13 Blockbusters That Could Define 2016 ‘s Summer Movie Season

It’s hard out there for a summertime movie not tied to a lucrative franchise. Some two dozen reboots, sequels, video-game adaptations and comic-book spectacles will hit theaters over the course of the next four months. It all begins this weekend — a month and a half before the official start of summer — when “Captain America: Civil War” inevitably knocks “The Jungle Book” off its box-office perch.

We’ll soon find out whether there’s another “Jurassic World”-sized behemoth on our hands. The 13 potential cash cow we’ve targeted simply scrape the surface. There are also new “X-Men, ” “Alice in Wonderland, ” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, ” “Ice Age” and “Star Trek” installments on the horizon — not to mention “The Angry Birds Movie, ” “Warcraft, ” “The Legend of Tarzan” and, for some reason, a CGI-laden “Ben-Hur” redo. Next week we’ll preview some under-the-radar titles whose noise and visual consequences won’t scorch your senses, but here is a handful of big-budget releases worth marking your calendar for.

“Captain America: Civil War”( May 6)

Marvel Studios

Written byChristopher MarkusandStephen McFeely Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo

Starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr ., Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Elizabeth Olsen, Jeremy Renner, Sebastian Stan and Don Cheadle

What to expect: Marvelushered in 2015’ssummer movie season with “Avengers: Age of Ultron, “whichfellshort of the first “Avengers” flick’s grosses by about $150 million. The “Captain America” serieshas a lower bar to clear, especially without any dinosaurs to stampede over the dog days’No. 1 spot.Reviews have mostly praised “Civil War, “which promisesso many superheroes on the same screen that you literally won’t be able to count them on your thumbs. In this particular daybreak of justice, a rift between Iron Man and Captain America pits the illustrious Avengers against one another.[ Trailer] Marvelushered in 2015’ssummer movie season with “Avengers: Age of Ultron, “whichfellshort of the first “Avengers” flick’s gross by about $150 million. The “Captain America” serieshas a lower bar to clear, especially without any dinosaurs to stampede over the dog days’No. 1 spot.Reviews have mostly praised “Civil War, “which promisesso many superheroes on the same screen that you literally won’t be able to count them on your thumbs. In this particular dawn of justice, a rift between Iron Man and Captain America pits the illustrious Avengers against one another.[ Trailer]

“Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising”( May 20)

Universal

Written by Andrew J. Cohen, Brendan O’Brien, Nicholas Stoller, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg Directed by Nicholas Stoller

Starring Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron, Ike Barinholtz, Chlo Grace Moretz, Dave Franco, Kiersey Clemons and Selena Gomez

What to expect: Here’s a sequel we can all subsistence. The first “Neighbors” is one of the decade’s best slapsticks, and its follow-up blessedly adds Kiersey Clemons, Selena Gomez andChlo Grace Moretz to the party.They play members of a sorority that takes over what used to be Zac Efron and Dave Franco’s frat house. Nicholas Stoller, who directed both cinemas, has cited “Mad Max” as an inspiration for a crazy chase scene, but early reviews have lauded the movie’s progressive humor, so we’ll sign our letter of intent for thisparticular kegger.[ Trailer] Starring Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron, Ike Barinholtz, Chlo Grace Moretz, Dave Franco, Kiersey Clemons and Selena Gomez

Here’s a sequel we can all support. The first “Neighbors” is one of the decade’s best comedies, and its follow-up blessedly adds Kiersey Clemons, Selena Gomez andChlo Grace Moretz to the party.They play members of a sorority that takes over what used to be Zac Efron and Dave Franco’s frat house. Nicholas Stoller, who directed both cinemas, has cited “Mad Max” as an inspiration for a crazy chase scene, but early reviews have lauded the movie’s progressive humor, so we’ll sign our letter of intent for thisparticular kegger.[ Trailer]

“The Conjuring 2″( June 10)

Warner Bros.

Written byChad Hayes, Carey Hayes, David Leslie JohnsonandJames Wan Directed by James Wan

Starring Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Frances O’Connor and David Thewlis

What to expect: Even if “The Witch, ” “It Follows” and “The Babadook” satiated some of our recent hunger for quality horror movies, it is still rare to find mainstream creepshows that offer something fresh. “The Conjuring” is the closest we’ve come in quite some time. Its more expensive sequel sends the central paranormal investigatorsto a public-housing complex in England, where they investigate poltergeist activity.[ Trailer] Even if “The Witch, ” “It Follows” and “The Babadook” satiated some of our recent hunger for quality horror movies, it is still rare to find mainstream creepshows that offer something fresh. “The Conjuring” is the closest we’ve come in quite some time. Its more expensive sequel sends the central paranormal investigatorsto a public-housing complex in England, where they investigate poltergeist activity.[ Trailer]

