The 47 Most Anticipated Movies of Summer 2016

The Summer Movie Season is almost upon us, and in honor of the biggest movie-going season of the year, Brian and Noah, once again, put together a helpful guide to what they are most looking forward to seeing at a nice air conditioned theater near you. This year we have even more movies to rank! We actually had more but dropped them either due to lack of enthusiasm (Mechanic: Ressurection, The Space Between Us) or lack of awareness (Captain Fantastic, The Hollars).

But here we sit with 47 of the biggest movies of summer 2016. We are going to have a variety of options in our multiplexes over the next couple of months; there’s something for those who like funny women (Ghostbusters), funny men (War Dogs), or both (Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising), those who enjoy giant beings hanging out with kids (The BFG & Pete’s Dragon), those who like to be scared (The Conjuring 2, Lights Out) or even terrified (Nine Lives), those who are swooned by romance (Me Before You, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows), fans of Matthew McConaughey (Free State of Jones). We have returning heroes (Jason Bourne, J. Daniel Atlas) and heroes fighting each other (Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse). There will be plenty of movies for kids (Finding Dory, Kubo and the Two Strings, Clown) and adults (Money Monster, Sausage Party, The Founder). We’ll see incredibly important cinema (Suicide Squad) along with easy breezy fair (Independence Day: Resurgence). Suffice it to say there will be something for everyone.

Fun fact: As of this publishing out of our 36 most anticipated movies of last summer we actually saw a combined 21. We also left of the list The Gift, Shaun the Sheep Movie, Grandma, The End of the Tour, Mistress America, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Tangerine, The Stanford Prison Experiment, Welcome to Me, and Digging for Fire for a combined 31 movies. :Fun fact

So…From bottom to top here are our most anticipated films of summer 2016. We start with the least anticipated…



47.  Nine Lives  (August 5)

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Fuck everything about this movie. It’s hard to even know where to start. Does it look like a bigger rip-off of The Shaggy Dog or 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd? Doesn’t that question pretty much say it all on its own? Either way, it looks atrocious. Everybody involved should go sit in a corner and think about what they’ve done. Or maybe they need their noses rubbed in it. We don’t know how to train cats.





46.  Ben-Hur  (August 19)

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There are certain movies that can be counted as unequivocally great, for they are a part of history. The original Ben-Hur is absolutely one of those movies. To remake it at all, let alone as the beginning of an action franchise, is to display a level of arrogance so great it would feel at home in a Greek myth. Anything less than absolute perfection earns you a one-way ticket to Hades, and if the trailer is any indication, this Ben-Hur is far from perfect.





45.  Lights Out  (July 22)

Lights Out

We love the short this is based on and are very happy that David F. Sandberg got the chance to direct the feature as well but Lights Out feels like a been-there-done-that horror film. What made the short so unsettlingly scary seems to play out in the first reel and the rest of the film come across as a generic entity haunting people in the dark. A great premise that seems to work better in short form.





44.  Ice Age: Collision Course  (July 22)

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Could the Ice Age franchise feel any less relevant? For the past fourteen years, an Ice Age movie will come along, make a healthy and consistent chunk of change, and leave seemingly no cultural impact in its wake. How is that possible? We’d love to tell you, but we just don’t care enough to find out.




43.  Free State of Jones  (June 24)

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We have Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Kerri Russell, and Brendan Gleeson starring with Gary Ross (Big, Dave, Pleasantville) writing and directing. This should really be an easy win. And it might be, but from the footage released there really doesn’t seem to be anything to get excited about. Generic, dull, and trite. Here’s to hoping for the best but expecting the worst.




42.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles: Out of the Shadows   (June 3)

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They may not be directed by Michael Bay, but this new crop of TMNT movies have his fingerprints all over them. The loud, sophomoric humor and borderline aggressive oogling of Megan Fox make these movies feel like little more than collections of Transformers lowlights without Sam Witwicky’s parents to keep us going.




41.  Me Before You  (June 3)

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Doomed romances are great and all, but we as an audience really need to ask for more from them. Middle of the road/tear at your heartstrings love fest unfortunately doesn’t cut it, and puts you toward the bottom of the list. The film just feels so familiar; there really doesn’t seem to be a point in seeing it when you can just watch the countless others that have come before. These films can be great, and this one could surprise, but from the looks of it we’re in for more of the same.




