This summer, we saw a lot of predictable tentpoles do well. Arguably, the summer started before we knew it, with Furious 7 in April, but traditional summer movie season really kicked off with Avengers: Of Ultron, and gave us a bunch of franchise hits, including Pitch Perfect 2, Mad Max: Fury Road, San Andreas, Spy, Jurassic World, Inside Out, Minions, Ant-Man, Trainwreck, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, and now Straight Outta Compton. And of course, a few flops, most notably Terminator Genisys, Tomorrowland, and Fantastic Four. Some could argue that films like Magic Mike XXL and Entourage, while classified as disappointments, had such low budgets that they ended up breaking even.
Next year, the “Pre-Summer” slot is getting out of hand, with some serious contenders planning for an April release. Most notably, Disney’s live action Jungle Book redo, the Snow White sequel The Huntsman, and a Ratchet and Clank film. I also expect that the marketing for Gods Of Egypt will attempt to prop it like a tentpole. Don’t forget that Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice opens at the end of March. Is that now the new summer launch? March 25th?
But next summer really starts with Captain America: Civil War in the traditional summer launch slot, joined in may by another Friday the 13th reboot, the Angry Birds movie, Neighbors 2, X-Men: Apocalypse, and Alice Through The Looking Glass. In June, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back, along with sequels to The Conjuring and Now You See Me. Warcraft attempts to launch a new movie franchise, while Finding Dory and Independence Day: Resurgence hope to bring back nostalgic fans. Also, The Rock’s presence in Central Intelligence elevates it to “potential tentpole” status.
July brings the film adaptation of The BFG, opening against the third Purge, and Warner’s live action Tarzan. Universal’s animation branch brings The Secret Lives of Pets, whose teaser is already getting the film buzz. We’re going where no man has gone before with the third Star Trek, and back in time with the fifth Ice Age. There’s also the Ghostbusters reboot, Matt Damon’s return to the Jason Bourne franchise, and Warner’s franchise attempt at King Arthur.
August will bring us Suicide Squad, Pete’s Dragon, a Mechanic sequel (because we really needed that), and two animated features: Sausage Party and Kubo and the Two Strings.
That’s, of course, assuming that none of the films slated prior to Summer 2016 will be pushed into it. There are a few sequels coming out in January and February that could make summer interesting, like Kung Fu Panda 3.
It’s tough to predict which films will win next summer, but obvious winners seem like Captain America, X-Men Apocalypse, Finding Dory, and Star Trek. Time will tell if the Independence Day franchise has life without Will Smith, and if people really did want sequels to Alice and TMNT. Also, is the Angry Birds franchise still strong enough to launch a film series? Is there life in a Neighbors sequel? A Now You See Me sequel?
If I had to predict the Top 10 films of Summer 2016 right now, in no particular order I would guess they’d consist of: Captain America: Civil War, X-Men Apocalypse, Star Trek Beyond, Suicide Squad, Alice Through The Looking Glass, The Secret Lives of Pets, Ghostbusters, Bourne, Finding Dory, and either Ice Age 5 (which might finally be showing its age) or Independence Day: Resurgence (which might show that age doesn’t matter).
2017 looks like more of the same with Furious 8, Guardians Of The Galaxy 2, Star Wars Episode 8, World War Z 2, Toy Story 4, Despicable Me 3, Pirates of the Caribbean 5, Planet Of The Apes 3, Pitch Perfect 3, and Pacific Rim all slated for release, plus the Spider-Man reboot, and the Wonder Woman movie. Not to mention that FOX currently is holding a date for a Fantastic Four sequel, that could easily become Deadpool 2.