Summer movie season is bursting with pop culture fun, with Captain America: Civil War opening this weekend, and plenty more on its way. Here’s a look at some top picks for an action-packed season, complete with mutants, Ghostbusters and everyone’s favorite former government assassin. Getcha popcorn ready.
'The Angry Birds Movie' (May 20)
Admit it: You’ve played a lot of Angry Birds on your phone. Your children might be wearing the shirts and playing with the toys, but you know you’ve tossed birds at wooden buildings while you were supposed to be paying attention in a meeting. So you can take the whole family to see The Angry Birds Movie in theaters, where Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride and others will give voices to the colorful feathered characters that have become instantly recognizable. – B.P.
'X-Men: Apocalypse' (May 27)
Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) is the first mutant. And the all-powerful First One doesn’t like what’s happened to his “children.” Thus begins a fight to save the world and its humans from destruction, and the X-Men have to step up with their leaders in disarray. Jennifer Lawrence returns as Mystique and James McAvoy finally looks the part of the Professor who’s familiar from the books. Michael Fassbender, the secret sauce in X-Men: First Class, returns as Magneto.
But it’s the addition of fan favorites such as Psylocke (Olivia Munn), mohawk-wearing Storm (Alexandra Shipp) and the Angel (Ben Hardy) storyline that makes this really interesting. Founding director Bryan Singer is back at the helm. – D.B.
'Me Before You' (June 3)
Based on the acclaimed romantic novel by Jojo Moyes, this might be a popular date-night movie, provided you bring tissues. Louisa (Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones), hunting for a job, finds herself as the caregiver for Will (Sam Claflin, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), a successful man who became disabled after a tragic accident. As the pair bond (slowly but surely), they learn about life from each other, even when it’s hard to see reasons for living. – B.P.
'Warcraft' (June 10)
Duncan Jones (director of Moon and Source Code) tackles this adaptation of the best-selling video game franchise with enough CG to give Avatar a run for its money. Set long before World of Warcraft, it tells the story of how the orc race first came to Azeroth, fleeing its own dying world through a dark portal. Of course, the humans that already live in Azeroth aren’t exactly keen on a new species taking over their land, which leads to a war that will become the stuff of legends (and at least four video games). – B.P.
'Finding Dory' (June 17)
Just keep swimming. Ellen DeGeneres returns as the voice of Dory in this highly anticipated sequel to Finding Nemo. This time around, the memory-challenged Dory is searching for her family, which she suddenly starts to remember. New voices (including Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy and Ty Burrell) join old cast members for what will surely be the wettest – if not the hottest – family movie of the summer. – B.P.
'Independence Day: Resurgence' (June 24)
It’s 20 years later and the aliens are coming back. They were just waiting to strike again and, even using some of the leftover technology from the first time they came, Earth may not be ready. Liam Hemsworth leads a new group of fighters that includes Jessie Usher, who plays the grown-up stepson of Independence Day hero Capt. Steven Hiller (Will Smith). Vivica A. Fox, Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman return from the first movie. Destruction of recognizable landmarks will commence on June 24 – D.B.
'Ghostbusters' (July 15)
This all-woman reboot of the ‘80s classic aims high. But it stands more than a fighting chance with a cast of epic comic proportions: Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live), meet Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids). Chris Hemsworth (The Huntsman) also stars as the foursome take on ghosts in the city. Oh, did I mention Bill Murray, Annie Potts, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson from the original are in it, too? – D.B.
'Star Trek Beyond' (July 22)
Our heroes are up space creek without a paddle, stranded without a ship or crew, in this next installment of the franchise co-written by co-star Simon Pegg (Scotty). Beyond had more action in its first trailer than some would-be blockbusters, surely due to director Justin Lin (Fast and Furious). But all the trademarks of a Star Trek property are in place: Capt. Kirk (Chris Pine) with an alien woman; Bones (Karl Urban) quick with a quip; and a big star (Idris Elba) as the villain. – D.B.
'Jason Bourne' (July 29)
“Remembering everything doesn’t mean you know everything.” Jason Bourne(Matt Damon) has learned a lot about who he is and the secret program that turned him into an unstoppable assassin. But when you’re talking about government conspiracies, there’s always at least one level deeper you can dive into, right? This movie also marks Damon's return to the franchise after he skipped The Bourne Legacy. – B.P.
