The top 10 summer movies that are taking aim at 'Avengers'

Jeff Strickler
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
This image released by Disney shows the characters Mufasa, voiced by James Earl Jones, left, and Simba, voiced by JD McCrary, in a scene from "The Lion King," directed by Jon Favreau.

The tremendous response to "Avengers: Endgame" — which not only set opening-weekend box office records but now has claimed the title of the "most-tweeted-about movie ever" — set the bar pretty high for the slate of summer movies. But that doesn't mean that the rest of Hollywood is giving up without a fight — be it involving superpowers (Spider-Man), superstars (Elton John) or super hits ("Toy Story").

Here are the movies that will be jockeying for superiority in the next few weeks (release dates are subject to change).

Mena Massoud as Aladdin, left, and Will Smith as Genie in Disney's live-action adaptation of the 1992 animated classic "Aladdin." This image released by Disney shows

'Aladdin' and 'The Lion King'

On the heels of the remake of "Dumbo" in March, Disney is revisiting two more of its classic animated films. First up is a live-action version of "Aladdin" with Will Smith playing the genie (if anyone could replace the effervescent Robin Williams, he's the one). Later this summer we'll get a reboot of "The Lion King" in what's being described as "photorealism," a souped-up version of computer-generated images that supposedly resemble photographs. From what we've seen of them so far, they are, indeed, impressive. "Aladdin" opens Friday, "The Lion King" on July 19.

Taron Egerton as Elton John in a scene from "Rocketman."


The four Oscars won by the Queen biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody" haven't even had a chance to start gathering dust yet, but here comes another splashy, toe-tapping biography about a musical icon. In this case, it's Sir Elton John. Among the similarities between the two movies is director Dexter Fletcher, who was hired to wrap up "Rhapsody" after Bryan Singer was fired. British TV star Taron Egerton, who does his own singing in the movie, got John's seal of approval to the point that the two of them have performed together. May 31.

Emma Thompson in a scene from "Late Night."

'Late Night'

Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling have teamed up for this comedy that comes with a side order of feminist indignation. Thompson plays a late-night TV talk show host who fears that her male bosses are trying to force her out. Kaling, who also wrote the movie, plays the only woman on the show's writing staff. The script is based on the time Kaling spent as the only female in the writers' room for "The Office." Envisioned as an indie release, the movie set off a bidding war at Sundance. June 7

Reid Scott, left, and Mindy Kaling in a scene from "Late Night."

'Toy Story 4'

The gang's all back for the next chapter in this incredibly successful animated series. That includes Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Bonnie Hunt, Wallace Shawn and even Don Rickles, whose lines as Mr. Potato Head were pieced together from recordings of the late comic. There are some big-name new voices, too, including Jordan Peele and Keanu Reeves. Not much is being revealed about the plot except that it involves the toys mounting a rescue mission to save one of their own — which is pretty much the plot for all the "Toy Story" movies. June 21.

Himesh Patel in a scene from "Yesterday," directed by Danny Boyle.


A movie based on the music of the Beatles sounds guaranteed to exude good vibes — until you discover that it's directed by Danny Boyle of "Trainspotting" fame. Then again, he did direct "Slumdog Millionaire," which had a certain charm, at least until that kid had his eyes poked out. Bottom line: Whatever we're expecting, Boyle is likely to give us something else. The story involves a hack songwriter (played by Himesh Patel, TV's "Eastenders") who discovers that no one remembers the Beatles, so he tries to pass off their hit songs as his own. June 28.

'Spider-Man: Far From Home'

Tom Holland, who donned the Spidey suit for the "Spider-Man: Homecoming" as well as the last two "Avengers" episodes, is back for this adventure. Bummed out by the way things concluded in "Avengers: Endgame," Peter Parker goes on a trip to Europe. When various evil creatures threaten to wreak havoc, he joins forces with fellow superhero Nick Fury (again played by Samuel L. Jackson) in hopes of saving the world and, by extension, the Marvel Universe. Director Jon Watts returns from "Homecoming." July 2.

'21 Bridges'

When this police adventure went into production two years ago, it was just a blip on Hollywood's radar. Then star Chadwick Boseman parlayed a part-time gig with the "Avengers" into last year's megahit "Black Panther," and suddenly the movie's marquee power skyrocketed. The story involves a massive manhunt for cop killers that results in the entirety of New York City being put on lockdown. The obscure title refers to the closing of the city's bridges (although the original title was "17 Bridges," and we're not sure where the four additional bridges came from). July 12.

Leonardo DiCaprio in Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."

'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'

This Quentin Tarantino movie has gotten as much attention for all the wrangling involved in getting it made as for the contents of the film itself. The production was thrown into disarray when the filmmaker launched a lengthy but eventually successful court battle to wrest control of the project from troubled producer Harvey Weinstein. Set in late '60s Los Angeles — a time when the movie industry was going through massive changes, we're told — it stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. July 26.

Brad Pitt in Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."

'The Kitchen'

Last year's all-female heist movie "Widows," which a lot of insiders had pegged as a niche film, shocked box-office forecasters by becoming a hit. Was that just a one-off oddity, or does it reflect the discovery of the previously overlooked moving-going demographic of women who like action movies involving women? We should get an answer with the release of this 1970s adventure in which Elisabeth Moss, Tiffany Haddish and Melissa McCarthy play mob wives-turned-mobsters. Aug. 9.