“Now You Watch Me 2″( June 10)

Lionsgate

Written by Ed Solomon Directed by Jon M. Chu

Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Daniel Radcliffe, Lizzy Caplan and Morgan Freeman

What to expect: Critics didn’t find much sorcery in 2013 ‘s “Now You Insure Me, ” but the movie managed a major sleight of hand at the box office anyway. The sequel’s events pick up one year later, with the Four Housemen in hiding and Daniel Radcliffe playing against type as a guy who is just no good at sorcery. Accio our money![ Trailer] Critics didn’t find much magical in 2013 ‘s “Now You Insure Me, ” but the movie managed a major sleight of hand at the box office anyway. The sequel’s events pick up one year later, with the Four Housemen in hiding and Daniel Radcliffe playing against type as a guy who is just no good at magic. Accio our money![ Trailer]

“Finding Dory”( June 17)

Disney

Written and directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane

Starring Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Hayden Rolence, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Ty Burrell and Idris Elba

What to expect: After “Zoolander” and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding, ” “Finding Dory” is the third movie this year to net a sequel more than a decade after its original. We expect the Pixar successor will be far less fishy than those other two duds.”Dory” takes place six months after the events of 2003 ‘s “Finding Nemo, ” with the titular amnesiac hunting for their own families.[ Trailer] After “Zoolander” and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding, ” “Finding Dory” is the third movie this year to net a sequel more than a decade after its original. We expect the Pixar successor will be far less fishy than those other two duds.”Dory” takes place six months after the events of 2003 ‘s “Finding Nemo, ” with the titular amnesiac hunting for her family.[ Trailer]

“Independence Day: Resurgence”( June 24)

Fox

Written by Carter Blanchard Directed byRoland Emmerich

Starring Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Vivica A. Fox, Judd Hirsch, Sela Ward and Maika Monroe

What to expect: Continuing this year’s infatuation with belated sequels, Fox will revisit the foreigner invaders of 1996 ‘s “Independence Day.” Will Smith opted out, but most of the original casting is on board for the human race’s latest Fourth of July threat. Why the movie isn’t opening on its namesake weekend is beyond us, but we trust folks will show upin droves nonetheless.[ Trailer] Continuing this year’s infatuation with belated sequels, Fox will revisit the alien invaders of 1996 ‘s “Independence Day.” Will Smith opted out, but most of the original casting is on board for the human race’s latest Fourth of July threat. Why the movie isn’t opening on its namesake weekend is beyond us, but we trust folks will show upin droves nonetheless.[ Trailer]

“The BFG”( July 1)

Disney

Written byMelissa Mathison Directed by Steven Spielberg

Starring Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton, Rebecca Hall, Bill Hader andJemaine Clement

What to expect: Thisadaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved The BFG has been in development since 1991, when Robin Williams was attached to the title role. Many moons later, newly minted Oscar winner Mark Rylance has assumed the its participation in the Steven Spielberg-directed fairy tale.Rylance channeled hisJack Russell Terrier’s expressions while shooting thefilm via motion capture, and because Mark Rylance is something of an adorable puppy dog himself, we expect a great deal of wonderment. It helps that Spielbergis working off a script by Oscar-nominated “E.T.” scribe Melissa Mathison. Thisadaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved has been in development since 1991, when Robin Williams was attached to the title role. Many moons afterward, freshly minted Oscar winner Mark Rylance has assumed the its participation in the Steven Spielberg-directed fairy tale.Rylance channeled hisJack Russell Terrier’s expressions while shooting thefilm via motion capture, and because Mark Rylance is something of an adorable puppy puppy himself, we expect a great deal of wonderment. It helps that Spielbergis working off a script by Oscar-nominated “E.T.” scribe Melissa Mathison.

“Ghostbusters”( July 15)

Sony

Written by Katie Dippold and Paul Feig Directed by Paul Feig

Starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, Chris Hemsworth, Andy Garcia and Elizabeth Perkins

What to expect: If there is any justice in this complicated world, you should expect this “Ghostbusters” reboot to be the event of the summer. Angry bros have had their deplorablemoment in the sunlightwhen it comes to the female-centric update, but we predict they’llby silenced by the time the movie actually opens. Just look at its credentials: Paul Feig is reteaming with Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig, Chris Hemsworth is stepping into Annie Potts’ secretary role, and Leslie Jones gets to call in that special route thatonly Leslie Jones can.[ Trailer] If there is any justice in this complicated world, you should expect this “Ghostbusters” reboot to be the event of the summer. Angry bros have had their deplorablemoment in the sunwhen it comes to the female-centric update, but we predict they’llby silenced by the time the movie actually opens. Just look at its credentials: Paul Feig is reteaming with Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig, Chris Hemsworth is stepping into Annie Potts’ secretary role, and Leslie Jones gets to yell in that special route thatonly Leslie Jones can.[ Trailer]