'Suicide Squad' (Aug. 5)
The masked men and women in this film aren’t household names – yet. But hopes are high for this movie in which villains team up to go on missions for the government in exchange for cleaner slates. Each can be killed remotely if he or she steps out of line, thus the name. The cast includes Will Smith (Deadshot); Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn); Cara Delevingne (Enchantress); Jared Leto (the Joker); and Viola Davis as shadowy government honcho Amanda Waller. There have been several iterations of the Suicide Squad in recent pop culture, notably on the CW’s Arrow and in the stellar DC Animated Universe film Batman: Assault on Arkham. Each trailer for this theatrical version has been met with scrutiny – and giddy anticipation. – D.B.
The complete summer movie calendar
(Release and local opening dates are subject to change. Check GuideLive every week for our local movies coverage.)
THE DARKNESS Kevin Bacon and Radha Mitchell play a couple whose family is haunted after their son takes home an artifact from a Grand Canyon vacation.
MONEY MONSTER An armed man (Jack O’Connell) takes over the studio of a stock-market show, throwing its host (George Clooney) and producer (Julia Roberts) into a race against the clock to find out what happened to their captor’s money.
HIGH-RISE A doctor (Tom Hiddleston) moves into a luxury skyscraper, but things take a dark turn and a class war erupts.
LAST DAYS IN THE DESERT Jesus (Ewan McGregor) returns from his 40 days and nights to battle the devil over a family’s destiny.
LOVE & FRIENDSHIP Kate Beckinsale stars as Lady Susan, the most irresistibly devious of Jane Austen’s protagonists, in this adaptation of the epistolary novella Lady Susan.
THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY Indian mathematics genius Ramanujan (Dev Patel) befriends a professor (Jeremy Irons) in this true story.
THE NICE GUYS Ryan Gosling is an inept private investigator who hires tough guy Russell Crowe to help him investigate the disappearance of a young woman in 1977 L.A.
NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY RISING Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) survived the nightmare that was living next to a fraternity, so what could be worse? How about living next to a sorority? Chloë Grace Moretz leads a group of girls that makes enough trouble in the couple’s life that they have to call in an old friend-enemy (Zac Efron).
THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE Outliers Red, Chuck and Bomb must figure out what’s going on when mysterious green piggies arrive on their island in this animated tale featuring the voices of Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad and Danny McBride.
A BIGGER SPLASH An off-the-grid couple (Tilda Swinton and Matthias Schoenaerts) find their already scorching-hot getaway interrupted by the arrival of a lusty old flame (Ralph Fiennes) and his dangerously seductive daughter (Dakota Johnson).
DARK HORSE The inhabitants of a small Welsh mining village band together to breed a champion racehorse in this documentary.
MANHATTAN NIGHT A tabloid journalist’s investigation of the murder of a filmmaker endangers his job, his family and his life. Adrien Brody stars.
WELCOME TO HAPPINESS A children’s author (Kyle Gallner) rents an apartment from a landlord (Nick Offerman), and it contains a magical door that allows people who pass through it to erase past mistakes.
THE LOBSTER In an incredibly odd dystopian future, single people are given 45 days to pair up or they’ll be turned into animals. Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz star.
X-MEN APOCALYPSE The original mutant awakens after thousands of years and he is not happy, triggering a battle for a new world order. The cast includes James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence.
ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Mia Wasikowska returns as the title character in this sequel to 2010’s Alice in Wonderland that sends her back in time to rescue the incredibly freaky-looking Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp).
THE IDOL A young Palestinian pursues his dream of being a singer in this film with Tawfeek Barhom, Kais Attalah and Hiba Attalah.
ME BEFORE YOU This tearjerker starring Sam Claflin as a paralyzed man and Emilia Clarke as his caretaker is based on the romantic novel by Jojo Moyes.
MAGGIE’S PLAN In this screwball romantic comedy, Greta Gerwig plays a woman who tries to get her husband (Ethan Hawke) back together with his ex (Julianne Moore).
