The movie season is heating up. NewsdayTV's Rafer Guzman discusses summer's biggest flicks. Credit: NewsdayTV

The Autobots versus the Predacons, The Flash versus General Zod, Indiana Jones versus more Nazis – those are just a few of the big-budget battles we’ll see during this year’s busy summer movie season.

But if one smackdown illustrates just how crowded the summer has become, it’s “Barbie” versus “Oppenheimer.”

That’s right: On July 21, Greta Gerwig’s candy-colored comedy about a living doll (Margot Robbie) will open against Christopher Nolan’s magnum opus about the theoretical physicist Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy). It’s the kind of counter-programming move that studios rarely risked during the pandemic, when diminished audiences could barely support one major movie per weekend. It’s also a possible sign that Hollywood believes the pandemic is finally fading and moviegoers are once again plentiful enough to split between titles.

We might not see another billion-dollar smash like last summer’s “Top Gun: Maverick,” but we could be in for something like a dozen big hits. Among the likely candidates: Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” Vin Diesel’s “Fast X” and the return of Tom Cruise in “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.” According to Fandango, which polled 6,000 moviegoers, interest is high in “The Flash,” starring Ezra Miller as the speedy superhero, and Disney’s “Haunted Mansion,” as well.

Here are 34 big movies coming this summer:


Marvel’s misfit superheroes return with a new mission, a new version of Gamora (Zoe Saldaña) and a new classic-rock soundtrack. With Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista and the voice of Bradley Cooper.

This image released by Marvel Studios shows, from left, Pom...

This image released by Marvel Studios shows, from left, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Dave Bautista as Drax, Karen Gillan as Nebula in a scene from "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3." Credit: AP

LOVE AGAIN (May 5) A lovelorn woman (Priyanka Chopra Jones) sends romantic texts to an old flame, not realizing the number now belongs to a handsome journalist (Sam Heughan). In her first film role, Celine Dion plays herself.

BOOK CLUB: THE NEXT CHAPTER (May 12) Four literate, libidinous, late-life ladies (Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen) take a trip to Italy in this sequel.

KNIGHTS OF THE ZODIAC (May 12) A street-smart teen discovers he has mystical powers. Mackenyu, son of the martial artist Sonny Chiba, stars in this live-action version of the anime “Saint Seiya.”      

FAST X (May 19)

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Jason Momoa in...

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Jason Momoa in a scene from "Fast X." Credit: AP/Giulia Parmigiani

“The End of the Road Begins,” or so says the tagline for this tenth installment of Vin Diesel’s blockbuster franchise. Jason Momoa joins the cast as a new villain, Dante. Directed by Louis Leterrier (“Now You See Me”).

MASTER GARDENER (May 19) Joel Edgerton (“The Great Gatsby”) plays a quiet horticulturalist who is hiding a violent past. Written and directed by Paul Schrader (“Taxi Driver,” “First Reformed”). With Sigourney Weaver and Quintessa Swindell.

ABOUT MY FATHER (May 26) Stand-up sensation Sebastian Maniscalco co-wrote and stars in this culture-clash comedy inspired by his father, an Italian American hairdresser (Robert De Niro). With Kim Cattrall.

KANDAHAR (May 26) Gerard Butler re-teams with director Ric Roman Waugh (“Angel Has Fallen”) for this action film about an undercover CIA operative trapped in Afghanistan.

THE MACHINE (May 26) A comedy starring Bert Kreischer, the hard-partying Florida State University student who became the inspiration for 2002’s “Van Wilder.” His father is played by Mark Hamill.


Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney's live-action "The Little Mermaid."...

Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney's live-action "The Little Mermaid."

Credit: DISNEY

Disney’s animated favorite from 1989 is now a live-action musical starring young actress-singer Halle Bailey as Princess Ariel. With Melissa McCarthy, Awkwafina and Daveed Diggs. Rob Marshall (“Mary Poppins Returns”) directs.

YOU HURT MY FEELINGS (May 26). A novelist’s marriage hits a rough spot when she overhears her husband’s honest opinion of her book. With Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tobias Menzies and Michaela Watkins. Written and directed by Nicole Holofcener (“The Last Duel”).

THE BOOGEYMAN (June 2) A therapist and his family are plagued by a supernatural entity. Starring Northport’s Chris Messina (“The Mindy Project”). Based on a short story by Stephen King.


Spider-Man/Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) in Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures...

Spider-Man/Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) in Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animations’ "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse." Credit: Sony Pictures Animation

The further animated adventures of teen superhero Miles Morales (the voice of Shameik Moore). The previous film, from 2018, was a critical and commercial smash that earned more than $380 million.

STRAYS (June 9) A live-action comedy about an abandoned dog who assembles a furry posse to get revenge on his former owner. With Will Ferrell, Jamie Foxx and Will Forte.


The latest "Tranformers" movie comes to theaters this summer.


The latest "Tranformers" movie comes to theaters this summer.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Humans and Autobots must battle an army of robotic jungle animals. Film No. Seven in the franchise features Anthony Ramos, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Yeoh and Pete Davidson.

ASTEROID CITY (June 16) Wes Anderson’s latest, set in 1955, follows the attendees of a space convention as they confront a world-disrupting event. With Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton and first-time Anderson collaborators Tom Hanks and Margot Robbie.


This image released by Lionsgate shows, from left, Melvin Gregg...

