by Theo Sloan
May 28, 2022
The summer movie season is, in many ways, the most important time of the year for Hollywood. It’s the period of time when the majority of each year’s large, expensive blockbusters are released into theaters and, if all goes according to plan, is the time when movie theaters make enough money in order to stay afloat for the following year. While the summer movie season does not always have a lot to offer in terms of high quality cinema and smaller, artsier films, it does feature a lot of high-profile crowd-pleasers and plays a frustratingly important part in a movie theater’s economy. The summer movie season runs from the first blockbuster of the late spring to the last blockbuster of late summer. Usually, this means that it runs from May to September, although mileage certainly can vary depending on the year. In this article, I will give all of you what I have been giving myself for several years: a semi-comprehensive rundown of what this year’s summer season release calendar looks like, as well as some brief thoughts on which of these movies I am most excited for.
Author’s Note: This article was initially written in late April, and two of the predictions I made have already turned out to be incorrect. I have left them as is to prove that I am not infallible and am very capable of just straight up being wrong about whether a movie is good, but I will also add a brief paragraph pointing out whether my predictions were right or not for the movies that have already been released.
May 6—Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
In a shocking turn of events, this year’s summer season is being kicked off by yet another entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Multiverse of Madness is being billed as involving more horror elements than most Marvel movies do, and even has Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead, Spider-Man) signed on as its director. It is maintaining the PG-13 that Marvel is known for, however, so I wouldn’t exactly go in expecting something on the level of Raimi’s other work in the horror genre, and especially nothing as graphic as his NC-17-rated The Evil Dead.
Am I excited for the Multiverse of Madness? Not really. If a weekend rolls around in which I have nothing else to do, there’s a small chance I might go see it, but there’s nothing that I’ve seen in the marketing for this film that does anything to set it apart from your standard Marvel formula, which is a formula that I am more than tired of at this point. I’m sure Benedict Cumberbatch will be good in it, as will his co-stars, but unless I hear exceedingly good things about this one, I’ll probably just wait for its digital release.
As it turned out, I was dead wrong about this one. I saw it in IMAX and had a great time. It’s one of the best movies the MCU has seen in a long time, and even though that’s a field with some exceedingly flaccid competition, it’s also enough for me to recommend you see it on the biggest screen you can access. The visual spectacle is truly worth it for this one.
Firestarter is the latest Stephen King adaptation, and I have to admit that, despite my better judgment, I’m pretty excited for this one. Stephen King adaptations have been fairly hit or miss as of late, with some turning out fantastic (IT, Doctor Sleep), and some falling flat on their stupid faces (Pet Sematary (2019), It Chapter Two). What makes me excited for Firestarter is a combination of a premise that I really like—a dark twist on the concept of superpowers—and its trailer doing a really good job selling me on it.
The movie’s main star is Ryan Kierra Armstrong, who has been good in a variety of projects in the past, and it’s director Keith Thomas’ second feature film. While it’s certainly possible that the end project will be an enormous misfire, I’m a sucker for this kind of horror premise, and it’s very likely that I’ll check it out opening weekend.
Once again, I was dead wrong. This movie is currently sitting at a staggering 13% Critic Score on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 48% Audience Score. Pretty much everyone agrees that this movie sucks, and I will not be seeing it in theaters under any circumstances.
Men is A24’s latest horror offering, and even before I did some basic research, seeing A24’s logo on the trailer in the movie theater was reason enough for me to be excited. The trailer also looked really interesting, and all of that will likely be enough to get me to see it. This movie is directed and written by Alex Garland, the brilliant film-maker behind Ex Machina and Annihilation, two of the best thrillers I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. He can do the introspective thinking and theme, he can do the thrills and the scares, and I am so very excited to see what he’ll bring to the table this time around.
Early critic reviews suggest that I’m probably right about this one. I’m really excited for it!