POPSTAR: NEVER STOP STOPPING The Lonely Island guys are behind this mockumentary, in which Andy Samberg plays Conner4real, a character just as ridiculous as his name.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS Everyone’s favorite reptile warriors are back in this sequel, and this time they’re accompanied by more fan-favorite characters from the franchise including Bebop, Rocksteady and vigilante Casey Jones (Arrow’s Stephen Amell).
TIME TO CHOOSE Oscar-winning documentarian Charles Ferguson examines the challenges and solutions associated with climate change.
URGE A new designer drug turns a night of partying on an island paradise into a lethal bacchanal. With Pierce Brosnan, Justin Chatwin and Ashley Greene.
CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR Nick Jonas plays a college-bound young man whose affair with a wealthy neighbor’s wife is complicated by a suspicious death.
THE CONJURING 2 Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson return as demonologists investigating the haunting of a house in north London.
DHEEPAN This Palme d’Or winner is about Sri Lankan refugees in France trying to escape their violent past.
NOW YOU SEE ME 2 The Four Horsemen return for more magic and tangle with an unethical tech magnate. With Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo and Woody Harrelson.
WARCRAFT Two opposing warriors are on a fateful course that will decide the future of their civilizations. With Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton and Ben Foster.
CENTRAL INTELLEGENCE A former geek (Dwayne Johnson) returns to a high school reunion as a studly CIA agent and recruits his nemesis (Kevin Hart) for a “mission.”
DePALMA Filmmakers Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow look at the 50-year career of Brian De Palma, director of such films as Carrie, Scarface and The Untouchables.
FINDING DORY Nemo, Marlin and the forgetful blue tang must cross an ocean to find her family in this sequel, featuring the voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks and Ed O’Neill.
GENIUS Colin Firth, Jude Law and Nicole Kidman star in a dramatization of the complex personal and professional relationship between editor Maxwell Perkins and writer Thomas Wolfe.
TICKLED Under legal threats and intimidation, documentarians David Farrier and Dylan Reeve uncover an online operation in which young men are tied up and tickled, but it’s no laughing matter.
THE DUEL Liam Hemsworth plays a Texas Ranger who investigates a series of murders in a small town. He faces off against a preacher played by Woody Harrelson.
THE FREE STATE OF JONES During the Civil War, a Mississippi farmer (Matthew McConaughey) leads a rebellion against the Confederacy. Rising star Gugu Mbatha-Raw is also part of the cast.
THE MUSIC OF STRANGERS: YO-YO MA AND THE SILK ROAD ENSEMBLE Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville profiles the international collective created by world-class cellist Ma.
INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE Uh oh. Twenty years later, the aliens return with new and improved technology. Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman star.
THE LEGEND OF TARZAN Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic character comes to life in the form of a very ripped Alexander Skarsgård. Years after he was king of the jungle, Tarzan is asked to return to the congo to serve as a trade emissary alongside his wife Jane (Margot Robbie).
THE BFG A Big Friendly Giant befriends a young girl from London in this adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, directed by Steven Spielberg.
OUR KIND OF TRAITOR On holiday in Marrakesh, an English couple become entangled with the Russian mafia and the U.K.’s MI6. With Ewan McGregor, Naomie Harris and Damian Lewis.
THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR Elizabeth Mitchell plays a politician who puts herself in harm’s way when she speaks out against the American tradition of the murderous annual rite, when all crime is legal for 24 hours.
SWISS ARMY MAN Weird is an understatement. Daniel Radcliffe plays a flatulent corpse whom a wilderness-stranded Paul Dano rides to safety in this off-the-wall absurdist existential comedy from viral- and music-video oddballs the Daniels.
CAPTAIN FANTASTIC A Pacific Northwest family’s off-the-grid lifestyle is disrupted by tragedy. With Viggo Mortensen, Frank Langella and George MacKay.
MIKE & DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES Two brothers (Zac Efron and Adam Devine), get more than they can handle from the pair of wild women (Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza) who respond to their online ad.
THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS Listen for the voices of Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet and Kevin Hart in this animated comedy about what our dogs and cats do while we’re at work or school.
THE INFILTRATOR Bryan Cranston plays a federal agent who goes deep undercover to access drug king Pablo Escobar’s 1980s empire.
EQUALS In a genetically engineered society devoid of human emotion, a young woman and man (Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult) experience a forbidden romance.
