What’s Hot, What’s Not: Summer 2015 Preview

Get ready. The Summer 2015 box office season is about to launch, and with one mega hit already burning up the box office (that’s Furious 7, for the record), and the sequel to one of the biggest films of all time coming up next, there’s every reason to believe this may be one of the biggest box office summers in history.

That doesn’t mean everything is worth seeing, of course. And that also doesn’t mean the films that should be hits actually will be. Yes, I’m still feeling a twinge of regret over the poor box office results for Edge of Tomorrow. But there are plenty of films that, at least at this point, look like they’ll be worth the price of admission. And a few that don’t.

Below, Outtakes Atlanta presents 15 films that look like they’re worth seeing this summer. They range from superhero fare to comedies to features aimed at more mature audiences. What they don’t include are releases from independent studios or indie arms of major studios, just because release dates for those films tend to vary. There are also some films that don’t look good, and while there’s every chance they’ll get a positive review here in the next few months…they don’t look promising. Five of those films are listed at the bottom.

—What’s Hot—

ant-man

Ant-Man

Sure, some of the excitement over the film cooled a bit after last summer’s sudden departure of writer/director Edgar Wright, who’d spent time working on the film before Marvel Studios even launched with 2008’s Iron Man. With more recent trailers, though, it’s at least looking interesting. Also making Ant-Man something we’re interested in seeing: the cast, which includes Michael Douglas as Hank Pym and Paul Rudd as Scott Lang. No clue on whether we’ll see Pym suit up, but his casting continues a recent string of noteworthy casting choices by Marvel, which also includes Robert Redford and James Spader. (July 17)

avengersageofultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Oh, come on. This is the movie everyone’s seeing this summer. It brings back the core cast of The Avengers, as well as writer/director Joss Whedon, and it adds in some intriguing new characters in Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Vision, and of course, Ultron. The only question is: can it top The Avengers? We’ll see, but Marvel’s been on a roll lately, so there’s a chance Whedon and Marvel can pull it off. (May 1)

fantasticfour

Fantastic Four

This series needed a reboot in the worst way. With director Josh Trank (Chronicle) on board, we’re getting one. Trank promises a superhero film that evokes some of the best of David Cronenberg, which should prove interesting. Just be prepared to plug your ears whenever a fanboy complains about Michael B. Jordan’s casting as Johnny Storm. Nobody needs to feed that fire. (August 7)

insideout

Inside Out

2014 was the first year in some time that didn’t include a Pixar film. As a result, 2015 gives us two Pixar films in one year for the first time ever. First up: what the studio refers to as a major emotion picture, Inside Out. Taking place in the mind of a young girl named Riley, we meet the five major emotions: Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). We’ll see if Pixar can get back to the hot streak it was on before Cars 2, but it’s hard to argue with the casting choices. They’re rather spot-on. (June 19)

jurassicworld

Jurassic World

After Guardians of the Galaxy, does this role cement Chris Pratt as the 21st century Harrison Ford? Will Jurassic World recapture the magic of Jurassic Park? We’ll know the answer to these questions and more soon, but until then, we can watch the footage of Chris Pratt surrounded by raptors, riding through the island. (June 12)

madmaxfuryroad

Mad Max: Fury Road

Writer/director George Miller is bringing his Mad Max character back to the big screen for the first time in decades, and the trailers for this thing make Mad Max: Fury Road look absolutely insane. Tom Hardy steps into the role Mel Gibson originated (you know, before he became Mad Mel), and his costar is Charlize Theron, who gets one of the coolest character names of the year: Imperator Furiosa. Already, I want to know more. (May 15)

magicmikexxl

Magic Mike XXL

Audiences were a little disappointed when Magic Mike leaned on the drama over the fun. Channing Tatum has promised that the sequel, which finds most (but not all) of the gang getting back together for one last hurrah, will be more like what people wanted for the first film. The trailers are certainly hinting at a fun time, with all the abs you could want. And hey, even if Alex Pettyfer and Matthew McConaughey aren’t back, Tatum at least managed to get “Big Dick Richie” himself, Joe Manganiello, to return. (July 1)

minions

Minions

Most spinoffs featuring popular characters come across as a cheap cash-in. Giving Minions a boost is the talent they’re bringing in, with Sandra Bullock leading the cast as Scarlet Overkill, the world’s preeminent supervillian. We’re also getting Jon Hamm, Allison Janney and Michael Keaton, plus more of everyone’s favorite lovable, diabolical creatures. So far, it looks like Minions may be the exception to the spinoff rule. (July 10)

missionimpossibleroguenation

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Every couple of years, Tom Cruise cranks out another one of these films to show he can still do his own stunts. The major one they’re promoting this time shows him grasping the side of an airplane. The series hit a high last time, when Brad Bird stepped in as director. This time, Cruise’s Jack Reacher director, Christopher McQuarrie, takes over, but most of the supporting cast is returning. We’ll see if it holds up to Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, or sinks to the depths of M:I-2. (July 31)

