Are summer movies back? For the past few years, the summer movie season has been super weird. In 2020, there wasn’t one due to the pandemic. In 2021, it was an odd mix of theatrical and streaming releases with some of the biggest films having both. But now, in 2022, summer movies are back! Almost.
We say almost, because this year simply isn’t as dense in terms of big summer blockbusters. The ones that are coming though would be welcome in any year. There are not one but two Marvel movies, one of which is already topping the charts; the final Jurassic Park movie; a Toy Story spinoff; and some huge animated sequels. For the horror fan, the team behind Sinister is back with The Black Phone, a Stephen King reboot is on deck with Firestarter, and Jordan Peele is back with the mysterious Nope. All in all, it’s just a very strong lineup.
Below, read about all the biggest sci-fi, fantasy, and horror movies coming to theaters (and streaming) during the summer of 2022.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness - Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen star in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, picking up on Wanda Maximoff’s search for her sons while Stephen Strange discovers America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), a young multiverse-jumping girl on the run from an unknown sinister force who needs his help. Totally unrelated, right? Director Sam Raimi’s return to the big screen and to the world of Marvel is now playing in cinemas.
Firestarter - Based on the Stephen King novel, Blumhouse’s Firestarter centers around Charlie (Ryan Kiera Armstrong), a child with pyrokinetic powers, whose father (Zac Efron) swears to protect against federal agents that seek to weaponize his daughter. When their cover is blown by a freak accident, their location is compromised and those after Charlie and her family don’t know what they’re truly up against. The film is directed by Keith Thomas (The Vigil), from a screenplay by Scott Teems (Halloween Kills). (May 13 in theaters and Peacock)
The Innocents - Written and directed by Eskil Vogt (co-writer of The Worst Person in the World), The Innocents is an indie supernatural thriller about a group of children who reveal mysterious powers after they meet at their apartment complex during a bright Norwegian summer. We love the unpredictability of daytime horror. Catch this one opening in theaters and VOD. (May 13)
Men - A film that will hopefully answer the question: Why are men? Acclaimed writer-director Alex Garland (Ex-Machina, Annihilation) reunites with A24 (X, Everything Everywhere All At Once) to bring us a new picture that just by the trailer alone is sincerely anxiety-inducing. Rory Kinnear and Jessie Buckley star. (May 20)
Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers - Taking place in modern-day LA filled with humans and toons, Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers finds Chip (John Mulaney) and Dale (Andy Sandberg) mostly out of the spotlight after the cancellation of their Disney show. The duo, who had gone their separate ways, must reunite when their old castmate Monterrey Jack disappears mysteriously. The animation/live-action hybrid film directed by Akiva Schaffer (Popstar) also stars Kiki Layne, Eric Bana, Seth Rogen, and J.K. Simmons. It’s set for streaming only on Disney+. (May 20)
The Bob’s Burgers Movie - The Belchers’ plans for a successful summer are thwarted by a ruptured water main which creates a giant sinkhole right in front of Bob’s Burgers. With no way around it, Bob, Linda and the kids find themselves in quite the pickle to figure out how to save the business. Fans of the popular series will recognize the voice cast: Kristen Schaal, H. Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, Larry Murphy, Zach Galifianakis, and Kevin Kline; the animated film is directed by Loren Bouchard and Bernard Derriman. (May 27)
Crimes of the Future - “Surgery is the new sex,” says the trailer for the latest film from the master of the mindfuck, David Cronenberg. Starring Viggo Mortensen Kristen Stewart, and Léa Seydoux, the film is about an artist who thrives on body modification and how that may impact the future of human evolution. But we guess it’s going to get really creepy and weird, really quickly. (June 3, limited)
Jurassic World Dominion - It has finally happened. Dinosaurs have escaped the theme parks they were relegated to and have found their way into human society. What will that do to the world? We’ll find out soon, in the final film of the six-film Jurassic Park arc. Most notably, the main cast of the new trilogy (Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard) will team up with the cast of the original film (Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum) and nerd minds will explode everywhere. (June 10)
Lightyear - Pixar gets meta this summer with this sci-fi action film which is mean to be the movie Toy Story’s Andy saw that made him a Buzz Lightyear fan in the first place. Chris Evans voices Buzz, who is stranded on a remote planet and must travel through time and space to save the day. Or, you know, to infinity and beyond. (June 17)
Spiderhead - From the writers of Deadpool and the director of Tron Legacy comes this sci-fi thriller about a prison where inmates and roam freely, as long as they allow the people who run the place to experiment on them with life-altering drugs. Chris Hemsworth stars alongside Miles Teller and Jurnee Smollett. (June 17, Netflix)
Brian and Charles - A lonely inventor creates a robot as a friend in the film we called “early contender for feel-good movie of the year” when it debuted at Sundance. Based on a short film of the same name, Jim Archer directs from a script by David Earl and Charles Hayward, who play the titular characters. Blending sci-fi with human emotion and endearing, lo-fi practical effects, Brian and Charles has cult classic written all over it. (June 17, limited)
The Black Phone - A movie about a kidnapper who wears a super creepy clown mask sounds scary enough, but that’s just the surface of The Black Phone, the new film from the team behind Sinister and Doctor Strange. Ethan Hawke plays an evil man named “The Grabber” who has a mysterious telephone hanging in the room where he keeps the kidnapped children. A phone that, for one kid, starts ringing. Who is on the other end? The ghosts of the kids the Grabber has already killed. (June 24)
