Film and TV

The 26 most anticipated movies of the summer

The surf is up this summer, bringing what board riders might call a “set” of cinematic waves to movie theaters: Two Kevin Bacon movies! Two Shyamalan movies — a father and daughter affair! And two Kevin Costner movies!

But as in every other summer, the real déjà vu will hit you in the tidal wave of sequels, mashups, remakes, reboots, retreads, adaptations and reimaginings crashing on the shore, from franchises as disparate as Beverly Hills Cop, Bad Boys, Inside Out, Despicable Me, A Quiet Place, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Alien and Beetlejuice. It’s the time of year when fanboys and fangirls finally get the fixes they’ve been craving — sometimes for years.

Dive in to our guide to the summer’s hottest films. There’s something for everyone this year, including, for the mavericks among us, more than a few one-offs: stories that showcase originality, verve, surprise and eccentricity.

Opening dates are subject to change.

1. Young Woman and the Sea

(May 31, PG)

Starring: Daisy Ridley.

What’s the story? Ridley (“Sometimes I Think About Dying”) plays American competitive swimmer Gertrude “Trudy” Ederle, who in 1926 at age 20 braved freezing waters, jellyfish and unpredictable currents to swim from France to England, becoming the first woman to swim the English Channel.


What’s the buzz? If the story sounds a bit familiar, it comes in the wake of “Nyad,” the 2023 sports drama about Diana Nyad’s swim from Cuba to Florida at age 64. That biopic garnered Annette Bening an Oscar nomination for her performance in the title role.

2. The Watchers

(June 7, PG-13)

Starring: Dakota Fanning, Olwen Fouéré, Georgina Campbell, Oliver Finnegan.

What’s the story? Based on a 2021 novel by emerging Irish writer A.M. Shine — a practitioner of literary horror, not to be confused with R.L. Stine of “Goosebumps” fame — this supernatural thriller centers on a traveler (Fanning) who is stranded in the rural Irish woods. After stumbling upon a bunker, she finds three strangers (Fouéré, Campbell and Finnegan), all of whom are being watched by unseen entities from the other side of a large picture window.

What’s the buzz? Writer/director Ishana Shyamalan, the 23-year-old daughter of horror auteur and producer M. Night Shyamalan, makes her feature debut. The younger Shyamalan’s résumé incudes short films and music videos — mostly for her sister, R&B singer Saleka.

3. Bad Boys: Ride or Die

(June 7, R)

Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Joe Pantoliano, Paola Núñez, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Tiffany Haddish.

What’s the story? The fourth installment of the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced buddy/action/comedy franchise follows a wisecracking team of veteran detectives who are set up while trying to clear the name of their captain (Pantoliano), who has been accused of corruption involving a Cuban drug cartel.

What’s the buzz? When co-directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah took over directing duties from master-of-the-action-film Michael Bay for the third installment of the franchise in 2020, they injected a shot of Botox into its saggy storyline. They hope to do it again.

4. Inside Out 2

(June 14, PG)

Starring: Amy Poehler, Lewis Black, Phyllis Smith, Tony Hale, Liza Lapira, Maya Hawke, Ayo Edebiri, Paul Walter Hauser, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Kensington Tallman.

What’s the story? Pixar’s Oscar-winning animated 2015 feature “Inside Out” personified the conflicting emotions of Riley, an 11-year-old girl struggling to adjust to life in a new city. Poehler voiced Joy, Black embodied anger and Smith was Sadness. The sequel adds several new characters to the mix: Anxiety (Hawke); Envy (Edebiri); Ennui (Exarchopoulos) and Embarrassment (Hauser).

What’s the buzz? As Pixar’s “Turning Red” did with the theme of menstruation, this new film tackles the complexities of growing up — and all that entails. “Inside Out” ended with 12-year-old Riley’s emotional control center getting outfitted with a new button labeled “Puberty.” Watch out: Chapter 2 picks up with her at 13.

5. Tuesday

(June 14, R)

Starring: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lola Petticrew, Arinzé Kene.

What’s the story? The debut of Croatian-born, London-based writer-director Daina O. Pusic is an allegorical meditation on death and acceptance starring Louis-Dreyfus as the mother of a chronically ill daughter (Petticrew).

What’s the buzz? Early reviews have praised Louis-Dreyfus’s and Petticrew’s performances, while also singling out that of Kene, a Nigerian-born actor, singer and playwright who voices Death. The character arrives in the form of a CGI talking macaw that can change size. The creature was created by visual effects supervisors Mike Stillwell and Andrew Simmonds, whose résumés includes such blockbusters as “Avengers: Endgame.”


