Summer Movie Preview 2019: 27 Films We Can't Wait to See
By John Boone
Photos Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios / Sony Pictures / Artwork ETonline
It used to be that the year was split into three release windows: The first months were where studios would dump their duds, the summer was for action movies, studio comedies and tentpole blockbusters, and the end of the year, from the start of the film festival circuit in the fall through the new year, was for awards season releases.
Now, an Oscar frontrunner could hit theaters in February, a comic book movie might come out at Christmas and a flop can happen at any point in between. The proof is in this summer's pudding, with a wide-ranging slate boasting horror flicks and period pieces, indie darlings and, of course, superhero movies: From Spider-Man to the X-Men to Brightburn.
With seemingly more releases than ever, we've rounded up all of the titles you absolutely must put on your calendar this summer:
Detective Pikachu (Out Now)
Summer doesn't start until you've heard Ryan Reynolds' voice coming out of an electric mouse in a deerstalker cap. Come for the adorable Bulbasaurs and Jigglypuffs; come back to unwind all the twisty twists and make sense of that fully bonkers ending. Welcome to the age of live-action Pokémon.
Directed by: Rob Letterman Starring: Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Ken Watanabe, Rita Ora and Ryan Reynolds
Retelling one of Disney's most beloved stories is a tall order, for which Guy Ritchie has enlisted a hot Aladdin, a hot Jafar and a blue Will Smith as the rapping, wish-granting Genie. (We have a consensus on the hotness, however, there are sure to be a lot of opinions on the Genie part.)
Directed by: Guy Ritchie Starring: Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari and Will Smith
Booksmart (May 24)
Calling Booksmart the "female Superbad" is a lazy comparison. Sure, there are similarities -- two outsiders decide to cap off their high school careers with the party of a lifetime – but Olivia Wilde's directorial debut is both more screwball and more heartfelt and a boffo delight on its own merits.
Directed by: Olivia Wilde Starring: Beanie Feldstein, Kaitlyn Dever, Billie Lourd, Noah Galvin and Jason Sudeikis
Brightburn (May 24)
In the current glut of superhero movies, yours has to have a hook. Brightburn's is, What if Superman was a supervillain? James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) is the producer behind this horror flick, about a baby who crash lands in a cornfield and grows up to use his super strength and laser eyes to wreak havoc.
Directed by: David Yarovesky Starring: Jackson A. Dunn, Elizabeth Banks and David Denman
Always Be My Maybe (May 31 on Netflix)
Ali Long once mentioned in an interview that she and Randall Park wanted to do a romantic comedy together. ("Our version of When Harry Met Sally.") The internet collectively responded, "I would like to see it." So Netflix made it, and thanks be to the rom-com gods, because Always Be My Maybe is everything you wanted it to be and more.
Directed by: Nahnatchka Khan Starring: Ali Wong, Randall Park, Michelle Buteau, Vivian Bang and Keanu Reeves
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (May 31)
If the biggest criticism of 2014's Godzilla was that there wasn’t enough Godzilla, the sequel doubles down with a handful of other kaiju: the three-headed Ghidorah, the fire demon Rodan, and the giant moth, Mothra. Cities will be leveled. Knees will be bent.
Directed by: Michael Dougherty Starring: Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, Sally Hawkins and Ken Watanabe
Taron Egerton not only steps into Elton John's bedazzled platform shoes for this biopic, but he does all of his own singing, too. And unlike a certain other movie about a music legend, Rocketman is here and it's queer so get used to it. It's Elton John, after all.
Directed by: Dexter Fletcher Starring: Taron Egerton, Richard Madden, Jamie Bell and Bryce Dallas Howard
Ma (May 31)
Octavia Spencer goes full tilt as the titular Ma, unleashing hell on a group of teenagers she invites to party at her home. If you're anything like me, you've been walking around shouting, "Don't make me drink alone! Don't make me drink alone!" since the trailer first dropped.
Directed by: Tate Taylor Starring: Octavia Spencer, Diana Silvers, McKaley Miller and Juliette Lewis
Dark Phoenix marks the end of the X-Men franchise as we know it, the final film starring the Jennifer Lawrence class of mutants spun off of 2011's First Class and the last made before Marvel Studios inevitably reboots them within its cinematic universe. (Unless The New Mutants ever sees the light of day, that is...)
Directed by: Simon Kinberg Starring: Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain
Mindy Kaling makes dreams come true. In this case, she's created a world in which a woman is the host of a long-running late-night talk show. Moreover, that woman is Emma Thompson. (Kaling co-stars as the show's first-ever female writer.) What a dream.
Directed by: Nisha Ganatra Starring: Emma Thompson, Mindy Kaling, Hugh Dancy, Denis O'Hare and John Early
The Dead Don't Die (June 14)
The most ambitious crossover event in the Jim Jarmusch universe: The director brings his stars from Broken Flowers (Bill Murray), Only Lovers Left Alive (Tilda Swinton) and Paterson (Adam Driver) together to fend off a zombie invasion. Steve Buscemi and Selena Gomez are enlisted for good measure.
Written and Directed by: Jim Jarmusch Starring: Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Rosie Perez, Iggy Pop and Selena Gomez
Seven years after the Will Smith-Tommy Lee Jones trilogy wrapped up, the Men in Black franchise goes global with new agents, new missions and new memories of extraterrestrial encounters to erase. Plus, if Avengers: Endgame didn't satiate your Chris Hemsworth-Tessa Thompson needs, you'll get your fix here.
