KINGMAN - While the official start of summer is still months away, we don't have to wait too long for the summer movie season to get under way.
Studios have often used summer to release their tent pole films, capitalizing on kids out of school and longer days to boost revenue and theatre attendance. Over time moviegoers, myself included, have come to expect a steady stream of action and family films from May to August.
Hollywood is looking to bounce back from a mediocre summer in 2014, which relied heavily on the late-summer hit "Guardians of the Galaxy" ($332.94 million) to boost their numbers. They responded with one of the more robust summer seasons we've seen in a while.
After looking at the lineup, here are my picks for some of the better films we'll see starting in May:
Avengers: Age of Ultron (5/1)
When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it is up to the Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans (IMDb).
Bringing in Joss Whedon to helm "The Avengers" was a huge success for Marvel and Disney, with the first film bringing in over $1.5 billion worldwide. With the cinematic universe Marvel is building and the star-power in the cast, "Avengers: Age of Ultron" is looking to be not only the biggest hit of the summer, but one poised to shatter records all around.
For those comic book people out there: this is leading up to Marvel's "Phase Three," which kicks off with Civil War and includes Black Panther, Doctor Strange, a new Spider-Man, the Inhumans, and two new Avengers films. Are you not entertained yet?
Also look out for a new "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens" trailer to premiere with the film. "Star Wars" is slated for a December release.
Pitch Perfect 2 (5/15)
Collegiate a cappella group the Barden Bellas enter into an international competition that no American team has ever won (IMDb).
A-ca-scuse me? This got a sequel? Good on you, Universal! 2012 was a strange year for movies if you weren't a superhero film or had Jennifer Lawrence starring. The first "Pitch Perfect" was released in a dump month and left to fend against one of the strongest box office lineups on record. That didn't stop it from grossing a decent profit and becoming a small cult-classic in its own right. I'm less interested in how well it performs as much as how many catchy mash-ups will come out of this.
Mad Max: Fury Road (5/15)
In a post-apocalyptic world, in which people fight to the death, Max teams up with a mysterious woman, Furiousa, to try and survive (IMDb).
Tom Hardy used some explicit language to describe how utterly insane this film is, and he promptly signed on for three more sequels. George Miller, the director and writer from the original films, is helming this reboot and has already stated that he's mapped out the next two. Expect blood, violence, and some of the most insane chase scenes out there.
Jurassic World (6/12)
Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfill a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitor's interest, which backfires horribly (IMDb).
If you're scared for this reboot, don't be. Steven Spielberg helped develop the idea with director Colin Trevorrow, and they've brought in talent including composer Michael Giacchino, cinematographer John Schwartzman, and a cast lead by Chris Pratt and Judy Greer. While the novelty of seeing CGI dinosaurs may not match what moviegoers felt in 1993, I'm definitely expecting some great action-led storytelling that made the first one so great.
Inside Out (6/19)
After a girl moves to a new home, her emotions are plunged into chaos as they compete for control of her mind (IMDb).
Pixar! I've missed you! The famed animation studio took a bit of a break after "Monsters University" and is now giving us two films this year. "Inside Out" isn't the most original concept: a bunch of characters based on emotions live inside a young girl's mind. Pixar's animation style is world class, but it's their storytelling that really shines. Kids and their parents are going to drive revenue for this film.
Minions Stuart, Kevin and Bob are recruited by Scarlet Overkill, a super-villain who, alongside her inventor husband Herb, hatches a plot to take over the world (IMDb).
Universal isn't going to let Pixar monopolize the kids movie genre at the box office. They took the best part of "Despicable Me," the Minions, and gave them their own film. Seriously, ask any kid out there what a Minion is and I'm sure he or she will giggle a bit. They've done a great job with these characters, and even as an adult I can't help but enjoy these films.
Terminator Genisys (7/1)
After finding himself in a new timeline, Kyel Reese teams up with John Connor's mother Sarah and an aging terminator to try and stop the one thing that the future fears, "Judgment Day" (IMDb).
Don't listen to the nay-sayers out there: all the Terminator films have been great (yes, including Terminator: Salvation). This one brings back Arnold Schwarzenegger in the role that made his career, fighting a younger-looking version of himself, while bouncing around an alternative timeline and running away from an even scarier looking Terminator.