They’re calling this coming movie summer of atomic blonds and wonder women a gender-empowerment breakthrough, and though I hate to be a buzzkill, I have to note the first big Memorial Day holiday slot goes to Baywatch.
Still, it is an unusual summer — just about every Friday night will be ladies' night.
Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman, Charlize Theron is an international woman of mystery in the action movie Atomic Blonde. There’s Rough Night, a sort of female take on The Hangover, and there’s Girl’s Trip, with Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith.
Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn star in the buddy comedy Snatched. Aubrey Plaza stars in the social-media comedy Ingrid Goes West, and Katherine Waterston has a Sigourney Weaver-size role in Alien: Covenant. Elle Fanning, Naomi Watts, and Susan Sarandon star in the gender-transition drama 3 Generations.
Women are behind the camera, as well. Kathryn Bigelow directs Detroit, Sofia Coppola remakes the Clint Eastwood film The Beguiled. Her mom, Eleanor, directs Paris Can Wait. Her dad, Francis, is busy making wine.
What are the men doing this summer? Sequels and reboots, mostly. Tom Cruise does another Mummy. Johnny Depp another Pirates of the Caribbean, and Mark Wahlberg a Transformers, Chris Pratt another Guardians of the Galaxy.
Here are some of the highlights, dates subject to change.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) gets to spend some time with his demigod father (Kurt Russell), known as Ego the Living Planet. The '70s pop hit "Brandy" also plays a key role. (May 5).
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Not sure it’s a great sign they felt the need to specify the fact that King Arthur’s legend involved a sword, but it might be interesting to see what Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes) does with his own country’s origins story. Charlie Hunnam stars. (May 12).
Snatched. A party girl (Amy Schumer) persuades her mother (Goldie Hawn) to go on an exotic South American vacation. The itinerary includes a kidnapping, and other comic misadventures. (May 12).
Alien: Covenant. Another crew (James Franco, Danny McBride, Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender) runs afoul of the universe’s most invasive pest, not counting us. (May 19).
Baywatch. Who can fill the surf shoes of David Hasselhoff? Probably anyone, but certainly Dwayne Johnson. He costars here with Zac Efron in a reboot of the old TV show. (May 24).
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. I call B.S. on the title. The whole series is constructed on the premise of dead men telling tales. Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, and Keira Knightley return; Javier Bardem is new. (May 26).
Paris Can Wait. While her movie-director husband (Alec Baldwin) is busy in Paris, a wife (Diane Lane) goes on a food and wine tour of Provence. (May 26).
Wonder Woman. After a warm-up in Batman Vs. Superman: Yawn of Justice – sorry, Dawn of Justice — Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) gets her own origin story. With Chris Pine, Robin Wright. (June 2).
The Mummy. Tom Cruise takes over for Brendan Fraser, and saves the modern world from the resurrected soul of an evil princess. With Russell Crowe. (June 9).
All Eyez on Me. Biopic of hip-hop figure Tupac Shakur (Demetrius Shipp Jr.), directed by Benny Boom. With Kat Graham as Jada Pinkett, Danai Gurira as Afeni Shakur, and Jamal Woolard as Biggie Smalls. (June 16).
Cars 3. Race car Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) is losing his edge, but a new coach/car (Nathan Fillion) helps him learn to compete against younger rivals. Cars 3, or Rocky 3? (June 16).
Rough Night. A bachelorette party gets out of hand after a male stripper dies. The cast includes Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Zoe Kravitz, Jillian Bell, and Broad City’s Ilana Glazer, and is helmed by Broad City director Lucia Aniello. (June 16).
Transformers: The Last Knight. Promises, promises. Mark Wahlberg costars with Anthony Hopkins, who plays a robot historian seeking to figure out why the Transformers keep coming here. That makes two of us. (June 23).
The Beguiled. During the Civil War, young women (including Elle Fanning) take in a wounded soldier (Colin Farrell). With Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst. (June 23).
Despicable Me 3. Continuing adventures of Gru, Lucy, and family continue with an interesting array of vocal talent -- including Trey Parker, Julie Andrews, and Russell Brand. (June 30).
The House. Mom and dad (Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler) can’t afford their daughter’s tuition bills, so they start an illegal casino in their basement. (June 30).
Spider-Man: Homecoming. Tom Holland is the “new” Spider-Man, which returns Peter Parker to high school to start the whole thing over again. (July 7).
The Big Sick. Amazon saw this movie at Sundance and paid $12 million for it. Pakistani American comedian (Kumail Nanjiani) falls for a non-Muslim woman (Zoe Kazan) and cares for her when she gets sick. Based on Nanjiani’s real-life relationship with Emily Gordon. (July 7).
War for the Planet of the Apes. Apes are in charge. Andy Serkis plays everybody who is not Woody Harrelson or Steve Zahn. (July 14).
Dunkirk. Christopher Nolan directs this account of the WWII evacuation of British troops from Dunkirk. With Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh. (July 21).
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Luc Besson adapts a popular graphic novel. With Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne. (July 21).
Atomic Blonde. From the John Wick creative team, the story of a British agent (Charlize Theron) who investigates the murder of a fellow agent in Berlin. (July 28).
The Dark Tower. Based on the Stephen King books about a gunslinger (Idris Elba) with access to multiple dimensions. Envisioned as an ambitious trilogy connected with a television series. With Matthew McConaughey. (Aug. 4).
Detroit. Kathryn Bigelow directs John Boyega, Jason Mitchell, and Anthony Mackie in this account of the 1967 Detroit riots. (Aug. 4).
Ingrid Goes West. Aubrey Plaza plays a mentally unstable woman who becomes obsessed with a woman (Elizabeth Olsen) popular on social media. (Aug. 4).
Wind River. Writer Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water) directs this mystery about murder on an Indian reservation, starring Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, and Jon Bernthal. (Aug. 4).
The Hitman's Bodyguard. Buddy comedy about a security specialist (Ryan Reynolds) assigned to guard a hit man (Samuel L. Jackson) who's sitting on information that makes him the world's leading assassination target. (Aug. 18).