This summer, at the movies…

By on April 26, 2017

Oh man, the summer of 2017 is gonna be a high time for fun loving movie fans. The Oscar snobs will look down their noses at the many sequels and trilogies, but if you just love fun movies and want to escape with characters you love, this is the dummer for you!

Some would say the summer kicks off with the highly-anticipated “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (May 4) sequel. Some would say summer begins with the fifth (and final?) “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” (May 26) but for my money, summer begins in the middle of June.

In the middle of June, school is out. Lessons are learned and forgotten. Beach trips are planned and “freedom” is in full swing. Enter a pair of “thirds.” “Cars 3” and “Despicable Me 3” mid-June, and will dominate the box office through the fourth of July. These are, to put it mildly, much beloved franchises and the carry the “fun” banner for the summer.

Transformers will attempt to re-establish their drawing power in June, but it will be all but gone by July, and it gets my vote for highest risk of falling short. “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” on the other hand, will open just after the fourth of July weekend, and will absolutely crush the box office. I don’t think it will be the biggest movie of the year, but it will definitely be the biggest movie of the summer.

The marketing campaign has been in full swing and all the early buzz if off the charts. Marvel will land another winner with this one. And then one week later, the action-fan favorite “War for the Planet of the Apes” will open. This is another one that falls clearly into the “much-anticipated” category. The trailers are amazing and the early buzz is solid.

The second installment of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise opens on May 4. The Guardians are back, in fighting form. They are (left to right) Drax (Dave Bautista), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel). (Image from

The second installment of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise opens on May 4. The Guardians are back, in fighting form. They are (left to right) Drax (Dave Bautista), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel). (Image from


Here are what I think are some films that have good potential to amaze and delight us this summer. “The Dark Tower” (Aug. 4): Starring Idris Elb and Matthew McConaughey should be enough, but what if I told you it was produced by Ron Howard? Yeah, this one should break through the noise and be a winner.

Sofia Coppola directs Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning in “The Beguiled” (June 23). This won’t break any records and it may or may not generate meaningful Oscar buzz but I bet it is a really good movie. Think “Jane Austen meets Stephen King.”

Christopher Nolan’s epic war movie, “Dunkirk,” (July 21) will be a big winner in the action/thriller genre. Music by Hans Zimmer? Count me in. This is one for the true movie fan, the person who loves to be lost and on the edge of their seat throughout. And coming to IMAX no less!

What about some sleepers? “American Assassin” (Sept. 15), “Detroit,” (Aug. 4), “Baby Driver,” (June 28) and “Atomic Blonde” (July 28) are four titles that I suspect will be really great movies that you could miss if you don’t pay attention.

Biggest surprise? “The Mummy” (June 9) will be better than you think.

Best Potential but not a sure thing? “Wonder Woman” (June 2)

Best potential if it’s actually funny? “Snatched” (May 12).

Finally some good horror? “Amityville: The Awakening.” (June 30).

And more good horror to wrap up the summer? “It” (Sept. 8)

All in all, it is gonna be a great summer to be a movie fan. There are a ton of fun movies opening and quite a few really solid films as well to scratch the thoughtful itch that we sometimes get. The only genre that I am still looking for is a true comedy” Lots of these movies will be funny and “Snatched” could be really funny, but the season seems to be missing a good contender for the comedy category. I hope I’m wrong. Frankly I think we’re overdue… overdue for a good, grown up “Hangover” type of comedy that is fresh and funny as hell.

But with all this being said, the very best movie will be the one that I didn’t mention. The one I’ve never heard of with that new kid nobody knows. The one that surprises all of us and catches us off guard. The comedy I didn’t see coming, or the drama that is even more moving than we thought, or the thriller that keeps us guessing. That will be my favorite movie of the summer… the one I didn’t see coming.

Penn Ketchum is a partner with Penn Cinemas, with locations in Lititz and Wilmington, Del. Visit


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