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From Ryan Gosling to Furiosa: a preview of 2024’s promising blockbuster summer season

A 2024 summer blockbuster movie preview header image.
Warner Bros. Pictures / Universal Pictures / 20th Century Studios

Summer has long been the biggest time of the year for Hollywood. In recent years, however, a glut of superhero movies and increasing reliance on recognizable brands, franchises, and pieces of intellectual property have made the summer movie season feel a bit, well, stale.

Fortunately, it doesn’t look like that’ll be the case this year. 2024’s summer movie slate is shaping up to be the best in years. It promises to have a little bit of everything for everyone, whether that be some long-awaited sequels and prequels, a few ambitious mainstream horror offerings, or several big, new swings from a handful of legendary Hollywood auteurs.

Here’s why we’re so excited about this year’s summer movie season, as well as a few blockbuster titles that need to be on your radar in the coming months.

A refreshing franchise lineup

This year’s summer movie season is jam-packed with sequels, prequels, and IP titles. At first, that might seem like a bad omen of what’s to come, but all it takes is a deeper look at this summer’s franchise entries to realize just how interesting some of them actually are. That includes The Fall Guy (May 3), which is loosely based on the 1980s TV series of the same name. The film’s early screenings have been met with widespread acclaim and praise. With a pair of megawatt stars like Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt at the center of it, too, the movie has all the potential to be just as entertaining, romantic, and infectiously joyful as you’d want an early May blockbuster like it to be.

Two apes stand by a human woman in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.
20th Century Studios

The summer’s franchise run truly kicks off a week after The Fall Guy‘s theatrical release with Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (May 10). The last three Planet of the Apes movies were great, thrilling blockbusters, and while Kingdom‘s helmer, Wes Ball, hasn’t yet achieved the same auteur status as the franchise’s previous director, Matt Reeves (The Batman), his Maze Runner movies were all far better than they had any right to be. This time, he’s working with more intriguing source material, and the early trailers for Kingdom have already revealed it to be one of the summer’s most visually stunning franchise efforts. Whether it’ll be able to recapture the magic of its predecessors remains to be seen, but it has a good chance of doing just that.

Coming just two weeks later is George Miller’s Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (May 24), which looks better every time a new trailer for it is released. Set before the events of Mad Max: Fury Road, the prequel will span a much longer period of time than that 2015 film, but it doesn’t look any less action-packed. On the contrary, it somehow looks just as wild and outrageous as Fury Road. Following its release, Furiosa will have a few weeks to itself before the summer season kicks up again with Inside Out 2 (June 14). A follow-up to one of the best animated films of the 21st century (and the most promising sequel that Pixar has released in years), the new film will explore how we deal with complicated emotions like anxiety and embarrassment. Prepare to (probably) cry a lot.

A Quiet Place: Day One | Official Trailer (2024 Movie) - Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn

It’s unlikely that A Quiet Place: Day One (June 28) will stack up to something like Furiosa (what could?), but it’s got a great cast led by Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o and Stranger Things breakout star Joseph Quinn and an even more interesting filmmaker behind it in Michael Sarnoski. The Quiet Place spin-off is Sarnoski’s follow-up to his Nicolas Cage-led 2021 hit, Pig, which announced him as a director capable of creating incredible atmosphere onscreen. He has the opportunity to bring that skill to Day One, which follows a group of New Yorkers as they try to survive the first day of the Quiet Place franchise’s central alien invasion. The film will, in other words, tread on similar territory as the opening flashback of 2021’s A Quiet Place Part II. If it can successfully replicate the intensity of that sequence, then it could end up being one of the summer’s most viscerally nerve-wracking thrillers.

TWISTERS | Official Trailer

Less than a month after A Quiet Place: Day One hits theaters, Universal Pictures will release Twisters (July 19). Thanks to the contributions of cast members like Glen Powell, Anthony Ramos, Daisy Edgar-Jones, and Brandon Perea, the legacy sequel already seems to have successfully recaptured the gloriously cheesy, thrill-seeking tone of 1996’s Twister. Like A Quiet Place: Day One, the film also has a remarkably talented filmmaker at its helm in Lee Isaac Chung, who made waves with his Oscar-winning 2020 drama, Minari, and who also directed the best episode of The Mandalorian season 3 last year.

A dog licks Deadpool in Deadpool & Wolverine.
Marvel Studios

July will ultimately go out with a bang when Deadpool & Wolverine (July 26) storms its way into theaters. Marvel Studios hasn’t had the best track record as of late, but Deadpool & Wolverine may give it the comeback it needs right now. Not only is it the only movie Marvel is releasing this year but it also features the first big-screen team-up between Ryan Reynolds’ Wade Wilson and Hugh Jackman’s Logan. We’ll have to wait to see how well the movie works beyond the nostalgic pull of Jackman’s return, and there’s always a chance it’ll fall victim to the same issues that have plagued most of Marvel’s recent films and TV shows. For now, though, it’s exciting to have a new superhero movie coming out that doesn’t just look like more of the same.

A summer of exciting genre swings

MaXXXine | Official Trailer HD | A24

In addition to all of the more straightforward action movies listed above, this summer’s theatrical release slate includes several noteworthy franchise horror outings, including The Strangers: Chapter 1 (May 17), a prequel to one of the most purely terrifying movies of the 2000s that looks fittingly disturbing. Later in the summer, A24 is set to unveil MaXXXine (July 5), the third installment in writer-director Ti West’s X trilogy. Boasting a bigger budget than its predecessors and an impressive ensemble cast, MaXXXine looks more tonally ambitious than X and Pearl, but no less brutal or moody. It’s the biggest film of the summer for A24 and, therefore, a can’t-miss theatrical event for horror fans.

Two killers look at a woman in The Strangers: Chapter 1.
Lionsgate

In August, Don’t Breathe and Evil Dead director Fede Álvarez is also making his highly anticipated return to the horror genre with Alien: Romulus (August 16). The film, reportedly set between the events of 1979’s Alien and 1986’s Aliens, promises to bring the Alien franchise back to its claustrophobic single-location, body horror roots. A brief teaser for it was released in March, and if Alien: Romulus turns out to be half as scary as it looks, then it has the potential to be one of this year’s most memorable theatrical releases.

Alien: Romulus | Teaser Trailer

Outside of the horror space, Kevin Costner’s two-part Western epic, Horizon: An American Saga, will be hitting theaters on June 28 and August 16. On August 9, M. Night Shyamalan is also releasing his newest high-concept thriller, Trap, which follows a serial killer (Oppenheimer‘s Josh Hartnett) who discovers that the stadium concert he’s taken his daughter to is secretly a sting operation designed to capture him. Shyamalan has become an increasingly hit-or-miss filmmaker, but Trap‘s premise is so alluring that we might as well have already bought tickets for it. Also on August 9, director Eli Roth is releasing Borderlands, a hyper-violent, juvenile video game adaptation that could be either surprisingly good or appallingly bad. Either way, it’s exciting to see Roth trying to stretch his directing muscles yet again, especially on such a big, expensive canvas (and with a red-haired, gun-toting Cate Blanchett, no less).

Trap | Official Trailer

All in all, it’s hard to think of a recent summer movie season that has featured as many genuinely exciting blockbusters from as many talented filmmakers. While some of the films mentioned here will inevitably end up being better than others, the slate they all form together is about as diverse and interesting as one could reasonably expect from Hollywood’s current, IP-driven era. Taking that into account, if you weren’t already feeling some excitement over this summer’s blockbuster lineup, then you should start now.

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Alex Welch
Alex is a TV and movies writer based out of Los Angeles. In addition to Digital Trends, his work has been published by…
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