Summer means cookouts, baseball, music festivals, and most importantly, blockbuster films. It’s hard to remember a year with as many highly anticipated movies as 2017. The next three months are a moviegoer’s dream, with films from every genre setting up for a bunch of good times at the theater. In chronological order of release date, here’s a look at the 10 most likely to steal the show.
Wonder Woman – June 2
After a series of misses over the last few years, does the DC Extended Universe finally execute with Wonder Woman? The trailer surely suggests a strong offering, but we all remember the gap between projection and reality when we were blown away by last year’s Batman v. Superman previews. Of all the films DC has put out, Man of Steel is perhaps its closest to a gem (say what you want to defend it, but Suicide Squad was not a good movie). Yet, the mix of fantasy action, period drama, and dazzling visuals Wonder Woman is promising may just provide firepower to top it.
It Comes at Night – June 9
We’ve been blessed with a variety of superb horror flicks in recent years, specifically The Babadook, The Witch, and It Follows. 2017 is set to continue the trend with another movie title beginning with “It” — and no, I’m not talking the remake of Stephen King’s It. Considering the roll independent studio A24 has been on lately (e.g. Best Picture winner Moonlight), we should only expect the best from Trey Edward Shults on his sophomore directing effort. The trailers promise to not give too much away, but the casting of Joel Edgerton, who proved his horror genre worth in 2015’s The Gift, suggests a thrilling, chilling cinema experience.
All Eyez on Me – June 16
While 2009’s Notorious left viewers with more to be desired (and perhaps a better tribute to Biggie Smalls), All Eyez on Me might be the hip-hop biopic for which we’ve been waiting. The celebratory film about the life and career of Tupac Shakur, is, fittingly, set to release on his birthday. That said, the resume of director Benny Boom doesn’t project the most optimistic of results, and the amount of promotion and hype the film’s been getting as of late could set it up for failure. But we couldn’t have gotten a more fitting actor to play 2Pac than Demetrius Shipp Jr., nor could we get a more fascinating figure to follow on screen than the ‘90s rap poet.
Baby Driver – June 28
It’s been nearly four years since the last Edgar Wright film, but the director is aiming to follow up his Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy with another tasty work: Baby Driver. The most promising thing I’ve heard about it so far is that it’s like Drive if Drive was funny, and how could you not want to see that movie? The cast rules (Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, and Lily James all lend a hand), the premise sets us up for lots of laughs, and critics thus far have raved about it. If Wright’s repertoire isn’t full of enough great action, comedy, and drama, then Baby Driver could perfect it — and go down as one of the best movies of 2017.
The Beguiled – June 30
Sofia Coppola recently became the first woman in 71 years to win best director at Cannes (and the second overall). Not only does that prove women aren’t getting near enough credit for quality filmmaking, but it also suggests The Beguiled is a must-see. Coppola hasn’t churned out much over the past decade, with The Bling Ring and Marie Antoinette acting as her most notable, yet somewhat underwhelming directing efforts. But The Beguiled attempts to put her back at the level she originally climbed to with Lost in Translation. With a Civil War setting and Western feel, the film is setting up to be a fascinating, mischievous adventure.
Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7
We’ve already gotten a lifetime supply of Spider-Man so far in the 21st century, but lo and behold, we’re getting more. This time, though, Marvel Studios hopes to right the wrongs that sent the previous series down the drain after its mediocre sequel. With an actual teenage-acted Peter Parker, appearances by Captain America and Iron Man, and the expectant cheeky Marvel tone we’ve come to know and love, Homecoming has the goods to a critical and commercial hit. It’s been a decade since emo Spidey, and there’s no better way to recognize it than a new film that’s likely to knock all previous endeavors flat.
Dunkirk – July 21
Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy may stand as his crown achievement, but it’s his cerebral thrillers where the acclaimed director has truly shined. His two strongest works in this department, Inception and Interstellar, redefined the sci-fi genre as they sandwiched 2012’s Batman finale. This time around, though, it’s not sci-fi where Nolan is attempting to wow audiences, but rather action-packed war cinema. Telling the story of Allied soldiers in World War II who were cornered by Germans, Dunkirk looks to be a dark and atmospheric escapade despite not having the twists we’ve come to expect from its director.
Atomic Blonde – July 28
As if John Wick: Chapter 2 wasn’t enough high-flying action to get us through 2017, Atomic Blonde is here to double it. David Leitch, who was an uncredited director of the first John Wick and is set to direct Deadpool 2, is the perfect fit for a neon, Cold War-era mystery thriller — especially considering his background in stunts. While this is his first solo directing effort, he knows action, and he’s sure to bring it in full force in this graphic novel adaptation. Charlize Theron plays the domineering main character, an MI6 agent who has a penchant for brutality, and James McAvoy and John Goodman as supporting members further build the anticipation.
Detroit – August 4
Kathryn Bigelow has had an interesting career as a director, first becoming known for cheesy ‘90s action flick Point Break before taking on more serious tasks in recent war dramas The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. Her two newest works showcase her ability to create realistic, unadulterated drama, and that makes her perfect to take on a historical reenactment film. Detroit depicts the tragedy that unfolded in Michigan in 1967 during one of the largest scale riots in American history. Starring John Boyega and Anthony Mackie, as well as John Krasinski, Will Poulter, and many others, Bigelow’s 2017 film comes as highly relevant in today’s age. The issues of racism, violence, and crime all intersected 50 years ago, and they’re all coming to the screen with immense weight with Detroit.
Wind River – August 4
Hell or High Water was a sleeper in the awards season last year, and much of that is thanks to the impeccable writing of Taylor Sheridan. He returns with another screenplay-turned-thriller this year with Wind River, which seems to hold more similarities to his 2016 effort than his other notable writing gig in 2015’s Sicario. The film, which is set for another August release, follows the investigation of a murder on an Indian reservation. Though it’s unknown whether Wind River will be met with the same accolades as Sheridan’s previous work, it’s still likely to be another dazzling crime thriller that lights up the summer.
Honorable Mentions: War for the Planet of the Apes (July 14), The Dark Tower (August 4), The Glass Castle (August 11), The Hitman’s Bodyguard (August 18), Logan Lucky (August 18)
Dishonorable Mentions: The Mummy (June 9), Cars 3 (June 16), Transformers: The Last Knight (June 21), The Emoji Movie (July 28), Annabelle: Creation (August 11)
Featured Photo Credit: Melinda Sue Gordon/Warner Bros. (Dunkirk), Warner Bros. (Wonder Woman), Entertainment Weekly (Atomic Blonde)