6. Kinds of Kindness

(June 21, R)

Starring: Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Jesse Plemons, Margaret Qualley, Hong Chau, Joe Alwyn, Mamoudou Athie, Hunter Schafer.

What’s the story? The latest from Yorgos Lanthimos is an anthology film structured as three separate yet interconnected narratives starring most of the main cast in multiple roles. It’s a reunion for the filmmaker and two stars of “Poor Things” (Stone and Dafoe), each of whom does triple duty here. So do Plemons, Chau, Alwyn and Athie. Qualley, it should be noted, plays four characters, two of whom are twins.

What’s the buzz? If watching the confusing trailer leaves you wondering what the film is about, you’re not alone. After reading the script, Chau and Athie admitted to Vanity Fair that they didn’t understand it. Plemons put it more bluntly, characterizing his reaction as, “Oh, my God. What?” The actor said he needed to read the script “30 more times.”

7. The Bikeriders

(June 21, R)

Starring: Tom Hardy, Austin Butler, Jodie Comer, Michael Shannon, Mike Faist.

What’s the story? The basis of this period biker drama is a seminal book of black-and-white photography by Danny Lyon, first published in 1968, about Chicago’s Outlaws Motorcycle Club. The fictionalized story follows the Vandals, a Midwestern biker gang that devolves into a criminal enterprise.

What’s the buzz? “The Bikeriders” reunites writer-director Jeff Nichols with Shannon, who starred in the filmmaker’s “Midnight Special” and “Take Shelter.”


8. Thelma

(June 21, PG-13)

Starring: June Squibb, Richard Roundtree, Clark Gregg, Parker Posey.

What’s the story? Squibb, a national treasure at 94, plays a woman who absconds from her nursing home on a motorized scooter on a mission of revenge after she is ripped off in a telephone phishing attempt.

What’s the buzz? Scammers seem to be having a cultural moment: Jason Statham just starred in “The Beekeeper,” playing a brooding loner who opens a can of whup-ass on the operator of a call center that has bilked a friend.

9. A Quiet Place: Day One

(June 28, not yet rated)

Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou, Alex Wolff.

What’s the story? This prequel about alien predators that track humans by sound is set before the action of both the 2018 original — which opening titles told us began on Day 89 of the invasion, before jumping to Day 472 — and its 2020 sequel. Fans might get some answers to the franchise’s lingering mysteries, such as: What the heck is going on with the Marina People?

What’s the buzz? Michael Sarnoski, director of the critically acclaimed 2021 film “Pig,” starring Nicolas Cage, directs.

10. Horizon: An American Saga

(June 28: Chapter 1/Aug. 16: Chapter 2, R)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Sienna Miller, Sam Worthington, Jena Malone, Abbey Lee, Michael Rooker, Danny Huston, Luke Wilson, Isabelle Fuhrman, Jeff Fahey, Will Patton, Tatanka Means.

What’s the story? Set to be released in two parts, this saga of the American West, set during the years leading up to and after the Civil War, is a longtime labor of love for director, co-writer and star Costner.

What’s the buzz? The scale of the story is epic. (Chapter 1 alone is three hours long.) Since its germination in 1988 as a conventional three-act western, the story has morphed and expanded. The saga now extends to four chapters, and at Cannes, Costner pledged to resume filming Chapter 3 and continue “as far as my money takes me.”


11. Janet Planet

(June 28, PG-13)

Starring: Julianne Nicholson, Zoe Ziegler, Sophie Okonedo, Elias Koteas, Will Patton.

What’s the story? An 11-year-old girl (Ziegler) vies for the attention of her mother (Nicholson) in a coming-of-age tale told in three chapters, each one focusing on the girl’s perceived rivals: a boyfriend (Patton), an old friend of her mom (Okonedo) and the leader of a cultlike art colony (Koteas).

What’s the buzz? Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Annie Baker (“The Flick”) makes her screen debut as writer and director.

12. Despicable Me 4

(July 3, PG)

Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Joey King, Will Ferrell, Sofia Vergara, Stephen Colbert, Steve Coogan, Chloe Fineman, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Madison Skyy Polan.


What’s the story? Over the three previous films, criminal mastermind Felonius Gru (voice of Carell) has gradually mellowed. As the new film opens, he’s now happily married (to Wiig’s Lucy) with three adopted daughters (Cosgrove, Gaier and Polan) and a new baby boy. But a prison breakout by his nemesis (Ferrell) sends the family into hiding.

