By my count, Las Vegas moviegoers will have the choice of almost 75 new films — to be released between this weekend and September 1. This truly will be the summer of sequels and remakes. And this will definitely be the summer of comic-book heroes. Some of our finest film directors return to the silver screen this summer. Some of our favorite actors and actresses will be back too. Many of these films in the end will lose money for their backers. It is the nature of the business. A few of these films will certainly be Oscar nominated for their technical achievements. But in Hollywood, the bottom line — truly is the bottom line. So as we enter the second quarter, which sequel, remake or comic-book hero will become the summer box office blockbuster of 2017?
Here are my personal thoughts on some of the most interesting films of the summer. Note: they are listed in order of their published studio release here in Las Vegas.
THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS is the eighth installment. It will be great to see Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham again. Although too long, the film will make some bucks. The question of course, is just how much the bottom line will actually be.
Tom Hanks remains one of our most beloved actors. His performance last year in SULLY was worthy of an Oscar nomination. THE CIRCLE may surprise some people, especially if Dave Eggers screenplay is as good as his best-selling novel.
The Marvel franchise, with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 should dominate the May box office receipts.
Opening on the same day is 3 GENERATIONS. Naomi Watts, Elle Fanning and Susan Sarandon star in this drama about a family dealing with a daughter who has made the decision to transition into a male.
The month of May needs a good comedy and hopefully SNATCHED starring Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer will be the one. Currently Schumer is box office gold. And Wanda Sykes could read the telephone book and I would be on the floor laughing.
Ridley Scott is an outstanding director. Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston and Billy Crudup star in the dark sequel ALIEN: COVENANT.
Mr. Scott’s directorial filmography includes ALIEN, BLADE RUNNER, THELMA AND LOUISE, GLADIATOR , BLACK HAWK DOWN and THE MARTIAN.
The month of May concludes with two major films being released on the same day. BAYWATCH, based upon the old TV series of the same name, may draw large crowds who want to see Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron running on the beach half naked. But, my money is on the last installment of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES.
Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot, was first introduced in BATMAN v SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE. She returns as WONDER WOMAN, with co-stars Chris Pine and Robin Wright.
Tom Cruise is on a roll. His career has never been hotter. However, the verdict is out on whether or not THE MUMMY, a remake of the classic horror tale, will do well. Then again, I seem to recall that he played a pretty convincing vampire.
There are actually three animated films that should each do well over the summer months. CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS: THE FIRST EPIC MOVIE is based upon the best-selling book series. CARS 3, stars the voice of Owen Wilson as Lightning McQueen. And DESPICABLE ME 3 stars the voice of Steve Carell as Gru.
The comedy buzz is pretty good when Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler get together in THE HOUSE. And another comedy, BABY DRIVER has a strong cast that includes Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx.
The most intriguing film of the summer just may be ALL EYEZ ON MR, starring Demetrius Shipp Jr. in the biopic of rap star Tupac Shakur. Shakur was gunned down in 1996 here in Las Vegas. The film is being released on what would have been his 46th birthday.
Mark down June 23 as the date TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT opens in Las Vegas. The film is directed by Michael Bay. With Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson and John Turturro, TRANSFORMERS may be one of the most popular movies of the summer.
BATMAN V SUPERMAN introduced WONDER WOMAN. CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR introduced SPIDER-MAN, played by young Tom Holland (who follows Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield in the role.) SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING is Marvel’s second movie of the summer and I think this will be the box office champion of the summer. How can it lose with Iron Man Robert Downey Jr. as his mentor; and Michael Keaton as the Super Villain.
There are 12 additional July films being released, including:
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES. Four-time Oscar winner Joe Letteri is senior visual effects supervisor for the apes.
DUNKIRK. All you have to say is the name of the director: Christopher Nolan. His films have grossed more than $4.2 Billion; have received 26 Oscar nominations and have won 7 Academy Awards. Will this film be compared to HACKSAW RIDGE, which was nominated for Best Director and Best Picture of the Year.
ATOMIC BLONDE. Charlene Theron, James McAvoy and John Goodman star in this spy thriller.
THE DARK TOWER: Stephen King’s Western-inspired fantasy novel stars Idris Elba and Mattherw McConaughey.
And there are three films with strong casts:
THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD: Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson.
VILLA CAPRI: Tommy Lee Jones and Morgan Freeman.
TULIP FEVER: Dane DeHaan, Alicia Vikander and Christoph Waltz.
So there you have it. A taste of what is to come over the long hot summer. You will find full reviews of most of the above films each and every week here at News3LV.com. And remember — see you at the movies!