GHOSTBUSTERS Who ya gonna call? Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones star in the reboot of the supernatural comedy.
ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley are back as Edina and Patsy, living the AbFab life until they cause a media storm and flee to the French Riviera, sans argent.
ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE Scrat’s back chasing that acorn and sets off a chain of cosmic events that threatens the world he and his friends know. Ray Romano, John Leguizamo and Denis Leary are among the voice talents.
STAR TREK BEYOND The crew of the Enterprise travels to deepest space and is challenged by an inscrutable new foe (Idris Elba). Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Zoe Saldana return.
BAD MOMS Overworked mothers (Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn) set out to liberate themselves from straitjacketed upright behavior.
EQUITY An investment banker (Anna Gunn) guides a client’s high-stakes IPO while dealing with the internal politics of her own firm.
INDIGNATION In 1951, working-class Jewish boy Marcus Messner (Logan Lerman) heads to college in a small town in Ohio and gets a deferment from being drafted into the Korean War. The story’s based on Philip Roth’s novel.
INTO THE FOREST A pair of sisters (Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood) face a menacing series of challenges after a continent-wide blackout.
JASON BOURNE Matt Damon returns as the former CIA agent with a spotty memory in the fifth installment of the franchise.
THE FOUNDER Michael Keaton stars as McDonald’s impresario Ray Kroc in this film, also featuring Nick Offerman and Linda Cardellini.
NINE LIVES An uptight businessman finds himself trapped in the body of the family cat and must learn to be more human to escape. With Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Garner and Malina Weissman.
SUICIDE SQUAD The best of the worst in villainy are recruited by the government to take on an unstoppable enemy. Starring Will Smith, Jared Leto and Margot Robbie.
FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS Meryl Streep stars as a New York socialite in the 1940s who pursues her dream of being a great singer – despite having a terrible voice.
PETE’S DRAGON A skeptical forest ranger in the Pacific Northwest meets a young boy who claims to be friends with a large winged reptile in this reimagining of the 1977 film, featuring Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley and Wes Bentley.
KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS Matthew McConaughey and Charlize Theron provide voices in this animated Japanese fantasy about a boy, his magical instrument and the enchanted creatures who aid him as he attempts to heal a long-ago rift and reunite his family.
BEN-HUR Forced into slavery, a prince (Jack Huston) fights his way back seeking revenge.
THE SPACE BETWEEN US The first human born on Mars returns to Earth and sets out to find his father. Starring Gary Oldman, Asa Butterfield, Carla Gugino and Britt Robertson.
BLOOD FATHER An ex-con (Mel Gibson) fights to protect his daughter from a drug cartel.
DON’T BREATHE Breaking into a blind recluse’s house turns out to be a really bad idea in this home-invasion thriller, Fede Alvarez’s first feature since his 2013 Evil Dead remake.
HANDS OF STONE Panamanian boxer Roberto Durán soars to stardom when he defeats Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980, only to be toppled in the rematch when he infamously says “no mas.” The cast includes Robert De Niro, Edgar Ramírez and Usher Raymond.
THE INTERVENTION During a weekend getaway, concerned friends force a couple to assess their marriage. With Melanie Lynskey, Cobie Smulders and Alia Shawkat.
MAX ROSE Jerry Lewis stars as a jazz pianist who makes a discovery that causes him to doubt the fidelity of his late wife.
MECHANIC: RESURRECTION The sequel to the 2011 action thriller finds Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) tasked with assassinating the most dangerous men in the world. Jessica Alba and Tommy Lee Jones also star.
SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU It’s 1989 in this movie inspired by Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date. Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter star.
OPENING DATES TO BE DETERMINED
THE FAMILY FANG Baxter (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Nicole Kidman) are adult siblings who were raised by performance artists. They investigate the disappearance of their parents.
THE HOLLARS News of his mother’s illness brings a New York City artist back to the small town he left behind and he is immediately swept up in his family’s dysfunction and other dramas. With Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Anna Kendrick and John Krasinski.
THE NEON DEMON Voracious, beauty-obsessed L.A. women descend upon a newly arrived young model. With Elle Fanning, Bella Heathcote and Abbey Lee.
WEINER This documentary, directed by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg, goes inside former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s failed mayoral campaign.
Compiled by Ann Pinson, from staff and wire reports