40.  Search Party   (May 13)

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If we had to pick one movie on this list we wanted to be good, it very well might be search party. The cast is both outstanding and full of names that feel more at home on television than in a movie (Adam Pally, T.J. Miller, Thomas Middleditch, J.B. Smoove, Krysten Ritter, and the hilarious Lance Reddick), which could make for a fun breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, we watched the trailer, and it just looks terrible. We’re hoping against hope we’re wrong. But we’re probably not.




39.  The Legend of Tarzan  (July 1)

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Listen, this film looks visually spectacular. There is some gorgeous imagery here, some really arresting cinematography, and breathtaking special effects. I mean that $180 million dollars is right there on the screen. But you add in a bland villain, a bland romance, and a bland star and our interest level drops significantly. But if you watch the trailer silently it seems very cool.




38.  Alice Through the Looking Glass  (May 27)

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Whatever. We didn’t see Tim Burton’s The Mad Hatter (Feat. Alice) the first time, we’re not gonna see it this time, and even if this one somehow makes another billion dollars, we’re not gonna see it the next time.




37.  The Conjuring 2  (June 10)

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We have to admit that we didn’t see the first Conjuring so you can take this ranking with a grain of salt. But the reason this is lower on the list than some might like is because the first film had this incredibly creepy teaser (you know, the one with the clapping). It was an incredibly effective moment and demonstrated why James Wan is such a well respected horror director. Having seen The Conjuring 2 trailer multiple times we don’t see anything nearly as creepy as that clapping. Sorry.




36.  Now You See Me 2  (June 10)

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To say we’re “anticipating” Now You See Me 2 at all is like saying a time traveler anticipates the impending natural disaster that, despite his best efforts, he was unable to prevent. We know what’s coming. If only you all had listened to us. What hubristic fools you all – nay, we all – have been. We had a part to play in this, to be sure. Now, confined to our government holding cell, we have no choice but to look on in horror and wonderment as the fabled Now You See Me 2 descends upon San Francisco to destroy all that it sees.




35.  The Angry Birds Movie  (May 20)

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Without further proof, this just seems like a cash-in on a brand that isn’t nearly as popular as it used to be. It’s got a banging supporting cast (Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage, Kate McKinnon, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Tituss Burgess, Hannibal Buress, Ike Barinkholtz, Jillian Bell) and a good studio behind it (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 1 & 2, Monster House), so there’s certainly hope it’ll be something more. We’re just not confident it will be.




34.  Warcraft  (June 10)


Pop quiz: name any good movie based on a video game. Not “so bad it’s good” good, or “I like it even though it’s objectively terrible” good, just regular good. Take as much time as you want, you won’t be able to do it. They all suck. Every one. Some are worse than others, but none have even approached good, and Warcraft looks to continue that trend. The trailer screams generic in every way, save for the credit at the end that reads “Directed by Duncan Jones.” Jones (Moon, Source Code) has a small but impressive filmography under his belt, and while he looks to have made his first misstep here, until we know for sure, there is a small glimmer of hope.




33.  The Purge: Election Year  (July 1)

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The comically blatant topicality aside (although, using Trump’s “Make America Great Again” as tagline inspiration is pretty great), The Purge seems to have found its rhythm. The first two were wholly separate beasts; the first a home invasion thriller and the second a chase action film. This third film could have been anything. But series writer/director James DeMonaco seems to have found his comfort zone, which is a shame. The film is also low on the list because it boxes itself in. The Senator wants to get rid of The Purge. If she dies The Purge continues, and if she lives she has the chance to end the madness. Well, we’re pretty sure the film won’t end with The Purge being outlawed (but that would make for a fantastic 4th film where a rogue group of criminals decides to carry on the tradition) so the ending will most likely either be she dies and The Purge can continues or she lives but decides The Purge is a good thing and vows not to eliminate it. We’ll be the first to admit we’re wrong if the ending is something else, but those seem like the two most likely options. And when the audience can guess the ending to your movie (especially one that is suppose to be suspenseful), we have a problem.




32.  Patient Zero  (September 2)

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Having seen no footage we can’t know for sure, but the plot to this one sounds pretty lame, or at least well-worn. Actor-wise, it has an interesting nerdy hook in featuring Natalie Dormer and Matt Smith, and everybody likes Stanley Tucci, but that’s not much to go on. Meh.




