By Bill Wine
KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — First week in May, huh? We know we’re supposed to call it “spring” but, according to Hollywood, with this week’s release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the summer movie season is officially upon us! So there.
It’s just the first in a parade of high-profile, warm-weather, wide-release attractions, many potential blockbusters, each a bona fide masterwork — until it actually opens.
So, here are the other two dozen cinematic attractions beckoning moviegoers from marquees over the next four months. About half of them are installments of already existing franchises — which will please some viewers while depressing others no end — in their approximate order of release (which is, as always, subject to change):
Hot Pursuit –- Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara (top photo) team up in a comedy – the former as a cop, the latter as the widow of a drug lord – as they travel through Texas with gunmen breathing down their necks.
Pitch Perfect 2 –- Anna Kendrick returns in the sequel to the 2013 hit musical comedy as she and her a capella group, in their senior year at Barden University, join an international competition. Cast member Elizabeth Banks makes her directorial debut.
Mad Max: Fury Road –- Tom Hardy (below) inherits the Mel Gibson title role in this post-apocalyptic action sci-fi thriller in which he wanders alone but gets caught up with a group fleeing a tyrant across the wasteland. Charlize Theron co-stars.
Tomorrowland –- George Clooney stars in a science-fiction mystery adventure involving travel through space and time, kicking off at the 1964 New York’s World Fair.
Poltergeist — Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt co-star in a remake of the 1982 horror thriller about a suburban family whose home is invaded by angry spirits.
San Andreas –- Dwayne Johnson is the headliner in a disaster thriller about a devastating earthquake that hits California, as a rescue helicopter pilot attempts to rescue his estranged daughter.
Aloha –- Bradley Cooper stars as a military contractor who returns to the scene of his earlier success and rekindles an old love while falling for the Air Force watchdog assigned to him. In support are Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, and Alex Baldwin.
Entourage -– Adrian Grenier, Jeremy Piven, and the boys return in this big-screen continuation of the HBO series about a movie star and his cronies, who invest in his directing debut.
Spy –- Melissa McCarthy (below) stars in a comedy about a CIA analyst whose partner, played by Jude Law, goes missing. So she goes undercover. Rose Byrne and Jason Statham – you read that right – offer comic support.
Jurassic World –– The fourth installment in the sci-fi franchise, set over two decades after the Steven Spielberg-directed original, takes place at the fully functioning dinosaur theme park in Central America, where a genetically modified dinosaur breaks loose. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard star.
Inside Out –- The voices in this animated comedy-fantasy about a young girl guided, as everyone is, by the emotions of joy, fear, anger, disgust, and sadness are Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Diane Lane, and Kyle MacLachlan.
Ted 2 –- The sequel to 2012’s comedy, Ted, finds the talking teddy bear married to a human and wanting to have a child. Mark Wahlberg is back, as is the voice of writer-director Seth MacFarlane.
Terminator: Genisys –- He said he’d be back. Arnold Schwarzenegger returns in the fifth entry in the Terminator franchise in a science fiction thriller set in 2029 that is simultaneously a prequel, a sequel, and a reboot as the Resistance continues the war against the machines.
Magic Mike XXL –– Three years after Magic Mike quite his stripper life, the remaining Kings of Tampa plan one last big performance before they leave the business. Channing Tatum (below) returns to star in the sequel.
Minions –– An animated comedy that’s both a prequel to Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 and a spinoff of the franchise that features those little yellow creatures that little viewers cherish. Among the voices are Sandra Bullock, Michael Keaton, and Jon Hamm.
Ant-Man — Paul Rudd stars in a comedic science fiction fantasy that he co-wrote, based on the Marvel comic book about a superhero who decreases in size but increases in strength.
Trainwreck –– Ubiquitous comic Amy Schumer, who also wrote the screenplay, stars for director Judd Apatow as a commitment-phobe and career woman who meets Mr. Right.
Pixels — Adam Sandler and Kevin James star as video-game experts in a science-fiction comedy about an attack on Earth by aliens who get the wrong impression from video feeds of classic video games.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation –– The fifth installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise, based on the classic TV series, is another spy thriller involving Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt and his team of agents, including Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, and Heremy Renner.
Fantastic Four –– A reboot of the Marvel Comics fantasy franchise about a quartet of scientist superheroes called on to harness abilities gained from an alternate universe to save Earth, featuring Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, and Jamie Bell.
Masterminds –- Kristen Wiig, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis, and Owen Wilson star in a heist comedy about a real-life security guard who stages one of the biggest bank robberies in American history.
Ricki and the Flash –– Meryl Streep headlines as a rock star fronting a band who left her husband and daughter to pursue stardom and now wants to try to patch up her neglected family relationships, with Kevin Kline, Sebastain Stan, and Streep’s real-life daughter, Mamie Gummer.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. — A spy thriller based on the classic sixties television series that teams a CIA agent with a KGB operative to prevent threatened terrorism, starring Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer , and Hugh Grant.
Criminal –– A supernatural action thriller in which a convict is implanted with the abilities and memories of a deceased CIA agent, featuring Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Alice Eve, and Tommy Lee Jones.