Summer’s a big season for a lot of things—weddings, travel, festivals—but it’s also a whopper of a season for movies and this year is no exception. There seems to be a particularly large number of high-octane franchises—from “The Amazing Spider Man” and “X-Men” to “Godzilla” and “Transformers 4.” Sci-fi and futuristic thrillers are also available in abundance, from a story about a janitor who discovers she’s the key to earth’s future (“Jupiter Ascending”) to a blockbuster being billed as the anti-Avengers (“Guardians of the Galaxy”).
Then again, all of that’s fairly standard popcorn fare, right? What’s really interesting is the immense number of serious dramas that are also getting summer releases in 2014. Whereas the holiday season used the be prime drama turf, a lot of studios seem to be placing their bets on summer audiences being more amenable to a tear-jerker (ahem, “The Fault in Our Stars”) or a classic thriller (“The Two Faces of January”).
Richard Linklater’s much-lauded movie, “Boyhood,” which he filmed on and off over a whopping 12 years, is also getting a summer release, along with biopics on Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, and Yves Saint Laurent.
Whether you want to laugh, want to cry, or just want to watch stuff blow up, there’s plenty to watch this summer. So here are 60 movies coming out—broken down by action movies, comedies, and dramas—all with movie trailers to whet your appetite!
The Amazing Spider-Man 2: May 2
Peter Parker is at it again, facing a colorful coterie of bad guys including Electro (Jamie Foxx), a young Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan), and The Rhino (Paul Giamatti), all the while still courting his lady love, Gwen Stacy. Even if you’re not into superhero action movies, you can delight in watching real-life love birds Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone make eyes at each other on-screen.
Godzilla: May 16
Before you dismiss this as yet another cheesy re-make of a classic monster flick, watch this trailer, which features a ridiculous cast—Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, and David Strathairn—all directed by visionary director Gareth Edwards of “Monster.” Between the epic disaster shots and the truly panic-inducing performances, this looks pretty epic.
X-Men: Days of Future Past: May 23
Split across two time periods, this “X-Men” installment is the definition of an all-star cast, uniting the casts of the original X-Men movies (Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman) with the new X-Men movies (James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence). The celebrity eye candy alone should be worth the price of a ticket.
Edge of Tomorrow: June 6
Sure, it’s been a bit since Tom Cruise had a bonafide hit movie, but the plot of this movie holds promise: it’s essentially a sci-fi “Groundhog Day.” Cruise plays a futuristic commander who has to re-live the same horrible day—in which he fights an alien army and dies—over and over again.
The Rover: June 13
This “Mad Max”-inspired movie is set in the Australian Outback, where a pack of criminals are pitted against a former soldier (Guy Pierce) with nothing left to lose. Look for Robert Pattinson as an ex-criminal who agrees to help Pierce fight the gang.
The Signal: June 13
This sci-fi thriller centers around two MIT students and skilled hackers, who decide to track a fellow hacker’s signal on a cross-country road trip. Needless to say, once they catch up with said hacker (played by Laurence Fishburne), they end up in a mysterious and terrifying conspiracy.
Transformers 4: Age of Extinction: June 27
The fourth installment of the action-heavy franchise features all the Autobots and Deceptacons you know and love (along with some Dinobots!), but no Shia LaBeouf. Mark Wahlberg takes on the leading man role.
Snowpiercer: June 27
If you didn’t get enough Chris Evans in “Captain America,” try this sci-fi flick, set in a post-apocalyptic future where most of life on earth has been wiped out after a failed attempt to reverse global warming. (Added bonus: Tilda Swinton co-stars!)
Deliver Us from Evil: July 2
Eric Bana stars as a New York cop out to solve a string of supernatural crimes—based on real life cases! (Spooky.)
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: July 11
Caesar, the evolved protagonist of 2011’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” is back—and this time, he’s facing off with a whole new cast of humans, including Keri Russell, Jason Clarke, and Gary Oldman.
