With only two big Marvel productions on the horizon, this summer might offer a little breathing room for something besides superhero movies.
Aside from the season-launching bang of Marvel’s epic “Avengers: Endgame” and the long-awaited “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” most of the summer’s superhero movies seem smaller-scale. Think “Dark Phoenix,” intended as the last of the X-Men series and directed by first-timer Simon Kinberg, or “Brightburn,” a horror film that borrows from the Superman story.
What’s more, for a variety of reasons, many blockbuster franchises — “Mission: Impossible,” “Transformers,” “Jurassic Park” — won’t be around to suck up all the ticket sales. That makes this a good summer for studios to take a chance or two. We’ll see new spinoffs of well-established franchises, at least one unexpected drama (starring Melissa McCarthy as a serious mobster) and the first summer release from Quentin Tarantino since 2009’s “Inglorious Basterds.”
Here are 17 of the biggest movies coming this summer.
AVENGERS: ENDGAME (April 26)
The big news about the sequel to “Avengers: Infinity War” is its audacious running time — 182 minutes! The fates of many Marvel characters, from Iron Man to Captain America, will be decided here. Anthony and Joe Russo return to direct.
LONG SHOT (May 3)
This Seth Rogen vehicle looks a little like “Knocked Up Again.” He plays a slovenly journalist who begins dating a presidential candidate (Charlize Theron).
POMS (May 10)
A group of retired women decide to form a cheerleading squad. This is the latest comedy to feature Diane Keaton. Also with Jacki Weaver, Pam Grier and Rhea Perlman.
JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 - PARABELLUM (May 17)
Keanu Reeves is back in the title role, an assassin whose colleagues want him dead. Chad Stahelski, a longtime stuntman with an eye for high-impact action, returns to direct. With Halle Berry.
ALADDIN (May 24)
This is one of the year’s three Disney remakes, sandwiched between “Dumbo” and “The Lion King.” Another worrisome sign: Critics’ reactions to early footage of Will Smith’s rapping genie ranged from “exciting” to “pure nightmare fuel.”
MA (May 31)
Several teenagers befriend a local woman who turns out to have some deep-seated problems. This psychological horror-thriller is an unexpected effort from the team of Tate Taylor and Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer, both of “The Help."
ROCKETMAN (May 31)
Partway through production of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a biopic about Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, director Bryan Singer was fired and replaced by Dexter Fletcher. Now Fletcher has his own biopic, about Sir Elton John, played by Taron Egerton.
THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 (June 7)
In which terrier Max (the voice of Patton Oswalt) must deal with his owner’s new toddler. Harrison Ford, as the farm dog Rooster, makes his animated-feature debut. Also with Ellie Kemper, Kevin Hart and Jenny Slate.
SHAFT (June 14)
A cybersecurity expert, JJ (Jesse T. Usher), turns to his private-eye dad (Samuel L. Jackson) for help solving a murder. It’s the fifth film in the blaxploitation franchise and Jackson’s second time in the title role.
MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL (June 14)
The fourth film in the franchise is a spinoff, not a sequel. The focus this time is on the extraterrestrial-monitoring agency’s London branch. Starring Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”) and Tessa Thompson (“Creed”).
TOY STORY 4 (June 21)
Nearly 10 years after the last film, Woody and Buzz (Tom Hanks and Tim Allen) return with the old gang, plus a new addition named Forky (Tony Hale). The voice cast includes Christina Hendricks, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele.
YESTERDAY (June 28)
A struggling musician (Himesh Patel) wakes up to find he is the only person who knows the songs of the Beatles. Directed by Danny Boyle (“Trainspotting”) from a script by Richard Curtis (“Pirate Radio”).
SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME (July 2)
What begins as Peter Parker’s European vacation becomes a job for Spider-Man (Tom Holland) when hostile creatures rear their heads. With Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio.
THE LION KING (July 19)
Disney’s computer-animated version of its ink-and-paint classic features Donald Glover as the voice of the title role, Simba. Also with Seth Rogen and Alfre Woodard. Jon Favreau, of “The Jungle Book” (2016), directs.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (July 26)
Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film is set in 1969, during the rise of the Manson family. Leonardo DiCaprio is a famous Western actor, Brad Pitt is his stunt double and Margot Robbie is the doomed actress Sharon Tate.
FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW (Aug. 2)
Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham reprise their “Fast and Furious” roles in a spinoff that teams them up against a genetically enhanced villain (Idris Elba).
THE KITCHEN (Aug. 9)
Recent Oscar nominee Melissa McCarthy continues her foray into drama as one of three Irish-American women who must run their husbands’ criminal enterprises. Her co-stars are Elisabeth Moss and Tiffany Haddish, of “Girls Trip.”