What’s the buzz? Ferrell has some experience playing a cartoon villain. He was the star of 2010′s “Megamind.”

13. Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F

(July 3 on Netflix, TV-MA)

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Taylour Paige, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kevin Bacon, Paul Reiser, Judge Reinhold, Bronson Pinchot.

What’s the story? Murphy’s streetwise Detroit cop returns to the titular land of the rich and famous, teaming up with a new partner (Gordon-Levitt) to uncover a conspiracy when his daughter’s (Paige) life is threatened.

What’s the buzz? If Will Smith and Martin Lawrence can play middle-aged action heroes (See “Bad Boys: Ride or Die,” above), so can Murphy. The actor admitted it wasn’t easy. “I’m not in my 20s anymore,” the 63-year-old told People magazine.

14. MaXXXine

(July 5, not yet rated)

Starring: Mia Goth, Elizabeth Debicki, Moses Sumney, Michelle Monaghan, Bobby Cannavale, Halsey, Lily Collins, Giancarlo Esposito, Kevin Bacon.

What’s the story? Set after the action of “X” and its prequel, “Pearl,” the final installment in director Ti West’s low-budget horror trilogy is set in 1985 Hollywood. Goth, the star of the first two films and a producer of this one, plays a young actress who is hoping to make the leap from porn to mainstream movies even as a serial killer known as the Night Stalker terrorizes Los Angeles.

What’s the buzz? The latest installment in West’s low-budget, retro-slasher trilogy exists in the same universe as his previous two films. (“X” took place during a 1970s porn shoot, and “Pearl,” set in 1918, is the origin story of “X’s” villain.) “A big part of the aesthetic of (’MaXXXine’) is the shiny parts of Hollywood (versus) the seedy parts of Hollywood,” he told Empire.

15. Fly Me to the Moon

(July 12, not yet rated)

Starring: Channing Tatum, Scarlett Johansson, Woody Harrelson, Ray Romano.

What’s the story? This period comedy is set during preparations for the 1969 Apollo 11 moon mission, but with a twist. Tatum’s mission director must cope with a bossy marketing whiz (Johansson) whose assignment to sell the project to the American public pivots when she is ordered to stage a backup landing in a TV studio in case the real one fails.

What’s the buzz? The legend that the moon landing was faked — possibly by Stanley Kubrick — has provided grist for the cinematic mill before. “Moonwalkers,” a 2015 comedy starring Rupert Grint of the Harry Potter films, was about just that.

16. Longlegs

(July 12, R)

Starring: Maika Monroe, Nicolas Cage.

What’s the story? Cage (“Renfield,” “Color Out of Space,” “Mom and Dad”) solidifies his claim as the king of indie horror, playing an FBI agent pursuing a serial killer in a case with occult overtones.

What’s the buzz? Osgood “Oz” Perkins — the son of actor Anthony Perkins and a filmmaker to watch since his debut, “The Blackcoat’s Daughter” — writes and directs.

17. Twisters

(July 19, not yet rated)

Starring: Glen Powell, Daisy Edgar-Jones, Anthony Ramos, Maura Tierney, Kiernan Shipka.

What’s the story? Shot in Tornado Alley — specifically Oklahoma — this disaster film doesn’t feature characters from “Twister.” (It’s less a continuation than a spiritual sequel.) Unlike the weather researchers of the 1996 film, gathering data to test a piece of weather tech, Powell’s tornado wrangler is a reckless social media obsessive, out for kicks (and followers).

What’s the buzz? Lee Isaac Chung, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker of “Minari,” directs from a screenplay by Mark L. Smith, a co-writer of “The Revenant.”

18. Sing Sing

(June 19, R)

Starring: Colman Domingo, Clarence Maclin, Sean Dino Johnson, Sean San José.

What’s the story? Domingo plays a prisoner creating theater with other incarcerated men.

What’s the buzz? Inspired by the arts program for the incarcerated Rehabilitation Through the Arts, the drama features a mix of professional actors and graduates of RTA, including Maclin, portraying a fictionalized version of himself.

19. Deadpool & Wolverine

(July 26, not yet rated)

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Hugh Jackman, Morena Baccarin, Stefan Kapicic, Rob Delaney, Brianna Hildebrand, Jennifer Garner, Emma Corrin.

What’s the story? Jackman’s brooding mutant, licking wounds both physical and emotional, teams up with Reynolds’s clown prince of snark to save the world — or, rather, a world. With the opening of myriad multiverses in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which world is anyone’s guess.

