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Spectacle and not much else — Summer movies 2022

by TYLER WILSON/Coeur Voice Contributor
| May 11, 2022 1:00 AM

After Doctor Strange swung open the “Multiverse of Madness” last weekend to huge box office numbers, the rest of Hollywood is now banking on a more normal summer of blockbusters, at least compared to the last couple years.

With more superheroes, big explosions and hungry dinosaurs coming soon, audiences will find plenty of spectacle. However, as has been a trend for several seasons now, there is a noticeable absence of counterprogramming.

It used to be that multiple small and mid-budget movies would share an opening weekend with a big blockbuster. Now, with inflated grosses for expensive titles and a noticeable drop in moviegoing by older audiences, studios seem reluctant to compete with the big franchise flicks in theaters.

At least streaming services and video-on-demand (VOD) will continue to be populated by content for those not wanting to battle crowds to see the latest Marvel/Disney offering. Anyway, movie fans will likely find at least a couple things to get excited about this summer. Here’s a sizzle reel of notable titles expected over the next few months.

This weekend

Firestarter

A new adaptation of the popular Stephen King novel (after the 1984 movie with young Drew Barrymore). This one features Zac Efron, and it will also stream day-and-date on Peacock.

On the Count of Three

This dark comedy starring Jarrod Carmichael made a big impression on (virtual) audiences at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. It’ll be in limited release but also on VOD.

May 20

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers

Live-action/animated hybrid update of the popular 90s Disney animated series, with the voices of John Mulaney and Andy Samberg. Streaming on Disney Plus.

Downton Abbey: A New Era

If this interests you, chances are you already know about it.

Men

An indie horror release from Alex Garland, the acclaimed filmmaker behind “Ex Machina” and “Annihilation.”

May 27

Top Gun: Maverick

After multiple COVID-related delays, the highly anticipated sequel sees Tom Cruise doing Tom Cruise things in the service of delivering the biggest of big screen spectacle.

The Bob’s Burgers Movie

Another COVID-casualty, the movie version of the long-running (and consistently funny) animated series finally reaches the big screen.

June 3

Crimes of the Future

Expect a slow, platform rollout for the highly-anticipated return of filmmaker David Cronenberg (“The Fly,” “A History of Violence”), reteaming with Viggo Mortensen for this horror-tinged thriller, also starring Kristen Stewart.

Watcher

A young American living in Bucharest gets terrorized by a creepy neighbor in this horror flick.

June 10

Jurassic World: Dominion

Billed as the finale to the entire “Jurassic” franchise (except that Netflix will air the final season of its in-continuity animated series “Camp Cretaceous” in July), “Dominion” unites “World” players Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard with the “Park” VIPs of Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum to wrangle dinosaurs across the planet. There will likely be running… and… and… screaming.

Hustle

A dramatic turn for Adam Sandler, who plays a basketball scout working to get a talented player to the NBA. Streaming on Netflix.

June 16

The Father of the Bride

Another adaptation of the Edward Streeter novel, this one featuring a Cuban-American family (with Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan). Streaming on HBO Max.

June 17

Lightyear

Pixar returns to theaters with this science-fiction adventure about the space man (voice of Chris Evans) who inspired the toy Buzz Lightyear that’s featured in the “Toy Story” films. Look, don’t focus too much on the logic of it.

Spiderhead

Convicts earn time off their sentence by being test subjects for mind-altering drugs in this sci-fi thriller featuring Chris Hemsworth and Jurnee Smollett. Streaming on Netflix.

June 24

Elvis

A musical biopic from “Moulin Rouge” director Baz Luhrmann focusing on the rise of Elvis Presley (Austin Butler), told from the perspective of his longtime manager (played by Tom Hanks).

The Black Phone

Supernatural thriller about a kid imprisoned by a serial killer who speaks-by-phone to the killer’s previous victims. Featuring Ethan Hawke.

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Another platform theatrical release expected for this acclaimed stop-motion film from the mind of comedian/actress Jenny Slate.

July 1

Minions: The Rise of Gru

Yep, another long-delayed-by-COVID sequel, because watching the latest antics of those gibberish-talking minions is basically the equivalent of theaters handing out free candy to kids.

July 8

Thor: Love and Thunder

Another billion-dollar play for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this time focusing on Chris Hemsworth’s Thor fumbling through existential crisis. Natalie Portman returns to the franchise, this time swinging the big hammer, and “Ragnarok” director Taika Waititi is back in the director’s chair.

July 15

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank

A pooch trains to be a samurai in this martial arts-centric animated comedy featuring the voices of Michael Cera and Samuel L. Jackson.

Where the Crawdads Sing

A deep-South-set murder mystery about… wait, is this actually an instantly wide release movie for adults? In theaters?! No… it can’t be…

Persuasion

A Jane Austin adaptation featuring Dakota Johnson and Henry Golding. Ah, see? This one’s streaming on Netflix.

July 22

Nope

Writer/director Jordan Peele unleashes a mysterious (and alien-invasion centric?) new thriller with his “Get Out” star (and recent Oscar winner) Daniel Kaluuya back in the mix.

The Gray Man

Billed as one of the most expensive Netflix movies ever made, this action thriller from “Avengers” directors Joe and Anthony Russo stars Ryan Gosling as a CIA mercenary on the run. Also starring Chris Evans and Ana de Armas. Streaming on Netflix.

July 29

Bullet Train

Brad Pitt squares off against various assassins in this action-pic from David Leitch (“Deadpool 2,” “Hobbs & Shaw”).

DC League of Super-Pets

Superman’s beloved pooch, Krypto, must save the Justice League with the help of other superpowered pets. Voice talent includes Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart.

Vengeance

“The Office” writer/co-star B.J. Novak writes, directs and stars in this horror thriller also starring Issa Rae and Ashton Kutcher. So is it supposed to have laughs too? Likely a platform release.

Aug. 5

Secret Headquarters

A 12-year-old kid begins to suspect his dad keeps a superhero hangout underneath their house.

Luck

Animated feature about an unlucky young woman who, luckily, discovers a magical world called the Land of Luck. A high-profile project headed straight to Apple TV+.

Bodies Bodies Bodies

Another indie horror flick with comedic flourishes about Gen Zers trapped at a house party with a serial killer.

Aug. 12

Day Shift

Jamie Foxx stars as a vampire hunter in this action flick headed straight to Netflix.

The Man From Toronto

Netflix must really want you to stay home this summer — here’s another big title — a comedy about an assassin (Woody Harrelson) who crashes Kevin Hart’s vacation house.

Aug. 19

Beast

Idris Elba and fam evade a hungry lion in this thriller.

Aug. 26

More Kevin Hart. Here he plays a stay-at-home dad who reconnects with a wild old friend (Mark Wahlberg). Streaming on, you guessed it, Netflix.

• • •

Tyler Wilson is a member of the International Press Academy and has been writing about movies and pop culture for Inland Northwest publications since 2000, including a regular column in The Press since 2006. He can be reached at twilson@cdapress.com.”

photo

AP Photo/Marco Ugarte

Tom Cruise poses for photos during a red carpet event for the movie “Top Gun: Maverick,” in Mexico City on May 6.

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