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Summer Preview

25 Can't-Miss Summer 2016 Movies

Sequels we've waited more than a decade (or even two decades) for, new flicks from promising young talents, a naughty animated film, startling awesome-looking family fare—this season's gonna be a great one

1 / 25

'The Angry Birds Movie'

Release date: May 20
Directors: Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly
Writer: Jon Vitti

We totally get that, as a respectable adults, we shouldn't be this excited for a movie based around an app—but we can't help ourselves. The Angry Birds Movie not only has turned the game's creatures into characters that might rival Pixar's best, but it also boasts an excellent voice cast that we'd geek out about no matter what the project. Jason Sudeikis, Maya Rudolph, Peter Dinklage, Kate McKinnon are all on board, as is secret weapon Josh Gad, who made Frozen such a delight as the hilarious snowman Olaf. We might make an excuse and take our young cousins to see it, or we might just go to the theater alone and watch. –Jeff Benjamin

2 / 25

'X-Men: Apocalypse'

Release date: May 27
Director: Bryan Singer
Writer: Simon Kinberg

Did Captain America: Civil War not satisfy your craving for a dozen beloved comic book characters in one place? X-Men: Apocalypse will scratch that itch less than a month later, as the mutants need to band together to stop the ancient baddie Apocalypse from taking over the world. –Jason Lipshutz

3 / 25

'​Alice Through the Looking Glass'

Release date: May 27
Director: James Bobin
Writer: Linda Woolverton

Yet another Lewis Carroll–inspired tale will settle into theaters with Alice Through the Looking Glass, starring Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen and more. Alice must find a way to put the Queen of Hearts back on her throne, and it’s sure to be equally as creepy as it’s supposed to be colorful. Not to mention that they got Pink for the soundtrack. Everyone loves Pink.
–Emilee Lindner

4 / 25

'Now You See Me 2'

Release date: June 10
Director: John M. Chu
Writer: Ed Solomon

Magic + heists = box office gold and major fun, we learned in 2013. So now we're in franchise territory, and the already super-starry squad (Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine) has added Lizzy Caplan, Daniel Radcliffe (dude definitely knows magic) and Sanaa Lathan. The two trailers we've seen have us pretty sure this is a good popcorn movie bet. –Zach Dionne

5 / 25

​‘Finding Dory'

Release date: June 17
Director: Andrew Stanton
Writers: Andrew Stanton, Victoria Strouse and Bob Peterson

Both kids and kids at heart have been waiting a long time (13 years to be exact) for Finding Dory, the sequel to 2003’s modern Disney/Pixar classic Finding Nemo. For this go around, viewers will get a deeper look at the amnesiac blue tang’s life as Dory tries to find her parents, supported by new characters like the whale shark Destiny and Bailey the beluga whale. Gather the entire family for this lighthearted journey, which is sure to be filled with laughs, tears and life lessons. –Bianca Gracie

6 / 25

'The Neon Demon'

Release date: June 24
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Writers: Nicolas Winding Refn, Mary Laws and Polly Stenham

If you were disappointed with Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive follow-up Only God Forgives, you'll be happy to hear the Danish writer/director moved in a new, scarier direction for this one—but appears to have kept every ounce of his profound stylistic gifts. The Neon Demon revolves around cannibal models, stars a powerhouse female cast (Elle Fanning, Jena Malone, Christina Hendricks) and features the reascendant Keanu Reeves. Refn's flicks are definitely on the more substantial side of the "gotta see it in theaters" movies, so don't sleep. –Zach Dionne

7 / 25

'Independence Day: Resurgence'

Release date: June 24
Director: Roland Emmerich
Writers: Nicolas Wright, James A. Woods, Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich and James Vanderbilt

The reboot business and the movies-we-didn't-ask-for business experience major overlap, and the 20-years-later Independence Day sequel falls right in that fat middle. Will Smith's not here, but Jeff Goldlbum, Bill Pullman, Vivica A. Fox and Judd Hirsch are, as is Liam Hemsworth, plus two decades worth of improved effects. We'll give it a whirl. –Zach Dionne

8 / 25

'The Shallows'

Release date: June 29
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writer: Anthony Jaswinski

Blake Lively's surfing on the Shark Week buzz this summer with The Shallows, a movie that appears to be filmed almost entirely on a rock a few hundred yards into the ocean. Filmed in Australia, the movie has Lively facing off against a great white shark with a grudge, trying to make it back to shore before she bleeds out, starves or gets eaten. Judging by the trailer, it's Jaws if the whole movie focused on that first kid who got pulled off his raft. –Sarah Maloy

