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A summer of blockbuster films awaits — in the movie theaters

Film studios increase the number of movies being released in theaters; reduce number debuting on streaming

Film Review - The Little Mermaid

Halle Bailey as Ariel and Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric in "The Little Mermaid."

For the first time since 2019 the summer movie season looks like a summer movie season should.

Last summer constituted a partial return to normalcy, but even with the mammoth box office hit “Top Gun: Maverick,” ticket revenues were down by about 20 percent compared to the summer seasons of the late teens. This season, the studios have both increased the number of films to be released in theaters and reduced the number of movies debuting on streaming services. Could it be that movie theaters — pronounced dead since at least the invention of television — will foil the crepehangers who predicted that the combination of streaming and the pandemic would send theaters the way of video stores?

The summer provides both an opportunity and a challenge for Berkshire movie houses. Regal Cinemas at the Berkshire Mall closed in the winter of 2022 and a year later North Adams Movieplex 8 shut its doors. The demise of the chain theaters opened a potential new audience for the Beacon Cinema on North Street in Pittsfield, and North Berkshire movie fans looking forward to the summer blockbusters should be welcomed south by Phoenix Theatres management.

The collapse of a deal to sell the Triplex Cinema in Great Barrington is worrisome, although a nonprofit continues to explore a purchase. South Berkshire is a solid movie market and a mix of big box office draws and independent and arts films should be a recipe for success at the Triplex. Up in Williamstown, the summer should provide an ample selection of films outside the blockbusters for the Images Cinema, the established veteran of Berkshire theaters, to thrive.

The following is a look at some of the potential highlights arriving between this Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend. Only films getting theatrical releases are included.


Gerald Butler’s CIA operative in Afghanistan teams with his translator to escape the country in “Kandahar” (May 26.) Regrettably, this is essentially the premise of the recently released “The Covenant,” making “Kandahar” old news out of the box.


Optimus Prime, voiced by Ron Perlman, in a scene from "Transformers: Rise of the Beasts." (Paramount Pictures via AP)

The “Transformers” film series, based on a toy and then an animated series, would seem to make for an unlikely blockbuster franchise. The box office numbers don’t lie, however, and the seventh in the series, “Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts” (June 9) finds our traditional metallic heroes confronting a new breed that transforms into birds and animals.


Ezra Miller in a scene from "The Flash." 

The D.C. superhero movie series has always been in the shadow of the Marvel Universe and “The Flash” (June 16) is the latest attempt to escape it. The Flash’s visit to the past to save his family changes the future and unleashes “Superman” villain Zod (Michael Shannon) in a world without Superman. Michael Keaton’s retired Batman is recruited to fight him, which sounds fun.

The headache for DC is the history of antic behavior by Ezra Miller, featuring a long list of tirades, allegations of physical and emotional abuse, and a guilty plea last summer to a charge of criminal trespass in Southern Vermont where he has a farm.

Indiana Jones

Harrison Ford in a scene from "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny." 

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” (June 30) brings 80-year-old Harrison Ford’s two-fisted archaeologist back to the screen more than 40 years after the masterful “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Indy is chasing Nazis again, with his goddaughter (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) alongside.

James Mangold takes over the directing duties of the franchise from Steven Spielberg but the venerable Tanglewood icon John Williams has done the score as he has for all of the Indiana Jones films.

Tom Cruise, fresh off last summer’s “Top Gun: Maverick” mega-hit, returns July 14 with “Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning — Part One,” the seventh installment in the blockbuster franchise. Cruise’s Ethan Hunt will again try to save the world while addressing personal issues. The trailer shows Cruise driving a motorcycle off a cliff, and the lengthy title suggests a cliffhanger ending.

Mission: Impossible

Hayley Atwell, left, and Tom Cruise in "Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning — Part One." 

“The Meg” (2018), in which Jason Statham and team fought a prehistoric shark, was a surprise hit that is almost unavoidable on cable TV. Five years later, in “Meg 2: The Trench” (Aug. 4), Statham and team battle more prehistoric water creatures and add an environmental theme by confronting an illegal mining operation.

A video gamer’s skills earn him a shot at becoming a professional race car driver in “Gran Turismo” (Aug. 11), which is actually based on a true story.


About My Father

Robert De Niro as Salvo in "About My Father."

A couple of comedies lighten up Memorial Day weekend. In “You Hurt My Feelings,” Julia Louis-Dreyfus, a popular author, has her world turned upside down when she learns her husband (Tobias Menzies) may not really like her work. “About My Father” finds Robert DeNiro in “Meet the Parents” mode as a rough-edged immigrant introduced to his son’s stuffy future in-laws.

