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The Big Summer Movie Preview: Euronews Culture's guide to your 2024 blockbuster season

The Big Summer Movie Preview: Euronews Culture's guide to your blockbuster season
The Big Summer Movie Preview: Euronews Culture's guide to your blockbuster season Copyright Universal Pictures, Searchlight Pictures, Paramount Pictures, A24, Marvel-Disney, 20th Century Studios
Copyright Universal Pictures, Searchlight Pictures, Paramount Pictures, A24, Marvel-Disney, 20th Century Studios
By David Mouriquand
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Join us as we chronologically go through the next three months to give you the lowdown on the films you shouldn't miss out on this summer.

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“In the summertime, when the weather is high / You can stretch right up and touch the sky / Then head to the cinema for some well-deserved escapism.” 

That’s probably what Mungo Jerry meant to say.  

Yes, it's the summer, so air-conditioned multiplexes are vying for as much attention as they can, with a rollcall of big-budget blockbusters and the occasional indie darling waiting to hit the screens.  

Granted, Furiosa kicked things off with a bit of whimper and last year’s writers and actors strike disrupted the production pipeline. However, that doesn’t mean there’s not enough out this summer to keep you solidly entertained. 

Whether or not 2024 will be able to replicate the monster blockbuster season of 2023, with the record-shattering successes of Barbie* and *Oppenheimer, is another matter. For the time being, here is our list of the highly-anticipated June-July-August releases that should keep you going until the Venice Film Festival unleashes its line-up, and before we get the Beetlejuice sequel, Joker: Folie à Deux, Gladiator 2 and Nosferatu.  

Let's get started.

JUNE

The Watchers 

(7 June) 

The Watchers is first feature film directed by M. Night Shyamalan’s daughter Ishana, and produced by her pops too. Let’s see if she’s a chip off the old block... The supernatural horror (bodes well so far) stars Dakota Fanning as Mina, who gets stranded in a forest in western Ireland. She ends up trapped in a strange house with three strangers, who are watched by mysterious creatures every night. Based on a novel by Irish author A.M. Shine, this could be the sort of spine-chilling Twilight Zone – Edgar Allan Poe crossover we need for a Gothic start to the summer.  

Bad Boys: Ride or Die 

(7 June) 

There’s every reason to be skeptical about the fourth entry into this wheezing action franchise that everybody stopped caring about after 2003’s Bad Boys II. Especially after the dire Bad Boys For Life in 2020. Directing duo Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah return behind the camera to give Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett a new adventure. They are joined by Tiffany Haddish and Joe Pantoliano – good news – and DJ Khaled as “Manny the Butcher” - less good news. We reserve judgement, as maybe this could be a hit. Then again, not the ideal word to use around Will Smith.  

Inside Out 2  

(14 June)

With Ratatouille still at the top spot, Inside Out is a close second for Pixar’s greatest achievement. It followed 11-year-old Riley dealing with moving to a new city and getting introduced to her anthropomorphized emotions. It was clever, emotional and brilliant, meaning that any sequel would have a lot to live up to. Fast forward 9 years, and this sequel shows our heroine dealing with some new emotions, including Anxiety (Maya Hawke), Envy (Ayo Edebiri), Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos), and Embarrassment (Paul Walter Houser). That means the old emotions are going to have to deal with some new roomies that sadly define teenage years. Let’s hope it lives up to the high standard set by the 2015 original, especially for Pixar’s sake, as their most recent outings (Elemental, Lightyear, Onward) haven’t exactly set our worlds on fire. Ok, there was Turning Red. That was lovely – even if it went directly to Disney+. 

Thelma 

(21 June)

Who doesn’t want to watch 94-year-old June Squibb getting sweet arse-kicking revenge? She stars as Thelma, an older woman who is duped by a phone scammer into sending $10,000 in bail money to a private P.O. box.  Realising she’s been scammed, Thelma embarks on a quest to take back what is hers. She hops on her motorized scooter, rounds up an accomplice (the late Richard Roundtree), and gets to work seeking retribution. John Wick if Keanu Reeves were your gran? Yes please. This action comedy sounds like a blast.  

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The Bikeriders 

(21 June)

We haven’t seen much of Jeff Nichols of late. His last film was in 2016 with Loving, and put simply – we've missed him. After the release delay due to the SAG-AFTRA strikes, the director’s new drama, The Bikeriders, is out soon, and features quite the rollcall: Jodie Comer, Austin Butler, Tom Hardy, Mike Faist, Norman Reedus and Michael Shannon. Inspired by photographer Danny Lyons’ book on a real-life Chicago biker gang in the late 1960s, we’ll see these players evolve in the rise of a club that has to deal with various organized crime syndicates. Just from Butler’s glorious hair do, we’re sold.  

