Monster summer: Hollywood has plenty of action to come after smashing spring success of 'Avengers: Endgame'
Even after "Avengers: Endgame" turned practically every box-office record to dust before April had ended, Hollywood still is hoping for a monster summer.
The slate of upcoming tentpoles features an Americanized all-star line-up of Japan’s most popular giants, and a truth-based retelling of events surrounding one of the most horrific crimes in U.S. history, orchestrated by a deadly creature of the human variety. Throw in a couple more superhero epics, animated animals, CGI and one or two dramas and comedies for discerning grown-ups and you’ve got a nice, dark, air-conditioned place to hide from the blazing Oklahoma sun and take in some storytelling to boot.
Here is a list of the upcoming pictures with the most promise:
• "Pokemon: Detective Pikachu": The beloved "pocket monsters" return to the big screen in their first live-action outing, with Ryan Reynolds voicing the title character, an exceptionally wordy Pokemon who teams up with a former Pokemon trainer (Justice Smith) hunting for his missing father.
• "Aladdin": How will Will Smith's blue-man comedy measure up to Robin Williams' iconic genie in Guy Ritchie's live-action/CGI retelling of Disney's animated adventure?
• “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”: The giant Japanese lizard Godzilla stomps across the screen once again, leading a country-cousin cast that includes Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah mixing it up in a no-holds-barred kaiju war. The humans stuck in the middle are played by Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Kyle Chandler, Sally Hawkins and Ken Watanabe — capable players all, speaking English without the aid of English-language voice dubbing. Directed by Michael Dougherty.
• “Rocketman”: Taron Egerton does his own singing in this biopic about Elton John, which is directed by Dexter Fletcher, who replaced a fired Bryan Singer at the helm of last year's “Bohemian Rhapsody," based on the misadventures of British pop icon Freddie Mercury, the late frontman of Queen.
• “Dark Phoenix”: Sophie Turner (“Game of Thrones”) takes on her first big-screen lead as Jean Grey in this latest chapter of the X-Men saga, supported by fellow mutants James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence. Directed by Simon Kinberg.
• “Late Night”: Emma Thompson plays the only female late-night talk show host left on national television, facing cancellation because of falling ratings until she teams up with the only female on her writing staff (played by Mindy Kaling, who wrote the screenplay) who might help make the show a hit again. Directed by Nish Kinatra.
• “Men in Black: International”: Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones step aside to allow “Thor: Ragnorok” stars Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth a shot at center stage in this fourth entry in this popular comedy/sci-fi action series. Directed by F. Gary Gray.
• “Child’s Play”: The doll with the maniacal grimace and the heart of a serial killer is back from hell’s toy box in this reboot of the “Chucky” horror series, and Aubrey Plaza stars as the young mother who discovers her son’s play pal is committing bloody murders with a butcher’s knife. Brad Dourif, who voiced the original Chucky, is replaced by a new voice, but the producers aren’t giving away who the new guy is. Directed by Lars Klevberg.
• “Toy Story 4”: The toys just keep coming to life — this time with a more lighthearted attitude — in the fourth chapter of the animated Pixar favorite, with Woody, Buzz, and all their playroom friends sharing another wild adventure. Directed by Josh Cooley.
• “Yesterday”: Danny Boyle’s supernatural comedy is all about a struggling musician (Himesh Patel) who regains consciousness after being hit by a bus, only to discover that no one else has ever heard of the Beatles. Suddenly he becomes a star when he claims to have written all their songs.
• “Spider-Man: Far from Home”: Peter Parker takes off on a European vacation to escape the rigors of superheroism for a while, but ends up helping Nick Fury fend off elemental creature attacks, creating life-threatening continental turmoil. Jon Watts directs and Tom Holland returns as Spidey in this, the most anticipated would-be blockbuster of the season.
• “The Lion King”: Disney’s 1994 animated classic is reimagined in CGI under the direction of Jon Favreau, featuring the voice talents of Tulsa native Alfre Woodard, Donald Glover, Beyonce, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner and returning favorite James Earl Jones. Hankies are bound to be needed, but the funny bone will get a workout, as well. This one will be a surefire family favorite of the summer.
• “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”: Bad-boy writer-director Quentin Tarantino’s epic ode to the end of Hollywood’s golden age takes place in 1969 and centers on a fading television star (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double/friend (Brad Pitt) who live next door to the scene of Charles Manson’s masterminded slaughter of actress Sharon Tate and several of her prominent friends. This movie event of the year also stars Margot Robbie as Tate, Dakota Fanning as Squeaky Fromme, Timothy Olyphant as James Stacy, Al Pacino as Marvin Schwarzs, Emile Hirsch as Jay Sebring, and additional appearances by Kurt Russell, Damien Lewis, Tim Roth and Oklahoma native James Marsden — to name but a few.
• “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw”: Lawman Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and outcast Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) butt heads but form an uneasy partnership when a cyber-genetically enhanced villain threatens the future of humanity in this latest high octane thriller from director David Leitch. Idris Elba provides the villainy.
• “The New Mutants”: More Marvel Universe characters come alive when five young mutants discover their abilities and use them to escape a secret facility in this superhero thriller from director Josh Booner, who cowrote the screenplay with Knate Lee. It stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams and Alice Braga.
• “Midsommar”: In this horror thriller from writer-director Ari Aster, a young woman accompanies her boyfriend on a summer trip takes a bad turn and goes terribly awry. Stars are Florence Pugh, Will Poulter and Jack Reynor.
• “Good Boys”: In this R-rated comedy from director/co-writer Gene Stupnitsky, three sixth-grade boys cut class and embark on a journey while carrying accidentally stolen drugs, being hunted by teenage girls and trying to make their way home in time for a long-awaited party. Stars are Jacob Tremblay, Retta and Will Forte.