31.  The Shallows   (June 24)

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The director isn’t too promising (House of Wax, Unknown, Non-Stop, Run All Night) and the premise feels a little familiar, but we like a good potboiler and it’s always nice to see Blake Lively try something outside her comfort zone. That plus a pretty effective teaser, we’re intrigued The Shallows.




30.  War Dogs  (August 19)

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Sometimes you have to appreciate a good trailer. The movie itself looks possibly fun but probably gross and douchey. That trailer though. It’s energetic, it’s well edited, and it uses its music really well. We’re betting it’s all downhill from there, but War Dogs starts at a higher place than most, at least.




29.  Clown ( June 17)

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What’s most exciting about Clown (other than the fact that the trailer is pretty creepy) is that, unless you’ve seen Cop Car, it will be most people’s introduction to Jon Watts, who is about to direct Spider-Man: Homecoming for Marvel and Sony. But also, it’s a pretty creepy trailer.




28.  Bad Moms  (July 29)

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Much like another comedy you’re about to read about, the overall movie doesn’t particularly excite us here, but some of its parts do. In particular, Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn sound like an outstanding trio. Kunis and Bell have worked well together before, and Kathryn Hahn could fit in with anybody. We’re hoping for a few diamonds out of this one, even if the full picture is more rough.




27.  Independence Day: Resurgence  (June 24)

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It has been 20 years since Independence Day. Will Smith is gone. Roland Emmerich has gotten worse. Yes, the tagline is fairly effective. No, the cast doesn’t really excite (expect for Maika Monroe, although her role was played by Mae Whitman in the original so that’s a wash). Yes, the film seems to offer bigger thrills than the original. No, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be good. Do we want to see it? Not really right now. But maybe later.




26.  Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates  (July 8)

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The trailer leaves something to be desired, but watching Zac Efron continue to blossom into a comedic actor is fun, and Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick seem to be playing a different type. There might not be much here beyond that, but you never know.




25.  Southside with You  (August 19)

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Telling the semi-fictional story of how Michelle and Barack Obama met, Southside with You seems to have the promise of those kind of magical love stories that take place all in one day. With positive reviews out of Sundance on its side, the film should be a low-key evening with the most powerful couple in the world.




24.  Indignation  (July 29)

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Indignation is a mystery. There’s been no footage as of yet, and the plot could either be incredibly interesting or bland and sappy, and neither result would particularly surprise us. This mostly gets its spot because we like Logan Lerman, and the prospect of him carrying an adult drama on his own is enough to pique our interest.





23.  Money Monster  (May 13)

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A fairly typical plot and average trailer keep Money Monster lower than you’d expect. But it’s got two of the most likable and electric stars on the planet (George Clooney and Julie Roberts) and a seasoned director (Jodie Foster) helming her biggest project yet. This seems like it could be a classic-type of adult thriller that is all too rare nowadays.




22.  Swiss Army Man  (June 17)

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Some people saw Swiss Army Man and couldn’t shut up about how great it was. Others saw it and recoiled in disgust. There is a trailer out for this one, but we decided to base our ranking entirely on hype. Love it or hate it, Swiss Army Man will almost certainly be something to behold.




21.  Pete’s Dragon  (August 12)

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Adventure! Romance(?)! Robert Redford! Disney! A Dragon (they’re very in right now)! What more could you want from a Disney summer blockbuster? A more exciting trailer? Sure. But for now this will do.




20.  Maggie’s Plan   (May 20)

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Pretty much the perfect indie comedy cast is brought together for what looks to be a delightful indie summer comedy. Light, fun, heartfelt, Maggie’s Plan seems as easy going as indie comedies go and that’s just fine with us.




19.  The Light Between Oceans  (September 2)

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On the one hand, The Light Between Oceans could not be more obviously based on a recent bestseller. That plot in that setting combine to simply ooze melodrama, and not in a particularly good way. On the other hand, can Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, and Rachel Weisz be the cast of a bad movie? It’s certainly possible, but until we know for sure, our instincts say to lean in the direction of no.




