The summer of 2016 had many big hits at the box office. Now, the upcoming summer movie season this year looks to have another big wave of new films vying to be the next billion-dollar hit. In this preview, many of these will be highlighted. Some look to be spectacular, others look decidedly less impressive, while more still are up in the air.
The Mummy (June 9)
The latest re-imagining of the Universal Horror character of the same name, the film will be taking different route from the campy version with Brendan Fraser as the lead and will instead be going a darker route with Tom Cruise in the lead role. While this could open up a new way of looking at this series, it is also the second attempt to create a shared “cinematic universe” around the Universal Horror franchise after the critical and commercial failure of “Dracula Untold.” Many fans are also skeptical of the darker and edgier take on a franchise that has often been associated with lighthearted cheesiness. Still, the prospect still makes it a film to keep an eye on.
Cars 3 (June 16)
Even though the first “Cars” film had a decent reception in 2006, its sequel in 2011 became the first and so far only Pixar film to be roundly panned by critics (39% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and remains highly polarizing among fans of the studio. In this film, Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) must reclaim his title after he begins losing steam to a new generation of race cars. The first teaser also depicts a presumably darker story, showing a shockingly brutal crash and a more realistic color palette. Regardless of how well it’s received, it should still do fairly well at the box office as well as sell a large amount of model car tie-ins.
Transformers: The Last Knight (June 23)
The latest film in the live-action adaptation of Hasbro’s “Transformers” cartoons and action figures sees not only the return of previous actors such as Josh Duhamel and John Tuturro alongside Mark Wahlberg, but also newcomers both human and machine alike. While the series’ critical response has been synonymous with summer movie fluff for ten years; they have made billions of dollars at the box office and in toy sales alike. As Optimus Prime (voice of Peter Cullen) looks for his creator and clashes with a reborn Megatron (voice of James Spader), Hasbro potentially wants to make this film one of 14 future sequels as well as their own equivalent to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (including a crossover with the “GI Joe” series), even with Michael Bay wanting to leave the series after this film. Even if the story may pale in comparison to a typical Marvel Studios film, it should prove a harmless enough diversion and vessel for youth and nerd product positioning all the same.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (July 21)
Director Luc Besson will direct this adaptation of the landmark graphic novel of the same name. Featuring a host of eye-popping special effects and young leads Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevinge, it looks to be another promising science fiction film a year full of them. The question is, given the rocky track record of distributors STX/Europacorp, a massive budget of $220 million (the same amount as Marvel’s “The Avengers”) and how the IP is not the most well-known among the public; how will the film perform? Will it be a surprise hit that becomes the next “Star Wars” or the latest misfire after “John Carter?” Only time will tell.
Preview by Steven Pryor