pitchperfect2

Pitch Perfect 2

Pitch Perfect was a surprise hit when it came out, and it exploded when it hit home media formats. For the sequel, we pick up with the Barden Bellas a few years after their initial success, when an on-stage fiasco puts the group in a losing situation. Their shot at redemption? A global a capella competition. Expect more shenanigans from Fat Amy and more songs you won’t get out of your head from the Barden Bellas. (May 15)

rickiandtheflash

Ricki and the Flash

Meryl Streep, in a screenplay written by Diablo Cody (JunoJennifer’s BodyYoung Adult)? Meryl Streep as an aging rocker? Done and done. Streep stars as Ricki, a rock star who abandoned her family for life on the road. Ricki gets a chance to mend those relationships when her ex-husband asks her to travel to Chicago to help their recently divorced daughter (played by Mamie Gummer, Streep’s real-life daughter). (August 7)

southpaw

Southpaw

After losing just enough weight to look frightening in Nightcrawler, Jake Gyllenhaal packed on the muscle for Southpaw. Gyllenhaal stars as Billy Hope, a former boxer who’s forced back in the ring after a series of events result in him losing custody of his daughter. The film was originally conceived as a follow-up of sorts to 8 Mile, with Eminem originally slated for the lead. Should be interesting, at least. (July 31)

spy

Spy

For the latest in the annual Melissa McCarthy summer comedy series, McCarthy and director Paul Feig (BridesmaidsThe Heat) tackle (what else?) the spy genre. McCarthy stars as Susan Cooper, a CIA analyst behind some of the agency’s biggest mission successes who is forced into the field. What makes Spy look interesting, beyond the track record McCarthy and Feig have established together, is the supporting team they have pulled together for the film. Jason Statham, Jude Law and Rose Byrne all bring something unique to the film, and it looks like Feig is using them in ways that bring out something new for each actor. (May 22)

tomorrowland

Tomorrowland

There’s still a certain amount of mystery surrounding this film, outside of its basis in Disney theme parks and one heck of an intriguing trailer. And that’s okay. Here’s what you need to know: it’s about a former boy genius (George Clooney) and a teenager (Britt Robertson) who try to uncover the secrets of a location that’s “caught between time and space,” known as Tomorrowland. Also worth knowing: the film comes from writer/director Brad Bird, whose previous films include The Iron GiantThe IncrediblesRatatouille and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. In other words, he’s earned some trust. (May 22)

trainwreck

Trainwreck

For his fifth feature film as a director, Judd Apatow is finally directing a film with a woman as the protagonist. And not just any woman: Trainwreck stars the hilarious Amy Schumer, who’s also responsible for the script. Schumer stars as Amy, a woman who was told by her father that monogamy isn’t realistic. Ever since, she’s made promiscuity a fundamental part of her life. That is, until she meets someone who makes her reconsider. Early word from a rough cut screened at South by Southwest indicates this may be the comedy to watch this summer. If it’s anything like Schumer’s recent work on her own show, Inside Amy Schumer, I can believe it. (July 17)

—What’s Not—

entourage

Entourage

Who was asking for this, besides the cast members and Mark Wahlberg? Actually, maybe that’s how this ended up getting made. But seriously, Entourage wasn’t ever quite the social phenomenon that Sex and the City was, and the success of the first film follow-up for that series is the only rational reason I can see for creating this film. (June 5)

hotpursuit

Hot Pursuit

Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara. I didn’t have high hopes for this one, honestly, but I was hoping the trailers would convince me. The trailers, though, don’t have me convinced. The runtime is under 90 minutes, which is rarely a good sign for a comedy. Maybe the final product will actually work. Who knows. At this point, though, this looks like the female-led comedy of the summer to avoid. (May 8)

pixels

Pixels

First, it’s an Adam Sandler film, so the likelihood of it landing down here was pretty high. Add in a directing credit from Chris Columbus, whose films tend to be more on the side of “bad” than “good,” and it’s locked in. If you want a film involving video games, just watch Wreck-It Ralph. (July 24)

sanandreas

San Andreas

Dwayne Johnson may be Franchise Viagra, but he can’t seem to make his own films rise to the occasion. He’s a charismatic performer, but his starring films tend to not be all that good. I wouldn’t count on San Andreas reversing this tendency. (May 29)

terminatorgenisys

Terminator Genisys

Seriously, who asked for this? No one really cared about Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines or Terminator Salvation. James Cameron’s too busy developing sequels to Avatar to come back. And now, in an attempt to get people to care, Terminator Genisys is bringing back Arnold Schwarzenegger and bringing the storyline back to what we saw in The Terminator. Except not. In any case, we’ve had two failed attempts at this already, along with a failed TV series. Why beat a dead horse? (July 1)

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