This image released by Lionsgate shows, from left, Melvin Gregg as King, Grace Byers as Allison, Antoinette Robertson as Lisa, Sinqua Walls as Nnamdi, Jermaine Fowler as Clifton, Dewayne Perkins as Dewayne, and Xochitl Mayo as Shanika in a scene from "The Blackening." Credit: AP/Glen Wilson

“If the entire cast of a horror movie is Black, who dies first?” That’s the wry tag line for this horror-comedy about a Juneteenth celebration that turns into a nightmare. With Grace Byers and Jay Pharoah. Directed by Tim Story (“Think Like a Man”).


"Elemental" features  the voices of Leah Lewis and Mamoudou Athie...

"Elemental" features  the voices of Leah Lewis and Mamoudou Athie as Ember and Wade, respectively.  Credit: Disney/Pixar

Disney-Pixar’s latest, set in Element City, fiery Ember (Leah Lewis) clashes with go-with-the-flow Wade (Mamoudou Athie).

THE FLASH (June 16)

Ezra Miller as "The Flash."


Ezra Miller as "The Flash."

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures/™ & © DC Comics

Despite a spate of bad publicity over his off-screen behavior, Ezra Miller will play the fast-moving DC superhero in his first stand-alone film. Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton each play Batman. Andy Muschietti (“It”) directs.


 Maddie (Jennifer Lawrence) and Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman) in Columbia...

 Maddie (Jennifer Lawrence) and Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman) in Columbia Pictures’ "No Hard Feelings." Credit: Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures/Macall Polay

Jennifer Lawrence is a cash-strapped Uber driver in Montauk who answers an ad to “date” a clueless teenage boy (Andrew Feldman, of Manhasset). Filming took place on Long Island last fall.


(L-R): Teddy (Ethann Isidore), Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and Helena...

(L-R): Teddy (Ethann Isidore), Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) in Lucasfilm's INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Harrison Ford, 80, takes up the whip and hat of the swashbuckling archaeologist for the fifth time. With Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Mads Mikkelsen. James Mangold (“Ford v Ferrari”) directs.


INSIDIOUS: THE RED DOOR (July 7) Patrick Wilson makes his directorial debut with the fifth installment in the popular horror franchise. With Ty Simpkins and Rose Byrne.

JOY RIDE (July 7) A comedy about four friends on an international adventure. With Stephanie Hsu, Ashley Park, Sherry Cola and Sabrina Wu. Directed and co-written by Adele Lim (“Crazy Rich Asians”).


Hayley Atwell and Tom Cruise in "Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning...

Hayley Atwell and Tom Cruise in "Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning - Part One."  Credit: Paramount Pictures/Skydance/Christian Black

Tom Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie reteam – with the usual cast, of course – for a new installment of the dependably spectacular action-franchise.

THEATER CAMP (July 14) When their leader falls into a coma, the members of an upstate New York theater camp decide the show must go on. Molly Gordon, Ben Platt, Patti Harrison and Amy Sedaris star in this mockumentary.

BARBIE (July 21)

Ryan Gosling as Ken and Margot Robbie as Barbie in...

Ryan Gosling as Ken and Margot Robbie as Barbie in "Barbie."


Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Margot Robbie plays the svelte Mattel doll -- opposite Ryan Gosling as Ken – in this hotly anticipated Warner Bros. project from director Greta Gerwig, who co-wrote with Noah Baumbach.


Cillian Murphy in "Oppenheimer."

Cillian Murphy in "Oppenheimer." Credit: Universal Pictures/Melinda Sue Gordon

Writer-director Christopher Nolan turns the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy), godfather of the atomic bomb, into an IMAX epic. With Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Florence Pugh and Robert Downey, Jr.

HAUNTED MANSION (July 28) A woman and her son must rid their house of supernatural squatters. Based on the Disneyland attraction. With LaKeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish, Owen Wilson and Jamie Lee Curtis.

MEG 2: THE TRENCH (Aug. 4) Jason Statham returns as rescue diver Jonas Taylor in the sequel to 2018’s underwater monster-movie. With Cliff Curtis and Sophia Cai.


"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem" comes to theaters in...

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem" comes to theaters in August.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

The latest installment – animated, this time -- in the kid-oriented franchise. Seth Rogen is a producer.

GRAN TURISMO (IMAX) (Aug. 11) A teenage fan of the video game Gran Turismo aspires to become a real race-car driver. With Archie Madekwe, David Harbour and Orlando Bloom. Based on a true story.

THE LAST VOYAGE OF THE DEMETER (Aug. 11) The story of a doomed ship, featured briefly in Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.” Starring Corey Hawkins (“In the Heights”) and Aisling Franciosi (“Game of Thrones”). Directed by André Øvredal (“Trollhunter”).


Xolo  Maridueña as Jaime Reyes in "Blue Beetle."

Xolo  Maridueña as Jaime Reyes in "Blue Beetle." Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

A Latino superhero is born when college grad Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña) becomes possessed by the Scarab, an ancient relic of alien biotechnology. With Susan Sarandon and George Lopez.

WHITE BIRD (Aug. 18) A spin-off story from the young-adult novel “Wonder,” in which an expelled schoolboy (Bryce Gheisar) bonds with his grandmother (Helen Mirren), who survived Nazi-occupied France (Helen Mirren). Directed by Marc Forster (“Finding Neverland”).

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