Summer is right around the corner and with it come some of the best movies of the year (or at least the most fun).
This year we’ve got Tony Stark, Captain Kirk, Gru and a host of others to entertain us. While the spring movies haven’t all fared as well as might have been expected, just about every movie on this list will most likely blow the lid off the box office. Ladies and gentlemen, here is your summer movie preview.
Note: Not all movies may open in area theaters on the given nationwide release date.
‘Iron Man 3’
Release date | May 2
Director | Shane Black
Starring | Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge Dale, Jon Favreau, Ben Kingsley, Wang Xuequi
Rated | PG-13 (for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief suggestive content)
Robert Downey Jr. is back as the Iron Avenger in this third installment to the franchise. Taking place after the events of the Avengers film, this film pits Iron Man against one of his greatest enemies, the Mandarin, who sets out to destroy everything Tony Stark holds dear. With as much as Marvel has invested in these films, there’s no doubt this big budget blockbuster will kill the box office and start the summer off with a bang.
‘The Great Gatsby’
Release date | May 10
Director | Baz Luhrmann
Starring | Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher, Jason Clarke, Amitabh Bachchan
This timeless classic is being revisited by the creative mind of Baz Luhrmann, who has brought a talented ensemble of actors to bring the Great Gatsby to life. DiCaprio has a lot to live up to, as Robert Redford’s Gatsby is one of his most memorable roles, but he’s proven time and again that he can take on just about any role he chooses. It will be interesting to see how close to the story Luhrmann sticks, but how can you say no to this one?
‘Tyler Perry Presents Peeples’
Release date | May 10
Director | Tina Gordon Chism
Starring | Craig Robinson, Kerry Washington, David Alan Grier, S. Epatha Merkerson, Tyler Williams, Melvin Van Peebles, Diahann Carroll
Didn’t this guy just come out with a movie a few weeks ago? Well, he’s back, just not in a directorial capacity. This film will center around Kerry Washington and Craig Robinson, a couple who must traverse the massively overdone plot of “let’s go meet my family.” The trailer looks like the film borrows almost all of its humor from previous renditions of this kind of movie, but who knows, maybe it won’t stink?
‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’
Release date | May 15
Director | J.J. Abrams
Starring | Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, John Cho, Bruce Greenwood, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alice Eve, Peter Weller
The crew of the Enterprise is back, and this time they’ve got a new enemy to contend with. A terrorist attack on Earth forces the crew home, where they’re quickly thrust into a chase to stop this unknown force once and for all. Kirk and his crew will face new challenges, see relationships tested, and much more in this long-anticipated sequel.
Release date | May 24
Director | Chris Wedge
Starring | Beyonce Knowles, Colin Farrell, Christoph Waltz, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Christoph Waltz, Aziz Ansari, Pitbull, Jason Sudeikis, Steven Tyler, Blake Anderson, Judah Friedlander
There aren’t too many movies for children on this list, but here’s one of them. During a storm, a teenage girl is shrunk to bug size, where she discovers a world at war between those who want to protect the forest and those who wish to destroy it. Think of it like an animated combination of “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” and “Fern Gully” with a dash of comedy thrown in. An excellent cast doesn’t hurt this one, either. It looks fun for all ages.
‘Fast & Furious 6’
Release date | May 24
Director | Justin Lin
Starring | Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Elsa Pataky, Luke Evans, Gina Carano
See the number at the end of this one? Yeah, there are six of these. You know what you’re walking into on this one. Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson are all back, along with the crew we’ve all come to know, along with newcomers Gina Carano and Luke Evans. Hobbs, played by Johnson, recruits Dom (Diesel) and his team to track down and apprehend a team of international criminals, led by Evans and his lieutenant, the lovely (and apparently alive) Michelle Rodriguez. If they can stop the syndicate, they’ll earn their freedom. Some stuff will probably blow up along the way and I’m sure that between Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, someone will get punched. Sounds like fun, right?
