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Summer movie preview 2024: Sequels, some superheroes and more sequels are upon us

<i>Hopper Stone/Columbia Pictures via CNN Newsource</i><br/>Lil Rel Howery
Hopper Stone/Columbia Pictures via CNN Newsource
Lil Rel Howery

By Dan Heching, CNN

(CNN) — It may feel like not long ago, but a year has passed since the summer of “Barbenheimer,” and Hollywood is hoping for another season of enthusiastic audiences and perhaps an unlikely but viral cinematic pairing. (“#Garfiosa,” anyone?)

Some things about this summer’s slate of movies feel similar – namely, a lot of sequels on offer – while other elements feel a bit different, like the lingering hangover from last year’s twin strikes that brought movie production to a months-long standstill.

Nevertheless, there are more than a few characters sure to distract from that with their showy antics, some masked and mouthy (here’s looking at you, Deadpool) and others aiming to turn our emotions “Inside Out” all over again.

Behold a list of the most buzzy movies being released theatrically between Memorial and Labor Day Weekends, 2024. For ease of reference, any sequel, prequel or reboot is marked with an asterisk:

‘Furiosa’* (May 24)

George Miller’s fifth foray into the gnarly post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max, “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” explores the origins of the titular character originated by Charlize Theron in 2015’s Oscar-winning epic “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Here, Furiosa is played to the mettle by Anya Taylor-Joy, with villainous antics (and a prosthetic nose) supplied by Chris Hemsworth.

‘The Garfield Movie’ (May 24)

Chris Pratt gets to add another voice credit to his list of animated roles after last year’s hit “Mario Bros. Movie” with “Garfield,” following the famously lethargic ginger cat hailing from the comic strips of yore. Joining Pratt as the titular cat in this family-friendly romp are Samuel L. Jackson, Ving Rhames, Nicholas Hoult, “Ted Lasso’s” Hannah Waddingham and Brett Goldstein, along with “Saturday Night Live” stars Cecily Strong and Bowen Yang.

‘Ezra’ (May 31)

Robert De Niro joins Bobby Cannavale and Rose Byrne in this drama about a comedian who is father to an autistic child, and the unexpected road trip they embark upon. Whoopi Goldberg, Vera Farmiga and Tony Goldwyn (who also directs) costar. Introducing William A. Fitzgerald in the title role as Ezra.

‘Robot Dreams’ (May 31)

Nominated for best animated feature at the Academy Awards earlier this year, “Robot Dreams” is the winsome tale of a dog, named Dog, and his new robot friend named… you guessed it, Robot. This one gets extra points for being a period piece, of sorts, taking place in New York City in the 1980s.

‘Summer Camp’ (May 31)

This “Book Club”-esque take on three friends from summer camp reuniting later in life for another hurrah stars Diane Keaton, Kathy Bates, Alfre Woodard and Eugene Levy in what (inexplicably) looks to be the role of the hunk they fawned over as youngsters. With this plus “Book Club,” its sequel last year as well as “Poms,” Keaton looks to be launching her very own genre.

‘Bad Boys: Ride or Die’* (June 7)

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are back for a fourth go-round of this buddy comedy/action hybrid, with the twist being that this time, they’re on the run (according to the IMDb logline). The movie, costarring Vanessa Hudgens, follows 2020’s “Bad Boys for Life” (it seems that title’s promise didn’t quite stick).

‘The Watchers’ (June 7)

The nepo baby phenomenon extends beyond actors, as this June entry marks the feature directorial debut of one Ishana Shyamalan, daughter to M. Night (she gained footing on his Apple TV+ series “Servant”). The film looks dutifully creepy, and stars the talented Dakota Fanning (“Ripley”) as an artist who finds herself in a strange forest in Ireland. Soon, that becomes the least of her problems.

‘Run Lola Run’ (June 7)

You read that right – this 1999 international classic is being rereleased with a 4K restoration to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the movie’s original US debut. Starring Franka Potente and directed by the visionary Tom Tykwer, “Lola” follows a young woman in Berlin who has 20 minutes to get across town to her boyfriend – and find 100,000 Deutche Marks on the way – or else he dies. As time ticks by and Lola makes split-second decisions, her life and that of those around her become remarkably altered.

‘Inside Out 2’* (June 14)

Almost a decade (!!) since Pixar’s Oscar-winning exploration into the mind and emotions of one young Riley, Amy Poehler and company are back as Riley grows into her teen years. Several new emotions will be at play, including Anxiety (voiced by “Stranger Things’” Maya Hawke), Envy (“The Bear” star Ayo Edebiri), embarrassment and even ennui. Oh, to be a teen once again.

‘Treasure’ (June 14)

“Girls” star and creator Lena Dunham and “Wilde” actor Stephen Fry play a daughter and father who travel to Poland in the early 1990s to explore the latter’s roots. But the specter of his trauma from surviving the Holocaust causes him to try to sabotage their trip, as the pair nonetheless face the past and grow closer in the process.