Jupiter Ascending: July 18
In the latest effort from the Wachowskis (i.e. the folks behind “The Matrix”), Mila Kunis stars as a woman who discovers she’s an other-worldly warrior, and Channing Tatum plays an assassin who’s tasked with killing her. Of course, he changes his mind, and intergalactic awesomeness ensues.
The Purge: Anarchy: July 18
The sequel to the 2013 summer hit takes the country’s fictional yearly “12 hours of anarchy” rule to new and terrifying heights, with an all-new cast.
I Origins: July 18
Yet another summer sci-fi flick, but this one with a more emo bent: A young molecular biologist (Michael Pitt) and his lab partner (Brit Marling) make a ground-breaking discovery with perception-bending repercussions.
Hercules: July 25
If you’re going to cast a Hercules, who better than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson? In the movie, Hercules is recruited to save a kingdom fighting a warlord played by Ian McShane. (Look for a supporting role by model Irina Shayk!)
Guardians of the Galaxy: August 1
In what’s being billed as the anti-“Avengers,” an eclectic crew of misfits (based on the Marvel Comics franchise of the same name) have a series inter-galactic adventures. The cast includes Zoe Saldana (as a green alien!), Chris Pratt (seriously ripped), Bradley Cooper (as a raccoon!), Vin Diesel, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio Del Toro, and Djimon Hounsou.
Into the Storm: August 8
This tornado disaster movie—centered on the town of Silverton—has an innovative twist: it’s all from a first-person perspective. In a nutshell, it’s meant to feel like “found footage” from the perspective of townspeople and storm chasers.
Lucy: August 8
If you didn’t get enough of Scarlett Johansson kicking butt in “The Avengers,” try this action thriller, in which Johansson—who’s working as a drug mule—accidentally eats one of the drugs she’s carrying and acquires killer superpowers. (Bonus: It’s directed by Luc Besson, of “La Femme Nikita” fame!)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: August 8
If every other superhero movie is getting a reboot, why not the most awesome turtles ever? Megan Fox stars as reporter April O’Neil, and Johnny Knoxville voices one of the turtles.
The Expendables 3: August 15
Mel Gibson, Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Arnold Schwartzenegger, Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Kellan Lutz … and a whole lot of explosions. ‘Nuff said.
Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For: August 22
The sequel to 2005’s “Sin City” has been a long time coming, and the cast is pretty killer: Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Rosario Dawson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green, Ray Liotta, Jaime King, Jeremy Piven, Mickey Rourke, and Bruce Willis.
Walk of Shame: May 2
A journalist (Elizabeth Banks) finds that her dreams of becoming a serious news actor are derailed after a drunken-night stand with hunky James Marsden that leaves her stranded in Los Angeles with only eight hours to get to the big interview.
Chef: May 9
An all-star cast, including Dustin Hoffman, Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Oliver Platt, Scarlett Johansson, and Robert Downey Jr. united behind Jon Favreau, who plays a chef who quotes his job and takes his culinary skills on the road to get his groove back.
Neighbors: May 9
In an absolute nightmare scenario, new parents Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne discover that their new neighbor is a fraternity, helmed by Zac Efron. Hilarity ensues.
The Double: May 9
Based on a novella by Dostoyevsky, this dark comedy features Jesse Eisenberg as a man whose doppelgänger proceeds to steal his life—from his job to his girlfriend, played by Mia Wasikowska.
Blended: May 23
Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore play single parents who go on a terrible blind date and then, through a twist of face, wind up wind up on the same African vacation.
A Million Ways to Die in the West: May 31
Seth MacFarlane fans, rejoice! The “Ted” director is back with a new spoof set in the West. “A Million Ways” features the kind of all-star cast that’s sure to keep the movie interesting—Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris, Giovanni Ribisi, and Liam Neeson—even if the plot may seem a little thin.
