The Summer Blockbuster season isn't as big as it once was. Star Wars has laid claim to December, while Marvel and DC are going head-to-head in November with Thor vs Justice League. Next Spring will pack a huge punch as well. But despite more and more major pictures being released year-round, there's still a special nostalgia about summer movies. The kids don't have school the next morning, the drive-in theaters are open, there's still warmth and daylight when you walk out of the theater. Here's our selection of some of the biggest movies to hit the screens in the next few months. It should be no surprise that most are franchise films.
Three-time Academy Award-nominated director Ridley Scott kicks off the Summer Blockbuster season with the sixth installment in his iconic sci-fi horror franchise. A sequel to Prometheus and a prequel to the original Alien, Covenant has earned a 76% approval rating on review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes from advance screenings.
Opens Friday, May 19.
Alien Series Gross: $1.111 billion
Average Approval Rating: 73%
The summer's favorite swashbuckling swindler returns to the big screen for a fifth installment, but behind the scenes he has a whole new crew. New directors, new screenwriters, and a new cinematographer will hope to breathe new life into a franchise that has seen remarkable commercial success despite continued decline in critical approval. Orlando Bloom and Kierra Knightly resume the roles that were left out of the last installment, with the addition of a son who is expected to play a pivotal role in the future of the saga.
Opens Friday, May 26.
Pirates Series Gross: $3.729 billion
Average Approval Rating: 53%
The fourth chapter in the DC Extended Universe, Wonder Woman will be the star of her own live-action film for the first time in a franchise that has seen growing commercial success, but is still struggling to earn the approval of the critics. Gal Gadot reprises the role she began in Batman v Superman, accompanied by Chris Pine in a World War I-era war film.
Opens Friday, June 2.
DCEU Series Gross: $2.286 billion
Average Approval Rating: 36%
After a commercially successful but critically-panned sequel in 2011, Lightning McQueen ditches the world of espionage and returns to his origins on the track against a new generation of high-tech racers. Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy reprise their beloved roles as they look to enrapture the next generation of young people.
Opens Friday, June 16.
Cars Series Gross: $1.024 billion
Average Approval Rating: 57%
While Disney's Cars captures the hearts of the young people, Michael Bay will targeting a slightly more mature (or maybe immature?) audience with his gun-toting, transforming cars of the Hasbro family. The Last Knight will also be the last Transformers film for the disaster-film director, but the franchise will live on with two more installments already on the books. Mark Wahlberg returns as the human lead alongside fan-favorites Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Grimlock, and Megatron
Opens Wednesday, June 21.
Transformers Series Gross: $3.773 billion
Average Approval Rating: 32%
Tom Holland will reprise his role as Spider-Man that he began in Captain America: Civil War in the first Spider-Man film co-produced between Sony and Marvel Studios. This third attempt at a Spider-Man film series will focus on a younger high-school aged Peter Parker, with Robert Downey Jr. co-starring as Tony Stark.
Opens Friday, July 7.
Spiderman Series Gross: $5.116 billion
Average Approval Rating: 77%
MCU Series Gross: $11.546 billion
Average Approval Rating: 82%
The third installment in the Planet of the Apes reboot series continues to build on the gritty militant tones set in its Academy Award-nominated predecessor. Andy Serkis reprises his role as Caesar, with Woody Harrelson as his human adversary. The resurrected franchise has been well received both commercially and critically, with the latest installment attaining the highest approval rating since the 1968 film that started it all.
Opens Friday, July 14.
POTA Series Gross: $1.712 billion
Average Approval Rating: 63%
Reboot Series Gross: $1.191 billion
Average Approval Rating: 86%
Christopher Nolan's latest epic, the evacuation and "miracle" at Dunkirk, France as told from three perspectives: land, air, and sea. After large numbers of Allied troops are cut off and surrounded by the German army during the Battle of France, their rescue was described by Winston Churchill as a "miracle of deliverance." Starring Tom Hardy in a story written, directed, and produced by the three-time Academy Award nominee behind Inception, Interstellar, and the Dark Knight Trilogy
Opens Friday, July 21.
Nolan Films Gross: $4.227 billion
Average Approval Rating: 84%
One of the more peculiar films to emerge this summer is Stephen King's The Dark Tower. No, the movie is not based on his seven-book fantasy series, but rather, it serves as a sequel to the books. Starring Idris Elba as The Gunslinger, opposite Matthew McConaughey, the science-fantasy western film will take place partly in modern-day New York City and partly in Mid-World, a parallel universe resembling the American Old West. With a $60 million budget, Dark Tower is the most expensive Stephen King adaptation since Dreamcatcher in 2003.
Opens Friday, August 4.
King Adaptation Gross: $1.475 billion
Average Approval Rating: 47%