THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY IS CALLING THIS A “REBUILD SUMMER” AS CINEMAS ANTICIPATE LARGE REBOUND CROWDS, STREAMING SERVICES UNVEIL NEW AND RETURNING CONTENT, AND TOP MUSICAL ARTISTS RESUME AMBITIOUS TOURING SCHEDULES IN THE U.S. AND ACROSS THE GLOBE
BY LAURA D.C. KOLNOSKI AND AMANDA McCOY
2022 FILM FORECAST
LIGHTYEAR JUNE 2022
Before the toy, there was Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear, the fictional astronaut who inspired the plaything featured in the Toy Story movies. This is his origin story. Appropriately, Captain America Chris Evans voices the young Buzz, who embarks on an intergalactic adventure “to Infinity and beyond” in 3901, aided by a group of ambitious recruits (voices of Keke Palmer, Dale Soules, and Taika Waititi), and his robot cat companion Sox. Look for a scene in a foggy forest, a nod to the Star Wars franchise. Other voices provided by Uzo Aduba and James Brolin.
UNRATED / JULY
Does that stand for “Not of Planet Earth”? At press time, writer/director Jordan Peele (Get Out) still wasn’t saying. His latest horror/thriller with social overtones focuses on a remote Black-owned California ranch where horses are trained for movies. The inhabitants witness a chilling mysterious force that affects human and animal behavior. Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya stars along with Keke Palmer, Donna Mills, and Oscar nominee Steven Yeun (Minari).
UNRATED / AUGUST
Jane Fonda voices a dragon in this CGI animated feature, the first from Skydance Animation. Reminiscent of Inside Out, the story reveals the age-old battle between the Good Luck and Bad Luck “organizations” that rule the lives of humans. Young Sam discovers the Land of Luck and must work with its magical creatures to turn her own luck around. Other characters are voiced by Carol Burnett, Whoopie Goldberg, Simon Pegg, and John Ratzenberger. After its theatrical premiere, the fi lm will be released globally on AppleTV+.
UNRATED / JUNE
Baz Luhrmann directs Austin Butler, who got his start on Hannah Montana and appeared in 2019’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and makes a believable Elvis Presley in this intense look at the life of the legendary entertainer. We follow Elvis from his formative days in southern Black churches to the tumultuous career that ended in tragedy. Tom Hanks takes on the role of his controversial manager, “Colonel” Tom Parker, known for his iron-fisted guidance of Presley’s career. A litany of stars auditioned to play the King, including Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, and Harry Styles. Fun fact: Hanks played an Elvis impersonator in 2004’s Elvis Has Left the Building.
BODIES, BODIES, BODIES
RATED R / AUGUST
horror/thriller/slasher film co-starring Maria Bakalova (who catapulted to fame in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm), Lee Pace (Lord of the Rings, Guardians of the Galaxy), and Amandla Stenberg (Hunger Games), which premiered at South x Southwest in March. When a group of obnoxious rich, backstabbing social media-addicted twenty something plan a hurricane party at a remote mansion fueled by drugs and music, the party game they play turns deadly.
JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION
RATED PG-13 / JULY
Steven Spielberg has stated this is the “epic conclusion” of the wildly successful six-film franchise that began in 1993. Familiar faces Laura Dern, Chris Pratt, Sam Neill, Bruce Dallas Howard, B.D. Wong, and of course Jeff Goldblum pick up the action four years after Isla Nublar was destroyed. Dinosaurs are living among humans in a fragile balance that quickly proves problematic. As Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm asks, “Why do they always have to be bigger?” Pratt’s assessment of this “final” film? “It feels very much like how Endgame brought everything together at Marvel. It’s going to be pretty epic.”
MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU
UNRATED / JULY
The gang, and then some, are all assembled for the 29th fi lm chronicling the Marvel Cinematic Universe, filmed mostly in Australia. Chris Hemsworth wields Thor’s hammer for the eighth time after famously bulking up to 231 pounds for the role. Natalie Portman returns as Jane Foster in a pivotal role, part of the love story at the heart of the plot. Fan fave Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) adds his special blend of musical kick-ass. Co-starring Melissa McCarthy, Tessa Thompson, Karen Gillan, Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Brie Larson, Russell Crowe, and Luke Hemsworth. Director Taika Waititi also voices Korg. Based on Stan Lee’s Marvel Comics characters and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.
OBI-WAN KENOBI DISNEY+
May 27 is the long-awaited premiere date for this new mini-series focused on the younger version of Jedi Master Ben Kenobi as portrayed by Ewan McGregor in the prequel films. We see him in exile, watching over young Luke from afar on Tatooine while attempting to evade the Empire’s death squads. Hayden Christensen will reprise his role as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. Fans’ guest star wish lists are long, with hopes of appearances by Yoda and Ahsoka Tano. We can reveal that Rupert Friend plays the Grand Inquisitor, Joel Edgerton returns as the young Uncle Owen, and Kumail Nanjiani also stars. Liam Neeson has expressed his desire to reprise his role as Qui-Gon Jinn. We can only hope.
