Hollywood is again turning to comic book characters to kick off the summer movie season. When “Captain America: Civil War” hits theaters May 6, it will mark the 10th consecutive year that a superhero movie has ushered in the summer cinema season.
Combined, those blockbusters from the Marvel Studios have earned more than $7.7 billion in the worldwide box office battle. There was “Spider-Man 3” (2007), “Iron Man” (2008), “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” (2009), “Iron Man 2” (2010), “Thor” (2011), “The Avengers” (2012), “Iron Man 3” (2013), “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (2014) and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015).
Rick Bentley’s rankings: The summer’s top 5 1. ‘Captain America: Civil War’ 2. ‘Finding Dory’ 3. ‘Ghostbusters’ 4. ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ 5. ‘Star Trek Beyond’
One of the most anticipated films over the next few months is “Suicide Squad,” the offering based on the DC Comic about a group of villains pulled together for a mission. Summer movies with the biggest explosions, battles and/or laughs attract the largest audiences. Those elements are at the heart of films based on comic books and that’s why a decade of summer movies has started with productions from that genre.
There are other big franchise films such as “Star Trek,” “Jason Bourne,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and Ghostbusters.” How well they do will make this a summer to remember or a summer to forget at the box office.
Here are some of the films being released between May 6 and Labor Day that look to be the top attraction of the 2016 summer season.
‘CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR’
Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson
Story: The superheroes are divided by an effort put forth by the United Nations to create some control over the Avengers. Captain America argues for freedom while Iron Man is on the side of some official guidance.
Buzz: “Avengers” movies have been the top summer films. This isn’t an “Avengers” movie but with so many heroes, it’s very close. Another massive Marvel hit.
Director: Jodie Foster
Cast: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Caitriona Balfe
Story: All is not as it seems when a gunman takes over a cable series about finance.
Buzz: Triple threat of Foster, Clooney and Roberts should make this very bankable.
Director: Oliver Stone
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Melissa Leo, Nicolas Cage
Story: Thousands of classified documents are leaked by CIA employee Edward Snowden.
Buzz: Will be interesting to see what kind of conspiracy theories Stone includes.
‘NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY RISING’
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Cast: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Chloe Grace Moretz
Story: Couple (Rogen, Byrne) has trouble selling house because of a wild sorority next door.
Buzz: Battles with a fraternity in the first movie fell flat. No hint this will do better.
‘THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE’
Directors: Clay Kaytis, Fergal Reilly
Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Peter Dinklage, Bill Hader
Story: Three outcasts must find out what the green pigs are doing and stop them.
Buzz: Once the gimmick factor of seeing the popular game made into a movie wears off, it will be game over.
Director: Bryan Singer
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Olivia Munn, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy
Story: X-Men must come together to stop the world’s first mutant, Apocalypse, who has awakened.
Buzz: Will always be the little brother to other films based on Marvel Comics characters.
‘ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS’
Director: James Bobin
Cast: Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, Alan Rickman
Story: An older Alice makes her way back to Wonderland in an attempt to help save the Mad Hatter.
Buzz: Don’t be late for a very important date to see this movie.
‘A BIGGER SPLASH’
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Cast: Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson, Ralph Fiennes
Story: A quiet vacation in Italy is disrupted by an unexpected visitor.
Buzz: Great alternative to all the big popcorn movies of the summer.
‘TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS’
Director: Dave Green
Cast: Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Will Arnett
Story: Another threat to the city makes the Turtles put down their pizza so they can save the day.
Buzz: Cowabunga, dude. Local fans will rush to theaters.
‘POPSTAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING’
Directors: Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone
Cast: Andy Samberg, Sarah Silverman, Maya Rudolph, Jorma Taccone
Story: Singer/rapper Conner4Real (Samberg) sees his popularity drop after his second album bombs.
Buzz: Samberg is best in small doses. This could be an overdose.
Director: Duncan Jones
Cast: Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell
Story: Azeroth is on the brink of war as it must deal with a fearsome race of invaders. Based on the popular video game.
Buzz: Does anyone remember “Pixels”?
