The biggest movie explosion of the year is almost upon us. This year’s summer movies include superheroes, post-apocalyptic warriors, dinosaur bikers, and some strange and wonderful fantasies. Here are 28 movies to watch out for this summer.
Top image: Terminator Genisys.
Note: This list includes science fiction, fantasy, horror and a few other things that are of interest to io9 and Gizmodo readers.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1)
The long-awaited sequel to the biggest superhero team-up of all time. This time around, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) has created Ultron, an artificial intelligence that’s decided to wipe out the human race. Oops. This film also introduces three new Avengers: Vision, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.
Maggie (May 8)
What do you do when your daughter has gotten infected with a zombie virus and is slowly transforming into one of the living dead? That’s the dilemma faced by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who’s determined to protect his little girl (Abigail Breslin) to the bitter end. You don’t think of Arnie as giving heart-breaking performances, but maybe this film will change that.
Mad Max: Fury Road (May 15)
The ultimate post-apocalyptic survivor is back, and so is original director George Miller. This film had such a long struggle to get off the ground, and seems to have been so much a creation of raw bloody determination, that it might just be something really unique. This time around, Mad Max (Tom Hardy) has to team up with a group of special women, led by Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), in the face of unbelievable vehicle destruction.
Good Kill (May 15)
Gattaca director Andrew Niccol reteams with star Ethan Hawke for a movie that’s set in the present, but treats present-day technology (drone strikes) almost like a science fiction premise. What if we could kill from the air, via remote control? How would that change warfare? Hawke plays a drone pilot who grapples with the morality of killing from thousands of miles away.
Tomorrowland (May 22)
The latest film from Brad Bird ( The Incredibles) is playing with themes of retro-futurism and nostalgia for a Disneyfied future that never happened. George Clooney is an inventor who knows a secret about a mysterious place that only a few people can visit.
Poltergeist (May 22)
Another horror classic gets remade, with everything bigger and better this time. The good news? It’s produced by Sam Raimi, and everyone involved seems eager to honor the original. Star Sam Rockwell has been talking up how “scary and intense” this version is. Fingers crossed!
When Marnie Was There (May 22)
This may be Studio Ghibli’s last ever movie, so better enjoy it while you can. A young girl gets sent to the countryside for health reasons, and there she makes a most unusual friend — a girl with long flowing blonde hair. The trailer looks as beautiful and sweet as you’d expect.
Aloft (May 22)
Jennifer Connelly is a New Age healer who apparently has psychic powers. And the guy who comes to do an article on her turns out to be her long-lost son. The movie is apparently full of mysticism and supernatural weirdness, along with a lot of magical-realist touches.
San Andreas (May 29)
A disaster movie! Basically, the San Andreas Fault opens up and swallows L.A., and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has to get his family away from the biggest earthquake of all time. But will San Francisco be far enough away? (No.) Johnson reunites with Brad Peyton, the director of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.
Insidious Chapter 3 (June 5)
This low-budget horror series has officially become an unstoppable juggernaut. In true fashion, we’re now doing a prequel in which we learn more about the character of the psychic, Elise, as she reluctantly uses her power to help a teen girl who’s been trapped by a supernatural monster. This one is directed by Leigh Whannell, who wrote the first two.
Spy (June 5)
The latest Melissa McCarthy genre send-up, in the vein of The Heat, sees her as a CIA analyst who has to go out in the field as an agent. The real agents (Jude Law and Jason Statham) have gone missing, and it’s up to McCarthy to prevent some kind of global catastrophe.
Jurassic World (June 12)
At long last, the fourth Jurassic movie — and this one is directed by Colin Trevorrow, who blew us away with the indie time-travel film Safety Not Guaranteed . Chris Pratt is a raptor behavior researcher who gets caught up in the middle of total madness when the park decides to create a whole new genetically modified hybrid dinosaur, Indominus Rex. Which is a cooler name: Indominus Rex or Imperator Furiosa? Discuss.
Inside Out (June 19)
Pixar’s first original film in a while — and actually, the first Pixar time in a while, full stop. We get to see the actual emotions inside young Riley’s head guiding her decisions and actions, including Joy, Fear, Anger, Sadness and Disgust. Early buzz suggests this is another emotional-but-clever Pixar movie.
Batkid Begins (June 26)
A documentary about Batkid, the Make-A-Wish beneficiary that captured the world’s imagination. See for yourself how San Francisco was transformed into Gotham City for a day, to grant the wish of a boy with leukemia.