‘Kinds of Kindness’ (June 21)

After last year’s surprisingly bizarre and very acclaimed “Poor Things,” “Kinds of Kindness” is the next team-up between two-time Oscar-winner Emma Stone and “Poor Things” director Yorgos Lanthimos. The new film is billed as a dark “triptych fable,” costarring Willem Dafoe, “Civil War” actor Jesse Plemons, Margaret Qualley, “The Whale” star Hong Chau, Joe Alwyn, Mamoudou Athie and “Euphoria” rising star Hunter Schafer.

‘The Bikeriders‘ (June 21)

The next starring vehicle for “Elvis” actor Austin Butler, “The Bikeriders” looks like a mashup of “The Outsiders” and “Midnight Cowboy,” with Butler at the head of a rough and tumble biker gang in ’60s Chicago. Costarring Tom Hardy and “Killing Eve” star Jodie Comer.

‘Thelma’ (June 21)

Marking her first lead role, “Thelma” stars 94-year-old June Squibb as the titular senior who is targeted in a phone scam and decides to take matters into her own hands to get back what’s hers. The Oscar-nominated “Nebraska” star is joined in the new movie by “The White Lotus’s” Fred Hechinger, who plays her grandson.

‘A Quiet Place: Day One’* (June 28)

This prequel sure looks like it’ll make a lot of noise. The latest entry in John Krasinski’s super sound-sensitive alien invasion franchise, “Day One” stars Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o and will focus on when the vicious beasts first arrive and begin wreaking havoc. “Stranger Things 4” breakout star Joseph Quinn, along with franchise returnee Djimon Hounsou, costar.

‘Horizon: An American Saga’ – Chapter 1 (June 28)

Long before “Yellowstone,” Kevin Costner roamed the wild American frontier in “Dances With Wolves,” and he’s clearly not done with the Western genre as this June’s “Horizon” is just the first movie in a series, centered on expansion and settlement both before and after the Civil War. “Chapter 2” comes on August 16, with a third installment currently in production.

‘Despicable Me 4’* (July 3)

The Minions are back for another zany romp, with Steve Carell’s Gru and family welcoming a new addition, Gru Jr., and facing off against a new baddie voiced by Well Ferrell. This one is sure to be a known quantity, especially for beleaguered parents looking for a break over July 4th weekend.

‘MaXXXine’* (July 5)

Ti West’s horror trilogy comes to a bloody close with this 1980s Hollywood-set movie starring Mia Goth as an adult film star harboring some killer secrets who is stalked by a slasher. “MaXXXine” comes after West’s impressive 2022 film “X,” and the slightly less convincing “Pearl” from later that year. The third entry boasts a phenomenal supporting cast including “The Crown’s” Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Monaghan, Bobby Cannavale, Lily Collins, Giancarlo Esposito, Kevin Bacon and singer Halsey.

‘Fly Me to the Moon’ (July 12)

This period piece stars Scarlett Johansson as a PR maven tasked with staging a fake moon landing in case the real one doesn’t take off successfully, opposite Channing Tatum playing the launch director whose job it is to make sure it does. Woody Harrelson costars.

‘Longlegs’ (July 12)

This terrifying-looking thriller stars the prolific Nicolas Cage as a severely demented serial killer leaving occult clues (think “Se7en”) for an FBI agent played by Maika Monroe, the excellent actress who played the final girl in “It Follows.” The trailer has “Silence of the Lambs” vibes, in the scariest possible way.

‘Twisters’* (July 19)

Taking a look at weather-related news these days, it’s pretty clear that extreme tornadoes are no longer an odd occurrence deserving of big-budget Hollywood treatment. Nonetheless, “Anyone But You” star Glen Powell is taking over storm-chasing duties from the late Bill Paxton in this almost 30-years-later sequel. Be on the lookout for debris, cows and a possible cameo from Helen Hunt.

‘Deadpool & Wolverine’* (July 26)

Almost certainly the blockbuster to beat this summer, the highly anticipated sequel (are you sensing a trend yet?) will see Ryan Reynolds return as the famed Merc with a Mouth, joined for this third go-round by none other than Hugh Jackman, reprising his signature role of Wolverine after (temporarily, anyway) saying goodbye to his claws in 2017’s “Logan.” “Deadpool & Wolverine” is also significant as Marvel’s first R-rated superhero movie, bridging the gap between the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the 20th Century Fox crop of heroes – namely the X-Men – who now belong to Marvel’s parent company Disney. Expect extensive, fourth wall-breaking commentary from Deadpool himself on all of this in the movie.

‘Dìdi’ (July 26)

Coming of age stories are a well-mined area, but this spirited look at a Taiwanese-American 13-year-old boy enjoying the last month of summer before high school in 2008 looks like just the off-kilter and authentic experience that can serve as excellent counter-programming to all the noisier and more mainstream cinematic fare this season. Perhaps make it a double-feature with the aforementioned superheroes, and launch the #DidiPool trend? You heard it here first.