May 27—Top Gun: Maverick
Top Gun is a mediocre 1986 action flick starring Tom Cruise, so naturally it’s getting a sequel more than thirty-five years later. This movie will likely be terrible, and it will likely make an annoyingly large amount of money, thus perpetuating Hollywood’s endless cycle of pumping out soulless continuations and reboots of anything that existed more than ten years ago and was moderately profitable. As is the norm for these things, the director is a nobody with nothing successful or good to his name, as are the writers. I will certainly not be going to see this, and I would recommend that you all stay away from it too. If you want some mediocre Tom Cruise action, either watch the original or Mission Impossible 2.
The weekend of the third of June is a pretty sleepy theatrical week, but of the few things coming out, Watcher is by far the most interesting-looking one. It appears to be some sort of psychological thriller about a woman who feels as though she’s being stalked by someone who lives in an apartment building adjacent to hers, and presumably thrilling situations ensue. I doubt I’ll go see it, but it looks moderately entertaining, and maybe I’ll check it out on digital once it leaves theaters. This film is Chloe Okuno’s directorial debut and stars nobody who’s a household name. Check it out if you have some spare time.
June 10—Jurassic World Dominion
On the tenth of June, whether we like it or not, we will once again return to the world of Jurassic Park. Colin Trevorrow is returning to the director’s chair and will attempt to bring the Jurassic World Trilogy to a conclusion. All the big stars are returning this time, including Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Neil, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum. Will this movie finally crack the formula for making a good Jurassic Park sequel, or will it take a further dump on the already mangled legacy of Spielberg’s original masterpiece? Either way, I will most definitely not be buying a ticket to find out, because as far as I’m concerned, the only way we can get the studio to stop pumping out these godforsaken sequels is to stop going to see them.
Pixar’s newest animated children’s film is hitting theaters on the seventeenth of June, and I’m moderately excited for it. Everything I’ve seen makes me think that it’ll be a fun, if unnecessary, science fiction romp, and I’m excited to see how Chris Evans holds up as a voice actor. With that being said, I doubt it will live up to the heights of Pixar’s all-time classics and am expecting a movie more on par with Monsters University and A Bug’s Life rather than another Soul or WALL-E. Still, I’ll probably take my younger brother to see it, and I’ll likely have a reasonably fun time with it.
June 24—The Black Phone and Elvis
There are two interesting-looking movies hitting theaters on the twenty-fourth of June, so I figured I’d just cover them both. The Black Phone is a horror film about child abduction starring Ethan Hawke. It looks pretty gritty and creepy, and it’s directed by Scott Derrickson (Sinister, Doctor Strange), so it’ll likely at the very least bring something to the table.
Elvis, on the other hand, is a biopic about Elvis Presley starring Tom Hanks. It’s about as far from The Black Phone as you can get in terms of tone, but it looks like it’ll be reasonably fun. It’s yet another offering from writer/director Baz Luhrmann, who has worked on a variety of interesting projects in the past, many of which have a fair bit of critical acclaim, so I’d say this has a reasonable chance of being good.
July 1—Minions: The Rise of Gru
Winning the 2022 most unnecessary film of the year award (barely beating out Jurassic World Dominion) is this Minions sequel! This movie will likely be terrible and will also probably make an ungodly amount of money if the first one is anything to go by. I will, of course, do everything in my power to protect my younger brother from this movie, as Minions is the rare movie that has the capacity to make anyone who views it a stupider and less critical person, and… I have nothing else to say. End my suffering now, please.
July 8—Thor: Love and Thunder
Thor: Love and Thunder is Marvel’s second blockbuster of the year, and I’m looking forward to it far more than Multiverse of Madness. Taika Waititi is back in the director’s chair, and from the looks of things, he will probably deliver another well-made action comedy. He gets to play with the Guardians of the Galaxy this time as well, and the result will probably be a fun romp in the Marvel Universe, directed by one of my favorite directors working today.
