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'Lightyear,' 'Nope' and 28 other movies arriving this summer

The latest from Marvel, Pixar and "Jurassic World" will probably do big business at the box office, but the summertime months will also bring new work from world-class auteurs.
Chris Pratt in "Jurassic World Dominion."
Chris Pratt in "Jurassic World Dominion."Universal Pictures

Summer is nearly here — and American movie theater chains, battered by the financial toll of an endless pandemic and rattled by audiences’ shift to streaming, finally have reason to be cautiously optimistic.

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” the latest Marvel extravaganza, opened with a commanding $185 million and rules the global ticket sales charts. Box-office prognosticators have sky-high hopes for a slate of other summertime spectacles arriving in theaters in the months ahead, including the long-awaited “Top Gun” sequel and the new “Thor” epic.

But the summer months will also bring a wave of new works from world-class auteurs — including David Cronenberg (“Crimes of the Future”), Claire Denis (“Both Sides of the Blade”) and Jordan Peele (“Nope”) — as well as the usual mix of romantic comedies and horror tales on streaming services.

Here’s a look at 30 of the most notable new releases landing in brick-and-mortar theaters and streaming queues this summer.


“Downton Abbey: A New Era”

Release date: Friday in theaters. (The film will be distributed by Focus Features, a unit of NBC News’ parent company, NBCUniversal.)

The Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville), Lady Mary Talbot (Michelle Dockery), the Dowager Countess of Grantham (Dame Maggie Smith) and other highfalutin favorites return for this continuation of the PBS melodrama and the 2019 film adaptation of the same name.

“Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers”

Release date: Friday on Disney+

John Mulaney and Nick Kroll provide the voices of a pair of anthropomorphic chipmunks in this self-reflexive spin on the Disney animated series of the same name. The reboot was directed by Akiva Schaffer, one third of the comedy troupe The Lonely Island.

“Top Gun: Maverick”

Release date: May 27 in theaters

He still feels the need for speed, folks. Tom Cruise commands the screen as cocksure Navy fighter pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in this sequel to the Reagan-era action classic. “Maverick” was originally slated for a 2020 debut, but the coronavirus pandemic forced repeated delays.

“The Bob’s Burgers Movie”

Release date: May 27 in theaters

Fox’s cult hit animated sitcom gets the big-screen treatment in this musical comedy featuring the voices of series regulars H. Jon Benjamin, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, Larry Murphy, John Roberts and Kristen Schaal.



Release date: June 3 in theaters

The gifted British filmmaker Terence Davies chronicles 50 years in the life of poet Siegfried Sassoon (played as a young man by Jack Lowden and as an elderly one by Peter Capaldi), focusing on his resistance to World War I and his experiences as a closeted gay man in an intolerant time.

“Crimes of the Future”

Release date: June 3 in theaters

David Cronenberg, the master of body horror (see: “Videodrome,” “The Fly”), returns with this queasy dystopian thriller about a performance artist (Viggo Mortensen) who can grow synthetic organs. Léa Seydoux and Kristen Stewart co-star.

“Fire Island”

Release date: June 3 on Hulu

The stand-up comedian Joel Kim Booster and “Saturday Night Live” breakout performer Bowen Yang anchor this comedy about two friends who venture out to the famed gay vacation destination of the title. Andrew Ahn (“Spa Night,” “Driveways”) directs.

“Jurassic World Dominion”

Release date: June 10 in theaters. (The film will be distributed by Universal Pictures, a unit of NBC News’ parent company, NBCUniversal.)

The sixth installment in the ticket-gobbling “Jurassic” franchise revolves around the leads of the sequel trilogy (Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard), but it also brings back the stars of Steven Spielberg’s groundbreaking original, including Laura Dern, Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum.


Release date: June 10 on Netflix

Adam Sandler heads up this direct-to-streaming sports drama about a down-on-his-luck former basketball scout who tries to get back in the game by recruiting a player from overseas to compete in the NBA. Queen Latifah and Ben Foster co-star.

“Father of the Bride”

Release date: June 16 on HBO Max

Andy García takes on the fretful father role previously played by Spencer Tracy and Steve Martin in this romantic comedy remake centered on a Cuban American dad grappling with his daughter’s upcoming nuptials. Gloria Estefan co-stars.


Release date: June 17 in theaters

Pixar’s latest is a “Toy Story” spinoff — well, sort of. “Lightyear” presents itself as the movie that inspired the action figure that Andy gets for his birthday in the original “Toy Story.” (Confused? How do you think your kids will feel?) Chris Evans voices the space adventurer.

“Brian and Charles”

Release date: June 17 in theaters. (The film will be distributed by Focus Features, a unit of NBC News’ parent company, NBCUniversal.)

Brian (David Earl) builds a robot companion out of a mannequin head and a washing machine in this off-kilter British comedy. You might think of it as “Ex Machina” infused with the whimsical spirit of “Wallace and Gromit.”

“Cha Cha Real Smooth”

Release date: June 17 on Apple TV+

The breakout hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was this low-key dramedy about a young bar mitzvah party host (Cooper Raiff, who also directed and wrote the film) who befriends a mom (Dakota Johnson) and her autistic daughter.

