These days, if a summer movie season arrives without a superhero movie, did a summer movie season really arrive at all? It's a moral quandary we needn't reckon with this year, what with the forthcoming releases of movies from every superhero universe except — surprisingly enough — the MCU. (Marvel's next big-screen release is November's The Marvels.) The next three months will offer blockbusters galore (from a new Transformers movie to a new Mission: Impossible movie to a new Indiana Jones movie), the return of R-rated studio comedies (starring the likes of Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence and nominee Stephanie Hsu), and more. It crescendos in the opening weekend of all opening weekends: Barbie and Oppenheimer both open in theaters the weekend of July 21.
Scroll on for A.frame's guide to all of the biggest movies of the summer.
June 2: 'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse'
Arriving four years after Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which took home the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film, the Spider-Verse sequel sends Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) on another adventure with his Spider-pals (Hailee Steinfeld's Ghost-Spider and Jake Johnson's Peter B. Parker). This time, it's Miles who's traveling the multiverse, where he'll be pitted against the web-slinger Miguel O'Hara aka Spider-Man 2099 (Oscar Isaac) and the villainous Spot (Jason Schwartzman).
June 9: 'Transformers: Rise of the Beasts'
Five years after 2018's Bumblebee pumped new gas into the Transformers franchise, the '90s-set Rise of the Beasts casts Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback as the hapless humans caught in the middle of an intergalactic battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons — and the new animalistic faction, the Maximals. Pete Davidson and Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh are among those voicing Transformers this go-around, with Creed II director Steven Caple Jr. at the helm.
June 16: 'Elemental'
Directed by The Good Dinosaur helmer Peter Sohn, Pixar's latest offering is set in a world where the four elements — fire, water, land, and air — live together in tenuous harmony. Elemental follows Ember (voiced by Leah Lewis), a fiery young woman, and Wade (Mamoudou Athie), a watery guy, as they discover just how much they have in common. The movie's voice cast includes Wendi McLendon-Covey, Joe Pera, and Catherine O'Hara.
June 23: 'No Hard Feelings'
After revisiting her indie roots with last year's Causeway, Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence now tries her hand at something new: An R-rated studio comedy. Here, Lawrence plays Maddie, a car-less Uber driver who answers an online ad to "date" a socially awkward 19-year-old (Andrew Barth Feldman). Based on a real Craigslist ad, the raunchy comedy hails from Bad Teacher and Good Boys writer-director Gene Stupnitsky.
June 30: 'Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny'
Harrison Ford dusts off his trusty ole fedora one final time. The fifth installment in the franchise sees Ford's hero archaeologist racing to recover the eponymous artifact before it falls into the wrong hands, with a cast that also includes Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen, Boyd Holbrook, and Antonio Banderas. The Dial of Destiny is the first Indiana Jones movie not to be directed by Steven Spielberg; instead, it is helmed by two-time Oscar nominee James Mangold (Logan and Ford v Ferrari).
July 7: 'Joy Ride'
Crazy Rich Asians screenwriter Adele Lim makes her directorial debut with an "unapologetically explicit" (read: R-rated) comedy about four unlikely friends — played by Ashley Park, Sherry Cola, Sabrina Wu and newly-minted Oscar nominee Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once) — who travel across China in search of Park's character's birth mother. Hijinks ensue. The cast also features Crazy Rich Asians scene-stealer Ronny Chieng, Lori Tan Chinn, and Meredith Hagner.
July 12: 'Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One'
Nearly three decades after Tom Cruise accepted his original mission in 1996's Mission: Impossible, the seventh installment in the series sends Cruise's Ethan Hunt on his "most dangerous mission yet" — with an assist from M:I regulars Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, and Vanessa Kirby. Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie is at the helm of Dead Reckoning Part One and its follow-up, which is slated to hit theaters in summer 2024.
July 21: 'Barbie'
"To live in Barbie Land is to be a perfect being in a perfect place. Unless you have a full-on existential crisis. Or you're a Ken." That's the logline for Greta Gerwig's idiosyncratic spin on Mattel's most famous doll, starring Oscar nominees Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken, respectively. Issa Rae, Hari Nef and Kate McKinnon also play Barbies, while Kingsley Ben-Adir and Simu Liu also play Kens. John Cena, naturally, plays a merman.
July 21: 'Oppenheimer'
In the most-discussed counterprogramming of the summer, opposite Barbie arrives Christopher Nolan's biopic about the theoretical physicist who became known as the "father of the atomic bomb," J. Robert Oppenheimer, and his work with the Manhattan Project during World War II. The movie marks Nolan's sixth collaboration with Cillian Murphy, who plays Oppenheimer, with a cast that also includes Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Rami Malek, Kenneth Branagh and Gary Oldman.
July 28: 'Talk to Me'
Talk to Me was unveiled in the midnight lineup at this year's Sundance Film Festival, where early audiences vowed it would be the scariest movie of the year. The feature debut of twin brothers Danny and Michael Philippou, from a script by Danny and Bill Hinzman, the horror flick revolves around a party game that involves teenagers conjuring spirits using an embalmed hand. But when one of the séances goes awry, a supernatural force is unleashed upon the world.
Aug. 2: 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem'
The Heroes in a Half Shell first cowabunga-ed onto the big screen back in 1990 — in a live-action movie featuring turtle costumes by Jim Henson — and have returned a handful of time over the years. The latest is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, an animated adventure from producer and co-writer Seth Rogen that boasts a voice cast that includes Rose Byrne, Jackie Chan, Maya Rudolph, Paul Rudd, and more. Two-time Oscar winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are composing the score.
Aug. 11: 'Heart of Stone'
Gal Gadot's future as Wonder Woman may be in limbo at the new DC Studios, but she's still finding plenty of other outlets to kick ass. Heart of Stone, a spy thriller conceived by The Old Guard creator Greg Rucka, casts Gadot as elite MI6 agent Rachel Stone in a globe-trotting tale of international espionage. If viewers take to this initial outing, Netflix hopes to turn the movie into its own franchise in the vein of The Bourne Identity and James Bond.
Aug. 11: 'Red, White & Royal Blue'
Casey McQuiston's bestselling novel is getting a big, gay rom-com adaptation courtesy of Tony Award-winning writer-director Matthew López and producer Greg Berlanti (Love, Simon). Red, White & Royal Blue centers on first son Alex Claremont-Diaz (Taylor Zakhar Perez) and Prince Henry (Nicholas Galitzine) as they give new meaning to foreign affairs. Oscar nominee Uma Thurman plays the president of the United States, what more could a queer heart hope for?
Aug. 18: 'Blue Beetle'
The last relic of DC's cinematic universe before James Gunn took the reigns, Blue Beetle marks the superhero's first-ever appearance on the big screen. So, what's Blue Beetle's deal? Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña) is a down-on his luck recent college grad who inherits super, albeit unpredictable, powers thanks to a bit of ancient alien biotechnology. Damían Alcázar, Harvey Guillén and George Lopez co-star, with Oscar winner Susan Sarandon as the movie's villain, Victoria Kord.
Aug. 18: 'Strays'
Twenty-twenty-three is officially the summer of the R-rated comedy, culminating in the release of a talking-animal movie where everything the animals say is profane. Will Ferrell voices a stray dog named Reggie who vows revenge on his no-good former owner (Will Forte), with Oscar winner Jamie Foxx voicing the street-wise Boston Terrier, Bug. Josh Greenbaum, who helmed the standout 2021 comedy Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, directs from a screenplay by Dan Perrault.