Fancy Dance 

(21 June)

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The film stars Lily Gladstone, you say? Done deal. That’s enough to get us in a cinema. Fresh from her jury duties at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the Oscar-nominated star of Killers of the Flower Moon stars in Native American director Erica Tremblay’s feature narrative debut. It follows Jax (Gladstone) who cares for her 13-year-old niece Roki (Isabel DeRoy-Olson) on the Seneca–Cayuga Nation Reservation. She has been raising her since the disappearance of her sister, and at the risk of losing custody to Jax’s father, the pair hit the road to track down Roki’s mother. After a world premiere at last year’s Sundance, this intriguing debut hits select theatres on 21 June, before getting a rollout on Apple TV+ a week later.

Kinds of Kindness 

(21 June)

Fresh from its premiere in Cannes, Yórgos Lánthimos’ follow-up to his Oscar-winning Poor Things is a bleaker affair, one for the OG fans of Dogtooth and The Killing of a Sacred Deer. This anthology triptych stars Emma Stone (for the third time, after The Favourite and Poor Things), as well as Willem Dafoe, Margaret Qualley, Hong Chau and Jesse Plemons – who won Best Actor in Cannes for his troubles. It’s a sort of Greek Weird Wave version of The Twilight Zone, with dollops of absurdism, dark humour and not as much kindness as the title would have you believe. It’s not an anthology film that’s going to be to everyone’s liking, as it’s far less whimsical and, bluntly, more fucked up than the director's recent triumphs. But it's a cruel and euphoric shot to the heart, with some deceptively rich meditations about love, control and abuse. Read our Cannes review here.  

A Quiet Place: Day One 

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(28 June)

We’ve already had two A Quiet Place films, and now this post-apocalyptic horror franchise is taking audiences back to the day it all began. Whether it’s a good idea to succumb to prequelitis – like Furiosa – remains to be seen. However, Day One, helmed by Pig director Michael Sarnoski, follows a new set of survivors in the earliest days of the alien invasion and stars a mighty promising cast: Lupita Nyong’o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou and Alex Wolff. It’s also the first instalment that doesn’t feature John Krasinski or Emily Blunt – so let’s hope that there’s enough in this prequel to keep us on the edge of our seats. Scares and carnage, that’s what we want.  

JULY

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F. 

(3 July)

It was only a matter of time before Eddie Murphy decided to revive the character of Detective Axel Foley, 40 years since the original Beverly Hills Cop and 30 years since the dreadful third instalment. Landing on Netflix, this fourth chapter sees Foley investigate the death of an old friend and uncover more shady corruption within the police ranks. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Kevin Bacon join franchise vets Judge Reinhold and John Ashton. As long as they get that synthesizer riff cued up real nice, we’ll consider this a win.  

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MaxXxine 

(5 July)

We’re huge fans of the X soon-to-be trilogy at Euronews Culture, so this third and closing chapter is very high on our most anticipated list. Director Ti West and Mia Goth cap off the horror trilogy they began with X and Pearl, with a new story that sees the lone survivor of the inaugural slasher film attempt to break out of porn and become a movie superstar. It takes place in the 80s and it’s not going to be smooth sailing, as the Night Stalker is terrorizing LA. Elisabeth Debecki, Kevin Bacon, Giancarlo Esposito, Moses Sumney, Lily Collins, Michelle Monaghan and Halsey are all on board and expect another stylish slasher. As well as platform for Goth to prove once again she’s this generation’s Scream Queen. We can’t wait to see how this ends.  

Twisters 

(19 July)

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Are you ready for the belated sequel to the 1996 disaster movie that blew us away? It’s a standalone film with a whole new group of tornado chasers, this time directed by Lee Isaac Chung (Minari). Daisy Edgar-Jones, Glenn Powell, Anthony Ramos, Maura Tierney, Sasha Lane, and TV On The Radio singer Tunde Adebimpe are starring, and while little to no details have been shared, we can hazard a guess that the special effects will be better than they were 30 years ago. Skepticism is warranted, but it’ll be interesting to witness Chung’s transition from award-winning indie drama to big budget blockbuster. Should it go swimmingly, we’re in for a white-knuckle ride that hopefully won’t just be a CGI fest, with The Revenant screenwriter Mark L. Smith adding some climate change updates as our protagonists deal with not one but twin tornadoes this time.  

