From as early as 2014, film analysts have been pegging the summer of 2016 as the season of films to beat, with numerous franchises all attempting to stake their box office claims. Several reviewers have speculated that this will be a summer of no particular blockbusters and “wall-to-wall” competition between studios. A barrage of big names like DC, Marvel and Pixar will join popular mainstays like “Star Trek,” “Ghostbusters” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Sifting through the new releases will be as hard as ever. Five films are projected to dominate the box office this summer and are already accumulating quite a bit of hype.
“Captain America: Civil War”
As per usual, Marvel is expected to carry a good portion of ticket sales. This film could be their most-anticipated release since last year’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Hitting theaters May 6, this third installment in the popular series follows a schism within the Avengers team. When the government attempts to intervene by passing an act regulating superhero activity, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) opposes the move, while his ally Tony Stark supports it. Few other details of the film are known, but this will surely lead to the Avengers splintering against one another, with Captain America and Iron Man at the center of the battle. With a mixture of action and broad political themes, “Civil War” attempts to answer a question many a comic book fan have asked themselves: What happens when superhero battles damage entire cities?
“Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising”
On the more comedic end of the spectrum, this film is also set to make its mark on the box office. A direct continuation of the original, which followed a young couple’s (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) attempts to live alongside a wild fraternity, “Neighbors 2” promises even more hijinks, culminating in a hesitant alliance between Rogen and ex-neighbor Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron). The two then go up against a common enemy—a sorority that has just moved in next door and parties even harder than the boys. It hits theaters May 20 and is expected to be just as much of a surprise hit as the original “Neighbors.”
Animation powerhouse Pixar is filling its schedule with sequels to its most beloved favorites. This is set to be the first of many. While Disney is keeping the larger plot details to itself, advance viewings indicate that the first 20 minutes will be the sort of emotionally-devastating opening act that defined previous films like “Up” and “Finding Nemo.” The plot, which takes place six months after the original, centers on Ellen DeGeneres’ scene-stealing Pacific tang, who suddenly remembers details about her parents’ origins. The scatterbrained Dory is led to an aquatic park in California alongside her friends Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence). The film series, which has a sizable fanbase among both children and adults, will pick back up again June 17 and is sure to bring its own Pixar-brand surprises along the way.
Though “Ghostbusters” has been presented as more of a reboot than a sequel, it’s still expected to bring in both fans of the original and a new generation of viewers. The first film in the franchise since 1989, it promises the original’s brand of supernatural comedy with a notable distinction—a star-studded and all-female cast of ghost hunters. This installment tells the story of Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and her unsuccessful career as a paranormal author until her theories come into reality. She then teams up with a fellow academic (Kristen Wiig), a nuclear engineer (Kate McKinnon) and a New York subway worker (Leslie Jones) to combat the demonic figure behind the hauntings, Rowan (Neil Casey). “Ghostbusters” has already received significant Internet attention and controversy for its treatment of gender issues. While it may not have the same type of excitement surrounding it as other movies, many fans are waiting in anticipation for its July 15 release.
While DC Comic’s latest offering, “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” was met with mixed reviews, its second movie of the summer, “Suicide Squad,” promises a change in scenery. Rather than focusing on its iconic heroes, it hinges on a supervillain team-up, with a secret government agency recruiting infamous criminals for special ops missions against a greater evil. At the center of the film’s hype are the Joker (Jared Leto) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), among the most popular fan-favorites of the Batman universe. While at times Leto’s off-screen antics have dominated the news more than “Suicide Squad” itself, dedicated fans and a later release date, August 5, should still make it as much of a success as DC’s previous projects.
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