June cometh and that means the heavyweight movie season cometh. When we say heavyweight, it usually doesn’t mean heavy in terms of content or themes this time of year, but heavy with box-office expectations. The ink on the annual cinematic fiscal boom or bust report never dries until the end of the year, but you can get a good idea of how it’s going to read over what happens in the next couple of months. Right now, with the stunning successes of Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, things have to be looking pretty good — at least in the Marvel Universe owned by Disney! We at Steven James are storytellers, movie makers, and film fans, and each month we give you info on the nationwide releases and the American movie scene.
While May only had seven nationwide releases slotted (not including any late additions), two of them were Dead Pool 2 and Solo: A Star Wars Story (this weekend), so there are definitely some big-ticket items. June has both quantity and quality. It doubles May’s output with fourteen coast-to-coast pictures. June 1st offers three different genres of films. Action Point is a comedy, but it’s Johnny Knoxville of Jackass fame, so this is a special subset of comedy, we imagine. It has a story of an amusement park designed for maximum thrills with minimum safety, so who knows where the modern master of hard-core slapstick may take it! Upgrade stars Logan Marshall-Green and is a sci-fi thriller about a medical experiment that goes awry. Adrift is a thriller, but it seems like reality horror. It’s based on a true story of people caught in a hurricane and find themselves lost at sea. It stars Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin.
Friday, June 8th brings an opening with massive potential: it’s Ocean’s 8, the female version of the blockbuster franchise. The women are in on a super-major heist — this one to rip off the Metropolitan Art Museum Gala. Sandra Bullock leads a star-studded cast that includes Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, and Rhianna among others.
Hereditary is a horror about an inheritance that brings nightmarish results. It’s the first feature by writer-director Ari Aster. Hotel Artemis stars the great Jodie Foster as a nurse who is in charge of an underground medical facility for nefarious patients. She must try to solve and thwart an assassination attempt by one patient against another.
On Friday, June 15th, one of the most anticipated family films in years arrives. It’s INCREDIBLES 2. The immensely popular superhero clan deals with domestic struggles raising kids with superpowers while also fending off an attack of global proportions from a villainous genius (of course). Mother Helen is recruited to be the spokesperson for superheroes public relations campaign, while husband Bob takes care of the kids — and discovering baby Jack-Jack has some wild powers of his own. If any of the original magic is here, this is sure to be a blast and a rousing success at the turnstiles.
Three more films round out this week’s releases: SUPERFLY, a remake of the early 1970s classic about a drug dealer trying to make one big deal that will catapult him out of the dreary world of death and decay that surrounds him. When we say the 1970s film was a classic, it was much more so for the great Curtis Mayfield soundtrack album than for the film itself! TAG, believe it or not, is based on a true story of five friends who started a game of tag when they were in first grade and created an elaborate competition that continued into adulthood. An excellent cast includes Ed Helms, Jeremy Renner, Tracy Morgan, and Hannibal Buress. GOTTI rounds out the week’s offerings. It could be called Gotti by Travolta as it focuses on the infamous ‘Teflon Don’ of the criminal underworld and includes not only John Travolta in the title role but also his wife Kelly Preston and their daughter Ella Travolta. The film was scheduled for a release last winter but has been held back. Let’s hope the delay is worth the wait!
June 22nd only has one nationwide release scheduled, but it’s a biggie! Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom picks up three years after the theme park and resort in the last franchise film was obliterated by the escaped dinosaurs. Now a live volcano threatens the remaining dinos, and a rescue mission is mounted. What could possibly go wrong?! Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return in leading roles.
The final weekend of the month brings us a thriller, a sports comedy, and a remake of a 1988 con caper. In Sicario: Day of the Soldado, the surprise hit series brings another installment where the cartel drug wars are totally out of control. Josh Brolin (as a good guy rather than Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War) and the magnificent Benicio Del Toro have the leads. UNCLE DREW finds Lil Rel Howery recruiting a team of septuagenarians to try to save his financial wherewithal by winning a major street basketball tournament. The inside joke, of course, is that the team consists of former and current NBA and WNBA stars aged up in hilarious ways. Kyrie Irving of the Celtics is Uncle Drew, and his squad is rounded out with retired greats Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, Nate Robinson, and Lisa Leslie. This one looks like guilty pleasure fun! And the last coast-to-coast screener this month is THE HUSTLE. It remakes a 1988 film about a couple of con artist scamming a rich guy who is a brilliant techie but blind to the ways of the world out of his fortune. This one reverses the con artists’ genders though; rather than two con men, it’s two con women played by the always strong Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson with Alex Sharp as their mark.
That’s a full slate of nationwide movies and doesn’t even include the many limited-run domestics, foreign films, and independent productions out there. Beat the heat with a cool theater visit with friends or family! There’s enough on the cinematic buffet to satisfy many appetites! Make sure to revisit this blog to stay on top of all major releases coming to a theater near you!