“It Follows”) serves up a cool piece of film noir with his latest movie starring Andrew Garfield (“Hacksaw Ridge”) as Sam, a ne’er-do-well 20-something, who is thrust into the role of a detective after the mysterious disappearance of a beautiful neighbor, Sarah (Riley Keough), whom he’s infatuated with. His investigation leads him down a rat hole in which he wishes he’d never entered.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – June 22
You can’t have summer without at least one giant monster movie, can you? Of course not, and “Jurassic World: The Fallen” is this year’s brand of behemoth. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return in the sequel to the 2015 surprise hit. A volcanic eruption threatens the dinosaurs that have been living freely on the island since the last adventure. Pratt and Howard attempt to save them and get drawn into a larger scheme that involves the gigantic beasts being auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6
If you haven’t had enough of the Marvel Universe with “Avengers: Infinity War,” you have a short wait. Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly return in “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” Though the scope isn’t as large as many of the other Marvel films, this Ant-Man adventure promises to take us to the Quantum Realm as well as on other escapades. Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas, Michael Pena, Walton Goggins, Judy Greer and Bobby Cannavale make for an engaging supporting cast.
Eighth Grade – July 13
Another Sundance standout, “Eighth Grade” is a comedy-drama that follows Kayla (Elsie Fisher) — the quietest kid in school — through the final week of class before she matriculates to high school. We’ve all been there before — first crushes, bullying, hanging out, and all the other worries that seemed overwhelming. Critics gave the movie high marks for its honesty and empathy.
Mission Impossible: Fallout – July 27
Tom Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt, and this time he must conquer Superman’s mustache to save the world. Sorry for the bad joke. This sixth Mission Impossible movie is the reason why Paramount wouldn’t allow Henry Cavill, Warner Bros.’ Superman, to shave his mustache for reshoots to last fall’s “Justice League” movie. WB used CGI to wipe Cavill’s face clean-shaven, but some of the shots looked wonky. The trailer from his movie looks anything but off-kilter with Cavill playing a CIA agent tasked to take down Cruise, who appears to have gone rogue. Christopher McQuarrie returns as director after presiding over the previous adventure, which many fans feel was the best in the series.