With the release of blockbusters like “The Little Mermaid,” “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” and the famed “Barbenheimer” internet rivalry, cinematic experiences made a comeback to the big screen this summer.
Amid the progressing SAG-AFTRA writer’s strike in the entertainment world, the period of scarce new written material from Hollywood may lead to fewer films in theaters in the coming years. Nevertheless, audiences flocked to the theaters to catch major studio releases this summer and enjoyed the moviegoing experience — which, for now, remains unaffected by the strike.
On May 26, the release of Disney’s live-action film “The Little Mermaid” kicked off the start of the summer film season. Ariel, portrayed by singer and actress Halle Bailey, found new breath in the reimagined re-make of the animated 1989 film. Despite being a remake of a familiar story, the movie was a box-office hit and successfully scored an estimated $296 million in the United States and Canada, according to IMDb.
For some fanatics, summer film festivities began in the south of France at the Cannes Film Festival. Each year, a plethora of actors, filmmakers and members of the press converge in Cannes, France for a two-week preview of films and series from around the world May 14-25.
Major films, such as “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” premiered at the French festival before their wider commercial release later in the year. Director Wes Anderson debuted his latest work “Asteroid City” at the Cannes Film Festival earlier in May, alongside other exciting works like the upcoming Scorsese Oscar-contender “Killers of the Flower Moon” and HBO’s controversial and short-lived series “The Idol.”
After festival season, audiences sought out adventure in their cinema. In June, Miles Morales returned to the screen in the “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” for the newest addition to Sony’s Spider-Verse storyline. Miles, voiced by Shameik Moore, joins Gwen Stacy, voiced by Hailee Steinfeld, in this energetic sequel to the animated 2018 “Into the Spider-Verse.”
The second film in the Spider-Verse franchise was met with support from critics and audiences alike, bestowing a 95% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
In July, thrilling franchises like the new Insidious film, “The Red Door” and “Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning, Part One,” descended upon cinemas to bring audiences to the edge of their seats. “Red Door” viewers expected more midsummer scares than the Insidious sequel could deliver, and the film earned a low 39% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Conversely, Tom Cruise‘s return as Ethan Hunt in “Dead Reckoning” left audiences pleased with the seventh addition to the Mission Impossible franchise, as viewers rated the movie at 96% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Undoubtedly it was July’s same-day release of Greta Gerwig‘s “Barbie” and Christopher Nolan‘s “Oppenheimer” that blew box office records out of the water. With the help of the internet and strategic studio marketing for the blockbusters, masses flocked to theaters July 21, to watch both films as a “Barbenheimer” double-feature.
Margot Robbie produced and starred as the titular “Barbie” in the female-driven film that reimagines the iconic Mattel doll in modern-day Los Angeles. Despite the film’s glitzy pink backdrop and dreamy costumery, “Barbie” deals with self-realization, existentialism and finding purpose.
Starring eminent actors like Ryan Gosling, America Ferrera and Will Ferrell, the long-awaited “Barbie” was met with widespread support from children and adults alike and scored an 88% rating from audiences.
Set in the United States during World War II, the film stars Cillian Murphy as the world-famous physicist whose findings would forever change the trajectory of chemical warfare. The movie boasts supporting actors such as Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr. and Florence Pugh, and audiences rated the ominous biographical thriller highly at 91% on Rotten Tomatoes.
In August, audiences sought adventure with Jeff Rowe’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.” Released Aug. 2, the iconic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles inspired awesomeness in their latest animated feature “Mutant Mayhem.” In this new chapter, the teen turtles come of age in Brooklyn, New York and try to fit in while fighting crime.
The film earned a 96% rating from Rotten Tomatoes and left viewers with a taste for adventure. Action movie enthusiasts can look forward to DC Comics’ upcoming Aug. 18 release, “Blue Beetle,” which presents viewers with a jam-packed escapade.
Many viewers returned to theaters for the first time in three years after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Movies from the 2023 summer season shattered box office records, even rivaling the earnings of pre-pandemic blockbusters.
While the writers’ strike may delay upcoming films from further production, this season exemplifies the type of magic movies bring viewers.
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