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Five new summer movies that aren’t sequels or reboots

May 26, 20245 Mins Read

A dog and his robot, something spooky in the forest, weirdness with Emma Stone, Kevin Costner out West and a space-age rom-com.

(Warner Bros. Pictures) Kevin Costner is one of the actors featured in the trailer released Feb. 26, 2024, for “Horizon: An American Saga,” starring and directed by Costner. The four-movie series was filmed in southern Utah. The first installment is scheduled to be released June 28, 2024, and the second on August 16, 2024.

For movie fans, summer is the season of blockbusters — big popcorn movies with lots of action that are designed to leave audiences happy and satisfied, though not necessarily intellectually or emotionally challenged.

This summer promises such franchise extensions as the the storm-chasing “Twisters,” the scary prequels “A Quiet Place: Day One” and “Alien: Romulus,” tough law enforcement in “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” and “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F,” the animated “Inside Out 2″ and “Despicable Me 4,” the horror follow-up “Maxxxine” (which completes the trilogy started by “X” and “Pearl”), and the return — and possible redemption — of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with “Deadpool & Wolverine.”

And already in May, moviegoers have had a chance to see the sequel “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes,” the prequel “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” and the reboots “The Fall Guy” and “The Garfield Movie.”

Can a movie with a new idea succeed amid all of the retreads? Some filmmakers hope so, and have dotted the summer schedule with movies that aim to offer something new and different.

Here are five new movies coming this summer that look to break the mold. (All release dates are subject to change.)

(Neon) Dog tries to have fun with his new companion, Robot, in director Pablo Berger’s animated film, “Robot Dreams.” The movie is scheduled to be released on May 31, 2024.

‘Robot Dreams’

May 31 • A dog, living alone in an apartment in New York, sees a commercial for a robot companion and buys one. That begins Spanish director Pablo Berger’s first animated feature, an Oscar nominee earlier this year, which follows Dog and Robot through their summer adventures — and what happens when they’re separated at summer’s end. The movie whimsically and wordlessly explores friendship, memory and the connection found in the perfect summer-jam song.

(Warner Bros. Pictures) Georgina Campbell, left, and Dakota Fanning star in the suspense thriller “The Watchers,” written and directed by Ishana Night Shyamalan. The movie is scheduled to be released on June 7, 2024.

‘The Watchers’

June 7 • In this adaptation of an A.M. Shine novel, an artist (Dakota Fanning) seeks shelter in a forest in west Ireland and finds herself trapped with three strangers as they’re stalked by creatures at night. The writer-director is Ishana Night Shyamalan, making her feature directing debut — after working as a second-unit director for her father, M. Night Shyamalan, on “Old,” and directing and writing episodes of the series “Servant.” Is a talent for making atmospheric, unsettling thrillers an inherited trait? We’ll find out. (M. Night, by the way, also has a new movie this summer: “Trap,” starring Josh Hartnell, scheduled to come out August 2.)

(Atsushi Nishijima | Searchlight Pictures) Emma Stone and Joe Alwyn star in “Kinds of Kindness,” directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. The movie is scheduled to be released on June 21, 2024.

‘Kinds of Kindness’

June 21 • We haven’t been told much about this movie — but because it’s reuniting director Yorgos Lanthimos with actor Emma Stone, just after she won her second best-actress Oscar in his “Poor Things,” that’s enough to spark interest. The studio’s synopsis is cryptic: “A man seeks to break free from his predetermined path, a cop questions his wife’s demeanor after her return from a supposed drowning, and a woman searches for an extraordinary individual prophesied to become a renowned spiritual guide.” Besides Stone, the cast includes Jesse Plemons, Willem Dafoe, Margaret Qualley, Hong Chau, Joe Alwyn, Mamoudou Athie and Hunter Schafer.

(Warner Bros. Pictures) Sienna Miller is one of the stars of “Horizon: An American Saga,” starring and directed by Kevin Costner. The four-movie series was filmed in southern Utah. The first installment is scheduled to be released June 28, 2024, and the second on August 16, 2024.

‘Horizon: An American Saga’

June 28, August 16 • Kevin Costner has spent a ton of his own money to make a four-movie Western epic, a sweeping story that covers the years before, during and after the Civil War. A lot of that money has gone into the economy of southern Utah, where the first two installments were shot last year, and where the third is ramping up production later this summer. Costner leads the sprawling cast, which includes Sienna Miller, Jena Malone, Sam Worthington, Giovanni Ribisi, Luke Wilson, Danny Huston, Thomas Haden Church and Abbey Lee. It’s a big bet, but Costner has proven before that he can make a Western worth the risk.

(Sony/Columbia Pictures) Marketing expert Kelly Jones (Scarlett Johansson) and launch director Cole Davis (Channing Tatum) tangle over NASA’s Apollo missions in the rom-com “Fly Me to the Moon,” scheduled to be released on July 12, 2024.

‘Fly Me to the Moon’

July 12 • Can Greg Berlanti, the guy who made Archie comics cool on “Riverdale” and built a whole DC universe on the CW, make the space race sexy? We’ll find out as Berlanti directs this rom-com set in the 1960s, with Scarlett Johansson as a marketing executive brought in to improve NASA’s public relations — and angering the launch director (Channing Tatum) with the suggestion that, as a backup, they shoot fake footage of a moon landing. Having Johansson and Tatum creating screen chemistry could help this movie take off like a rocket.

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