‘The Hangover Part III’
Release date | May 24
Director | Todd Phillips
Starring | Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, Heather Graham, Jeffrey Tambor, Justin Bartha, John Goodman, Sasha Barrese, Gillian Vigman, Jamie Chung
Oh my. The boys are going BACK to Vegas. On their way to take Alan to a halfway house (or something along those lines), the Wolfpack is attacked and Doug is kidnapped. Seriously, that guy has the worst luck. It’s up to Stu, Phil and the always eccentric Alan to rescue their buddy by any means necessary. While the second film was disappointing due to its almost identical plot structure from the first film, this one looks like a different take. Let’s hope that’s the case.
‘Now You See Me’
Release date | May 31
Director | Louis Leterrier
Starring | Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Morgan Freeman, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine, Common
Rated | PG-13 (for language, some action and sexual content)
This film pits a team of FBI agents against a group of magicians-turned-robbers know as the “Four Horsemen.” Robbing corrupt businessmen during their shows and distributing the wealth to their fans, the Horsemen must stay ahead of an FBI team that’s only desire is to shut them down. At first glance, this might sound like a ridiculous plot, but one look at the trailer and there’s actually a chance this one could be fun.
Release date | May 31
Director | James DeMonaco
Starring | Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Adelaide Kane, Max Burkholder
Rated | R (for strong disturbing violence and some language)
What if you could do whatever you wanted for one day without consequences of any kind? That’s the world the people in The Purge find themselves in. Once a year, for 12 hours, there are no rules, no laws and no help. So when a stranger is let into a family’s home by a child with good intentions, he sets off a chain of events that threaten the entire family. Who is this man and why are there so many people trying to kill him? This one isn’t really a sleeper, but it’s not on many radars either. It should be.
Release date | June 7
Director | M. Night Shyamalan
Starring | Will Smith, Jaden Smith
Will Smith and his son Jaden play a father and son who crash land on Earth 1,000 years after everyone left the planet. With his father injured, Kitai Raige must set out on a perilous journey to signal for help. Along the way, he and his father will have to work together and mend a strained relationship in order to survive. This movie looks interesting enough, but there’s one giant red flag. It’s directed by M. Night Shyamalan. That’s the guy who did that horrible rendition of “The Last Airbender” and forced people through “The Happening.” “After Earth” has a 50/50 shot of bombing.
Release date | June 7
Director | Shawn Levy
Starring | Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Max Minghella, Rose Byrne, John Goodman, Dylan O’Brien, JoAnna Garcia, Eric Andre, Josh Brener, Tiya Sircar, Tobit Raphael, Will Ferrell
Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson team up to play salesmen who suddenly lose their jobs and become desperate for employment. They become so desperate that they go for the long shot: internships at Google. Despite the fact that they’re much older than everyone else there, the two will have to find a way to pull off the impossible and get new jobs. These two were great together in “Wedding Crashers.” Hopefully they lend some of that magic to this film.
‘This Is The End’
Release date | June 12
Director | Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Starring | Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, Jonah Hill
The six actors in this movie play themselves, but with one tiny catch: the apocalypse has begun. Trapped together in James Franco’s house, they’ll be tested in every weird and hilarious way possible. Eventually, they’ll have to leave the house and face the horrors that have been unleashed upon the world. The red band trailer for this movie is absolutely hysterical, and there’s every indication this will be an awesome comedy.
‘Man of Steel’
Release date | June 14
Director | Zack Snyder
Starring | Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Antje Traue, Ayelet Zurer, Christopher Meloni, Russell Crowe, Michael Kelly, Harry Lennix, Richard Schiff
Rated | PG-13 (for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, action and destruction, and for some language)
Zack Snyder directs this latest addition to the Superman franchise, with lead actor Henry Cavill donning the red cape. As a boy, Clark Kent discovers his powers and realizes he’s not an Earthling at all. As he struggles with who he is and what he must do, he must also prepare to defend the Earth from General Zod, who seeks to capture Superman and take him away from this planet. Superman made superhero movies cool before anyone even knew they were. Why wouldn’t you see this?
Release date | June 21
Director | Dan Scanlon
Starring | Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Dave Foley, Helen Mirren, Julia Sweeney, Joel Murray, Peter Sohn
How in the world has it taken this long for this movie to exist? “Monsters Inc.” is one of Pixar’s best films to date, and “Monsters University” provides a wonderful origin story for Mike and Sully. Before they were the best of friends, they were the worst of enemies. As college roommates, they hated each other. “Monsters University” will explore their great rivalry and how they moved past it to become pals. Yes, you should go see it.