“Good Luck to You, Leo Grande”

Release date: June 17 on Hulu

Emma Thompson stars in one of the other standouts from this year’s Sundance: a dramedy about a sexually frustrated widow (Thompson) who enlists the services of a handsome sex worker (Daryl McCormack, of “Peaky Blinders” fame) — the Leo Grande of the title.

“The Black Phone”

Release date: June 24 in theaters. (The film will be distributed by Universal Pictures, a unit of NBC News’ parent company, NBCUniversal.)

Scott Derrickson, the director of Marvel’s first “Doctor Strange,” returns to his roots as a horror filmmaker in this supernatural creepfest about the occult happenings inside the house of a kidnapper and serial killer dubbed the Grabber, played by Ethan Hawke.


Release date: June 24 in theaters

The visually extravagant Australian auteur Baz Luhrmann (“Romeo + Juliet,” “Moulin Rouge!”) trains his lens on the relationship between the culture-shaking, hip-rattling rocker of the title (played by Austin Butler) and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks).

“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On”

Release date: June 24 in theaters

Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp, who created one of the defining YouTube sensations of the early 2010s with their delightfully odd shorts about a sweet-voiced walking shell, return to that creative well with this feature-length mockumentary distributed by indie powerhouse A24. 


“Minions: The Rise of Gru”

Release date: July 1 in theaters. (The film will be distributed by Universal Pictures, a unit of NBC News’ parent company, NBCUniversal.)

The sequel to “Minions” (2015) and the fifth entry overall in the “Despicable Me” franchise sees the return of Steve Carell (the voice of the ex-villain Gru) and features the voices of Taraji P. Henson and Michelle Yeoh.

“Thor: Love and Thunder”

Release date: July 8 in theaters

If the sheer volume of Marvel-branded content coming your way on Disney+ and IMAX screens hasn’t been enough, Taika Waititi's new lightning bolt of a summer blockbuster might do the trick. Chris Hemsworth is back as the Norse god, this time in the midst of an interstellar identity crisis.

“Both Sides of the Blade”

Release date: July 8 in theaters and VOD

The celebrated French filmmaker Claire Denis is out with two films this year. The first, the tense romantic drama “Both Sides of the Blade,” stars Juliette Binoche, Vincent Lindon and Grégoire Colin. The second, “The Stars at Noon,” debuted at the Cannes Film Festival this month.

“Where the Crawdads Sing”

Release date: July 15 in theaters

Daisy Edgar-Jones stars in this adaptation of the popular novel of the same name by Delia Owens. Reese Witherspoon is one of the producers of the film, which also features an original song by Taylor Swift called “Carolina."

“Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris”

Release date: July 15 in theaters

The veteran British character actor Lesley Manville (“Phantom Thread”) plays the title role in this adaptation of a 1958 novel by Paul Gallico. The title character is a Dior-obsessed widowed cleaning woman who seeks a fresh start in the City of Light.

“The Gray Man”

Release date: July 15 on Netflix

Anthony and Joe Russo, the brothers behind “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame,” hope to kick off a new film franchise with this Netflix spy thriller starring Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans and Ana de Armas.


Release date: July 22 in theaters. (The film will be distributed by Universal Pictures, a unit of NBC News’ parent company, NBCUniversal.)

Jordan Peele, a maestro of modern horror, follows “Get Out” and “Us” with this mysterious yarn about a Black-owned horse ranch in California apparently besieged by alien invaders. Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun star.

“DC League of Super-Pets”

Release date: July 29 in theaters

Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Kate McKinnon, John Krasinski and other familiar names lend their voice talents to this kid-friendly riff on the DC Comics universe. Johnson plays Superman’s pooch, Krypto; Hart portrays Batman’s canine pal, Ace the Bat-Hound.


Release date: July 29 in theaters. (The film will be distributed by Focus Features, a unit of NBC News’ parent company, NBCUniversal.)

“The Office” alum B.J. Novak makes his directorial debut with this tale about a New York radio host (Novak) who heads down to the South to try to find out who killed his girlfriend. Issa Rae and Ashton Kutcher co-star.


“Bodies Bodies Bodies”

Release date: Aug. 5 in theaters

“This Is Not a Safe Space.” That’s the tagline for this slasher flick about friends hunkered down at a mansion during a storm. Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”), Myha’la Herrold, Chase Sui Wonders, Rachel Sennott and Pete Davidson star.

“Bullet Train”

Release date: Aug. 5 in theaters

Brad Pitt stars as a disillusioned hitman named Ladybug who gets more bloody trouble than he bargained for on a bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto in this high-octane action comedy. Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry have supporting parts.


Release date: Aug. 5 on Peacock, the streaming service owned by NBCUniversal, NBC News’ parent company

The veteran Hollywood screenwriter John Logan (“Gladiator,” “The Aviator”) makes his directorial debut with this LGBTQ-themed horror drama set at a gay conversion therapy camp. Theo Germaine, Kevin Bacon and Carrie Preston star.

“Three Thousand Years of Longing”

Release date: Aug. 31 in theaters

George Miller, the one-of-a-kind filmmaker behind the “Mad Max” franchise and kid-friendly confections like “Happy Feet,” returns with this epic fantasy starring Idris Elba and art-house mainstay Tilda Swinton.