Saturday, May 18, 2024

15 Films To See During The 2024 Summer Movie Season

With the release of David Leitch’s “The Fall Guy” this weekend, the 2024 summer movie season is officially starting with a bang! While the Next Best Picture team loves to focus on the fall and winter releases for awards season, that doesn’t mean we also don’t enjoy munching on some popcorn, kicking up our feet, and enjoying a fun summer blockbuster with a rabid crowd. Our list of the fifteen most anticipated summer films is a nice mixture of giant studio films, art house films, and film festival titles across an array of genres. There’s truly something for everyone this summer! So please put on your sun glasses and take a look to see which films we are most looking forward to seeing and deserve your attention this summer.

THE FALL GUYRyan Gosling in The Fall Guy
David Leitch’s “The Fall Guy,” a heartfelt tribute to stunt men and women, has already garnered solid reviews at SXSW and from early critics’ screenings, with particular praise for its practical action set pieces and the chemistry between Academy Award-nominees Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt. Following the cultural phenomenon of “Barbenheimer” last year, both actors have ascended to a new level of stardom which audiences will surely want to run out and see on the big screen. With its mixture of big explosions, goofy romance, and the allure of its two leading movie stars, “The Fall Guy” is the perfect choice to kick-off the 2024 summer movie season.

KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APESFollowing up on the critical acclaim received by the Andy Serkis-led “Planet Of The Apes” reboot trilogy is a challenging feat. “The Maze Runner” director Wes Ball will have his hands full as he attempts to start a whole new trilogy within the world Serkis’s character Ceasar built with all new characters and a new story. The same groundbreaking visual effects technology by WETA will be entirely on display, promising an awe-inspiring spectacle on a level audiences have not seen since “Avatar: The Way Of Water,” making “Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes” an adventure epic worthy of the big screen.

FURIOSA: A MAD MAX SAGAMad Max: Fury Road” holds a special place in cinematic history. It has not only been hailed as one of the greatest action films of all time but also as one of the greatest films of all time, period. The anticipation could not be any higher for legendary franchise director George Miller to return to the desert for another mad entry with “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth. This prequel centering around the origins of the badass character Charlize Theron played in the 2015 film will have its world premiere out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival, setting the stage for another lovely day indeed.

BAD BOYS: RIDE OR DIEI don’t think anybody expected “Bad Boys For Life,” the third entry in the “Bad Boys” franchise and the first not to be directed by Michael Bay, to be regarded as the best of the three films. But it turns out replacing Bay with Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (otherwise known as Adil & Bilall) was exactly what this franchise needed to resurrect it from the dead (“Bad Boys II” had come out seventeen years prior). Could “Bad Boys: Ride Or Die” be the final adventure for Mike Lowery and Marcus Miles Burnett? Will Smith and Martin Lawrence aren’t getting any younger, but if the trailer is any indication, that’s precisely the new dynamic the franchise is having fun with, which may prove there’s still more gas left in the tank for these two bad boys to ride out in style.

INSIDE OUT 2Regarded as one of Pixar’s best films, “Inside Out” swept the 2015 awards season for Best Animated Feature and nestled a special place in audience’s hearts, which they’re still having a hard time emotionally recovering from it to this day. While the animation studio’s most accomplished director, Pete Docter, is not returning to the director’s chair (first-time directorial duties are being passed to Kelsey Mann), “Inside Out 2” is bringing back voice talents Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black, Diane Lane, and Kyle MacLachlan, alongside Tony Hale, Liza Lapira, Maya Hawke, Ayo Edebiri, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Paul Walter Hauser, and Kensington Tallman to continue Riley’s growth and development, now s a teenager. We have a strong feeling tissues will be required for this one.

THE BIKERIDERSJeff Nichols’s fictional story, inspired by a 1967 photo book of the same name by Danny Lyon, which depicts the lives of the Outlaws MC, a Chicago-based motorcycle gang, has had a long road to theatrical release after being delayed due to the Hollywood strikes of 2023, but is finally coming, courtesy of Focus Features now instead of Disney, to theaters this summer. Led by three magnetic performances from Jodie Comer, Austin Butler, and Tom Hardy, anyone who loves “Sons Of Anarchy” or any of Nichols’s previous films or either of these stars (not to mention supporting roles for Michael Shannon, Mike Faist, Norman Reedus & Boyd Holbrook), or a combination of the above will likely find reason to kick start their engines and ride off to the theater to catch “The Bikeriders.”

KINDS OF KINDNESSHot off the critical and awards season sensation of “Poor Things,” imaginative director Yorgos Lanthimos and multi-Academy Award-winning actress Emma Stone are already back with another film, “Kinds Of Kindness.” Described as an anthology film of three stories with the same actors playing different roles in each segment, we’re beyond excited to see what kind of reception this sure-to-be bizarre film gets when it premieres at Cannes. Any time Lanthimos partners with his co-writer Efthimis Filippou, the result is always something unique, dark, and unforgettable, as they previously wrote “Dogtooth,” “Alps,” “The Lobster” and “The Killing Of A Sacred Deer” together. If “Kinds Of Kindness” can be on the same level as those films, we’re in for something extraordinary.

HORIZON: AN AMERICAN SAGASpeaking of something special, Academy Award-winner Kevin Costner is returning to the director’s chair for the first time in over twenty years since “Open Range” (2003) with a massive offering. His epic western “Horizon: An American Saga” is being divided into two films, which will be released in theaters separately (June 28th for Chapter 1 and August 16th for Chapter 2), and there are supposedly two more films in development. Costner wants to take the long-form storytelling of television and translate it to the big screen in a way audiences have yet to see (and has put up a lot of his own money to do so). Considering the size of the fanbase he’s cultivated over the years due to his involvement in the popular series “Yellowstone,” he may just be onto something. Chapter 1 will have its world premiere at Cannes in what could be a career-capping moment for Costner and a rejuvenation for the Hollywood Western.

