Well May was incredibly disappointing, wasn’t it? Sure it started strong with Guardians 2, but pretty much every other big property failed horribly. Alien: Covenant, Pirates of the Caribbean 5, and Baywatch all became franchise killers – and rightfully so. Could June do better? It’s hard to see how it couldn’t.
WONDER WOMAN v. CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS: THE FIRST EPIC MOVIE
Wonder Woman – The first big screen superhero movie since Catwoman (which barely counts) is also DC’s latest attempt to escape the Snyder curse that has plagued the last three movies (are we allowed to say that anymore?). Well, this film apparently did it – positive reviews from critics and audiences, as well as decent box office indicate that people might like their superheroes to be noble rather than respond to being accused of mass murder with complete apathy followed immediately by bathtub sex. So now that WB has finally brought people into the DC fold, it should be prepared for them to lose them again when Justice League is released in November. (I’m really not sure how we’re supposed to discuss that movie anymore. Should we merely recognize its existence but not really talk about it? Treat it with kid gloves? Consider it some Elseworlds tale with the next actual DCEU canon film being Aquaman is in December 2018?)
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie – To make up for last month’s dearth of entertainment for babies, June has a lot of children’s movies. A lot. This is merely the first.
THE MUMMY v. MEGAN LEAVEY v. IT COMES AT NIGHT
The Mummy – As cynical as I am about many of these franchises and the desperate attempt of studios to start multi-verses after Marvel had that gimmick to itself for nearly a decade, I am tentatively optimistic about The Mummy and the Dark Universe. Tom Cruise generally chooses solid movies (Jack Reacher 2 aside); Russell Crowe seems like he’s having fun as Dr. Henry Jekyll, PhD in Exposition; and Star Trek Beyond‘s Sofia Boutella looks to bring a vibrant energy as the titular character. This aspiring mega-franchise earned points by kicking out the horrendous Dracula Untold and booking a solid cast including Javier Bardem and, less positively, Johnny Depp. It also seems to be skewing more adult than comic book movies. As long as future Dark Universe movies operate in more genres than action, it could have potential. It’s unfortunate that The Mummy is coming out the week after the enormously successful Wonder Woman since it’ll likely underperform and cause panic throughout the Univers…al. If it was released in August, it could possibly own the month.
Megan Leavey – Fan4stic‘s Kate Mara in a real life drama about a Marine in the War on Terror who goes on missions as part of its K-9 Unit. Real life military dramas are hit or miss critically and commercially, and releasing it in June (rather than in Fall or Winter) might not bode well for its box office potential. Early reviews make this movie hard to pin down with a very positive overall 86% fresh, but mediocre/poor 5.9/10 average rating (with only 6 reviews in).
It Comes At Night – Horror movies have been seeing a resurgence in quality lately. Sure we’ll always have Rings and The Bye Bye Man, but It Comes At Night seems to be in the critical vein of It Follows and Get Out. Starring Joel Edgerton and Riley Keough, early reviews have it at 100% fresh, 8.6/10 average rating (with only 9 reviews in).
CARS 3 v. ROUGH NIGHT v. ALL EYEZ ON ME v. 47 METERS DOWN v. THE BOOK OF HENRY
Cars 3 – Pixar returns to the one franchise that even its die-hardiest supporters tend to ignore – Cars. The trilogy that started in 2006 (remember when Larry the Cable Guy was still popular?) and returned in 2011 comes to its conclusion as Lightning McQueen must win a race. Again. Unlike the past two, this installment has received some positive attention with its impressive, almost realistic animation highlighting a dramatic take on a car crash. But it’s still rated G so probably won’t go too far off brand.
Rough Night – Bridesmaids meets Very Bad Things. Sure, why not? It might attract some of the crowd and attention that turned Bad Moms into a huge hit last year – so much so that they’ve rushed a sequel, A Bad Mom’s Christmas, into production for the end of this year. Rough Night headliner Scarlett Johansson isn’t known for comedy, but she’s surrounded with designated scene stealer Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, and Ilana Glazer who are, as well as Zoe Kravitz, who isn’t but who has been good in other things.
All Eyez on Me – The summer’s biggest biopic is about the life and death of Tupac Shakur as played be Demetrius Shipp Jr. in his first major role. While the success of Straight Outta Compton probably helped it get a prime slot in the middle of summer, the trailer makes it seem like this movie has its own intensity and story to tell.