Press Play - Summer doesn’t always have to be just about big-budget Hollywood blockbusters. Sometimes there’s room for a nice, fun romance about a woman who loses her love but then realizes she can travel back in time to see him via a mixtape the couple made. Who doesn’t love a good sci-fi romance? (June 24, theaters and on-demand)
Minions: The Rise of Gru - Set just after the 2015 Despicable Me prequel Minions, The Rise of Gru follows the early days of the budding 12-year-old bad guy-to-be as he tries to join a supervillain group called the Vicious 6. When their leader, Wild Knuckles, is ousted from the 6, Gru sees his chance—only to discover he’ll need the help of Wild Knuckles himself if Gru wants to move up in the world of evil. The film’s wildly over-talented voice cast includes Steve Carrell, Taraji P. Henson, Michelle Yeoh, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo, Alan Arkin, and Pierre Coffin. (July 1)
Thor: Love and Thunder - The God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth) returns—as does Ragnarok director Taika Waititi—as Thor searches for meaning and a purpose in the wake of Thanos’ defeat in Avengers: Endgame. He’ll find it when he discovers Gorr the God-Butcher (Christian Bale), who’s on a mission to kill all deities in the universe. Only Thor, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Korg (Waititi), and Thor—i.e., Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who returns mysteriously wielding Mjolnir and the power of the Thunder god herself—can stop the villain’s rampage. Apologies to the good Doctor Strange, but this is the Marvel movie we’re most looking forward to this summer. (July 8)
The Sea Beast - Originally announced back in 2018, The Sea Beast finally rises from the depths to emerge on Netflix this summer. In a fantasy world where the oceans are filled with giant creatures, Jacob Holland (Karl Urban) is the greatest monster hunter of them all—at least, until he discovers he has a stowaway in the form of an adventurous young girl named Maisie (Zaris-Angel Hator). The Sea Beast is directed by Chris Williams, who also directed Moana and Big Hero 6 for Disney, so expect good things. (July 8, Netflix)
Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank - In a faux Japan, a hapless beagle named Hank (Michael Cera) wants to protect his village from the evil cat Ika Chu (Ricky Gervais) and his army. His only hope is to convince Jimo (Samuel L. Jackson) to become Hank’s sensei and teach him the ways of the samurai. The trailer features a dog getting stuck in the butt cheeks of a massive sumo-wrestling cat, so that’s probably everything you need to know about this movie. (July 15)
Nope - Jordan Peele’s newest horror film looks even more unnerving than Get Out and Us put together, which is really saying something. The only summary of the film available is this: ranchers, played by Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya, Hustlers’ Keke Palmer, and Minari’s Steven Yuen, “bear witness to an uncanny and chilling discovery” in an isolated part of California. If you’ve seen the trailer, you know this is an absolutely bananas understatement of what happens in the film—and goodness only knows how much more terrifying the full movie will be. (July 22)
DC League of Super-Pets - Superman’s dog Krypto (Dwayne Johnson) and Batman’s dog Ace (Kevin Hart) join forces to rescue the Justice League after Lex Luthor captures them, with help from a mysterious, hairless guinea pig named Lulu (Kate McKinnon). But the super-pooches won’t be able to do it alone: They’ll need help from a pot-belled pig with growing/shrinking powers named PB (Vanessa Beyer), a turtle named Merton (Natasha Lyonne) with super-speed, and Chip the electric Squirrel (Diego Luna). Between the adorable CG critters and DC superheroes, we expect this to be a big family hit. (July 29)
Luck - An animated feature from Apple+, Luck is about Sam Greenfield (Eva Noblezada), the unluckiest person in the world. When she’s transported into the mysterious and magical Land of Luck, she must team up with some magical creatures in order to break her unlucky streak. Simon Pegg, Jane Fonda, and Whoopi Goldberg are all supporting voices. (August 5, Apple TV+)
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie - In a time-traveling mystery, a stranger who claims to be from the future issues a warning to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: prepare for an alien invasion. As the terrifying Krang threatens to land on earth, Leo (Ben Schwartz) must get his brothers Raph (Omar Benson Miller), Donnie (Josh Brener), and Mikey (Brandon Mychal Smith) into fighting shape in order to save the world. (August 5, Netflix)
Resurrection - Margaret (Rebecca Hall) has worked hard to build up a comfortable life when she’s suddenly confronted by a man (Tim Roth) from her past, despite avoiding him, and her own dark history, for nearly 20 years. Where did he come from? (August 5)
Secret Headquarters - When Charlie (Walter Scobel, Percy Jackson) discovers a superhero’s secret headquarters under his home, he and his friends suspect that his estranged father might be leading a double life as a caped crusader. Secret Headquarters is set to be directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, and Owen Wilson, Michael Peña, and Jesse Williams are set to star. (August 5)
Samaritan - Twenty years after Samaritan, the superhero alias of Joe Smith (Sylvester Stallone), went missing after an epic showdown, a young boy (Javon Walton) discovers that he’s still alive. This film is directed by Julius Avery (Overlord) and is based on the Mythos Comics graphic novels written by Bragi F. Schut, Marc Olivent, and Renzo Podesta. (August 26)
Three Thousand Years of Longing - A new epic fantasy from George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road) stars Idris Elba as a genie who grants a lonely scholar (Tilda Swinton) three wishes. She asks for love, and that sets them both down an unforseen path. (August 31)
Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.