Another summer movie season has come and gone. This year offered plenty of big screen spectacles, but were they any good? Depends where you look.
“Avengers: Endgame” was released on April 26, which causes plenty of debate about its status as a summer movie. Does it qualify? Did it kick the whole season off? The answer could go either way. What’s certain is some of the anticipations for tentpole films evaporated once “Avengers: Endgame” monopolized the box office.
Outside of a handful of guaranteed hits (“Aladdin” and “The Lion King,” in particular), movies failed to find audiences or ignite interest. “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” didn’t generate much excitement and “Dark Phoenix” seemed destined to fail before it even hit theaters (its domestic gross is $65 million). Lackluster reviews and minimal interest plagued franchise movies like “Shaft” and “Men in Black: International,” which, a few years ago, would have probably been modest hits.
It wasn’t all doom-and-gloom this summer because families still managed to find an escape from the heat of the summer sun. “Toy Story 4” proved most skeptics wrong; the movie sits at a 97-percent on Rotten Tomatoes with a worldwide total of $1 billion at the box office. Some independent films were able to attract adult audiences and generate surprise earnings. Lulu Wang’s word-of-mouth hit “The Farewell” has had strong buzz since Sundance and it has translated to box office success.
As the latest summer season takes its final bow and we transition into Oscar fervor, a few films have stood out as possible contenders. Wang’s “The Farewell” is poised to be the indie surprise at the Oscars, while Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” is the safest bet from this summer in possible nominations across the board.
It’s easy to bemoan the middling results of what the summer had to offer but there were shining gems. It’s about looking in the right place because there’s always a movie worth seeing. On its face, the summer may have disappointed but some of the year’s best work was released amongst the big ticket items.