‘NOW YOU SEE ME 2’
Director: Jon M. Chu
Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Daniel Radcliffe, Morgan Freeman
Story: Tech genius forces the magicians to pull off what appears to be an impossible heist.
Buzz: Now that the secrets have been revealed, it will be tough to build tension.
Directors: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane
Cast: Albert Brooks, Idris Elba, Ellen DeGeneres
Story: The blue tang fish must remember how to reunite with her family.
Buzz: Will be the biggest hit of the summer with youngsters.
‘INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE’
Director: Roland Emmerich
Cast: Liam Hemsworth, Bill Pullman, Vivica A. Fox, Jeff Goldblum
Story: Another wave of aliens attacks the Earth. The only concern is whether we are ready.
Buzz: Won’t match success for first film but will still be a blast.
Director: Anthony Jaswinski
Cast: Bret Cullen, Blake Lively, Oscar Jaenada
Story: Survival becomes a test of wills when a surfer finds herself stranded 200 yards from shore in waters filled with sharks.
Buzz: Should have some box office bite.
‘THE LEGEND OF TARZAN’
Director: David Yates
Cast: Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson, Alexander Skarsgard
Story: After living in London for several years, Tarzan must return to the jungle to investigate a major problem.
Buzz: Anyone remember “The Lone Ranger”?
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Rebecca Hall, Bill Hader, Mark Rylance
Story: Girl makes friends with a giant who has become an outcast because he won’t eat children.
Buzz: Big stories featuring children are what Spielberg does best.
‘THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR’
Director: James DeMonaco
Cast: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson
Story: Senator running for president must be guarded on the night when nothing is illegal.
Buzz: First two films were good but it’s time to purge this franchise.
‘THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS’
Directors: Chris Renaud, Yarrow Cheney
Cast: Albert Brooks, Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey
Story: Pets act completely different once their masters have gone out.
Buzz: Renaud directed the two “Despicable Me” movies so he has a good track record.
Director: Paul Feig
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Chris Hemsworth, Kate McKinnon
Story: The battle against ghosts takes a slight turn as now the team you are going to call is made up of female ghostbusters.
Buzz: Feig has a knack for getting best out of actors, which gives the film more than a ghost of a chance to be a hit.
‘LA LA LAND’
Director: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Emma Stone, J.K. Simmons, Ryan Gosling
Story: Jazz pianist and actress have a romantic relationship.
Buzz: This kind of movie is a tough sell even when someone like Woody Allen is attached.
‘STAR TREK BEYOND’
Director: Justin Lin
Cast: Chris Pine, Idris Alba, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg
Story: The crew of the Enterprise are headed for another adventure.
Buzz: You can bet with Lin directing the action will be fast and furious.
Director: Paul Greengrass
Cast: Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Tommy Lee Jones
Story: The CIA’s most lethal asset is pulled back into his killer lifestyle.
Buzz: Will need to bring heavy firepower to give this franchise the steam it needs.
Director: David Ayer
Cast: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Jai Courtney
Story: Some of the worst villains are recruited for a mission in exchange for clemency.
Buzz: Efforts to add more humor are not a good sign.
Director: David Lowery
Cast: Karl Urban, Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley
Story: An orphan and a dragon become best friends.
Buzz: One of the top picks for families this summer.
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Cast: Jack Huston, Morgan Freeman, Nazanin Boniadi
Story: Jewish nobleman manages to survive years of slavery and finally gets a chance to face the man who betrayed him.
Buzz: Going to be tough to top the Charlton Heston version.
Directors: Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon
Cast: James Franco, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd
Story: Sausage goes on a quest to discover his origin.
Buzz: This title will leave some very confused.
Director: Brad Furman
Cast: Amy Ryan, Bryan Cranston, Diane Kruger
Story: Based on the true story of one of history’s most elaborate sting operations.
Buzz: Will get lost in the flood of action-heavy summer movies.
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Stars: Stanley Tucci, Clive Standen, Natalie Dormer
Story: Man learns language of infected population. He’ll use that skill to find a cure.
Buzz: It won’t be the end of the world if this flops.