AceShowbiz - Summer comes earlier for movie manias when "Avengers: Endgame" hit theaters on April 26. One of the most highly-anticipated movies of this year, the fourth and final installment of "The Avengers" film series broke pre-sale records on a number of ticketing services and is projected to bring in over $900 million globally in its first week alone.
But before moviegoers are able to catch their breath after all the fanfares surrounding "Endgame" die down, Hollywood studios already line up a bunch of potential blockbuster films to keep this summer season on fire. From a controversial one to a long-awaited follow-up, and from a cute one to a spooky pic, here are 15 movies that have grabbed a lot of attention.
Though it might not receive attention for the best reason, it can't be denied that "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile" is one of the most talked-about movies this year after the release of its first trailer. While Zac Efron's portrayal of Ted Bundy deserves appreciation, it's the movie depiction of the serial killer that sparked debate as it's accused of glamorizing a convicted criminal.
The controversy aside, the biopic presents the story of the real-life murderer from the perspective of his girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer (Lily Collins), who struggled to accept the reality of her boyfriend's murders and rapes. So instead of highlighting grisly details of his violent actions, the movie will show how he interacts with those around him and utilizes his charm and often manipulative ways to gain their trust. Directed by acclaimed documentary filmmaker Joseph Berlinger, the movie is believed to be in good hands to present facts rather than fictions.
There's already animated Pikachu, life-size Pikachu mascots and now the adorable Pokemon is brought to life with realistic CGI. Those who have watched the trailer may no longer need to be convinced how cute it is, and with Ryan Reynolds voicing the yellow rodent-like creature, fans can expect naughty and cheeky banters between Pikachu and its human partner Tim Goodman (Justice Smith).
Today's advanced technology helps build the fictional Ryme City with sharp details that make everything look real. As early reviews for the movie have come in, many are raving about the fantasy film, which is described as action-packed and hilarious, and will easily please both fans and non-fans of the video games and TV series. All in all, "Pokemon Detective Pikachu" is best suited for those looking for pure joy and tons of cuteness, packed in a heartfelt adventure.
With the first two installments being critically acclaimed, "John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum" is expected to be at least in par with if not topping its predecessors. This is not an impossible goal since director Chad Stahelski and screenwriter Derek Kolstad, who worked on "John Wick" and "John Wick: Chapter 2", return in the same capacity for the next installment.
In this third chapter, Keanu Reeves' titular character faces the consequence of his actions in the previous film. As all assassins around the world are on his trail for a $14 million global contract on him, he needs all the limited resources and backups that he can get access to, including an old friend, Sofia (Halle Berry), that will give "Parabellum" a strong femme-fatale boost. No longer a personal vendetta but a full-on war, it's suffice to say that the third installment will be loaded with more action scenes.
From the studio that has successfully presented "Beauty and the Beast (2017)" and "Mary Poppins Returns" (2018), comes another musical picture. A live-action remake of Disney's classic animated movie, "Aladdin" casts Will Smith in the key role of Genie that brings advantage with his star power. While fans were divided over Smith's version of the blue Genie, he won over some cynics when he showcased his twist on the song "Friend Like Me" in the first full-length trailer.
The trailer also shows scenes that recreate some of the iconic moments from the much-loved 1992 film, which is good news for fans of the original movie. The vivid and sparkly visuals perfectly encapsulate the enchanting Agrabah as viewers are taken on a magical ride through Aladdin's lively adventures. Since music is also a critical element in the movie, it enlists only the best in the field, Alan Menken, who composed the score and co-wrote songs for the original film, and award-winning songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul ("La La Land", "The Greatest Showman"), to write new songs for the remake.
As if one monster is not menacing enough, "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" brings together the giant beasts that no one thought ever existed in present days. Needless to say that their presences are going to threaten the survival of other living things on a global level. At this rate, humans and their created weapons are no longer effective to bring down the sources of apocalypse, so Godzilla itself steps up to maintain balance on the ecosystem.
The fight between Godzilla and his enemies, Mothra, Rodan and the three-headed King Ghidorah, will surely bring a mind-blowing spectacle. Not only relying on the special effects, the movie also boosts a solid cast ensemble that includes awards-nominated Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, Millie Bobby Brown as well as Academy Award nominee Sally Hawkins.
