May marks the start of the summer blockbuster season. It used to be that the summer movie slate got into gear around Memorial Day weekend. Now studios are trying to stuff as much entertainment as they can within a four-month period by having their films open earlier and earlier. With school almost out, parents looking for a cheap babysitter and teenagers with disposable income will be coming out in force for the latest sequels, remakes, reboots and comic-book movies (and more than a few small surprises) that the studios are offering. In what is gearing up to be the best summer slate since 1982, we at Inside Pulse Movies give you a brief overview, month by month, of what to see.
Scott Sawitz leads off the month of May.
The first week of the Summer 2012 blockbuster season begins this week with what might be the biggest film of the year: Marvel’s The Avengers. It’s been a number of films away as they establish the universe everyone exists in, of course, but it’ll be the one that dominates screens in every multiplex across the country. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel also comes out this week in under 30 theatres, a holdover from 2011 that’s being dumped into theatres as counter programming in a handful of markets. At this point The Avengers will probably be the safer pick; Hotel is about a bunch of British expatriates living in India and will be much more of an older audience appeal.
Pick of the week: Marvel’s The Avengers (watch the trailer)
Johnny Depp’s big film of the summer finally hits as the movie version of gothic soap opera Dark Shadows finds its way into theatres this week. It’ll be the pick of the week, of course, as there isn’t much competition and there aren’t any other wide releases coming out this week. On the indie scene Girl in Progress and God Bless America are hitting big screens in limited release but getting fairly poor early buzz. Depp is nothing if not reliably entertaining.
Pick of the week: Dark Shadows (watch the “Vampire History” feature)
The first true week of the summer has two of the year’s least anticipated films as well as the latest from Sacha Baron Cohen. Battleship has had any number of turgid trailers so far, making it appear to be the sea version of Transformers more than anything else. It has a terrific director behind it in Peter Berg (The Kingdom, Friday Night Lights) but so far a good trailer hasn’t been able to be cut for the film. What To Expect When You’re Expecting is another in the “cram as many stars into a film as possible” type of clichéd genre films, based off an advice book of the same name ala Think Like a Man. The week’s best film comes out on Wednesday in The Dictator; Sacha Baron Cohen adapts Saddam Husseein’s novel about a dictator who saves his country from the evils of democracy and freedom. It’ll also be the only film of the week that’s intentionally funny, too.
Pick of the week: The Dictator (watch the trailer)
Will Smith hasn’t been in a film in nearly four years. It doesn’t seem like it but the only really bankable movie star in Hollywood today last had a film in theatres with the remarkably underperforming Seven Pounds, the first film in many to not break $100 million domestically for the star. Now he’s back with a film nearly guaranteed to be a hit in the third Men in Black film, the film that helped establish his bonafides as a movie star. Also being released is Chernobyl Diaries, another found footage horror film. This time it’s teenagers in Chernobyl being attacked by something living there. In limited release is Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, about a pair of summer camp runaways. It’ll also be the best film of the week as well.
Pick of the week: Moonrise Kingdom (watch the trailer)
Tags: Battleship, Chernobyl Diaries, dark shadows, men in black 3, Moonrise Kingdom, The Avengers, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Dictator, What to Expect When You're Expecting