‘World War Z’
Release date | June 21
Director | Marc Forster
Starring | Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale, Matthew Fox, David Morse
Based on the extremely popular book of the same name, here’s “World War Z,” the latest zombie flick to grace the big screen. Rather than bouncing from character to character as the book did, this movie centers around Gerry Lane (Pitt), a U.N. employee who travels around the world in search of a way to quell the zombie hordes. Perhaps the most exciting thing about this movie is the new take on the zombies themselves. The sluggish, moaning undead have been replaced with fast, mob-like zombies that will literally climb on top of each other to get their meals. This movie looks pretty wild, and definitely worth the price of a ticket.
Release date | June 28
Director | Paul Feig
Starring | Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Demián Bichir, Marlon Wayans, Michael Rapaport
Rated | R (for pervasive language, strong crude content and some violence)
Sandra Bullock plays an uptight FBI agent (again) who teams up with Melissa McCarthy, a Boston policewoman with tons of street smarts, to take down a thuggish druglord. While neither woman has ever had a partner, when they join forces, they become best friends despite their incompatibility. Directed by Paul Feig of “Bridesmaids” fame, there’s potential for this to be funny. However, there’s also a chance all the laughs are in the trailer.
‘White House Down’
Release date | June 28
Director | Roland Emmerich
Starring | Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Richard Jenkins, James Woods
“Olympus Has Fallen” stars Wait, this is a different movie. “White House Down” stars Channing Tatum as a father who doesn’t get his dream job with the Secret Service. Instead of telling his daughter the truth, he takes her on a tour of the White House. The building is attacked and it’s up to Channing Tatum to save the president in this completely original movie that didn’t star Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart.
‘Despicable Me 2’
Release date | July 3
Director | Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin
Starring | Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Al Pacino, Steve Coogan, Ken Jeong
Gru, his adopted daughters and the minions all return in this sequel to the box office sensation that was “Despicable Me.” Gru, now a reformed villain, is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to stop a new threat to the world. It’s up to him and his “family” to stop this new threat and save the day. Frankly, seeing this one for the minions is all the motivation needed, but Steve Carell can be pretty funny, too.
‘The Lone Ranger’
Release date | July 3
Director | Gore Verbinski
Starring | Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, Barry Pepper, James Badge Dale, Ruth Wilson, Helena Bonham Carter
Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp play the Lone Ranger and Tonto respectively. Tonto, a Native American warrior, helps recount the transformation from law man to legendary hero of John Reid, better known as the Lone Ranger. The comedic timing of these two alone is enough to make this movie fun for all ages. Add in the fact that Jerry Bruckheimer is on board and you’ve got yourself a mid-summer box office hit.
‘Grown Ups 2’
Release date | July 12,
Director | Dennis Dugan
Starring | Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph, Maria Bello, Nick Swardson
Why? Sure, the movie doubled its production budget, but this movie should not exist. Adam Sandler keeps peddling these mediocre films and audiences keep flocking to see them. It’s mind boggling. Sandler has relocated his family to the small town where he grew up. Hilarity ensues as the parents try to handle one of the craziest days in the life of any child: the last day of school. This movie will do well, despite all reasoning to the contrary.
Release date | July 12
Starring | Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Ron Perlman, Robert Kazinsky, Max Martini, Clifton Collins Jr., Burn Gorman, Larry Joe Campbell, Brad William Henke, Diego Klattenhoff
Kaiju, monsters from the depths of the ocean have attacked the Earth. In response, humanity builds giant robots known as Jaegers to defend the world. However, even the Jaegers prove insufficient, and it’s up to an old pilot and young trainee piloting a seemingly obsolete Jaeger to save the planet from destruction. There are two words that sufficiently sum up why this movie is worth your time: giant robots. That’s a summer movie if ever there was one.