MS. MARVEL DISNEY+
The world finally has what it’s always needed a superhero from Jersey City. This six-episode original mini-series from Marvel Studios is produced by Kevin Feige and stars Canadian newcomer Iman Vellani as Kamala Kahn in the title role. The film’s description promises it has a little of everything: action/ adventure/comedy/drama/fantasy/mystery/sci-fi, and crime, and comes with a parental warning for content. This Ms. Marvel is the first live-action Muslim hero in the MCU. Screen Actors Guild award winner Alysia Reiner (Orange is the New Black) portrays Agent Sadie Deever.
BLACK BIRD APPLE TV+
In this limited six-episode mini-series based on a true crime memoir, Taron Egerton stars as a convicted drug dealer offered early parole if he accepts a mission to relocate to a maximum security prison for the criminally insane to befriend serial killer Larry (Paul Walter Hauser, BlacK Klansman, Richard Jewel). The closer the pair becomes, the more suspect Egerton’s character Keene becomes of the charges against his new companion. The psychological thriller co-stars Ray Liotta and Greg Kinnear.
CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH APPLE TV+
Dakota Johnson stars as the mother of an autistic daughter who meets a young “party starter” at a New Jersey Bat Mitzvah where they strike up a friendship. The comedy/drama was written and directed by 24-year-old Cooper Raiff, who stars as the guy who gets everyone up on the dance floor. Filmed mostly in Pittsburgh, the “heartwarming, feel good” fi lm won the Audience Award in the U.S. Dramatic category and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. It will also be shown during June’s Tribeca Film Festival. Co-starring Leslie Mann and Brad Garrett.
HUSTLE NETFLIX / RATED R
LeBron James produced this sports flick mixing comedy and drama with Adam Sandler, who also stars as a has-been basketball scout who stumbles upon a hoops phenom with his own issues while in Spain. The cast includes Ben Foster, Queen Latifah, Jeleel White, Robert Duvall, and Utah Jazz player Juancho Hernangomez as the baller. Seth Curry of the Brooklyn Nets and Boban Marjanovic of the Philadelphia 76ers also appear as themselves. Sandler’s character Stanley Beren strives to bring his discovery to America for one last chance at redemption and glory for them both.
LOOT APPLE TV+ / UNRATED
Executive producer Maya Rudolph, an Emmy Award-winning Saturday Night Live veteran, plays flighty, eccentric billionaire Molly Novak, whose life goes haywire after her husband betrays her. When her subsequent meltdown becomes tabloid fodder, Molly is contacted by the head of a charity she didn’t know she was the titular head of. The charity’s administrator begs her to stop generating bad press, leading Molly to change her ways and try to do some good in the world. The ten-episode workplace comedy will air new episodes every Friday beginning June 24.
THE GRAY MAN NETFLIX / UNRATED
The Russo brothers direct Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Rege’ Jean Page, and Ana de Armas in an action/thriller tale of international espionage. Based on the book series of the same name by Mark Greaney, the plot finds the CIA’s top mercenary (Gosling) discovering dark secrets that set off a global manhunt. Going against his Captain America persona, Evans portrays an international assassin here, while Page embodies the Duke of Hastings. The movie reportedly had a $200 million budget. Also starring Billy Bob Thornton and Alfre Woodard.
STRANGER THINGS NETFLIX
Netflix’s teen sci-fi /horror behemoth, set in 1986 and rife with mysteries, makes its long-awaited return after the pandemic delayed its fourth season. Set over spring break and filmed in various global locations, the murder mystery set-up promises “game-changing Upside Down revelations.” New Jersey’s Gaten Matarazzo stars along with Noah Schnapp, Finn Wolfhard, and Millie Bobby Brown. Fans are psyched for the addition of Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street films) to the cast, playing a murderer imprisoned in a psychiatric hospital. Part 1 debuts May 27 with Part 2 set to air July 1.
UMBRELLA ACADEMY NETFLIX
Season three debuts June 22. According to Rotten Tomatoes, after stopping 1963’s doomsday, the Umbrella Academy return to the present, believing they prevented the apocalypse and fixed the timeline. Not so fast. Now, they must contend with the Sparrow Academy, formed around their formerly dead brother. Plus, an unidentified destructive entity is wreaking havoc in the Universe. Among the challenges facing the exceptional Hargreeves clan, cast member Ellen Page is now Eliot Page. The series is based on the Gerard Way and Gabriel Bacreated comic series of the same name.
ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING HULU
Return to the stately Arconia and its colorful inhabitants on June 28. As season one ended, podcasters and amateur sleuths Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin), Oliver Putnam (Martin Short), and Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez) were hot on the trail of whomever murdered unpleasant building board president Bunny Fogler when they became the prime suspects. Meanwhile, their hilariously unscrupulous podcasting rival, Cinda Canning (Tina Fey), continues trying to steal their schtick and their thunder. With a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the series is the most watched comedy in Hulu history.