The life of flamboyant singer Elton John is about to be uncovered in "Rocketman". Starring Taron Egerton (the "Kingsman" movies, "Robin Hood (2018)"), the movie captures the wild and crazy lifestyle of the singing legend with "no holds barred," allowing the inclusion of an R-rated sex scene as John struggles to accept his sexuality in his 20s. The film also captures his battle with depression and substance abuse.
With full consent from John himself, the movie is designed to be "a surreal look at my life, and not just a factual look at my life, more in the manner of a 'Moulin Rouge'!" said the singer. He added, "It had to be as honest as possible. The lows were very low, but the highs were very high." The fantasy musical demanded decent vocal chops, which Egerton showed when he had a duet with John at Oscars party in February. Directing the movie is Dexter Fletcher, who was hired to finish "Bohemian Rhapsody" when Bryan Singer was fired, so it's safe to say that he had fresh experience of how to do it.
A big franchise is coming to its farewell chapter this year. Marking the end of an era, "Dark Phoenix" promises to deliver an epic close to the "X-Men" saga, which gives at least a reason why it should not be missed. Based on arguably the most iconic of all the story lines in the comic books, the movie centers on Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) who turns into the dark side after absorbing a powerful, malevolent energy force (the Phoenix Force).
Jean's newfound power threatens to take over her mind and body, and also threatens everyone around her, causing the death of one X-Men. Described as a mix of poignant family drama and superhero spectacular, the movie shows how the rest of the characters are divided about over whether to save or destroy one of their own members. Fox and Simon Kinberg really took time to craft the best scenes, that's why the studio pushed back the release from March 2018 to this year for reshoot, while Turner studied schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder to help her portray the tormented mutant. The villainous character Jessica Chastain is still shrouded in secrecy, leaving room for a big twist.
Amblin Entertainment and Columbia Pictures are not giving up on "Men in Black" yet despite their derailed plans for a fourth movie. While Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones didn't return for another sequel, the studios instead come up with a spin-off starring "Thor: Ragnarok" actors Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson. The pairing of the duo couldn't be more perfectly timed considering the hype for "Avengers: Endgame" that also features Hemsworth's and Thompson's characters.
The new faces, Agent H and Agent M, are sent on an international mission, hence the subtitle. Bringing them on a journey across the globe, the movie shows the London headquarters run by Liam Neeson's High T. Set years after events in the three MIB films, it introduces new tech and aliens while still bringing that feel of familiarity with the return of Emma Thompson as Agent O, who is the head of the New York headquarters. At the hands of director F. Gary Gray ("The Fate of the Furious", "Straight Outta Compton"), "Men in Black International" will be packed with fast paced action scenes that will spike your adrenaline.
Woody (Tom Hanks) and the gang are back in "Toy Story 4". Still in the hands of their last owner Bonnie Anderson, the toys are introduced to Forky (Tony Hale), a spork that has been made into a toy, who is torn between his original purpose as a spork and his new role as a toy. When Forky runs away, Woody goes after him and the rest of the gang are looking for them, sending them on another extraordinary adventure. While separated from his friends, Woody is reunited with Bo Peep (Annie Potts), who has now become a sort of warrior.
Bo, seemingly acting like a villain in the upcoming installment, introduces Woody to a new world of amusement park, tempting him to abandon Bonnie and entertain more kids in the bigger place. There, Woody meets new toys, including those voiced by Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele and Keanu Reeves. Judging from the trailer and how the previous films always ended, this will be a poignant one as Woody finds out his place in the world.
Halloween is still months away, but New Line Cinema isn't going to wait that long to spook you out with another installment of its hit horror franchise. Coming this summer is "Annabelle Comes Home", the third film in the Annabelle movie series. A follow-up to 2014's "Annabelle" and 2017's "Annabelle: Creation", it begins with the malevolent doll being placed in the Warrens' museum of haunted artifacts for safety. When the pair are away for a work trip, a friend of their daughter's babysitter unknowingly sets Annabelle free.
What comes next is a series of creepy haunting and visions, as Annabelle also awakens every other evil being in the artifact room and they now target the Warrens' 10-year-old daughter Judy (Mckenna Grace). "It's basically 'A Night at the Museum', with Annabelle!" said producer James Wan at San Diego Comic-Con last year. In other words, it's going to be a two hours of hellish ride that will make moviegoers jump out of their seats at any unpredictable moment.