18.  Central Intelligence  (June 17)

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Call it wishful thinking if you want (Kevin Hart’s track record to this point is less than impressive, and Dwayne Johnson’s isn’t much better), but damn, do The Rock n’ Hart connection seem to make a good comic duo. Johnson shines brightest when he’s being funny, and Kevin Hart seems to be taking a swing at being the straight man, which will hopefully bring something new out in him. He’s clearly a funny guy, he’s just in a bit of a creative rut, movie-wise. Central Intelligence could be just the rejuvenation he needs.




17.  The Founder  (August 5)

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The script is suppose to be great, the cast is inspired, and the story just seems like juicy (no pun intended) material. This should be a big winner this summer. With no trailer it doesn’t go higher on the list, but needless to say we’re looking forward to it greatly.




16.  Don’t Breathe  (August 26)

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Unlike most horror remakes (and remake in general, really), Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead was straight-up awesome. It fully embraced the spirit of the original (the woods, the excess, and the gore – my god, the gore) while being wholly its own beast. It also had that thing with the chainsaw at the end, which, damn. Having not seen any footage yet, we can’t place this too high, but Alvarez reuniting with Jane Levy and taking on an interesting plot is a terrific start.




15.  Jason Bourne  (July 29)

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After spending 9 years talking a lot about how they aren’t going to make another Bourne film, Matt Damon is back with director (and co-writer) Paul Greengrass to do just that. The film promises to have great action (including a set piece on the Vegas strip that is suppose to be wild), lots of punching, and a fairly confusing plot. Well, Jason Bourne, you have our attention. Please be gentle.




14.  X-Men: Apocalypse   (May 27)

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We’re not exactly chomping at the bit for this one, but it seems like a safe bet to be solid, at least. Neither of us loved First Class, and Days of Future Past reactions were split, but this franchise still has a phenomenal cast, and adding an on-fire Oscar Isaac (among others) can only help.




13.  Love & Friendship   (May 13)

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Not only is it refreshing to see a Jane Austin tale that isn’t drenched in self-seriousness, but Love & Friendship also seems just really damn funny. And when, honestly, was the last time you saw Kate Beckinsale appear to have fun in a role? Seriously. ClickSerendipity?




12.  Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping   (June 3)

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The Lonely Island’s first film, Hot Rod, is an underrated comedy, and their SNL digital shorts are nothing short of legendary. Add in the fact that they are really great at comedy music with their lampooning of not only Justin Bieber but the deluge of ridiculous musical documentaries and this feels like a home run. A great cast, funny trailer, and Judd Apatow producing and this could be out of the park. All we have left to do is see if they deliver the goods.




11.  Kubo and the Two Strings  (August 19)

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More than almost any other movie on this list, Kubo and the Two Strings has the potential to truly be something different. Outside the occasional Studio Ghibli release, Japanese folklore doesn’t really make up the foundation of many American movies. Kubo’s themes (family, friendship, coming of age, etc.) don’t seem exactly groundbreaking, but showing them through a new lens (one made of spirits and beetle-warriors and magic guitars, no less) is a great way to make them feel fresh and impactful again.




10.  The BFG  (July 1)

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Not only does this represent Steven Spielberg’s return to live-action family films in 25 years (both how old we are and how long it’s been since Hook) but it reunited him with screenwriter Melissa Mathison who wrote E.T. 34 years ago. Mathison passed away last November so the film will be released posthumously but can you imagine anyone you’d want more to direct your last film than Spielberg? The trailers show a huge adventure with a scope as big as it’s heart. If anyone can pull this off, it’s him.




9.  Star Trek Beyond  (July 22)

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This seems like the perfect spot for Star Trek Beyond. We’re not expecting amazing things from it, but we’re pretty confident it’ll entertain. The cast all work terrifically together, Idris Elba is a welcome addition to literally anything, and Justin Lin makes his triumphant, post-Fast & Furious return to filmmaking after an unfortunate foray into directing an HBO show that we don’t need to talk about right now. It might not blow anybody away, but you probably won’t be wasting your money on this one, either.




8.  The Secret Life of Pets   (July 8)

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Illumination Entertainment’s first foray out of the Minions world in 4 years looks just plain fun. An obvious premise (Toy Story with pets) doesn’t derail our excitement for what looks to be one of the most colorful films of the summer. The film has a great cast and talented people working behind it, plus a great teaser. Should be a good time.




