Summer! The time of year is almost upon us when the days are long, the kids are out of school and cinemas are packed with original, artful films unlike any you’ve seen before.
OK, that last part isn’t really true. Sequels, remakes and superheroes are a year-round business for the movie industry, but they’re particularly abundant during the summer months, because that’s when movie attendance is at its highest. Beginning with Captain America: Civil War (which is pretty terrific), your local multiplex is about to be invaded by a tidal wave of new films, many of which will seem familiar, because Hollywood loves nothing more than repeating a proven formula.
Here is a list of the 40-plus movies heading our way between now and Labor Day:
Money Monster: Jodie Foster directs this thriller about a TV show host (George Clooney) taken hostage during a broadcast. Julia Roberts is the producer scrambling to keep him alive.
High Rise: Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons and Sienna Miller star in director Ben (The Kill List) Wheatley’s adaptation of the J.G. Ballard novel about the awful things that go down when civilization inside a condo tower starts to break down.
The Meddler: After her husband passes away, a New Yorker (Susan Sarandon) moves to Los Angeles to be with her daughter (Rose Byrne) and start a new life.
A Bigger Splash: Tilda Swinton reunites with her I Am Love director Luca Guadagnino playing a famous rock star whose Mediterranean vacation is interrupted by the arrival of an old flame (Ralph Fiennes).
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising: First it was a rowdy fraternity. Now Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne must contend with the sorority that takes over the house next door. Zac Efron returns to give the married couple some pointers on how to deal with crazy youngsters.
The Invitation: Karyn Kusama (Girlfight, Jennifer’s Body) directs this thriller about a man (Logan Marshall-Green) who crashes a dinner party hosted by his ex-wife (Tammy Blanchard) and her new husband (Michiel Husman).
The Nice Guys: Two bumbling detectives (Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe) team up to investigate a kidnapping in director Shane (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) Black’s 1970s-era comedy.
The Angry Birds Movie: That app you used to like is now a 3D animated movie.
Alice Through the Looking Glass: Director James Bobin (The Muppets) takes over from Tim Burton in this new installment in the adventures of Alice (Mia Wasikowska), the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) and the rest of the protagonists of Lewis Carroll’s fantasy novels.
X-Men: Apocalypse: The world’s first mutant (Oscar Isaac) makes big trouble for Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and his band of merry weirdos (including Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult and Evan Peters).
Weiner: This acclaimed documentary recounts the controversy that took down New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s mayoral campaign.
The Lobster: Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz star in director Yorgos Lanthimos’ creepy-funny parable about a future society in which people are required to find a romantic partner or be turned into an animal of their choice.
Ma ma: Julio Medem wrote and directed this drama about a single mother (Penélope Cruz) who is diagnosed with breast cancer.
Love and Friendship: Kate Beckinsale, Xavier Samuel and Chloe Sevigny star in writer-director Whit (Damsels in Distress) Stillman’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s novella Lady Susan.
Me Before You: Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin star in this adaptation of Jojo Mojes’ novel about a woman who becomes the caretaker for a man left paralyzed by an accident.
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping: Andy Samberg stars as a popular singer in crisis-mode after his new album flops.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows: The hard-shelled superheroes return to save the world again.
Dark Horse: In a former mining village in Wales, a group of working-class men take on upper-crust society by breeding their own racehorse.
The Conjuring 2: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson and director James Wan reunite for another sure-to-be-terrifying adventure in ghostbusting.
De Palma: A documentary exploration of the films of director Brian De Palma.
Now You See Me 2: Jesse Eisenberg, Morgan Freeman, Woody Harrelson and Michael Caine return for more sleight-of-hand heists.
Warcraft: Director Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) finds out if the colossally popular computer game translates to the big screen.
Maggie’s Plan: Greta Gerwig stars in writer-director Rebecca Miller’s comedy about a woman whose plans to become a single mother are derailed when she falls for a married man (Ethan Hawke). Julianne Moore plays the not-so-happy wife.
Central Intelligence: A CIA agent (Dwayne Johnson) lures his former high school buddy (Kevin Hart) into a dangerous mission.
Finding Dory: Pixar’s sequel to the beloved Finding Nemo centers on the forgetful blue tang fish voiced by Ellen Degeneres.
Independence Day: Resurgence: The hostile aliens who tried to conquer our planet in 1996 are back, presumably after installing computer virus software. Liam Hemsworth takes over for Will Smith, who apparently decided once was enough.
Free State of Jones: Matthew McConaughey stars as the defiant farmer Newt Knight, who led a rebellion against Confederate forces during the Civil War.
The Neon Demon: Elle Fanning is an aspiring model who moves to L.A. and falls in with a bad crowd in director Nicolas Winding Refn’s stylish thriller.