Still not coming to terms with the fact that you will never see your favorite Avengers again? Well, this may help heal the untreated wounds. While "Avengers: Endgame" has been widely dubbed the last installment of MCU's phase 3, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige himself has confirmed that "Spider-Man: Far From Home" is "the end of the third phase." It's still not clear how the events in "Endgame" affect "Far From Home", but Peter Parker (Tom Holland) somehow survives Thanos' snap, and so do Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders).
In the "Spider-Man: Homecoming" sequel, the neighboring superhero ventures out of the neighborhood for a class trip to Europe. Willing to enjoy his youth like a normal high school student, Peter is reluctantly recruited by Fury to help him battle a mysterious quartet called the Elementals, who can manipulate nature. He won't be alone in his action, as Fury introduces him to an ally, Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), providing a major twist since the character is known as Spidey's villain the comic books. It remains to be seen if their friendship will turn sour at some point in the movie.
Another live-action film from Disney, "The Lion King (2019)" already makes fans get nostalgic with its first trailer. The photorealistic reanimation of the 1994 film makes the young Simba look even cuter and his treacherous uncle Scar more sinister. As Simba and his friends, Timon and Pumbaa, explore the wild jungle, viewers will be presented with the breathtaking view of the nature, set to original and new songs, including one performed by Beyonce Knowles, Donald Glover, Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner, who are also among the voice cast.
Disney is counting on Jon Favreau, who previously showed his capability at executing a live-action take on Disney's "The Jungle Book", for the director's duty. While there was accusation that the new "Lion King" movie would be a shot-for-shot remake of the original animated film, Favreau explained that "some shots in the 1994 animated film are so iconic" he couldn't possibly change them, but assured fans that "despite what the trailers suggest, this film is not just the same movie over again."
Put Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Quentin Tarantino together, and you get "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood". If the prospect of seeing those two A-list actors together under the direction of the awards-winning filmmaker doesn't sound interesting enough for you, here's what else you'll get to see in the movie. Boasting an all-star cast, the movie also features Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate, Al Pacino, Dakota Fanning, Lena Dunham and the late Luke Perry just to name a few.
The story is set in 1969, during when Charles Manson's (Damon Herriman) family held Los Angeles in fear that summer. It centers on fading TV actor Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Pitt) as they make their way through a changing film industry. Stressing that it's not a film about the Manson family murder, producer Shannon McIntosh explained how the cult leader fits into the storyline, "It's about the loss of innocence that came about in 1969 with the Manson family." As for what at the heart of the movie it's the dynamic between DiCaprio's and Pitt's characters.
The successful franchise that has spanned eight films is expanding its universe with a spin-off. Led by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Jason Statham, "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw" centers on their characters, hulking lawman Luke Hobbs and lawless outcast Deckard Shaw, as they reluctantly team up to stop a new threat emerging from Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), a cyber-genetically enhanced international terrorist.
The two unlikely partners' dynamics create a slight tension and plenty of humor with their back-and-forth banter. Making matters more complicated, their families will be involved in their mission, with Vanessa Kirby playing Deckard's MI6 agent sister Hattie. Meanwhile, the Hobbs family will bring with them the Hawaiian culture and more traditional fight sequence. Since there's no "Fast and Furious" movie without a high-speed car chase scene, the David Leitch-directed pic is guaranteed to present a lot of actions on the streets.
It's about time that "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" gets a big-screen treatment. Directed by Andrew Ovredal and co-produced by Guillermo del Toro, it is based on the children's book series of the same name by Alvin Schwartz. While the original work is less popular compared to R.L. Stine's "Goosebumps" or other similar books, there's no doubt that the monsters in "Scary Stories" are as terrifying as other supernatural beings ever depicted in those rival projects.
As its sneak peeks and trailer have suggested, the movie will stay faithful to the subject matter with its depiction of the monsters, including the Pale Lady and a malevolent scarecrow named Harold. The plot will incorporate its anthological source material by uniting a band of kids in a small town to fight a series of scary events in their community, bringing nightmares to your sleeps.