9 / 25

'The BFG'

Release date: July 1
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Melissa Mathison

Spielberg, Disney and one of Roald Dahl's classic tales, all in the same place? An 11-year-old newcomer, Ruby Barnhill, giving us major Matilda vibes? While we're still riding on the happy waves of Wes Anderson's 2009 Fantastic Mr. Fox adaptation? AND it's from the screenwriter who penned E.T., The Black Stallion and The Indian in the Cupboard?! Yup, we're going into this one with zero trepidation and infinity excitement.
–Zach Dionne

10 / 25

'The Purge: Election Year'

Release date: July 1
Director/writer: James DeMonaco

James DeMonaco makes a return for the latest installment in the horrifying social science-fiction series, which follows 2013’s The Purge and 2014’s The Purge: Anarchy. This time around, the murders will have a political twist. The plot focuses on police sergeant Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) protecting Senator Charlene Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell), who wants to eliminate the annual legal killing spree. The Purge: Election Year’s release comes at an interesting time because A) It premieres three days before Independence Day, and B) The U.S. is in the middle of one of the most polarizing and controversial presidential election periods in recent memory. –Bianca Gracie

11 / 25

'Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie'

Release date: July 1
Director: Mandie Fletcher
Writer: Jennifer Saunders

The cheekiest duo in British comedy is headed to the silver screen, as the U.K. television hit is getting an after-the-fact feature film. The plot involves Patsy and Edina accidentally killing Kate Moss during a boat soiree; quick-tongued hilarity ensues. –Jason Lipshutz

12 / 25

'The Secret Life of Pets'

Release date: July 8
Directors: Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney
Writers: Ken Daurio, Brian Lynch and Cinco Paul

We’ve all wondered what our pets do when we leave them alone. I’m sure this film will have us all side-eyeing Fido. The creators of the always-lovable Minions have created a world within our world, where pets rule. With stars such as Louis C.K. and Kevin Hart lending their voices, The Secret Life of Pets is sure to have all audiences, two- and four-legged, glued to their seats. –Malikah Shabazz

13 / 25

'Captain Fantastic'

Release date: July 8
Director/writer: Matt Ross

We all fantasize about going off the grid from time to time, but doing it with six kids is a whole other thing. Viggo Mortensen plays the newly widowed dad who's been pulling it off for years, and the film details the journey back into civilzation. The second feature from actor Matt Ross (Silicon Valley, Big Love) looks like the indie jam of the season. –Zach Dionne

14 / 25


Release date: July 15
Director: Paul Feig
Writers: Katie Dippold and Paul Feig

If there was ever a need for a reboot, this is it. Ghostbusters is returning with a new cast—Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones—to ward off the supernatural in a much more exaggerated way than the 1984 original. You may have noticed all the hullabaloo about the cast being all-female, but don’t you worry about that. When the film hits in July, you’ll probably be more preoccupied with nightmares about the return of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man than anything. –Emilee Lindner

15 / 25

'Star Trek Beyond'

Release date: July 22
Director: Justin Lin
Writers: Simon Pegg, Doug Jun, Roberto Orci, John D. Payne and Patrick McCay

The first trailer freaked out longtime fans, who found the action sequence pile-up too Fast & Furious–y for their liking. Co-writer and Scotty actor Simon Pegg quickly reassured them (okay, us) that there’s a real story in there; hopefully the new trailer arriving this Friday will reveal more. Look for Idris Elba as a villain who thinks the Federation is butting into places it’s not welcome, and a lot of old school, much-missed Spock/McCoy banter. –Laurie Ulster

16 / 25

'Bad Moms'

Release date: July 29
Directors/writers: Jon Lucas and Scott Moore

Moms are the unsung heroes of any family unit. They're under-appreciated and overworked...so what happens when they say enough is enough? Bad Moms. The comedy stars Mila Kunis as the head misguided mama, leading her gal gang of Kathryn Hahn and Kristen Bell into a much more enjoyable existence (while taking on PTA dictator Christina Applegate). It's matriarch magnificence, man! –Maria Sherman

17 / 25

'Jason Bourne'

Release date: July 29
Director: Paul Greengrass
Writers: Paul Greengrass and Christopher Rouse

Following 2012’s The Bourne Legacy, the only Bourne film in which Matt Damon sat out, the original Bourne is back with acclaimed director Paul Greengrass. The espionage-amnesiac series adds recent Oscar winner Alicia Vikander, while Julia Stiles and Tommy Lee Jones are once again back. –Jason Lipshutz

18 / 25

'The Founder'