A QUIET PLACE: DAY ONEJohn Krasinski took his directorial career to a whole other level with “A Quiet Place” and “A Quiet Place Part II.” While he’s not returning to direct this prequel set during the first day the terrifying alien creatures arrive on our planet, the reins have passed over to “Pig” director Michael Sarnoski, which has given us the confidence to say this third film may surprise people as the best yet. Starring Academy Award-winner Lupita Nyong’o (who seriously needs to be cast in films more often), “Stranger Things” breakout star Joseph Quinn, “Hereditary’s” Alex Wolff, and Djimon Hounsou reprising his role from “A Quiet Place Part II” we expect this horror-action film to be anything other than quiet this summer.

MAXXXINEDid you love “X” and “Pearl” just as much as us? Then you’re probably just as pumped for Ti West’s third and final entry in his “X Trilogy” starring Mia Goth with “MaXXXine.” While it may not have the same budget or marketing push as some of the films on this list, we’ve adored how each film in the “X Trilogy” has had its own unique identity within the horror genre bound by a tremendous Mia Goth performance. “MaXXXine” looks to be no less effective as Goth plays an actress pursuing her dreams in 1908s Los Angeles terrorized by the threat of a serial killer. The film’s 80s-influenced trailer promoted the tagline “The Whole World Will Know Her Name,” and there’s a very good chance that line will be true by the time the summer comes to a close.

TWISTERS“If you feel it…chase it!” When a line from your trailer is already blowing winds in the air, filling up the audience’s anticipation for what promises to be a wild, thrilling ride, you know you’ve got a winner. However, there are other elements that, on paper, make “Twisters” not only one of the most anticipated movies of the summer but also one of the most surprising genuine hits of the year. First, you have “Minari” director Lee Issac Chung directing. Then you have bonafide movie star Glen Powell sporting a cowboy hat and his dashing good looks alongside television star Daisy Edgar-Jones (“Normal People” and “Under The Banner Of Heaven“) with an ensemble cast that includes Anthony Ramos, Maura Tierney, Brandon Perea, Daryl McCormack, and Sasha Lane. The 1996 film, “Twister,” will forever hold a special place in our nostalgic hearts, but we’re certainly feeling the hype around this standalone sequel.

DEADPOOL & WOLVERINEThe ultimate team-up movie or the breaking point for a franchise audiences have been consistently saying they’re growing tired of since 2019? Luckily for those suffering from superhero fatigue since the end of “Avengers: Endgame,” the character of Deadpool has been mostly separate from the shenanigans and ailments of the MCU. While there is some hesitation about incorporating the foul-mouthed character alongside the rest of the long-running franchise, bringing back Hugh Jackman in his iconic role as James “Logan” Howlett, aka. Wolverine should be (hopefully) enough to make this odd-ball pairing fresh and exciting compared to the first two “Deadpool” films and the rest of the MCU as a whole (not to mention erase the stain that was the character’s previous meeting in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” Frequent Ryan Reynolds collaborator Shawn Levy (“Free Guy” and “The Adam Project“) is taking over directing duties for “Deadpool & Wolverine,” and all we can hope for is something that retains the spirit of the first two “Deadpool” films and doesn’t see the character becoming a parody of himself.

BORDERLANDSThis is the one film on the list with the most “flop” potential, but we’re going to give the benefit of the doubt to Eli Roth and the cast he has assembled for “Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 4,” I mean, “Borderlands.” In all seriousness, while the film’s marketing appears to be ripping off the successful MCU franchise heavily, the inclusion of Cate Blanchett, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Edgar Ramírez, Ariana Greenblatt, Florian Munteanu, Gina Gershon, and Jamie Lee Curtis is enough star power to hopefully make this an entertaining time at the movies this August. Video game-to-film adaptations have improved in recent memory (although most of that success has primarily been seen in television as opposed to film), so here’s hoping this borderline film can introduce us to fun new characters and a world worth investing in.

TRAPIn what was one of 2024’s most delightfully surprising trailers of the year so far, M. Night Shyamalan is returning to the big screen with the simply titled “Trap,” which contains one of the most intriguing premises for a film this year as a father taking his daughter to a concert for her favorite pop star gets trapped in the stadium as police crackdown on trying to find a serial killer on the loose. It turns out that the serial killer is the father we’re following throughout the movie…or is it? You never know with M. Night Shyamalan. I’m sure there will be a twist or two, but most importantly, it just feels great seeing Josh Hartnett in a prominent role again following his well-received supporting role in Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” last year.

ALIEN: ROMULUSThe “Alien” franchise has been around for 45 years since Ridley Scott stunned audiences with his classic 1979 original film (which recently came back to theaters). While directing duties have passed along from Scott to James Cameron to David Fincher to Jean-Pierre Jeunet back to Scott again (with a few crossover films in between), now it’s time to see what acclaimed horror director Fede Álvarez (“Evil Dead” and “Don’t Breathe“) brings to it with “Alien: Romulus.” And if the teaser we saw a few weeks ago is anything to go by, the answer will likely be brutal, gory, and pulse-pounding. Led by “Priscilla” and “Civil War” rising star Cailee Spaeny, and set between the events of Scott’s “Alien” (1979) and Cameron’s “Aliens” (1986), the film appears to be taking a back-to-basics approach which we’re sure will have audiences squirming in their seats this summer.

What do you think of our list? Which films are you most excited to see during the summer blockbuster season? Please let us know in the comments section below or on Next Best Picture’s Twitter account.

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Matt Neglia
Matt Neglia
Obsessed about the Oscars, Criterion Collection and all things film 24/7. Critics Choice Member.

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