Ted 2 (June 26)
Seth MacFarlane’s raunchy comedy about a teddy bear come to life was an unexpected box office sensation, so of course there’s a sequel. This time around, Ted wants to have a baby using sperm from John (Mark Wahlberg), but first Ted has to prove he’s a person in a court of law, so he can have custody of the child.
Terminator Genisys (July 1)
The fifth Terminator movie puts the focus back on time-traveling shenanigans and killer robots running around the twentieth century. This time, the Terminator and Kyle Reese go back to 1984, only to find a whole new timeline where another version of the Terminator was Sarah Connor’s surrogate dad. Ultra-high concept, but possibly kind of thrilling at the same time.
Minions (July 10)
It’s a spin-off of the ultra-successful Despicable Me movies, focusing on those lovable twinkie henchguys. The storyline actually sounds kind of complicated — we follow the evolution of the Minions from single-celled organisms at the beginning of time, and their progress as servants of a T-Rex, Dracula, Napoleon, Genghis Khan and other figures from the past. Until it’s 1968, and they wind up working for a supervillain called Scarlet Overkill.
Self/Less (July 10)
Ben Kingsley is a rich older guy who wants to be young and healthy forever, so he pays tons of money to steal Ryan Reynolds’ body. But Reynolds may still be able to fight back, and there are things the old guy doesn’t know about the origins of the boy he now inhabits. It’s directed by Tarsem Singh, who usually musters some batshit visuals if nothing else.
Ant-Man (July 17)
One year after Guardians of the Galaxy , Marvel has another risky project — a movie about one of the less well-known Avengers. Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) can shrink to ant-size and also communicate with ants, but he’s up against a well-armed shrinking villain, Yellowjacket. As long as this one can bring the funny and a smidge of heart, it should be fine.
Mr. Holmes (July 17)
In 1947, Sherlock Holmes is 93 years old, and his brilliant faculties are finally deserting him. But he still has one last case to solve. This movie reunites Sir Ian McKellen with Bill Condon, who directed him in the wonderful Gods and Monsters.
Pixels (July 24)
Yup, it’s that Adam Sandler movie about aliens sending giant versions of 80s video games to attack Earth that everybody’s already rolled their eyes over. You never know, it might be fun — it does feature Peter Dinklage sporting an insane mullet, and giving what sounds like a totally bonkers performance.
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (July 31)
Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg and the rest of the team are back, and they’re facing a mysterious new organization called the Syndicate. Judging from the early footage we saw from this film, it looks funnier than Ghost Protocol, but Cruise is once again doing insane stunts, this time on a plane at 5,000 feet. This movie reunites Cruise with his Jack Reacher director Christopher McQuarrie. [Thanks to everyone who corrected me saying this is McQuarrie’s debut!]
A LEGO Brickumentary (July 31)
You’ve seen The LEGO Movie , and soon you’ll see a dozen LEGO sequels. But for now, here’s a fascinating-looking documentary about the history and worldwide impact of those bricks and minifigs.
Fantastic Four (August 7)
Marvel’s most cosmic (and joyfully goofy) heroes are back on the big screen at last, in a movie that looks neither joyful nor goofy. Director Josh Trank, who brought a grounded, character-based, dark sensibility to superpowers with Chronicle, seems to be aiming to repeat the trick here, with a distinct David Cronenberg vibe. It may not be exactly like Lee and Kirby, but that’s probably not what you hire the guy who made Chronicle for.
The Man From UNCLE (August 14)
Speaking of Mission Impossible ... here’s another classic spy show getting a shot on the big screen. Director Guy Ritchie makes the probably wise move of keeping the story set in the 1960s instead of trying to “update” it, and that means the core concept of an American spy (Henry Cavill) reluctantly teaming up with a Russian spy (Armie Hammer) remains intact.
Sinister 2 (August 21)
Another hit low-budget horror film gets a sequel. This time, the demon Bughuul is targeting a young mother and her two sons. Director Scott Derrickson (who’s busy with Dr. Strange) isn’t back, but instead Ciaran Foy ( Citadel) takes the helm. Derrickson did co-write the screenplay with original co-writer C. Robert Cargill.
Hitman: Agent 47 (August 28)
An adaptation of the hit video game (no pun intended), this follows a genetically engineered assassin who’s fighting a massive corporation that wants to create an army of genetically enhanced killers. This could be this year’s Max Payne.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend (Aug 28)
This sequel to the 2000 smash hit Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon has a few things going for it. Michelle Yeoh is back. It’s directed by Yuen Woo-Ping, who’s responsible for all your favorite movie fight scenes ever. And it’s actually based on the fourth book in the series that inspired the first movie. This film is coming to Netflix and theaters simultaneously.
Sources: Box Office Mojo , studio calendars, Entertainment Weekly