A sneak peek of the best of the big screen for families this summer.
Disney, Marvel and toys will set the tone for summer movies in 2023. Not a lot different from many summer seasons of the past, but it’s a sign the movie biz is beginning to get back to normal.
And as families get back to their more normal routines, movie houses can still be a quality night out together.
This summer’s films are not all popcorn movies, a few are documentaries and one is really a film for parents trying to deal with their anxieties about modern parenting. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the summer will be loaded with love, laughs, heroism, believing in yourself, togetherness, and yes, toys.
Disney kicks off the summer with a live-action re-make of “The Little Mermaid.” The classic tale of a young mermaid who gives up her life in the sea for the love of a prince was already given the animated treatment by Disney, but this version stars Halle Bailey and includes Awkwafina, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Melissa McCarthy.
“Wild Life” goes the other way. It’s a somber yet inspirational documentary about two conservationists who dedicated themselves to saving a wilderness area.
Between the latest Marvel movies — known as the MCU — is Marvel’s latest animated film. “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” is third in the “Spider-Verse” animated franchise, though not part of the MCU.
The animated film “Strays” tells the story of a dog abandoned by his owner who hits the mean streets of the city to find his own way. And while this is an animated film, it’s rated R, mostly for language. If your kids are older, or you’re ready to introduce them to some adult language and situations via a dog cartoon, this might be the way to go. It stars the voices of Will Ferrell and Jamie Foxx.
“Users” is a documentary asking larger questions, and it begins with a big one: A mother wonders if her children will love the perfect machine more than they love her, their imperfect mother, as she sets the smart crib to rock her baby to sleep. Many more questions follow about how our technology might affect our children’s lives. Deep stuff. Powerful imagery. And a conversation starter with your kids.
Later in the month, “Elemental” is an animated film about a city where fire, water, land and air residents must learn to live together. “Harold and the Purple Crayon” is an adaptation of the classic children’s book series about a little boy with a magic purple crayon who loves to draw and the things they do together. And from little boys to teenage mythological creatures, “Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken” is about finding your purpose in a high school where everyone seems to be a fish out of water.
After Independence Day, the summer movies keep rolling with director Greta Gerwig’s take on the iconic toy, “Barbie.” Early buzz is strong on the film starring Margot Robbie as the living doll kicked out of Barbie Land for not being perfect enough and a journey of inner beauty begins.
Disney returns, bringing its “Haunted Mansion” to life with a family struggling to stay together in their home filled with ghosts. Jamie Lee Curtis as Madame Leota can’t go wrong.
The summer winds down with a trio of films on characters from the pages of books and comics. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” is a new take on the former comic book “Heroes in a Half-Shell.” “Blue Beetle” is the first movie version of a comic superhero (or actually multiple superheroes) dating back to 1939. And lastly, “White Bird: A Wonder Story” is a sequel of sorts to the film “Wonder,” where Julian’s grandmother tells him about her life as a Jewish girl in Nazi-occupied France during World War II.
- May 26
- “The Little Mermaid”
- “Wild Life”
- June 2
- “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”
- June 9
- June 16
- June 30
- “Harold and the Purple Crayon”
- “Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken”
- July 21
- July 28
- “Haunted Mansion”
- Aug. 4
- “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem”
- Aug. 18
- “Blue Beetle”
- “White Bird: A Wonder Story”