Release date: August 5
Director: John Lee Hancock
Writer: Robert D. Siegel

Michael Keaton's return is still fresh enough that we're buying tickets to whatever he does. In this case, we'll be watching him rip off the creators of McDonald's as Ray Kroc, the man whose self-interested master plan turned the restaurant into what it is today. Keaton's got high-powered support from Nick Offerman, Patrick Wilson, Linda Cardellini, Laura Dern and B.J. Novak. –Zach Dionne

19 / 25

'Suicide Squad'

Release date: August 5
Director/writer: David Ayer

We recently got word that Harley Quinn will be getting her own (sort of) solo movie, but first Margot Robbie's psychotic villainess is headed to the big screen in Suicide Squad, a supervillain movie that also stars Will Smith as Deadshot, Jared Leto as the Joker and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. 

It's positioned as the Guardians of the Galaxy of DC super-movies, a comical counterpart to March's dark and dreary Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Speaking of Batman, we're expected to see an appearance from Ben Affleck's Bat in this one, although official details surrounding his role are scarce. We'll also be introduced to a new slew of characters and supervillains, opening this new DC universe up to even more crossovers and ensemble films. –Sarah Maloy

20 / 25


Release date: August 12
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Writers: Lew Wallace and Keith R. Clarke

Another remake! This time, we’ll get a ridiculously CGI-d version of the 1959 classic, itself a book adaptation. Finding freedom after five years in slavery, Ben-Hur seeks vengeance on his brother, who betrayed his family long ago. Jack Huston, Nazanin Boniadi, Haluk Bilginer and Morgan Freeman (with a new hairdo) star. –Emilee Lindner

21 / 25

'Sausage Party'

Release date: August 12
Directors: Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan
Writers: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir

Dubbed an “adult animated survival-comedy film,” the movie appears to be an R-rated, raunchy, adorably terrifying tale of a sausage who dreams of being taken home from the supermarket, until he learns the truth: the road ahead leads to torture and death. Now his mission is to free his food-friends from the horrible fate that awaits them. And yes, they’ll be smoking weed—it’s a Seth Rogen movie! Be warned: you may never buy baby carrots again...or peel potatoes. Or eat. Anything. Ever. –Laurie Ulster

22 / 25

'Pete's Dragon'

Release date: August 12
Director: David Lowery
Writers: Toby Halbrooks and David Lowery

Disney's back at it again with the live-action remakes. Pete's Dragon isn't one of the most beloved flicks from the House of Mouse, but this new rework could make it a new classic with what looks like truly epic CGI work. Disney is keeping this one rather mysterious—we still don't have a totally clear look at the dragon yet—but we expect a reaction similar to The Jungle Book from earlier this year. –Jeff Benjamin

23 / 25

'War Dogs'

Release date: August 19
Director: Todd Phillips
Writers: Stephen Chin, Jason Smilovic and Todd Phillips

The weirdest (and possibly most uncomfortable) part about this upcoming action-comedy is that it's based on real events. Jonah Hill and Miles Teller play 20-something weapons-dealing bros in 2007 Afghanistan. There are shady government deals, ladies, drugs and, of course, a whole lot of guns. If that's your thing, get ready for a wild wartime ride. –Maria Sherman

24 / 25

'Kubo and the Two Strings'

Release date: August 19
Director: Travis Knight
Writers: Marc Haimes and Chris Butler

If you've been to a kids' movie recently, you might have been blown away by this unique, outta-the-blue preview. Its Japan-set stop-motion adventure looks like the definition of unmissable. The directorial debut from animator Travis Knight (Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls) will boast voice work from Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, George Takei, Rooney Mara and Ralph Fiennes. –Zach Dionne

25 / 25

'Southside With You'

Release date: August 26
Director/writer: Richard Tanne

As if we couldn’t love the Obamas anymore, Richard Tanne brings the story of The First Date to the silver screen. Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival and starring Parker Sawyers as a young Barack Obama and Tika Sumpter as Michelle Robinson (she wasn’t an Obama yet), Southside With You is sure to be one of this summer’s top romantic movies. –Malikah Shabazz

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Photo of the day

Apr 2: Basket-Bros

Currently on his 'The Man of the Woods' tourJustin Timberlake brought out a special guest for his Cleveland show. LeBron James surprised concertgoers by showing up alongside Timberlake and taking a shot on stage. On Friday, the singer was also seen cheering on LeBron during the Pelicans and Cavaliers game. James gave a shout out on Instagram, "My brother @justintimberlake showed up and showed out last night at the Q! One of the greatest to ever do it in my lifetime and still going strong."