“Jason Bourne”( July 29)

Universal

Written byPaul Greengrass and Christopher Rouse Directed byPaul Greengrass

Starring Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel, Tommy Lee Jones and Riz Ahmed

What to expect: Matt Damon sat out of 2012 ‘s “The Borne Legacy, ” but he’s back for the fifth installment in the snoop franchise based on Robert Ludlum’s fictions. Damon and director Paul Greengrass have remained elusive about the movie’s specific plot, but we do know Bourne has been hiding in the “shadows of Europe.” Now he’ll ward off a villainous Vincent Cassel, all while Oscar champ Alicia Vikander continues her genre-defying Hollywood takeover.[ Trailer] Matt Damon sat out of 2012 ‘s “The Borne Legacy, ” but he’s back for the fifth installment in the spy franchise based on Robert Ludlum’s novels. Damon and director Paul Greengrass have remained elusive about the movie’s specific plot, but we do know Bourne has been hiding in the “shadows of Europe.” Now he’ll ward off a villainous Vincent Cassel, all while Oscar champ Alicia Vikander continues her genre-defying Hollywood takeover.[ Trailer]

“Bad Moms”( July 29)

STX Entertainment

Written and directed byJon Lucas and Scott Moore

Starring Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell, Christina Applegate, Annie Mumolo, Jada Pinket Smitt and Kesha

What to expect: The overcooked trailer worries us a little, and the movie is necessary strong word of mouth to satisfy”blockbuster” province. Still, the cast bodes well for this slapstick about a few overworked mommies who let loose and find themselves at odds with their PT-Aperfect equivalents.[ Trailer] The overcooked trailer worries us a little, and the movie is necessary strong word of mouth to satisfy”blockbuster” province. Still, the cast bodes well for this comedy about a few overworked moms who let loose and find themselves at odds with their PT-Aperfect equivalents.[ Trailer]

“Suicide Squad”( Aug. 5)

Warner Bros.

Written and directed by David Ayer

Starring Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Viola Davis, Joel Kinnaman, Jai Courtney, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Cara Delevingne

What to expect: Jared Leto apparently ran mega-Method to play The Joker, a scoundrel so dastardly that a secret government agency has recruited a band of othersupervillians to take him down. There’s already a sequel in development.[ Trailer] Jared Leto apparently ran mega-Method to play The Joker, a villain so dastardly that a secret government agency has recruited a band of othersupervillians to take him down. There’s already a sequel in development.[ Trailer]

“Sausage Party”( Aug. 12)

Sony

Written byEvan Goldberg, Kyle Hunter, Seth Rogen and Ariel Shaffir Directed byGreg Tiernan andConrad Vernon

Starring Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, Paul Rudd, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, James Franco and Salma Hayek

What to expect: Don’t take the kids to this one. It presents a world where our food can talk, but their conversations aren’t precisely Pixar-friendly.It’s a ribald comedy in which various anthropomorphic groceries are so excited to be purchasedby a loving customer at a supermarket, until they realize their fate is death by consumption.A work-in-progress cut premiered to chuckle at South by Southwest in March.[ Trailer] Don’t take the kids to this one. It presents a world where our food can talk, but their dialogues aren’t exactly Pixar-friendly.It’s a ribald slapstick in which various anthropomorphic groceries are so excited to be purchasedby a loving client at a supermarket, until they realize their fate is death by consumption.A work-in-progress cut premiered to chuckle at South by Southwest in March.[ Trailer]

“Pete’s Dragon”( Aug. 12)

Disney

Written byToby Halbrooks andDavid Lowery Directed byDavid Lowery

StarringOakes Fegley, Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Oona Laurence and Wes Bentley

What to expect: Like “The Jungle Book, ” this Disney update will mix live action and CGI. It will likely also introduce a legion of new viewers to “Pete’s Dragon, ” which has somehow become one of the less-appreciated Disney classics. To generate Elliott, the titular reptile, the filmmakers drew inspiration fromcute animal clips on YouTube. “Theres one video of a giant panda tumbling in his cave, and we looked at that again and again as our Elliott this big animal who only doesnt know what to do with his body, production designer Jade Healy told Entertainment Weekly.[ Trailer]

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