Abandoned by his creepy owner (Will Forte), a naïve pooch (voiced by Will Ferrell) plots revenge with the help of a tough street dog (Jamie Foxx) and his pack in “Strays” (June 9.)


Scarlett Johansson stars as "Midge Campbell" in writer/director Wes Anderson's "Asteroid City."

The trailer of “Asteroid City” (June 23) suggests another satisfying visit to Wes Andersonville. Set at a Junior Stargazer convention in the 1950s, the film boasts Anderson’s quirky, stylized set pieces, deadpan deliveries and a jaw-dropping cast featuring the director’s usual ensemble along with big names like Tom Hanks.


Ryan Gosling, left, and Margot Robbie in a scene from "Barbie."

Barbie” (July 21) brings the iconic doll of unrealistic perfection to the big screen with Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken representing realistically perfect casting. The candy-colored trailer footage offers further encouragement.



Ember, voiced by Leah Lewis, in a scene from the animated film "Elemental." 

Five years after the surprise hit “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” introduced Brooklyn teenager Miles Morales as the latest of many Spider-People, Miles returns in “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (June 2) to join his allies battling their evil web-slinging counterparts.

Elemental” (June 16) is the latest summer flick from Pixar. Set in Element City, residents representing fire, water, earth and air live together in something less than perfect harmony.

A shy teenager finds that she is a direct descendant of the warrior queens charged with defending the oceans in “Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken.” (June 30.) She is charged with leading the kraken against vainglorious mermaids. (Aren’t mermaids supposed to be nice? See musical below.)

Coming out of their shells Aug. 4 in a reboot of their franchise are the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.” The guys decide to prove their superhero bona fides by taking on a New York City crime syndicate. Paul Rudd, John Cena, Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are among the voices.


White Bird: A Wonder Story

Helen Mirren as Grandmère and Bryce Gheisar as Julian in White Bird: A Wonder Story. Photo Credit: Larry Horricks

A Christopher Nolan film is always an event, and “Oppenheimer” (July 21) is about nothing less than the development of the atomic bomb. Cillian Murphy plays the reluctant genius prodded into leading the effort to build the weapon during World War II. Nolan likes to avoid computer-generated special effects and reportedly recreated bomb experiments without CGI.

Based on R.J. Palacio’s bestselling graphic novel “Wonder,” “White Bird” (Aug. 18) stars Helen Mirren as an elderly woman who tells her grandson of her escape from the Nazis with the help of a classmate and his family.


Horror movies — even the horrifically bad ones — tend to be profitable, which is why there are so many of them. This summer’s collection includes a couple from the comedy/horror subgenre.

The Blackening

From left to right, Melvin Gregg, Grace Byers, Antoinette Robertson, Sinqua Walls, Jermaine Fowler, Dewayne Perkins and Xochitl Mayo in "The Blackening."

The Bogeyman” (June 2) won’t be a lot of laughs. A distraught patient shows up at his psychiatrist’s home and unleashes a spirit that torments his two daughters. On June 16, “The Blackening” has fun with the tragic fate that usually befalls Black characters in horror films. A group of Black friends gather in a cabin in the woods where they use their knowledge of horror flicks to battle a crazed killer.

Insidious: The Red Door” (July 7) brings the popular series to an end, with the Lambert family confronting their demons once and for all. But do successful horror series ever end? Star Patrick Wilson makes his directorial debut.


Patrick Wilson in Screen Gems' "Insidious: The Red Door." 

A psychic, a priest and an historian walk into a mansion to help the new owner chase out some ghosts. “Haunted Mansion” (July 28) features a stellar cast that includes recent Oscar winner Jamie Lee Curtis, Rosario Dawson, Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito, Winona Ryder and Jared Leto. Also on the 28th, a group of friends toying with an embalmed hand open a door to the spirit world in “Talk To Me.”

In Bram Stoker’s classic 1897 novel “Dracula,” the vampire travels to London from Central Europe aboard a ship. “The Last Voyage of the Demeter” (Aug. 11) speculates on what took place on the doomed vessel.


Film Review - The Little Mermaid

Halle Bailey as Ariel in "The Little Mermaid." 

Just one this summer. Disney has begun making live action remakes of its animated classics. The latest is “The Little Mermaid” (May 26), with singer Halle Bailey taking on the role of the adventurous young mermaid who makes a deal with a witch to live on dry land.

Bill Everhart is The Eagle’s former editorial page editor.

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