When the summer sun brings sweltering afternoons, the masses head to the sanctuary of the cineplex—with its velvet-upholstered seats, bone-chilling air conditioning and wallet-emptying popcorn. Hollywood studios oblige summer moviegoers by dropping the biggest-budget motion pictures of the year. The silver screen is heating up in July with the return of a couple of major franchises and some highly anticipated premieres. We’ve got you covered with trailers and release dates for the biggest movies coming out next month, so you can cool off while catching the coolest feature films. What flick are you most looking forward to seeing in the theaters?
Premieres: July 7
Oh, you thought your high school days were filled with pressure? Imagine trying to maintain a good GPA while secretly fighting New York City street crime on the side and occasionally battling a maniacal supervillain known only as “Vulture.”
This is the daunting workload that faces our new Peter. Thankfully grizzled billionaire veteran superhero Tony Stark, aka Iron Man (ever heard of him?), is here to guide the teenager as he realizes the weight of his powers. One might say he’s “pulling the strings,” yeah? No? Okay we’ll see ourselves out.
OUR EXCITEMENT LEVEL: High. Iron Man’s wit has apparently rubbed off on the young silk dispenser, plus there are a lot of explosions with blue flames.
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
Premieres: July 14
One of the most effective ways to prepare for war against another species is to finish shaving your head with a single-blade razor before addressing your army while shirtless. Woody Harrelson’s character employs this technique in the latest installment of the Planet of the Apes reboot franchise, so it should be a good battle.
The premise is straightforward: There can only be one dominant species on Earth, so humans and apes agree to enter the proverbial octagon and have it out. Pew pew pew —best species wins.
OUR EXCITEMENT LEVEL: Also high.This franchise remains an under-the-radar success—each of the previous two movies received critical acclaim.
Premieres: July 14
Did you finish the trailer? I didn’t finish the trailer. Too scary. One thing we do know is that when movie characters are granted wishes, things never turn out how he or she expected. Even Josh Baskin ran into some major issues.
OUR EXCITEMENT LEVEL: Moderate, so long as the theater agrees to turn up the house lights a little bit.
Premieres: July 21
The real-life story of the evacuation of thebeaches of Dunkirk, France, during World War II is astonishing. Surrounded by German soldiers in air, land and sea, more than 400,000 Allied soldiers were essentially trapped in what British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called “a colossal military disaster.” Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk appears to be an epic worthy of that rescue mission.
VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS
Premieres: July 21
A few hundred years from now, Agents Valerian and Laureline are tasked with saving not just the world, but literally all the worlds. It’s a heavy burden for two adults who look like teens.
There’s a lot going on in the trailer, but director Luc Besson has earned the benefit of the doubt. His impressiverésumé includes all the Taken movies, the Transporter franchise and sci-fi cult classic The Fifth Element.
OUR EXCITEMENT LEVEL: With a budget of nearly a quarter-billion dollars, this movie better be pretty good.
THE EMOJI MOVIE
Premieres: July 28
Somehow the most star-studded film on this list is a cartoon about the yellow faces on your phone keyboard. (Shrug emoji)
OUR EXCITEMENT LEVEL: With this cast, The Emoji Movie has a chance to be a surprise breakout animated flick, à la The Lego Movie in 2014.