Summer Holiday Film Forecast
Summertime is movie time. Whether it’s lining up for the big summer blockbuster, enjoying late nights with teenage friends, going to the movies with visiting cousins, or, just maybe, watching movies at a drive-in, many of us have summer movie traditions. Hollywood is well aware of its audience’s summer movie habits and floods theaters with lots of new releases. Here’s our forecast of what’s coming between now and Labor Day.
Animated and Children’s Films
With its goal to dominate family moviegoing, Disney is starting off strong with three films in three months. Aladdin is already in theaters, having opened on May 24th and our reviewer was pleased with this live-action adaptation of the 1992 animated classic. On June 21st, Disney will release Toy Story 4. Whether or not it can live up to its predecessors is the multi-million dollar question hanging over this hotly debated sequel. But the Mouse House isn’t taking any chances with its profit margins: The Lion King is scheduled for release on July 19th. It’s billed as a live action version, but it’s more accurately termed a hybrid film: it looks live but it’s actually highly sophisticated CGI.Fans of the original will likely be pleased that we’ve heard this is a digital recreation of the 1994 film and not an adaptation that takes liberties with the script.
If you can’t get enough of family-friendly animated films, never fear, there’s more than just Disney movies to choose from. The Secret Life of Pets 2 opens on June 7th. This sequel follows the adventures of Max, now struggling with anxiety upon the birth of his owner’s new baby. Another animal movie - with product placements aplenty - The Angry Birds Movie 2 opens on August 14th.
There are also a couple of live action movies coming for kids this summer. Dora and the Lost City of Gold opens on August 9th. After viewing the trailer, we want parents to be aware that this movie is not for young viewers. The film takes the characters from the preschooler’s TV show and plunges them into an adventure that strongly resembles the story arcs from the Indiana Jones and Lara Croft franchises. Families looking for high intensity action movies can also head to the theater for My Spy. Opening on August 23, this movie throws together a CIA agent and a nine year old girl, who is determined to learn spycraft from a pro.
Action/adventure movies have always been a mainstay of the summer movie season and 2019 is no exception. This year’s season opens with Godzilla: King of the Monsters on May 31st. If you love monster movies with lots of epic battles and devastated urban landscapes, this is the film for you. With the Titans unleashed on the planet, humanity has no choice but to ally with a monster. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” isn’t always a great guide for foreign policy, but it just might work with scary beasts.
Godzilla isn’t the only monster to reach the big screen this summer. Aliens are again terrorizing the Earth but help is at hand. On June 14th, Men in Black: International brings Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson to the rescue as they hunt down both creepy aliens and a mole in the heart of their organization. Expect lots of futuristic weapons and slimy extra-terrestrial guts splattering on screen.
For a real life scary critter movie, sharks take the spotlight on August 16th when 47 Meters Down Uncaged opens. Four teen girls, one underwater city, and hungry sharks…you know where this is going.
If you prefer mutants to monsters, you can look forward to movies about super mutants and superheroes. Dark Phoenix opens on June 7th and tells the story of Jean Grey, whose powers become exponentially more powerful and destructive after a solar flare. Tom Holland returns to his role as Spider-Man on July 2nd when Spider-Man: Far From Home begins its global domination of theaters. In this adventure, Peter Parker’s school trip to Europe is interrupted when he needs to fight extradimensional creatures with power over the elements.
For those of you who like action and want to keep it simple, Stuber might be the movie for you. Opening on July 12th, Stuber follows the surprise adventures that ensue when an Uber driver gets recruited into a cop’s mission. And if you just want non-stop car chases (and crashes), Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw opens on August 2nd.
Dramatic and Comic Films
Movies don’t just explode…some actually feature drama, deep characters, and comedy. The summer line-up has two movies centered around music. Yesterday, which opens on June 28th stars Himesh Patel as a struggling musician looking for his big break. A power outage, a bicycle accident, a fall on his head, and a world where no one else can remember The Beatle’s music catapults him to fame and acclaim. Bruce Springsteen’s music plays a central role in Blinded by the Light. Opening on August 14th, this movie explores the impact of the Boss’s music on a disaffected young man in England in the mid 1980s.
Less lighthearted and more angst-ridden, come two August films. Brian Banks opens on August 9th and recounts the true story of a high school football star whose wrongful conviction and incarceration deprive him of a once promising future. And in Where’d You Go, Bernadette, a mother’s struggles with her identity, goals and past trigger her disappearance and her family’s search.
August is also a good month for fans of sentimental films. The Art of Racing in the Rain opens on August 9th and tells the heartwarming story of a racecar driver and his devoted canine companion. Overcomer, which debuts on August 23rd, combines sports and faith for what we confidently expect to be a family-safe Christian film.