2017 summer movie preview

The summer season is almost upon us and you know what that means: movies are about to get bigger, louder, and more expensive. And, if we’re lucky, they’ll also be pretty great!

The /Film team examined the list of every single major wide release (our indie and streaming preview arrives next week) hitting theaters this summer and argued, debated, and occasionally agreed on which 25 movies we’re most looking forward to watching over the coming months. The staff then voted, ranking them from “movies we want to see” to “movies we want to see right now.” So here’s our 2017 summer movie preview, which features superheroes, evil dolls, talking cars, pirates, sharks, dead strippers, World War II, and so much more.

Annabelle Creation Trailer

25. Annabelle: Creation

Release Date: August 11

Director: David F. Sandberg

Cast: Talitha Bateman, Stephanie Sigman, Anthony LaPaglia, and Miranda Otto.

Synopsis: A dollmaker and his wife open their home to a nun and a group of young children after the local orphanage has been closed. And wouldn’t you know it: the dollmaker’s evil creation decides to come to life and make things a living hell for everyone involved.

Why We’re Excited: The first Annabelle was a spin-off from James Wan’s The Conjuring, taking the evil doll introduced in that film’s prologue and giving her a solo outing and origin story. And now, we’re getting an origin story for that origin story! Weird set-up aside, Annabelle: Creation looks like a self-contained horror tale with plenty of chills, bumps in the night, and yes, jump scares. The draw here is director David F. Sandberg, whose Lights Out was as technically precise and visually intense as any mainstream horror movie in recent memory. This should make for a great time at the movies. (Jacob Hall)

[Watch the Trailer]

cars 3 story

24. Cars 3

Release Date: June 16

Director: Brian Fee

Cast: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Armie Hammer, Nathan Fillion, Larry the Cable Guy, Kerry Washington, Bonnie Hunt, Tony Shalhoub, John Ratzenberger, Lea DeLaria, Margo Martindale, Chris Cooper, Isaiah Whitlock Jr. and more.

Synopsis: Lightning McQueen isn’t the young, fast car he used to be. Recovering from a nasty accident during a big race, Lightning McQueen must go back to the roots of racing in order to get his drive back if he has any chance of defeating Jackson Storm, a new, advanced racer who is dominating the track.

Why We’re Excited: Even though Cars isn’t among our favorite Pixar movies, there’s something about the teaser trailer for Cars 3 that makes this one feel different. With a story that feels a lot like an underdog sports drama in the vein of Rocky Balboa or The Wrestler, this sequel appears to have the kind of heart that has mostly been missing from the Cars franchise. If there’s anybody who can figure out how to crack a good story, it’s Pixar, and it seems like they have something to prove this time. (Ethan Anderton)

[Watch the Trailer]

transformers the last knight trailer

23. Transformers: The Last Knight

Release Date: June 23

Director: Michael Bay

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Josh Duhamel, Anthony Hopkins, Laura Haddock, Jerrod Carmichael, Isabela Moner and Santiago Cabrera

Synopsis: Once again, humans are warring with the Transformers, but this time, Optimus Prime has gone rogue. Naturally, it’s up to Mark Wahlberg and Bumblebee to save the day.

Why We’re Excited: Sure, the Transformers franchise has been diminishing returns since the original film came out a decade ago (has it really been that long?), and this latest installment looks like more of a mess than Dark of the Moon. But I personally believe that any film directed by Michael Bay is worth experiencing on the big screen, and this film was the first to be shot with IMAX 3D digital cameras. Unlike other filmmakers, Bay isn’t afraid to push his use of 3D and that alone is worth my visit to the multiplex. I’m personally more interested in the mythology/King Arthur side of this story than I am the Terminator-inspired post-apocalyptic half of the film. (Peter Sciretta)

[Watch the Trailer]

captain underpants trailer

22. Captain Underpants

Release Date: June 2

Director: David Soren

Cast: Ed Helms, Kevin Hart, Nick Kroll, Thomas Middleditch, Jordan Peeleand Kristen Schaal

Synopsis: Dav Pikley’s bestselling book series come to big screen, with two students hypnotizing their tyrannical principal into thinking he’s a superhero named Captain Underpants.

