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Summer cinema has a little bit of everything

By Staff | May 31, 2017

The Cinematic Summer of 2017 has started. Studios have long ago added the first week of May as the kick-off. Ironically, August now is considered a slack month where studios shift films that they do not believe can compete with the tentpoles. And, admittedly, a portion comes from counter-programming as they target demographics not saturated with options.

Instead of headlining the blockbuster tentpole sequels, I’m recognizing the fortitude and risks taken by scheduling non-franchise-related films. These can be divided into chick comedy, horror and an assortment of promising dramas.

Dudes have survived hangovers and so have bridesmaids. Now two premises come from reunions of best friends.

Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer and Zoe Kravitz reunite for a wild bachelorette weekend in Miami on June 16. Their unexpected “Rough Night” turns deadly when they accidentally kill a male stripper.

Come July 21, four members of a sisterhood (Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish) travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival. During this “Girls Trip” the quartet take their own walk on extreme wild side antics.

Andrew Cohen (“Neighbors,” “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates”) directs Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler in a comedy where after blowing their daughter’s college fund, they turn their basement (known as “The House”) into an illegal casino. It opens June 30.

Solid drama will not kick in until mid-July.

Tom Hardy stars in Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” concerning a pivotal Belgian, French, English and German battle. It’s followed Aug. 4 by “Detroit,” set during the 1967 riots and featuring Anthony Mackie.

Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson topline “The Glass Castle,” filmed partly in southern West Virginia.

Opening Aug. 11, “Castle” tells of a family of artistic nomads who eventually settle in a poverty stricken, rural West Virginia setting.

The horror genre will be sprinkled throughout the sunny months. Tom Cruise opens “The Mummy” (June 9) along with “It Comes at Night” in which a family seeks solitude in a desolate mansion near world’s end.

Others in the genre, “Amityville: The Awakening” (June 30), “A Ghost Story” (July 7) which leans more on fantasy romance, “Annabelle The Creation” (Aug. 11) and “Polaroid” (Aug. 25), which verges on “The Ring” direction as a high schooler discovers a camera.

Two superhero adventures await in June and July. Gal Godot becomes Wonder Woman as the film concentrates on her Amazon origin and turning to a central figure fighting Nazis (June 2). Nearly a month later (July 7), another reboot: “Spider Man Homecoming” which takes place following the events of “Captain America Civil War.” “Homecoming” per film industry professionals is expected to amass about $325 million to “Wonder Woman’s” $240 million at the box office. “Guardians” has already passed $300 million. Likely, “Justice League” (Nov. 17) will hit around $400 million. However, “Star Wars Last Jedi” (Dec.15) will hit half a billion.

The final two comic book adaptations occur in November as “Thor: Rangnarok” (originally scheduled for summer) has the bulked up Chris Hemsworth fighting to prevent a twilight of gods on Asgard. Finally, Wonder Woman, Batman and Flash team for “Justice League” (Nov. 17), assuming that the suicide of Zack Snyder’s son does not cause a delay. At publication, Warner Brothers and Snyder both declined to alter the date. Some reshoots and other post production remain (as of late May).