Deadpool & Wolverine 

(26 July)

Marvel is in dire need of a win after a string of recent flops (Thor: Love and Thunder, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and The Marvels) and the question is now: Can the Merc With the Mouth save the MCU? If he can’t do it, the superhero franchise truly will be up shit creek. This is their only release in 2024, so they’re clearly banking on audiences to turn up, with the added draw that Hugh Jackman is returning to play everyone’s favourite Adamantium-clawed mutant one more time. Director Shawn Levy directs this MCU / X-Men crossover and with any luck, it’ll be the blockbuster superhero hit of the summer. Let’s just hope that all the multiverse shenanigans that Marvel are currently wedded to don’t spoil the fun, as the main issue with the MCU films in Phases 4 and 5 has been the need to do homework before each film in order to know what on Earth 616 is going on.

AUGUST

Kneecap 

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(2 August)

Unless you’ve been hiding under a particularly sound-proof rock of late, you’ll have heard of Belfast rap trio Kneecap. Fond of merging Gaelic with English, balaclava-wearing satire with socially conscious lyrics, and plenty of drug and sex references, they’re nothing short of electric. And now, we’re getting their music biopic / origin story courtesy of writer-director Rich Peppiatt. The band star as themselves, and the always welcome Michael Fassbender stars as one of their dads. The comedy-drama premiered to wide acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, and became the first film in the Irish language to do so. We can’t wait.   

Trap 

(9 August)

We started June with M. Night Shyamalan’s daughter Ishana’s first film, The Watchers. Now, dad wants his screentime. Trap follows a man, played by Josh Hartnett, who takes his daughter to pop star Lady Raven’s show at an arena. But when armed guards block the exits, he discovers that the whole concert is an elaborate sting operation to capture a serial killer named The Butcher who is in attendance. Like all Shyamalan movies, there’s a twist. Unfortunately, it was spoiled by the trailer: the father is The Butcher. So maybe there’s another twist coming... Regardless, this one looks like it could be a blast. And hopefully a damn sight better than Old and Knock At The Cabin – which both had their moments but failed the landings.  

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Borderlands 

(9 August)

Cate Blanchett, Kevin Hart, Gina Gershon, Jamie Lee Curtis and Jack Black star in this sci-fi comedy-actioner based on the wildly popular video game series of the same name. The all-star cast play a group of eclectic warriors as they aim to take down aliens who invaded their home planet. Considering the proven track record of video game adaptations failing to recapture what makes the source material so successful, we’re not holding our breaths for this one. Plus, director Eli Roth can get very grating. However, Blanchett’s electric orange hair has got us intrigued.

Alien: Romulus 

(16 August)

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The Ridley Scott and James Cameron-approved new chapter in the Alien franchise heads to cinemas this August, and with Fede Alavarez in the director’s chair, this could be the Alien movie the franchise so badly needs – with more scares, gore and facehuggers. According to cast lead Cailee Spaeny (Piscilla), Romulus takes place between the events of the first film and James Cameron’s action-packed 1986 sequel Aliens. So, out with the convoluted world-building and in with a back-to-basics approach? Here’s hoping the director of Don’t Breathe and the Evil Dead remake can deliver the goods.  If you want to know more about Romulus, click here.  

The Crow 

(23 August)

Another long-gestating remake is upon us, with Lionsgate’s The Crow reimagining. Bill Skarsgård steps into the shoes of the original star Brandon Lee for this new version, directed by Rupert Sanders (Ghost in the Shell). FKA Twigs also stars, which should be interesting. As for the story, you know the drill. Soulmates murdered; resurrection; revenge; goth birds. Let’s hope it honours the original and doesn’t entirely muck it up, as this IP has a strong cult following and any rubbish tampering could reveal it to be yet another soulless Hollywood churn-out. So, bad cosplay or necessary update? Not long to find out.  

Emilia Pérez  

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(28 August)

One of our favourite films in Cannes this year was Jacques Audiard’s audacious Mexico-set musical about a cartel boss seeking a gender reassignment procedure. On paper, it sounds like a mess. But in practice, the veteran French director delivered something truly unique, an eccentric tale of emancipation, identity, corruption and organised crime parading as a full-blown telenovela featuring a dozen choreographed song-and-dance numbers written by Clément Ducol and French musician Camille. Inspired by a chapter in Boris Rason’s novel "Écoute" and produced by fashion house Saint Laurent - the first luxury brand to include film production in its activities - Emilia Pérez is invigorating and gripping in all the right ways. Don’t miss out. Read our full Cannes review here.  

Enoy your summer at the talkies and stay tuned to our Film of the Week series to find out what we make of some of these titles.

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