Yes, there are still summer movies. Nowhere near as many as usual, since the COVID-19 virus scared off most of the herd into later this year or next. But director Christopher Nolan fully intends to open Tenet, his $200 million time-bending epic, in more than 3,500 theaters in July. Ditto Disney, as the company plans to counter with its live-action Mulan that same month. And in August, Warner Bros. will go in on Wonder Woman 1984. All three potential blockbusters are big-money gambles. In order to make a profit or just break even, they’ll need us to put on masks, submit to temperature checks, and make sure we sit six feet apart when we finally push into theaters operating at 30 to 50 percent capacity to maintain social distancing.
But even if the blockbuster trio blinks and finds a safer berth in the future, there are still plenty of primo choices for audiences to watch this summer at drive-ins, making a real comeback, and the theaters that do manage to open at the discretion of each of the 50 states. Mostly, though, we’ll be watching at home, where we’ve been sheltering in place since March. The catch is: It’ll cost you. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Disney Plus, and other streaming services require subscriptions. And video on demand doesn’t come cheap. The VOD price tag was an insane $20 for a 48-hour rental of Universal’s Trolls World Tour, which managed to amass more than $100 million when it debuted in April. Will Pete Davidson prove an equal draw when his stoner-comedy/semibiopic The King of Staten Island premieres on VOD? Here are the 20 best movies competing for your attention this summer.