7.   Suicide Squad  (August 5)

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We’re willing to bet all the money in our pockets against all the money in your pockets that Suicide Squad won’t be the 7th best movie of the summer. DC kicked off their Marvel-lite campaign disastrously with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Zach Snyder set a horrible tone for the franchise, and while David Ayer’s definitely a better director, he’s hardly a sure thing. The film is reported to have undergone frantic reshoots to make it even a little funny. So why so high on the list? Simple: DC kicked off their Marvel-lite campaign disastrously with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Zach Snyder set a horrible tone for the franchise, and while David Ayer’s definitely a better director, he’s hardly a sure thing. The film is reported to have undergone frantic reshoots to make it even a little funny. Suicide Squad is all but guaranteed to be either the savior of the DC Cinematic Universe or a horrendous creative failure. Either way, we can’t wait.




6.  Ghostbusters  (July 15)

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Guys, come on, look at the people behind this. Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Kate Dippold, Paul Feig. I mean even the cinematographer has a great resume (The Royale Tenenbaums, The Squid and the Whale, Whip ItThe Grand Budapest Hotel, Spy). The trailers haven’t impressed much, sure. But there is so much here, so much potential, so much promise, so much history of funny that you can’t help but trust these people. It’ll happen, guys. It has to.




5.  Sausage Party  (August 12)

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Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s endeavors are a fairly mixed bag, but they seem to have reached in and grabbed a good one here. Sausage Party has a clever premise, the usual (though always impressive) cavalcade of comic talent at the vocal helm, a great trailer, and, best of all, it’s aimed itself square at the heart of our foul-mouthed, 20-something sensibilities. If nothing else, it will be endlessly amusing to see Sony try to market it without attracting the ire of confused parents of young children.




4.  Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising  (May 20)

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Hey look, the other Seth Rogan movie! Neighbors is one of the Seth Rogan’s better comedies of late; it was funny, smart, filmed in a stylized neo-realistic way, showed why Rose Byrne is a comedy titan, and presented Zac Efron with the type of role that he could really play with. This sequel seems to bring back nearly the entire cast (including the original’s scene stealers Carla Gallo and Ike Barinholtz) for a plot that seems to advance its characters’ story in a natural way. Most importantly, it seems to deliver the laughs as well.




3.  The Nice Guys  (May 20)

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The Nice Guys seems like exactly the kind of movie that everyone involved needed to make. After swinging big and missing with Iron Man 3, seeing Shane Black return to the neo-noir comedy style of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is encouraging. If this and La La Land are as good as they should be, then 2016 could be the year of Ryan Gosling. And Russell Crowe? He’s had a rough go of it since, oh, 2007. He could use a win. And he looks to get one here in a comedy that should be as smart as it is silly.




2.  Finding Dory  (June 17)

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The trailer for this film is pretty bad. It’s sloppily edited and seems to play for cheap laughs. So then why is this our second most anticipated movie of the summer? Because it’s Pixar! Coming off the incredible achievement that was Inside Out and returning to the world of their most beloved film, there is no reason to think Pixar has sold out here. Early footage shown at Cinemacon is said to show a film that is hilarious as well as deep and moving. Well that’s Pixar for you, and as long as they keep giving us great films we’ll keep anticipating them.




1.  Captain America: Civil War   (May 6)

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Close your eyes and picture this: what if Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice didn’t suck? Wouldn’t that be super awesome? We agree, it totally would be! Civil War is poised to have everything that BvS lacked: characters with history clashing in compelling ways, a competently written script, and at least 3 jokes. We have full faith that like both Captain America movies before it, Civil War can turn out to be something special, and we are aggressively excited for it. The bar will be set pretty high this summer.




One again we end our list with a Pixar film followed by Marvel. If you fear we’re becoming too obvious, fear not! Next year, Gaurdians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 should be high on our list, but we don’t see it taking the number 1 spot. And Pixar is planning on releasing Cars 3, which definitely won’t be that high on the list.

But this year the return of Dory and Marvel’s little squabble stand out as the two we’re most exited for.

If you have any comments or concerns please let us know until then enjoy the summer and the diverse and exciting selection of movies soon to be a theater near you. And as always, we’ll see you at the movies!




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