‘Harold and the Purple Crayon’ (August 2)

Based on the popular children’s book by Crockett Johnson, “Harold” stars Zachary Levi (“Shazam!”) as the titular owner of a purple crayon that can create anything he imagines. In a bit of a meta moment, he manages to draw himself out of the book and into the real world, where his powers draw the attention of both good and bad players.

‘Cuckoo’ (August 2)

Starring “Euphoria’s” Hunter Schafer in her first lead film role, this horror film looks positively creepy and a bit, well, cuckoo. Schafer plays a young woman visiting a mysterious German Alpine resort with her family. She is soon plagued by horrifically bloody visions and believes a strange woman is following her. The trailer mentions the habits of birds in nature, which definitely ratchets up the ick-factor. Costarring Dan Stevens.

‘Sing Sing’ (August 2)

After his Oscar-nominated turn in last year’s “Rustin,” Colman Domingo (who also counts “Euphoria” among his credits) stars in another film based on a true story, this one set at the infamous prison in New York State. In the film, Domingo plays a wrongfully imprisoned inmate who finds meaning through acting in a theatre group alongside other incarcerated men in the penitentiary. Featuring an ensemble cast of formerly incarcerated actors.

‘Kneecap’ (August 2)

This biopic about an Irish rap trio – who rap in their native Irish tongue – made a splash at Sundance earlier this year, with the actual trio portraying themselves in the movie. If that’s not enough to pique curiosity, try this – the film features Michael Fassbender in a supporting role.

‘Trap’ (August 9)

While his daughter’s been busy with her own film (see “The Watchers” above), M. Night Shyamalan hasn’t slowed down himself, welcoming Josh Hartnett in a plum lead role as a dad taking his kid to the concert of a wildly popular Taylor Swift-like star whose fans are obsessive. Oh, and Hartnett’s character also happens to be a serial killer, and the cops have blockaded the concert venue to trap him (hence the title). The big question is, if we were able to glean all that from the trailer, what could the final Shyamalan twist possibly be at the end?

‘It Ends with Us’ (August 9)

Blake Lively stars in this adaptation from the bestselling Colleen Hoover novel, about a traumatized woman torn between her first love and a new relationship, one that reminds her of patterns she’s seen before. Costarring Justin Baldoni, Jenny Slate and Hasan Minhaj.

‘Borderlands’ (August 9)

In case you’re missing the Guardians of the Galaxy – who took their final bow last summer – “Borderlands” should have you covered, as the film looks to follow a similarly freewheeling cohort of intergalactic misfits on a valiant quest. Here, they’re led by Oscar-winners Cate Blanchett and Jamie Lee Curtis, along with Kevin Hart and “Barbie” star Ariana Greenblatt. Based on the bestselling video game.

‘Alien: Romulus’* (August 16)

Just when you thought it was safe to scream in space again, the “Alien” franchise returns, hopefully with a better entry than (at least) the last two. “Don’t Breathe” director Fede Alvarez directs “Civil War” and “Priscilla” star Cailee Spaeny – who, from the looks of the trailer, seems to be on serious Sigourney Weaver duty – as she accompanies a group of space colonizers inspecting a derelict space station. It’s a safe bet that they find trouble, and then some.

‘Close to You’ (August 16)

“Umbrella Academy’s” Elliot Page stars as Sam, a trans man going home for the first time since transitioning. Once there, he rekindles a romance with an old flame, and must face long-simmering issues. Costarring Hillary Baack and Wendy Crewson.

‘Blink Twice’ (August 23)

Jam packed with a starry cast, “Blink Twice” looks like a perfect late summer movie – attractive people, elaborate action sequences, and mindless mayhem. This is Channing Tatum’s second entry this summer after “Fly Me to the Moon,” here playing a crazy tech billionaire who whisks a cocktail waitress (Naomi Ackie) and her friend (Alia Shawkat) off to his private island for what turns into an insane interlude. Kyle MacLachlan, Christian Slater, Haley Joel Osment and Geena Davis round out the cast. Directed by Zoë Kravitz.

‘The Crow’* (August 23)

An uber-gory-looking reboot based on the influential James O’Barr graphic novel, which also served as inspiration for the 1994 noir thriller of the same name that starred the late Brandon Lee. The new film stars Bill Skarsgard (Pennywise from “It”) as a brutally murdered man who returns from the dead to avenge his killing and that of his beloved soulmate Shelly (FKA twigs).

‘Slingshot’ (August 23)

Laurence Fishburne and Casey Affleck star in this sci-fi thriller about an astronaut heading to the Titan moon of Saturn who loses his grip on reality when his mission becomes compromised.

‘Reagan’ (August 30)

Dennis Quaid plays Ronald Reagan, a 1950s-era actor who eventually became the 40th President of the United States. Prepare for extensive debates on how the figure is portrayed here. With Penelope Ann Miller as Nancy Reagan.

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