Are we finally going to have an honest-to-God, genuine Grade-A summer movie season this year? We’re not out of the woods yet in regards to Covid-19 being a thing of the past — not by a long shot — but as vaccination numbers rise, theaters begin reopening in earnest and studios start releasing a back log of blockbusters, we seem to be closer than ever to getting that good, old-fashioned mix of big-screen thrills, chills, laughs, tears and adrenaline rushes we crave. There are still going to be a number of hybrid releases (theatrical and digital), streaming-only fare and some films you may feel more comfortable watching on your couch, just to be safe. But we’ve missed that singular sensation of sitting in the dark with other people and being transported to other worlds together, or collectively walk miles in others’ shoes. And for movie lovers, the notion that this may finally become a safe option once again is enough to make us giddy.
We’ve cobbled together a list of 50 movies that fall somewhere between “we can’t wait to see” and “we’re curious to see how this turned out” — some are studio blockbusters (Marvel, Pixar, Disney Classic, the Fast and Furious crew, and several other franchises are present and accounted for), some are arthouse staples and documentaries, some are dramas and comedies and streamer bids for box office supremacy, and a few are borderline unclassifiable. As always, dates may be subject to change; there are still no guarantees when it comes to life under a continuing pandemic. But with any luck, these are the movies we’ll all be talking about between Memorial Day and Labor Day. We’ll meet you at a theater near you.