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Take the summer off: these 27 movie releases are set to make it an epic one

Sahil Bhalla | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:50 IST

The weather hit summer mode a while ago but cinematically, it got here last week with the release of the first summer blockbuster, Marvel's Captain America: Civil War, on May 6.

As always, over the next few weeks and months, dozens more such movie will release and aim to break box-office records.

The 27 movies on this list may not seem like a shortlist but they are, sorted into two categories: the 15 likely to go on and earn the tag 'blockbuster', and the 12 indie films we think will find an appreciative audience, even if they don't hit the bigtime. All release dates are US.

First the blockbuster films:

1. Captain America: Civil War (released last week)

Director: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo

Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, William Hurt, Daniel Bruhl and othersProduction company/Distributor: Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Release date: 6 May

You're in luck. This 2016 American superhero film that pits Team Cap and Team Iron has already been released in most parts of the world. Most of the series superheroes are present, including the new additions of Black Panther and Spider-Man. Movie review aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes sums it up by saying, "Captain America: Civil War begins the next wave of Marvel movies with an action-packed superhero blockbuster boasting a decidedly non-cartoonish plot and the courage to explore thought-provoking themes."

2. The Angry Birds Movie

Director: Fergal Reilly and Clay Kaytis

Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph and Kate McKinnon and Sean PennProduction company/Distributor: Rovio Entertainment and Sony Pictures Imageworks/Columbia Pictures

Release date: 20 May

This 3D computer-animated movie is based upon the highly successful video game series that goes by the same name. This is Fergal Reilly and Clay Kaytis' directorial debuts.

3. X-Men: Apocalypse

Director: Bryan Singer

Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac and Nicholas HoultProduction company/Distributor: 20th Century Fox and Marvel Entertainment

Release date: 27 May

Another superhero movie. Another one from Marvel Comics. This is a sequel to X-Men: Days of Future Past that came two years ago in 2014. It is the ninth film in the X-Men franchise. IMDB sums up the plot as, "With the emergence of the world's first mutant, Apocalypse, the X-Men must unite to defeat his extinction level plan."

4. Alice Through The Looking Glass

Director: James Bobin

Cast: Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, Rhys Ifans, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen and Timothy SpallProduction company/Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Release date: 27 May

This is a sequel to 2010's Alice in Wonderland and is based on Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll. Alice returns to the world of Wonderland. She travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter in this movie that clocks in just under two hours.

5. TMNT: Out of the Shadows

Director: Dave Green

Cast: Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Will Arnett, Brian Tee and Tyler PerryProduction company/Distributor: Nickelodeon Movies/Paramount Pictures

Release date: 3 June

IMDB sums it up best: "The Turtles return to save the city from a dangerous threat.".

6. The Conjuring 2

Director: James Wan

Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Frances O'ConnorProduction company/Distributor: New Line Cinema/Warner Bros. Pictures

Release date: 10 June

This supernatural horror film is to the highly successful 2013 movie, The Conjuring. This is another story that comes from the real life case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren. It's one of the most anticipated horror movies of not just the summer but all of 2016.

7. Now You See Me 2

Director: Jon M. Chu

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco and Daniel RadcliffeProduction company/Distributor: Entertainment One/Summit Entertainment

Release date: 10 June

Another movie. Another sequel. This one is a sequel to 2013's Now You See Me, a movie about magic that was a surprise hit. The Four Horsemen come back to life on screen and are hired by a tech genius to pull off some sort of heist in what could be another surprise hit.

8. Finding Dory

Director: Andrew Stanton

Cast: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Hayden Rolence, Diane Keaton and Eugene LevyProduction company/Distributor: Pixar Animation Studios/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Release date: 17 June

This is a sequel to the thirteen-year-old Pixar superhit Finding Nemo. Andrew Stanton returns as writer and director. This film centers around Dory and thee story of her being reunited with her family.

9. Independence Day: Resurgence

Director: Roland Emmerich

Cast: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, Vivica A. Fox, Brent Spiner and Charlotte GainsbourgProduction company/Distributor: Centropolis Entertainment/20th Century Fox

Release date: 24 June

This sci-fi disaster film comes 20 years after the original. IMDB once again with the summary, "Two decades after the first Independence Day invasion, Earth is faced with a new extra-solar threat. But will mankind's new space defenses be enough?"

10. The BFG

Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton and Rebecca HallProduction company/Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures, DreamWorks, Amblin Entertainment, Reliance Entertainment, Walden Media, and The Kennedy/Marshall Company/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Release date: 24 June

Based on the novel of the same name by Roald Dahl, this is the second adaptation of the book. The first was a television movie. Mark Rylance stars as the Big Friendly Giant (BFG). It is a story of a girl, Sophie, who encounters a surprisingly friendly giant.

11. Ghostbusters

Director: Paul Feig

Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie JonesProduction company/Distributor: Village Roadshow Pictures/Columbia Pictures

Release date: 15 July

This is the revival of a classic series and this time, it's got an all-female lead. Only time will tell if that moves pans out or not. Still, everyone is awaiting this movie, like no other.

12. Star Trek Beyond

Director: Justin Lin

Cast: John Cho, Simon Pegg, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Zoe SaldanaProduction company/Distributor: Skydance Media, Bad Robot Productions/Paramount Pictures

Release date: 22 July

Star Trek Beyond is the sequel to Star Trek Into Darkness and the third installment in the reboot series. Not much is known about the plot as yet.