The Shallows: A surfer (Blake Lively) is stranded on a small outcropping of rock, just 200 yards of ocean and a great white shark between her and the shore.
The BFG: Steven Spielberg reunites with his E.T. screenwriter, the late Melissa Mathison, for this adaptation of Roald Dahl’s fable about a little girl (Ruby Barnhill) and a big friendly giant (Mark Rylance).
The Legend of Tarzan: After spending time in the civilized world, a domesticated Lord Greystoke (Alexander Skarsgard) returns to Africa for a visit with his wife Jane (Margot Robbie) and ends up having to resort to his old ways. Hey, is that a vine?
Swiss Army Man: Daniel Radcliffe is the farting corpse that helps a stranded man (Paul Dano) in this
comedy that caused a stir at the Sundance Film Festival.
The Purge: Election Year: Two years after the events of The Purge: Anarchy, Frank Grillo tries to survive another 12 hours of government-sanctioned lawlessness, this time protecting a senator (Elizabeth Mitchell).
Cell: John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson star in this adaptation of Stephen King’s novel about an epidemic that turns cellphone users into murderous lunatics.
The Secret Life of Pets: Louis CK, Kevin Hart and Albert Brooks provide the voices for this animated comedy about the trouble cats and dogs get into when their owners aren’t home.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates: Two party-happy brothers (Zac Efron and Adam Devine) trying to find respectable dates to take to their sister’s wedding meet their matches in the form of Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick.
Captain Fantastic: A father (Viggo Mortensen) who has raised his six kids deep within the forests of the Pacific Northwest is forced to reenter the civilized world.
The Infiltrator: Bryan Cranston stars as the federal agent who went undercover in 1986 to try to bring down Pablo Escobar’s drug empire.
Ghostbusters: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones are on the hunt for paranormal activity in this remake of the 1984 comedy classic.
Star Trek Beyond: Justin Lin (Fast Five) takes over from director J.J. Abrams (serving as producer only this time) in the further adventures of the U.S.S. Enterprise and its crew (Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana and Anton Yelchin).
Ice Age: Collision Course: You know the deal.
Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie: Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley) take their boozy act to the big screen, where they cause a major incident at a fashion show and are forced to flee to the French Riviera.
Lights Out: Director David F. Sandberg expands his creepy 2013 short film into feature length. Teresa Palmer stars as a woman who is being stalked by a creature she can only see when the lights are out. We’re scared already.
Jason Bourne: After sitting out 2012’s The Bourne Legacy, Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass return to the franchise they made famous. Having recovered his memory at the end of The Bourne Ultimatum, the no-longer-amnesiac super-agent wants answers, dammit. There will be punching.
Cafe Society: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Steve Carell and Parker Posey co-star in the latest comedy from writer-director Woody Allen, this one set within the 1930s Hollywood studio industry.
Bad Moms: Three overworked, underappreciated mothers (Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn) decide to treat themselves to a little fun. Written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, who also wrote The Hangover, so you know what’s in store.
The Founder: Michael Keaton is Ray Kroc in this biopic of the man who created McDonald’s and ruined waistlines and cholesterol levels around the world.
Suicide Squad: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie and Jai Courtney are among the DC Comics supervillians who are offered clemency if they carry out a secret mission. Because bad guys are people too.
Nine Lives: Kevin Spacey stars as a workaholic billionaire who is trapped inside the body of the family cat. No, seriously, that’s what the movie is about.
Florence Foster Jenkins: Meryl Streep is the 1940s New York socialite preparing to perform at Carnegie Hall because no one — not even her husband (Hugh Grant) — has the heart to tell her her singing is horrible.
Pete’s Dragon: Bryce Dallas Howard, Wes Bentley and Robert Redford co-star in Walt Disney’s latest live-action adaptation of a former feature-length cartoon.
Sausage Party: Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Salma Hayek and James Franco provide the voices for this extremely rude, R-rated cartoon about one sausage’s quest to find his proper place in a supermarket aisle.
Ben-Hur: Jack Huston is the prince accused of treason by his brother (Toby Kebell) in director Timur (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) Bekmambetov’s latest CGI fest.
War Dogs: Jonah Hill and Miles Teller are the two Miami slackers who became international weapon dealers in director Todd Phillips’ adaptation of the nonfiction book Arms and the Dudes.
The Space Between Us: Asa Butterfield is the teenage boy born and raised on Mars who visits Earth for the first time.
Kubo and the Two Strings: Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Rooney Mara and Ralph Fiennes provide the voices for this fable about a young man living in a quiet seaside town who is thrust into a fantastical world of gods and monsters.
Hands of Stone: Edgar Ramirez is Roberto Duran and Robert DeNiro is his trainer in this biopic of the famed boxing champion.
Don’t Breathe: A group of thieves break into the home of a blind man (Stephen Lang), thinking he’ll be easy prey. Think again!
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