Directed by: F. Gary Gray Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Emma Thompson and Liam Neeson
Murder Mystery (June 14 on Netflix)
Sandler's latest Netflix offering-- Wait, hear us out! This one is from longtime Workaholics collaborator Kyle Newacheck and looks like a send-up of Agatha Christie, about an American couple who are invited to spend a weekend on a yacht and end up the prime suspects in a billionaire's murder.
Directed by: Kyle Newacheck Starring: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Luke Evans, Gemma Arterton and Luis Gerardo Mendez
Shaft (June 14)
Shaft is the third film in the Shaft franchise to be titled Shaft. This one was co-written by Black-ish creator Kenya Barris and sees the return of Richard Roundtree and Sam Jackson as private eyes John Shaft and John Shaft II, respectively, along with the introduction of Jessie T. Usher (Independence Day: Resurgence) as John Shaft Jr.
Directed by: Tim Story Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Jessie T. Usher, Richard Roundtree and Regina Hall
Toy Story 4 (June 21)
Toy Story 3 came out seven years ago but in many ways this fourquel is more than 20 years in the making: Because Bo Peep is back, returning to the franchise with a whole new look and a new attitude and reuniting with Woody and Buzz for their latest adventure.
Directed by: Josh Cooley Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Christina Hendricks and Keanu Reeves
If you're looking for the exact opposite of Toy Story 4, here it is. The Chucky franchise (did you know there are seven Chucky films already? With one as recently as 2017?) starts anew with this remake of the first film. This time, Mark Hamill lends his voice to the demonic doll.
Directed by: Lars Klevberg Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Gabriel Bateman, Brian Tyree Henry and Mark Hamill
Ophelia (June 28)
This is a different long, long time ago for Daisy Ridley, playing a version of Ophelia who isn't as mad as you've been led to believe. The movie's trailer would have you believe it's a straightforward Shakespeare adaptation, but Ophelia is cheekier and a whole lot juicier than Hamlet ever was.
Directed by: Claire McCarthy Starring: Daisy Ridley, Naomi Watts, Clive Owen, George MacKay and Tom Felton
Yesterday (June 28)
Here's an absolutely wild premise for you: A struggling musician finds himself living in a world where nobody else can remember The Beatles. So, he passes off "Hey Jude" and the rest as his own and skyrockets to fame. Ed Sheeran co-stars as himself.
Directed by: Danny Boyle Starring: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Kate McKinnon and Ed Sheeran
Midsommar (July 3)
There is perhaps no film I'm more excited for than writer-director Ari Aster's sophomore effort. (If you saw his debut, last year's traumatizingly good Hereditary, you'll know why.) For Midsommar, he's tapped Florence Pugh to fend off a Scandinavian cult during their solstice deathfest.
Written and Directed by: Ari Aster Starring: Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper and Will Poulter
Endgame was as much an ending to Marvel's cinematic universe as it was a new beginning. In the first film set in a post-Endgame world, everybody's favorite neighborhood Spider-Man will grapple with the loss of his mentor and the emergence of a multiverse, elemental monsters besieging Europe and a mysterious magician named Mysterio.
Directed by: Jon Watts Starring: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders and Jake Gyllenhaal
The Farewell (July 12)
They say, write what you know. For Lulu Wang, that is the time her family learned that her grandmother had cancer, decided to keep it a secret from her, and instead planned a wedding in China so that everyone could gather together one last time.
Written and Directed by: Lulu Wang Starring: Awkwafina, Shuzhen Zhou, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin and Lu Hong
Think Collateral, except it's 2019, so it takes place in an Uber. The Tom Cruise role is now a grizzled detective played by Dave Bautista, while Kumail Nanjiani assumes the Jamie Foxx part of the driver who is unwittingly entangled in a night of mayhem. Also, it's a comedy.
Directed by: Michael Dowse Starring: Kumail Nanjiani, Dave Bautista, Natalie Morales and Karen Gillan
The Lion King (July 19)
Jon Favreau (who previously helmed Disney's live-action Jungle Book) has promised his take on The Lion King will be familiar but not the same. For my money, needing to know anything beyond the fact that Beyoncé will sing "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" feels gratuitous.
Directed by: Jon Favreau Starring: Donald Glover, Beyoncé, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, Chiwetel Ejiofor and James Earl Jones
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (July 26)
No one knows what Tarantino's ninth film is about, exactly, except that Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt play a fading Western star and a Hollywood stunt double, respectively, and Charles Manson and Sharon Tate factor in somehow. Knowing Tarantino, nothing will unfold as expected.
Written and Directed by: Quentin Tarantino Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Al Pacino, Lena Dunham and Damon Herriman
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (Aug. 2)
Candy asses need not tune in for The Fast and the Furious series' first spinoff movie, centered on the odd-couple pairing of Dwayne Johnson's Agent Hobbs and Jason Statham's mercenary Deckard Shaw. Engines will be revved. The world will be saved.
Directed by: David Leitch Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Vanessa Kirby, Eiza González, Helen Mirren and Idris Elba
The Kitchen (Aug. 9)
It was only a matter of time before someone put Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish in a movie together -- the twist is that it's a '70s-set crime drama about the wives of New York gangsters who take over their business dealings after their husbands are locked up.
Directed by: Andrea Berloff Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Elisabeth Moss, Tiffany Haddish, Domhnall Gleeson, Common and Margo Martindale
Good Boys (Aug. 16)
For everyone who couldn't wait to hear the kid from Room say the F-word, there's Good Boys, about three sixth-graders who learn about the birds and bees the hard way -- which in this case, involves sex toys, stolen drugs and running from the police.
Directed by: Gene Stupnitsky Starring: Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, Brady Noon, Molly Gordon, Will Forte and Retta