22 Jump Street: June 13
Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are back, reprising their roles as undercover cops—only this time they’re infiltrating a college frat. Yep, let that sink in.
Think Like a Man Too: June 20
The sequel to Steve Harvey’s hit “Think Like a Man,” the whole gang returns to hit Vegas for a big wedding.
They Came Together: June 27
If you loved “Wet Hot American Summer,” get excited: this movie reunites the majority of the cult hit’s cast, including Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Ken Marino, and Michael Ian Black for romantic comedy about a corporate exec who has to shut down a candy shop run by (you guessed it) a seriously cute gal.
Tammy: July 2
The hilarious Melissa McCarthy stars in this comedy—directed by her husband, Ben Falcone!—where a woman having the worst of all possible days decides to hop a ride with her grandmother (played by Susan Sarandon) and head for Niagara Falls. Expect road trip hijinks and McCarthy-brand hilarity.
And So It Goes … July 11
Rob Reiner is back with yet another rom-com—this one featuring Michael Douglas as a cocky realtor who needs help from the inimitable Diane Keaton.
Magic in the Moonlight: July 25
Woody Allen’s latest features stars Colin Firth as a man out to solve a con job, with co-stars including Emma Stone and Marcia Gay Harden.
Sex Tape: July 25
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz play a couple who’ve been together 10 years and want to spice things up, so, naturally, they create a sex tape. Naturally, it doesn’t stay so private.
Let’s Be Cops: August 13
Two pals dress up like cops for a costume party—and wind up on a hilarious adventure once some locals mistake them for the real deal. It may sound like a canned plot, but the cast—Damon Wayans Jr., Rob Riggle, Nina Dobrev, Jake Johnson—might just make this into a sleeper hit.
Frank: August 22
In this dark comedy, Michael Fassbender stars as real-life musican Chris Sievey, a.k.a. Frank Sidebottom, who was famous for wearing a massive paper-mache head in his performances. (Maggie Gyllenhaal co-stars.)
Dramas & Thrillers
Devil’s Knot: May 9
Director Atom Egoyan dramatizes the incredible events of the “West Memphis Three,” a group of teens who were tried and convicted of the 1993 murders of three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. Reese Witherspoon stars as the mother of one of the victims; Colin Firth plays a private detective, and Dane DeHaan is a young suspect in the crime.
Palo Alto: May 9
Gia Coppola directs Emma Roberts in this adaptation of James Franco’s short story collection. Look for some amazing cameos on some of the vignettes, including Val Kilmer and Chris Messina.
Million Dollar Arm: May 16
Jon Hamm plays a down-on-his-luck sports agent who comes up with the idea to recruit Indian cricket players to become major league baseball pitchers. (Lake Bell co-stars!) Will it work? And, will this be Hamm’s long-overdue break-out movie role? Time will tell.
The Immigrant: May 16
Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard, and Jeremy Renner star in this period drama about immigrants in 1921 New York who are forced to go to great lengths to make it in America.
Tracks: May 23
Set in 1977 Australia, “Tracks” stars Mia Wasikowska as an adventuring women who travels across 1700 miles of Australian deserts with a National Geographic photographer by her side.
Maleficent: May 30
The hype has been building for months — from beauty collections to clothing inspired by the movie — and on May 30, moviegoers will finally get to see Angelina Jolie as the evil queen from Disney’s 1959 movie, “Sleeping Beauty.”
Filth: May 30
James McAvoy plays a detective sergeant in Scotland who’s investigating the murder of a Chinese boy, while being constantly befuddled by a series of crazy events. Go for the filmmaking, stay for the McAvoy gawking.
Night Moves: May 30
This drama, starring Jessie Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, and Peter Sarsgaard, centers around a group of environmental activists who try to destroy a hydroelectric dam.
The Fault in Our Stars: June 6
Based on the smash hit young adult book, this movie traces the blossoming romance between a young girl with terminal cancer (Shailene Woodley) and a boy she meets in a support group who has a prosthetic leg. Not to spoil anything for you, but bring tissue. Lots of it.
