Last year, a blue fish led the way. In 2015, it was an island full of dinosaurs.
The summer movie season cranks up May 5 when “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2” opens. Once the offbeat team break the movie ice, there will be at least one major movie released each week until Labor Day weekend.
Studios love the summer. “Finding Dory” went on to earn more than $486 million last year followed closely by “Captain America: Civil War” with just over $408 million. The top film from the summer of 2015 was “Jurassic World” with more than $652 million in tickets sold.
A new list of contenders will be battling for that top box office spot. Here’s a prediction of which will be the top 10.
10. “Dunkirk” (July 21): If “Heartbreak Ridge” showed us anything, it’s that military films will draw a large – usually more mature – crowd. The draw for this film from Christopher Nolan is the story of the evacuation of Allied soldiers who get cut off behind the lines during World War II.
The fact Nolan wrote and directed the movie could get it more attention from younger moviegoers. There’s also the fact Harry Styles co-stars with Kenneth Branagh and Tom Hardy.
9. “Alien: Covenant” (May 19): There’s a huge following for the “Alien” franchise that will assure a large opening weekend. How well Ridley Scott continues the mythology will be the make or break element.
The film does have an interesting cast that includes Michael Fasbender, Billy Crudup and Danny McBride.
8. “War for the Planet of the Apes” (July 14): This sequel to “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” will get a bump as it’s the third in the trilogy. Unless it does even bigger numbers than expected, this could be the last time Caesar (Andy Serkis) leads his army into war against the humans.
The film will focus on the much darker theme of revenge that has been brewing since the first movie.
7. “The Mummy” (June 9): There was a time when just saying Tom Cruise is starring would be enough to guarantee big box office numbers. The poor showing for “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” could be a sign the Cruise magic is fading.
Only his “Mission: Impossible” movies have been consistently high draws for Cruise over the last decade.
The fact Brendan Fraser isn’t part of the franchise will also upset some fans.
6. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” (May 26): The last big movie for Johnny Depp was the 2011 release of “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.” It pulled in more than $241 million.
Since then he has had box office misfires with “The Rum Diary,” “Transcendence” and “Mortdecai. This film needs to make a pirate’s bounty or the franchise is done.
5. “Transformers: The Last Knight” (June 23): The humans must deal with fighting the Transformers without the aid of Optimus Prime. The fight sequences alone will be enough to draw a crowd.
This film is also the start of a new trilogy for the franchise and that means the action will be cranked up to the max. Look for this summer release starring Mark Wahlberg to transform itself into box office gold.
4. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (July 7): This latest re-launch of the franchise starring the web spinner (played by Tom Holland) got a boost by debuting the latest version of the character in “Captain America: The Civil War.” Fans won’t have to deal with the new version from the ground floor.
A huge plus is casting Michael Keaton as the movie’s chief villain, The Vulture. Keaton was a huge hit when he played Batman and should bring those fans to the latest Marvel Comics franchise.
3. “Wonder Woman” (June 2): DC Comics needs this movie to be a hit. Adaptations of their comics to the big screen have stumbled, including “The Suicide Squad.”
There’s reason to think this film will be a hit because Gal Gadot’s performance as “Wonder Woman” in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” was the best thing about that action movie.
If “Wonder Woman” fails, the future of “Justice League” looks as bleak as a kryptonite necktie for Superman.
2. “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2” (May 5): There’s a good reason a movie based on a Marvel Comics publication has opened the summer movie season for 11 consecutive years.
Combined, those blockbusters from the Marvel Studios have earned more than $8.1 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), “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015) and “Captain America: Civil War.”
The original “Guardians” earned more than $33 million. The same fun writing, strong cast, great music and Baby Groot will make this another top contender.
1. “Despicable Me 3” (June 30): This franchise has been a surprise from the start. It is hard to imagine that a movie about an evil genius who becomes a dad would be such a hit. A lot of credit goes to his followers, the yellow Minions, who give the movie the kind of humor that makes young and old laugh.
Steve Carell’s voice work as Gru is some of the best in his career. There are several animated movies opening over the summer but this is the one to beat.
Here’s a list of movies scheduled to open this summer:
May 5: “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2,” “The Dinner.”
May 12: “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” “Snatched,” “The Wall.”
May 19: “Alien: Covenant,” “Everything, Everything,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul.”
May 26: “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” “Baywatch.”
June 2: “Wonder Woman,” “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.”
June 9: “The Mummy,” “It Comes at Night,” “Megan Leavey.”
June 16: “Cars 3,” “Rough Night,” “All Eyez on Me.”
June 23: “Transformers: The Last Knight.”
June 30: “Despicable Me 3,” “The House.”
July 7: “Spider-Man Homecoming”
July 14: “War for the Planet of the Apes,” “The Big Sick.”
July 21: “Dunkirk,” “Girls Trip,” “Valerian and the City of a Thousands Planets.”
July 28: “The Emoji Movie,” “Atomic Blonde,” “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power.”
Aug. 4: “Detroit,” “Wind River,” “The Dark Tower.”
Aug. 11: “Annabelle: Creation.”
Aug. 18: “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” “Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature,” “Logan Lucky.”
Aug. 25: “All Saints,” “Polaroid,” “The Life and Death of John Gotti,” “Villa Capri.”
Sept. 1: “Renegades.”