What’s the buzz? Marvel’s only major movie release this year, the cinematic pairing marks the characters’ official entry into the MCU. Disney’s acquisition of Twentieth Century Fox in 2019 allowed its subsidiary Marvel access to several previously off-limits characters, including these two.

20. Harold and the Purple Crayon

(Aug. 2, PG)

Starring: Zachary Levi, Lil Rel Howery, Benjamin Bottani, Jemaine Clement, Zooey Deschanel.

What’s the story? A cinematic sequel to the beloved 1955 picture book about a boy who has the ability to will a world into existence by drawing it, this combination of live action and animation features Levy as a grown-up version of the title character.

What’s the buzz? In one form or another, a movie version of Crockett Johnson’s book has been under consideration since the early 1990s, when Maurice Sendak — a protégé of Johnson’s — acquired the rights for his film production company. Some high-profile names have since been associated with the project, including Henry Selick, Spike Jonze and David O. Russell, before the project landed in the lap of Carlos Saldanha, director of “Ferdinand,” based on another classic children’s book.

21. Trap

(Aug. 9, not yet rated)

Starring: Josh Hartnett, Ariel Donoghue, Saleka Shyamalan, Hayley Mills.

What’s the story? Writer-director M. Night Shyamalan’s latest stars Hartnett and Donoghue as father and daughter. While attending a concert by a pop star (played by singer Saleka, Shyamalan’s daughter), Dad realizes that the venue has been surrounded by cops hoping to snare a serial killer. Shyamalan is known for his twists, but the trailer gives away a big one: Dad is the killer.

What’s the buzz? With “The Watchers,” directed by Ishana Shyamalan (another daughter, see above), this could be the summer of the Shyamalans.

22. Borderlands

(Aug. 9, not yet rated)

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Ariana Greenblatt, Florian Munteanu, Jamie Lee Curtis, Edgar Ramirez, Haley Bennett, Gina Gershon.

What’s the story? Horror auteur Eli Roth (“Thanksgiving”) co-wrote and directed this action comedy, based on the video game series in which bandits, mercenaries and other misfits search for an alien treasure on the planet of Pandora.

What’s the buzz? The gaming franchise has been widely acclaimed, with “Borderlands 2″ (2012) nominated for multiple year-end awards.

23. Alien: Romulus

(Aug. 16, not yet rated)

Starring: Cailee Spaeny, Isabela Merced, David Jonsson, Archie Renaux.

What’s the story? Taking place between the action of “Alien” and “Aliens,” the first and second films — while Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley sleeps through her decades-long stasis on the Nostromo — this seventh installment of the sci-fi franchise follows a new group of young space explorers encountering the titular xenomorphs.

What’s the buzz? Fede Álvarez, director of “Don’t Breathe,” a “tightly wound coil” of a horror film, directs.

24. The Crow

(Aug. 23, not yet rated)

Starring: Bill Skarsgard, FKA Twigs, Laura Birn, Danny Huston.

What’s the story? A dark reimagining of the original in which a murdered musician returns from the grave to avenge his own death and that of his fiancée, the new film stars Skarsgard in the role originated by Brandon Lee, who died during filming of the 1994 film.

What’s the buzz? This whole thing is pretty dark: James O’Barr’s 1989 comic book series, on which both movies are based, was inspired by the death of O’Barr’s fiancée.

25. Blink Twice

(Aug. 23, R)

Starring: Naomi Ackie, Channing Tatum, Christian Slater, Simon Rex, Adria Arjona, Kyle MacLachlan, Haley Joel Osment, Geena Davis, Alia Shawkat.

What’s the story? Tatum’s tech billionaire invites a bunch of people to his private island, where a lot of trippy, reality-bending stuff starts to go down. The trailer looks like “Glass Onion” meets “Midsommar.”

What’s the buzz? Actress Zoë Kravitz makes her feature directorial debut.

26. Beetlejuice Beetlejuice

(Sept. 6, not yet rated)

Starring: Michael Keaton, Jenna Ortega, Monica Bellucci, Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Willem Dafoe.

What’s the story? So much has happened since the 1988 film. Ryder’s Lydia, a teenage Goth in the original, now has her own rebellious adolescent daughter (Ortega). And as the titular bio-exorcist’s wife — or should that be ex-wife, referenced by a severed ring finger in the first film? — Bellucci is said to be the new film’s antagonist.

What’s the buzz? This will be Tim Burton’s first film since “Dumbo.” The director has said his long-standing association with Disney was like “working in this horrible, big circus.”