47 Meters Down – Shark movies are getting a boost lately too. Last year, we had The Shallows, which featured Blake Lively vs. a shark. While that one had a single leading lady above water, this one ups the ante by having two – Claire Holt and Mandy Moore – in an underwater battle against cinema’s most popular aqua predator.
The Book of Henry – Before Safety Not Guaranteed and Jurassic World director Colin Treverrow sells his soul to Disney with Star Wars 9, he tries to retain some indy cred with The Book of Henry. A drama about two young kids (one of whom is played by Room stand-out Jason Tremblay) who try to protect their mother (Naomi Watts) from an abusive stepfather. While it might seem heavy for a summer release (and could possibly drift into precocious territory), maybe it could be a genuinely affecting drama along the lines of Midnight Special.
TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT v. THE BEGUILED v. BIG SICK v. THE BAD BATCH
Transformers: The Last Knight – Much like last month’s other franchise fifth, one has to wonder whether Transformers has seen its best days. (At least in America, it still does phenomenally well in China.) They seem to be throwing more things than ever into this sequel – from King Arthur to Space Theology to Anthony Hopkins to Evil Optimus Prime to that girl they’re trying to push as the star to Mark Wahlberg and Josh Duhamel teaming up to Nazis – but we all know that it’ll devolve into a city being destroyed as mind numbing action takes place for 40 minutes.
The Beguiled – Sofia Coppola remakes a 1971 Clint Eastwood movie about a Civil War soldier who takes refuge in a woman’s boarding school to seemingly fantastic results. Co-starring Coppola’s regular collaborator Kirsten Dunst, as well as today’s most notable ingenue Elle Fanning, plus reputation regained Colin Farrell in the Eastwood role, The Beguiled earned Coppola the Best Director awards at Cannes. Expect this to be pushed from June to somewhere in the Fall, closer to awards season.
The Big Sick – Another festival favorite, The Big Sick is a romantic comedy starring Silicon Valley‘s Kumail Nanjiani and Ruby Sparks‘ Zoe Kazan who must deal with cultural differences, their parents, and other life issues. Nanjiani co-wrote the screenplay with real life girlfriend Emily V. Gordon, and it’s directed by The State‘s Michael Showalter who achieved success last year with another small dramedy, Hello, My Name is Doris. Early reviews have also very been positive with 97% fresh, 8.6/10 average rating (with 32 reviews in).
The Bad Batch – Ana Lily Amirpour, whose first film A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is one of the best, most atmospheric vampire films of the past several years, sticks with the horror genre with The Bad Batch. Starring Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, and Keanu Reeves, Batch takes place in a desert Texas wasteland and features crazy cannibals, an underutilized horror sub-genre.
DESPICABLE ME 3 v. THE HOUSE v. BABY DRIVER v. AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING
Despicable Me 3 – Are you tired of The Minions yet? Why not? Why can’t we be?
The House – Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler team up as a married couple who operate an illegal casino in their house to pay for their daughter’s college education under the tutelage of the seemingly everywhere Jason Mantzoukas. The trailer shows several possibly decent comedic set pieces, plus the leads are proven comedic stars. At the very least it has to be better than Baywatch. It has to be.
Baby Driver – After departing Ant-Man, Edgar Wright made his next project Baby Driver. While the ‘one last job’ plot is a common trope (albeit one that has a lot of room to play around in), Wright is an interesting and clever enough filmmaker to give this device its own spin and style. The trailers definitely make this movie seem like it could be a stand-out amid the rest of the summer blockbusters.
Amityville: The Awakening – If It Comes At Night falls on one side of the horror quality spectrum, this will probably fall on the other end. Starring Bella Thorne, Jessica Jason Leigh, and the guy who plays Jerome/Joker in Gotham, this marks the nth remake of The Amityville Horror.
So that’s June, and it’s actually quite packed. Hopefully decent movies of all sizes – as well as plenty of horrible films. I’m most interested to see whether we as a world finally say ‘enough’ to Transformers and put a damper on all of Paramount’s plans for more and more sequels and spin-offs, including a scheduled 2018 Bumblebee movie – that has yet to start filming. Then onto July with Dunkirk, War for the Planet of the Apes, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.