Jimi: All is By My Side: June 13
Outkast’s Andre 3000 (Andre Benjamin) plays Jimi Hendrix! If that doesn’t pull you in, the biopic was written and directed by the screenwriter of “12 Years a Slave.”
Lullaby: June 13
Garrett Hedlund stars as a young man who attempts to patch things up with his father after hearing he’s about to take himself off life support. (Amy Adams costars.)
Jersey Boys: June 20
Sure, you’ve heard of the award-winning musical, “Jersey Boys,” but did you know Clint Eastwood directed the movie version? That’s right, Eastwood helms this production, which features at least one of the original members of the Broadway cast.
Third Person: June 20
Paul Haggis of “Crash” fame directs this story of interconnected couples, starring Olivia Wilde, James Franco, Mila Kunis, Adrien Brody, and Liam Neeson.
Yves Saint Laurent: June 25
This fashion-forward biopic traces the rise and turbulent personal life of one of the greatest designers of the 20th century, Yves Saint Laurent, as he moves from the house of Dior to establishing his own line.
Begin Again: July 4
The director of “Once” is at it again with another story of song-writing love birds—this time Keira Knightley, who plays a singer-songwriter, and Mark Ruffalo, who plays a record executive. (Look for a cameo by Adam Levine, who plays Knightley’s ex!)
Life Itself: July 4
This Roger Ebert documentary—based on Ebert’s memoirs—wasn’t, unfortunately, finished before the legendary movie critic passed away in 2013, and apparently there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when it was premiered at Sundance earlier this year.
Boyhood: July 11
This groundbreaking movie by Richard Linklater traces a boy’s life, as filmed on and off over a whopping 12 years—from first grade to 12th grade. The boy’s (divorced) parents are played by Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke.
A Long Way Down: July 11
In this adaptation of a Nick Hornby novel, a group of strangers meet on a London rooftop on New Year’s eve with plans to commit suicide—in this case, Pierce Brosnan, Aaron Paul, Toni Collette, and Imogen Poots. The suicide plans are called off, and adventures ensue.
Wish I Was Here: July 18
Ten years after “Garden State,” Zach Braff’s directorial follow-up features a dad who finds himself at a crossroads with his wife (Kate Hudson) and father (Mandy Patinkin).
Step Up: All In: July 25
The latest installment of the hit dance phenomenon takes us to Las Vegas, where dancers compete for the opportunity of a lifetime.
What If: August 1
Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan star in this classic tale of boy-meets-girl, boy-and-girl-aren’t-sure-it’s-the-right-time-to-be-together, boy-and-girl-try-to-just-be-friends flick.
Get On Up: August 1
Mick Jagger helped produce this epic James Brown biopic, directed by Tate Taylor (“The Help”). The legendary singer is played by Chadwick Boseman, who played Jackie Robinson in “42.”
The Two Faces of January: August 8
Kristen Dunst and Viggo Mortensen team up in this adaptation of a Patricia Highsmith novel in which a wealthy American couple traveling through Greece in the ’60s gets taken in by a con man.
The Giver: August 15
Adapted from the cult 1993 novel, this futuristic flick is already getting a ton of buzz—and not just because it stars Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgard, Katie Holmes, and Taylor Swift. Set in a seemingly perfect world where bad things never happen, one young man is charged with carrying all the memories of a community—both good and bad.
If I Stay: August 22
Chloë Grace Moretz plays a girl on the verge of a major life decision—to go to Juilliard or stay with the love of her life at home—who is then struck by a horrible car accident that puts her life in the balance.
Life of Crime: August 29
Jennifer Aniston goes indie in this gritty adaptation of an Elmore Leonard book, in which a real estate developer’s wife is kidnapped and hijinks abound. (Tim Robins, Isla Fisher, and Will Forte co-star.)