13. Jason Bourne

Director: Paul Greengrass

Cast: Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel and Tommy Lee JonesProduction company/Distributor: Universal Pictures

Release date: 29 July

Jason Bourne, the 5th in the franchise, sees the return of Matt Damon. It is the sequel to The Bourne Legacy. IMDB descriptor: "Jason Bourne, now remembering who he truly is, tries to uncover hidden truths about his past."

14. Suicide Squad

Director: David Ayer

Cast: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney and Jay HernandezProduction company/Distributor: DC Entertainment/Warner Bros. Pictures

Release date: 5 August

This is decidedly the summer of the superhero movie. This time it's DC Extended Universe that has the next release, Suicide Squad. It sees Will Smith and Margot Robbie team up as secret government recruits to defeat the greater evil.

15. Kubo and the Two Strings

Director: Travis Knight

Cast: Art Parkinson, Charlize Theron, Ralph Fiennes and Rooney MaraProduction company/Distributor: Laika/Focus Features

Release date: 19 August

Animation Studio seems to have another winner in Kubo and the Two Strings after producing Oscar-nominated films such as Coraline and ParaNorman. This stop-motion seems like it'll keep you glued to your seat, start to finish. According to Verge, "this might be the sleeper hit of the season".

Potential sleeper hits

16. High Rise

Director: Ben Wheatley

Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans and Elisabeth MossProduction company/Distributor: Recorded Picture Company/StudioCanal

Release date: 13 May

A simple description courtesy our friends at IMDB, "Life for the residents of a tower block begins to run out of control."

17. The Lobster

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Cast: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz and Jessica BardenProduction company/Distributor: Element Pictures, Scarlet Films and Faliro House Productions

Release date: 13 May

This is one strange movie starring Colin Farell and Rachel Weisz in unusual roles. As IMDB nicely puts it, "In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods." This movie has already done the festival rounds across the world and garnered a good reception.

18. Money Monster

Director: Jodie Foster

Cast: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O'Connell and Dominic WestProduction company/Distributor: TriStar Pictures

Release date: 13 May

An angry and furious investor takes over a TV studio that has George Clooney as the host and Julia Roberts as the producer.

19. Maggie's Plan

Director: Rebecca Miller

Cast: Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke, Bill Hader and Maya RudolphProduction company/Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Release date: 20 May

Maggie's plan premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival and holds 75% on review aggreggator Rotten Tomatoes. Maggie wants to have a baby on her own but her plan runs into hurdles when she falls in love with a married man.

20. The Nice Guys

Director: Shane Black

Cast: Russell Crowe and Ryan GoslingProduction company/Distributor: Silver Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures

Release date: 20 May

IMDB: "A private eye investigates the apparent suicide of a fading porn star in 1970s Los Angeles and uncovers a conspiracy." Starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe this could be the hilarity Hollywood needs between action and serious movies coming this summer.

21. Me Before You

Director: Thea Sharrock

Cast: Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin and Janet McTeer

Production company/Distributor: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Warner Bros. Pictures

Release date: 3 June

A girl from a small town (Emilia Clarke of Game of Thrones fame) falls in love with the unlikeliest of people - a recently paralysed man she has begun taking care of.

22. Warcraft

Director: Duncan Jones

Cast: Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster and Dominic Cooper

Production company/Distributor: Legendary Pictures and Blizzard Entertainment/Universal Pictures

Release date: 10 June

This epic fantasy film is based on one of the best-selling games of all time, Warcraft. It protrays the initial encounters between the orcs and humans.

23. Indignation

Director: James Schamus

Cast: Sarah Gadon, Logan Lerman and Ben Rosenfield

Production company/Distributor: Bing Feng Bao Entertainment/Roadside Attractions

Release date: 29 July

James Schamus makes his directorial debut with a movie based on a Philip Roth novel of the same name. The film is set in Ohio and features Marcus, a working class Jewish student amid the Korean War.

24. The Founder

Director: John Lee Hancock

Cast: Michael Keaton. Laura Dern and Nick Offerman

Production company/Distributor: The Weinstein Company

Release date: 5 August

This upcoming biographical film is about McDonald's, and Ray Kroc's acquisition of the worldwide superstar in the fast food industry.

25. Pete's Dragon

Director: David Lowery

Cast: Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley and Karl Urban

Production company/Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Release date: 12 August

Via IMDB, "The adventures of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliott, who just so happens to be a dragon."

Fun fact: Elliot, the animated dragon, is not a hand-drawn animation but animated entirely in CGI.

26. Ben-Hur

Director: Timur Bekmambetov

Cast: Jack Huston, Morgan Freeman, Toby Kebbell and Rodrigo Santoro

Production company/Distributor: Paramount Pictures/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures

Release date: 19 August

This is based on the 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace. It's apparently a re-imagination and reinterpretation of the novel. There have been two previous adaptations of the movie in 1925 and 1959.

27. Southside With You

Director: Richard Tanne

Cast: Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter

Production company/Distributor: Roadside Attractions/Miramax

Release date: 19 August

The film features young Barack Obama and Michelle Obama and their first date. It premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and has garnered positive word of mouth.

First published: 9 May 2016, 1:48 IST
Sahil Bhalla @IMSahilBhalla

Sahil is a sports and tech correspondent on the speed news desk at Catch. A gadget freak, he loves offering free tech support to family and friends. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College, New York and worked previously for Scroll. He selectively boycotts fast food chains, worries about Arsenal, and travels whenever and wherever he can. Sahil is an unapologetic foodie and a film aficionado.