Fittingly for this time of year, the next few months at the movies will be a bit of a sequel.
Think of it as “Summer 2020 Part II: The Reawakening.”
Several big-ticket movies — including “Black Widow,” Disney’s “Jungle Cruise” and “F9,” that inexplicably titled sequel to “The Fast and the Furious” — were simply rolled over from last summer to this one in an attempt to outrun the pandemic.
As evidenced by both the calendar and the thermometer, it’s a little late in the year to be talking about the summer movie season. But this is no ordinary summer. This weekend’s “F9” is only the second high-profile “summer movie,” following “A Quiet Place Part II,” that isn’t being made available simultaneously via some sort of streaming option.
Taken as a whole, this crop of 15 movies that stretches into the fall represents possibly the last best chance to lure consumers back to movie theaters before they’re all converted to coffee shops or Amazon lockers. And, yeah, some of these also will be available via streaming, even if they’ll be better experienced in a (hopefully) crowded theater.
“F9” (this weekend)
Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his band of merry street racers are back, along with recent cast additions Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren. This time, they’ll confront a dangerous assassin (John Cena), who just happens to be the younger brother Dom has never, ever mentioned over the course of the previous eight movies and one spinoff that span the past 20 years.
“The Forever Purge” (July 2)
Give ’em a night of legalized murder and mayhem, and they’ll try to take a whole year. When the annual Purge grows too mundane, the members of an underground movement try to disrupt and take over the country through a never-ending reign of violence in the latest installment in the franchise.
“Black Widow” (July 9)
When her past rears its ugly head, Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) confronts her history as a spy in this Marvel thriller co-starring David Harbour, Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz. (Also available on Disney+ with Premier Access.)
“Space Jam: A New Legacy” (July 16)
LeBron James continues his pursuit of each and every one of Michael Jordan’s accomplishments by taking over leadership of the Looney Tunes team. He’ll be joined on the court by Lakers teammates Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma, along with Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Diana Taurasi. (Also available on HBO Max.)
“Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins” (July 23)
A loner (Henry Golding) is molded into a ninja warrior by an ancient Japanese clan known as the Arashikage in this prequel/reboot that expands the “G.I. Joe” movie universe while bringing fan favorite characters Storm Shadow, Baroness and Scarlett along for the ride.
“Old” (July 23)
That one-man brand M. Night Shyamalan is back and looking to completely ruin your oceanfront vacation. His latest thriller follows a family as they realize the idyllic secluded beach they’re visiting is causing them to age so rapidly they may not make it back to civilization alive.
“Jungle Cruise” (July 30)
Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) enlists the services of skipper Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson) to guide her down the Amazon in search of a tree with healing abilities in this theme park spinoff that Disney executives no doubt hope fares closer to “Pirates of the Caribbean” than “The Country Bears.” (Also available on Disney+ with Premier Access.)
“The Suicide Squad” (Aug. 6)
“Guardians of the Galaxy” mastermind James Gunn takes over this sequel/reboot that sees DC villains reluctantly team up to invade a remote island on behalf of the U.S. government. Margot Robbie returns as Harley Quinn, with Idris Elba stepping into a leadership position as Bloodsport. John Cena’s here, too, as the extremist known as Peacemaker. (Also available on HBO Max.)
“Free Guy” (Aug. 13)
When a bank teller (Ryan Reynolds) realizes he’s really just a background player in a hyperviolent video game, he starts rewriting the world around him in order to save it from the game’s creator (Taika Waititi) in this high-concept action adventure.
“Candyman” (Aug. 27)
Writer-producer Jordan Peele revisits the ’90s horror franchise about the supernatural killer with a hook for a hand. Long after the demolition of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green housing project, into which Candyman was easily summoned by repeating his name, a painter (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) begins digging into the murderer’s history looking for artistic inspiration.
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” (Sept. 3)
Martial arts master Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) battles a shadowy organization from his past in this Marvel entry co-starring Tony Leung, Awkwafina and Michelle Yeoh. If nothing else, the action spectacle should make up for some of the company’s whitewashed casting decisions in “Iron Fist” and “Doctor Strange.”
“Venom: Let There Be Carnage” (Sept. 24)
Investigative journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) and his alien symbiote, Venom, cross paths with the murderous Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson), the host of the symbiote known as Carnage, in this sequel.
“Dear Evan Hansen” (Sept. 24)
Ben Platt reprises his Tony-winning role as the broken-armed, socially anxious high schooler at the center of a tragedy in this adaptation of the Broadway smash. He’ll be joined by Kaitlyn Dever, Julianne Moore and Amy Adams.
“No Time To Die” (Oct. 8)
James Bond’s retirement from active service and new life in Jamaica are interrupted by a call to rescue a kidnapped scientist in this latest adventure that’s expected to be Daniel Craig’s final turn in the iconic role.
“Dune” (Oct. 22)
Director Denis Villeneuve (“Blade Runner 2049”) brings Frank Herbert’s groundbreaking novel to life with the help of Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, Jason Momoa and Javier Bardem — and, of course, those sandworms. (Also available on HBO Max.)