July 15—Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank and Bed Rest
In a week in which literally nothing interesting is coming to theaters, I’ve selected the two least uninteresting movies I could find to talk about. The first one is an animated flick created by Nickelodeon (among other animation studios) and it looks like hot garbage. They somehow got Samuel L. Jackson to sign on as a voice actor, among an ensemble cast of people I’ve never heard of (not that that’s necessarily a bad thing when it comes to voice talent), and everything about the movie leads me to believe that the end result will be nothing short of terrible.
Bed Rest, on the other hand, is an indie psychological thriller, created by first time writer/director Lori Evans Taylor. This movie probably won’t get a wide release, nor will it pick up all that much traction, but if it does come out in an area near you, it could be worth checking out. It will certainly be better than Paws of Fury.
Nope is Jordan Peele’s (Get Out, Us) next horror movie, and it’ll apparently have sci-fi elements incorporated into it. That is literally all I need to know to be sold on it, and that’s all you should need as well. Peele is a genius, and this movie will probably be spectacular.
July 29—Bullet Train
Bullet Train looks to be a fun action-thriller set aboard a train. It involves some sort of fight between five assassins, and it looks like it’ll be a fun romp. Will it be good? This is still a long way from release, but there are normally one or two low-profile action thrillers that come out each year which turn out to be secretly brilliant, and this could be one of them—who knows? It’ll be more entertaining than DC League of Super-Pets, that’s for sure.
Since first writing this, Bullet Train was delayed by a week. It will now be opening on August 5.
August 5—Secret Headquarters
Nothing much of note is coming out this week, but of the ones currently listed, the one that interests me most is Secret Headquarters. It’s apparently a sci-fi/adventure movie about a kid, and it has Owen Wilson in it, so maybe it’s a good movie?
Bullet Train’s release has been moved to this week also.
August 12—The Man from Toronto
The Man from Toronto appears to be an action/comedy/thriller about a deadly assassin and an idiot who are mistaken for each other at an Airbnb. It honestly doesn’t sound great, but it’s literally the only thing releasing on the weekend of August 12, so there it is.
Beast appears to be a thriller, starring Idris Elba, in which a man and his two kids go to a game reserve in South Africa and are hunted by bloodthirsty lions. There’s very little information out about the movie besides that, and just judging by the premise, it will probably be rather bad.
Samaritan looks to be a non-corporatized superhero flick starring Sylvester Stallone, and if his other recent movies are anything to go by, it will probably not be very good. I would advise not going to theaters to see this movie, unless the reviews roll in and it is secretly incredible, in which case I will apologize to both Stallone and to director Julius Avery.
Not much worth talking about is coming out this September, but one notable theatrical event that will take place is the rerelease of James Cameron’s Avatar. It will hit theaters on the twenty-third of September, and it is presumably rereleasing to get people excited for the upcoming Avatar: The Way of Water, which will hit theaters this December. So keeping all of this in mind, this year’s Summer Season will run from May 6 to September 23.
My Most Anticipated Movies
A lot of my most anticipated movies of this summer fall in the earlier portion of the season. Firestarter and Men are both early contenders, and I bet Thor: Love and Thunder will be a ton of fun. I am also incredibly excited for Jordan Peele’s Nope, and I think Bullet Train has the potential to be a fine thriller. All in all, there have most definitely been summer seasons with more to look forward to, but this one isn’t too shabby either.
My Least Anticipated Movies
As you could probably tell from my commentary on some of these releases, there are some movies coming out this summer that I really don’t need to see. Minions: The Rise of Gru may very well end up being the worst animated movie of the year, and Jurassic World Dominion will likely be every bit as soulless and mediocre as the previous two movies in its trilogy. Beyond that, Top Gun: Maverick is another movie with no objective reason to exist, but I’m not as angry about that one because I have no prior investment in the original Top Gun.
I hope that you enjoyed this rundown on this summer’s theatrical release schedule as well as some of my thoughts on the big names, and if nothing else, that you have more potentially interesting movies on your radar than you did before. I hope you all have a fantastic summer, and I will be back with you next year with some more movie reviews.