It’s that time of year when Hollywood begins its assault on your wallet with big budget summer movies. There are more movies coming out over the next three months based on comic books than have Oscar potential. You can count on plenty of big explosions, battles or laughs.
There’s even a horror film with a Fresno connection among the summer movie offerings, a horror film partly shot in Fresno.
Expect to see the continuation of successful film franchises, including a remake of a Mel Gibson classic and more productions spawned from comic books.
The box office bar has already been set high as “Furious 7” opened a few weeks before the kickoff of the summer movie season.
It’s already taken in $1.2 billion around the globe.
Here are some of the films being released between May 1 and Labor Day that will look to best “Furious 7.”
“Avengers: Age of Ultron”
Director: Joss Whedon
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, James Spader
Story: Avengers must assemble again to take on an artificial intelligence bent on ending the world.
Buzz: A good film that won’t top the first “Avengers.”
“Before I Wake”
Director: Mike Flanagan
Cast: Kate Bosworth, Thomas Jane, Annabeth Gish
Story: The nightmares of an 8-year-old boy manifest while he sleeps.
Buzz: It’s a nightmare to open during second-week fury over “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
Director: Anne Fletcher
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Sofia Vergara
Story: By-the-book cop tries to protect the sexy and outgoing widow of a drug boss as they race through Texas, pursued by crooked cops and murderous gunmen.
Buzz: Buddy movie will get crushed by “Avengers.”
“Pitch Perfect 2”
Director: Elizabeth Banks
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Skylar Astin
Story: The Barden Bellas are back to defend their singing title.
Buzz: First film was a surprise hit. The surprise is gone.
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
Director: George Miller
Cast: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult
Story: Max teams with a mysterious woman to battle his way through a world where people fight to the death.
Buzz: Having Miller return to the franchise to direct mightily ups the film’s potential.
Director: Brad Bird
Cast: George Clooney, Judy Greer, Britt Robertson
Story: Two people begin a mission to discover the secrets of a place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory.
Buzz: Can’t wait to see how Space Mountain looks.
Director: Gil Kenan
Cast: Jared Harris, Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt.
Story: New take on the classic horror film about a family who must deal with a spirit kidnapping their daughter.
Buzz: Will be hard to beat the original movie.
Director: Brad Peyton
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Alexandra Daddario, Carla Gugino
Story: A rescue helicopter pilot makes a dangerous journey after a massive earthquake to save his daughter.
Buzz: Will make California moviegoers a little nervous.
Director: Doug Ellin
Cast: Adrian Grenier, Jeremy Piven, Kevin Connolly
Story: Movie star Vincent Chase and his buddies are back in business with agent-turned-studio head Ari Gold.
Buzz: Fans of series will like having the guys back.
“Insidious: Chapter 3”
Director: Leigh Whannell
Cast: Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, Lin Shaye
Story: A gifted psychic reluctantly uses her powers to contact the dead in an effort to help a teenage girl.
Buzz: Franchise is losing steam.
Director: Paul Feig
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Jude Law, Rose Byrne
Story: Desk-bound CIA analyst goes on an undercover mission.
Buzz: McCarthy is a sure thing at the box office.
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simkins
Story: New and bigger dinosaurs are the main attraction at the theme park. There are more problems than just long lines.
Buzz: Will take a huge bite out of the box office.
“The Transporter Refueled”
Director: Camille Delamarre
Cast: Ed Skrein, Ray Stevenson, Loan Chabanol
Story: A cunning femme fatale and her sidekicks trick the Transporter into helping them take down Russian human traffickers.
Buzz: Doesn’t have the horsepower of “Furious 7.”
Directors: Peter Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen
Cast: Diane Lane, Amy Poehler, Lewis Black
Story: A look inside the mind of a young girl whose life is thrown into chaos because of a move.
Buzz: Could make moviegoers happy, sad, mad.
Director: Jalmari Helander
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Onni Tommila, Ted Levine.
Story: Young boy in the wilds of Finland discovers an escape pod containing the president of the United States. They work together to avoid kidnappers.
Buzz: Jackson will play one of the toughest presidents ever seen on film.
Director: Seth MacFarlane
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried
Story: The foul-mouthed stuffed bear must prove in court that he’s got human qualities so he and his wife can adopt a baby.
Buzz: Biggest comedy of the summer.
Director: Alan Taylor
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke
Story: Kyle Reese’s return to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor fractures the timeline.
Buzz: It’s time that the Terminator shouldn’t be back.
“Magic Mike XXL”
Director: Gregory Jacobs
Cast: Channing Tatum, Amber Heard, Elizabeth Banks.
Story: The male strippers are back on stage with performances that are bigger and badder.
Buzz: Will dance it’s way to box office success — one dollar at a time.
Directors: Travis Cluff, Chris Lofing
Cast: Cassidy Gifford, Pfeifer Brown, Ryan Shoos
Story: Efforts to mount a play 20 years after a horrible accident prove a deadly decision.
Buzz: Has potential to be next big horror series. Some of the movie was shot in Fresno.
Director: Tarsem Singh
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Natalie Martinez, Matthew Goode
Story: Wealthy man dying of cancer undergoes a radical medical procedure that transfers his consciousness into a new body.
Buzz: Count on a beautifully shot movie from Singh (“The Cell”).
Director: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm
Story: Kevin, teenage rebel Stuart and lovable Bob go into the world to find a new evil boss.
Buzz: Will be major hit. Plan to see it more than once.
Director: Peyton Reed
Cast: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly
Story: A con-man is turned into a tiny superhero through a super suit.
Buzz: Casting of Rudd is film’s weakness.
Director: Judd Apatow
Cast: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson
Story: Magazine writer is tiring of her uninhibited life and begins looking for something more permanent.
Buzz: Apatow has a good track record with comedy.
Director: Chris Columbus
Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage
Story: Intergalactic aliens misinterpret video feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of war against them.
Buzz: Might be the surprise hit of the summer because of its nostalgia for classic games.
“Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation”
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg
Story: Ethan and team must wipe out the Syndicate — an international rogue organization committed to destroying the IMF.
Buzz: All depends on how fast Cruise can run.
Director: Joel Edgerton
Cast: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton
Story: Friend from the past makes a happy couple re-evaluate their lives.
Buzz: There’s always DVD sales.
“Ricki and the Flash”
Director: Jonathan Demme
Cast: Audra McDonald, Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline
Story: Tough female rocker wanted two things out of life: a family and rock ‘n’ roll stardom. She’s got the fame. Now, she’s working on the family.
Buzz: Even the great Meryl Streep will be challenged playing a hard-rocking guitarist.
Director: Jared Hess
Cast: Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, Kristen Wiig
Story: A man ends his boring existence when he puts together a plan to rob an armored car.
Buzz: Will provide a few laughs.
Director: Josh Trank
Cast: Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Michael B. Jordan
Story: After four young scientists get super powers, they must use those abilities to save the world.
Buzz: Proof not all comic book-inspired movies work.
“Straight Outta Compton”
Director: F. Gary Gray
Cast: O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell
Story: Five young men revolutionize the music industry and pop culture.
Buzz: One of the more compelling stories of the summer.
“The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”
Director: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Henry Cavill, Alicia Vikander, Hugh Grant
Story: Secret agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin face a mysterious criminal organization in this remake of the ’60s TV show.
Buzz: Will be nostalgic fun for some.
“Jane Got a Gun”
Director: Gavin O’Connor
Cast: Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Joel Edgerton.
Story: A woman’s quiet life is threatened by an ultra-violent outlaw gang.
Buzz: It’s a miniature “Star Wars” reunion with Portman and McGregor.