Release date | July 17
Director | David Soren
Starring | Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Ken Jeong, Maya Rudolph, Ben Schwartz, Snoop Lion, Samuel L. Jackson
DreamWorks loves an underdog story don’t they? Here’s one about a snail that wants to be fast, just like his idol Guy Gagne, an Indianapolis 500 multi-winner. Naturally, his love of speed ostracizes him from his snail community, most notably his brother. When a series of unforeseeable events grants Turbo the speed who so badly desires, he sets out on a quest to take on the best IndyCar racers in the world. It’s another fun one for the kids, and it’s DreamWorks, so it has tons of potential. Why not?
Release date | July 19
Director | Dean Parisot
Starring | Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Byung Hun Lee, Brian Cox, Neal McDonough
The world’s greatest retired secret agents are back, but this time they’re after a nuclear device. They’ll have to wade through myriad assassins, terrorists and corrupt politicians that all want the device to further their own personal agendas. Will this band of old school agents be able to stop this nuclear threat in face of overwhelming odds? Probably, or else how are they going to make “Red 3”? The first one was just so-so, but you could do worse things with your money than buy this ticket.
Release date | July 26
Director | James Mangold
Starring | Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Hiroyuki Sanada, Hal Yamanouchi, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Brian Tee
The Wolverine, played with the usual ferocity by Hugh Jackman, is now living in Japan. Approached by a man he saved from certain death, he’s offered a chance at mortality. While he’s trying to decide which path to choose, he’ll have to deal with all kinds of difficulties and enemies, each of which stretches the Wolverine to the very brink. Hopefully this film fares better than the first Wolverine endeavor. This one gets a hesitant nod.
Release date | July 31
Director | Raja Gosnell
Starring | Neil Patrick Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Jayma Mays, Sofia Vergara, Hank Azaria, Katy Perry, Jonathan Winters, Christina Ricci, JB Smoove, George Lopez, Anton Yelchin, John Oliver
The problem with kids’ movies is that even when they’re terrible, they still do well. Sometimes it’s the only thing parents can take their kids to see. For example, take the first Smurfs movie which was awful in every conceivable way, save for the casting of Neil Patrick Harris, who is back for the sequel. Gargamel creates some bad Smurf imitations called Naughties to harness their Smurf essence. However, they’re not real Smurfs, and only Smurfette knows how to make them real Smurfs, so Gargamel kidnaps her. Naturally, the Smurfs have to rescue her. Unless you have kids, don’t waste your time here.
Release date | Aug. 2
Director | Baltasar Kormakur
Starring | Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton, Bill Paxton, Edward James Olmos, James Marsden
Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington play two men from different government organizations that are both undercover in the same criminal organization. When they attempt to infiltrate a Mexican drug cartel and fail, they’re disavowed by their government and thrown under the proverbial bus. Now everyone wants to either take them down or take them out. They’ll have to use the street skills they’ve picked up while undercover to stay one step ahead of their opposition. Wahlberg and Washington in the same movie? Sold.
‘Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters’
Release date | Aug. 7
Director | Thor Freudenthal
Starring | Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Douglas Smith, Mary Birdsong, Yvette Nicole Brown, Missi Pyle, Nathan Fillion, Anthony Head, Paloma Kwiatkowski, Leven Rambin, Stanley Tucci, Robert Maillet, Zoe Aggeliki
Wasn’t the first Percy Jackson film a commercial flop? It didn’t even match its production budget. Despite being a financial failure, here is the second installment in the Percy Jackson franchise. This time Percy and his friends are in search of the Golden Fleece, which is located in the Sea of Monsters, better known as the Bermuda Triangle. They’ll have to fight zombies, monsters, and other evil creatures along the way. There’s not much else out there on this movie, but based on what they’ve offered so far, it doesn’t sound like this will be any better than the first try.
Release date | Aug. 9
Director | Neill Blomkamp
Starring | Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Diego Luna, William Fichtner, Wagner Moura
Being as up front as possible, you’re looking at potentially the best movie of the entire summer. In the year 2154, there are two classes of humanity. First, there are the rich, who live on a utopian space station known as Elysium. Then, there are the poor, who live on a crime-infested Earth. When his wife becomes ill, Max (Damon) undertakes a mission to get to Elysium and save not only his wife’s life, but potentially millions of others as well. The trailer makes this movie look like an epic, and considering it’s directed by the man responsible for “District 9,” it very well may be.