Why We’re Excited: Tired of superheroes? Not too excited about this summer’s handful of comic book movies? Then does DreamWorks have the hero for you: Captain Underpants (voiced by Ed Helms). Based on Dav Pilkey’s books, this superhero’s origin story isn’t like everyone else’s. He gets hypnotized by two young best friends (voiced by Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch) and then becomes their not-so-mighty comic book creation. With how many tortured and conflicted superheroes there are up on the big screen these days, every once in a while we need a hero as immature as this one. The trailer has some good laughs, too. Hardly surprising, though, considering Nicholas Stoller, the director behind Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Neighbors, wrote the film. (Jack Giroux)

[Watch the Trailer]

King Arthur Legend of the Sword Trailer - Charlie Hunnam

21. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Release Date: May 12

Director: Guy Ritchie

Cast: Charlie Hunman, Jude Law, Eric Bana, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, and Aiden Gillen.

Synopsis: After his father is murdered and his crown stolen from him by his uncle Vortigen, Arthur grows up on the streets of Londinium, unaware of his birthright. But when he pulls the sword Excalibur from the stone, he’s faced with his destiny and must choose whether to unite the Resistance and take down his tyrant uncle.

Why We’re Excited: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword looks at first like another cursory “modern update” of a folklore legend à la Russell Crowe’s Robin Hood — all grit and gore, and ultimately joyless. But King Arthur could have some hidden depths. Director Guy Ritchie pleasantly surprised us with his last film, 2015’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E., a sleek and stylish romp of a movie that was, above all, fun. And Charlie Hunnam has been on the up after his impressive turn as real-life explorer Percy Fawcett in The Lost City of Z, potentially lending more range to the role of King Arthur than just a brooding brow and a handsome face. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

[Watch the Trailer]

Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales TV Spot

20. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Release Date: May 26

Director: Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg

Cast: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin R. McNally, Golshifteh Farahani, David Wenham, Stephen Graham and Geoffrey Rush

Synopsis: Johnny Depp is back as Captain Jack Sparrow for the fifth time and once again, he has an undead pirate trying to kill him. This time, it’s Captain Salazar and our plucky, lucky pirate captain will have to make use of his wits (and some old friends and new allies) to stay alive.

Why We’re Excited: I saw this film at CinemaCon this year and it’s better than the last two installments of the franchise. Why should you be excited? It’s directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, who directed the Oscar-nominated film Kon-Tiki. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is a pleasant surprise. Even though none of us were asking for another Pirates movie, I think most fans of the franchise will be happy we got this one. What makes this new Pirates movie good is that they went back to the roots of the series and concentrate on the characters we love and their legacies. The main villain’s story is intimately tied to Captain Jack Sparrow’s past and the central MacGuffin that everyone is chasing has very personal stakes for the characters involved. The result is a more heartfelt adventure that you actually care about. Dead Men Tell No Tales doesn’t worry about building a trilogy of films (there is no cliffhanger) and takes the time to tell its own story on its own terms. (Peter Sciretta)

[Watch the Trailer]

47 meters down

19. 47 Meters Down

Release Date: June 16

Director: Johannes Roberts

Cast: Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, and Matthew Modine

Synopsis: Two sisters, vacationing in Mexico, are trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean, with less than an hour of oxygen left and great white sharks circling nearby.

Why We’re Excited: I’m always a fan of contained stories like Buried that challenge the screenwriter and filmmaker by placing our hero in the most ridiculous possible situation. Coming off of last year’s The Shallows, which was a fun shark thriller, I’m more apt to give this movie a chance. Is there a big chance this will suck? Yes. Is there a chance it could be fun reguardless? Of course. (Peter Sciretta)

[Watch the Trailer]

Rough Night Trailer

18. Rough Night

Release Date: June 16

Director: Lucia Aniello

Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Illana Glazer, Kate McKinnon, Zoe Kravitz, and Jillian Bell

Synopsis: A wild bachelorette party weekend goes wrong when the women accidentally kill a male stripper.

Why We’re Excited: Dead female strippers have appeared in pop culture so often that it’s become an eye-rolling trope, but this movie finally flips the script. Plus, did you see that cast list? ScarJo headlining her first outright comedy would be an occasion for celebration on its own, but the fact that she’s backed up by these awesome ladies in front of the camera and some Broad City vets behind it is just icing on the cake. (Keep an eye on that cake – a stripper might jump out.) (Ben Pearson)

[Watch the Trailer]

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