TOP SUMMER TOURS
The Canadian crooner’s “After Hours’ til Dawn Tour” kicks off July 8 in Canada, with two shows in our area: Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia July 14 and MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford July 16. The singer/songwriter and producer (whose real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye) crisscrosses the country until his final show September 3 in Inglewood, California. A second leg of shows planned for Sweden, the Netherlands, Ireland, and France has been canceled. theweekend.com/tour
CHROMATICA BALL SUMMER STADIUM TOUR
Multi-talented chameleon Stefani Joanne Germanotta will play 17 shows between July and September, landing at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford August 11. The only other show nearby is scheduled at Fenway Park in Boston August 19. Shows in Paris, London, Stockholm, Canada, Germany, and The Netherlands are also scheduled. Released in May 2020, Chromatica debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and produced two top-five hits including “Stupid Love” and the Ariana Grande collaboration “Rain On Me.” ladygaga.com
SANTANA WITH EARTH, WIND & FIRE’S
MIRACULOUR SUPERNATURAL TOUR
Bring your dancin’ shoes for this blockbuster pairing of legendary musical giants. Guaranteed to rock the house with their litany of hits, the super stars begin their tour in California in June with shows scheduled through the August finale in Tampa, Florida, August 27. The Garden State PNC Arts Center in Holmdel hosts the show August 14. Or catch them in Camden at the BB&T Pavilion August 18. santana.com
LEADING THE GREAT WHITE WAY
The six wives of Tudor monarch Henry VIII are resurrected to offer their side of the infamous story in a most boisterous fashion. Dubbed a “histo-remix” a la stage legend Hamilton, SIX gives the microphone to each of Henry’s jilted betrothed one divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, and survived as they air their grievances in original song. Written by Tony Marlow and Lucy Moss. sixonbroadway.com
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT TOUR
This tour with Run the Jewels (most shows) begins in July in Wisconsin before jetting across the U.S., as well as across the pond. Five nights are booked at Madison Square Garden, August 8 through 14. Afterward, the rockers head to the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Poland, Croatia, and the Czech Republic. These musicians are working hard – the tour keeps going through April 2023 with a final show in Detroit. tourratm.com
DAVE MATTHEWS BAND
The perennial alternative rock favorites started their current tour in May. They play Garden State PNC Arts Center June 29 before moving on to Camden July 15 & 16, and Bethel, New York, on July 20. The tour concludes September 25 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. In partnership with the Nature Conservancy, the band funded the planting of 52 million trees in 2020 and 2021. Their commitment is to help plant an additional one million trees this year. Concertgoers can join the mission by adding an optional $2 per ticket donation. davematthewsband.com
MOULIN ROUGE! THE MUSICAL
In a tantalizing tale of glitter, glamour, excess, passion, and tragedy, Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 romantic drama unfolds on the world’s largest stage. Set to a score of 70 modern pop hits including Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie,” and (of course) “Lady Marmalade” by Christian Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Pink, and Mya the ten-time Tony Award winner follows young, quixotic English poet Christian, who, upon relocating to Paris at the turn of the 20th century, becomes entranced by Satine, the lead dancer and “sparkling diamond” of the city’s most lascivious nightclub. The two begin an impassioned affair, kept secret as Satine is promised to the villainous Duke of Monroth, until their love story ends in tragedy. moulinrougemusical.com
TINA: THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL
Another stage-biopic lighting up Broadway tells the barrier-shattering story of the Nutbush, Tennessee, native who overcame abuse and age, gender, and racial prejudices, eventually solidifying her place as the global queen of rock ‘n roll. The musical is fast-paced and empowering, featuring a soundtrack of Tina’s most beloved hits (“What’s Love Got To Do With It,” “A Fool In Love,” and “Proud Mary,” among others). Each song helps to tell the story of how Anna Mae Bullock became Tina Turner, her torrid and abusive relationship with Ike, and how she ultimately found her voice. tinaonbroadway.com
MJ THE MUSICAL
D.C. native Myles Frost dazzles as the reigning King of Pop in this electrifying new bio-musical about one of entertainment’s most indomitable cultural icons. The show, created by Tony Award-winning director/choreographer Christopher Wheeldon and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage, follows Michael Jackson as he prepares for his 1992 Dangerous World Tour, the performer’s fourth world concept tour that was ultimately cut short. Critics have unanimously cooed over Frost’s performance and his almost uncanny resemblance to the pop legend, in both appearance and showmanship. Donning MJ’s quintessential regalia (gold brocade topped with a tilted fedora), Frost leads audiences through 37 tracks, including show opener “Beat It” to “Man in the Mirror,” leaning, gliding, spinning, and moonwalking like the king himself. mjthemusical.com
April saw the star-studded revival of David Mamet’s 1975 play about loyalty, greed, and the American dream, directed by Tony Award-winner Neil Pepe. The show follows three small-time hustlers in Chicago (The Matrix’s Lawrence Fishburne, Academy Award-winner Sam Rockwell, and Emmy-awarded Darren Criss) as they plot to steal a valuable coin from a second-hand junk shop. There are no microphones, no choreographed dance numbers, nor even a sound designer what truly sings in this exceptionally directed drama is the dialogue and desperation of the thespians. americanbuffalonyc.com