18 summer movies we can’t wait to see in theaters, Netflix and Prime Video

Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman in Deadpool and Wolverine
(Image credit: Marvel)

Summer movie season is officially upon us. While Memorial Day weekend is often considered the (unofficial) start of summer, Hollywood isn’t waiting any longer to start dropping some of its biggest movies of the year with summer movies releasing early. 

Summer 2024 will be packed with hotly-anticipated releases including the return of everyone's favorite foul-mouthed merc, Deadpool (and this time he’s brought a clawed friend), and a reboot of a disaster movie classic that stars man of the moment Gen Powell. If that’s not enough there are also long-awaited sequels such as “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga”, “Inside Out 2”, “Bad Boys: Ride or Die”, and my own personal must-see, “Alien: Romulus”.

There will be dozens of movies released over the summer months as studios attempt to convince you to skip the sunshine and spend a few hours in a cool theater auditorium instead. We’ve also included a few flicks making their debut on Netflix and Prime Video if you’d rather stay at home. So, these are the 18 summer movies you shouldn’t miss.


'IF' (May 17, in theaters) 

John Krasinski is swapping the post-apocalyptic nightmare world of “A Quiet Place” for a family-friendly comedy about a young girl who gains the ability to see imaginary friends (known as “Ifs”) who have been forgotten. Teaming up with her neighbor (Ryan Reynolds), who can also see IFs, and a big purple furball called Blue (voiced by Steve Carell), the unlikely group embarks on a quest to reunite the forgotten Ifs with the people who imagined them. “IF” looks like the perfect high-concept comedy for the whole family to enjoy this summer and it will feature a wealth of recognizable voices for the various IFs including Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Maya Rudolph, Blake Lively, George Clooney and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. — Rory Mellon

'The Garfield Movie' (May 24, in theaters) 

Chris Pratt continues his quest to voice every beloved animated character possible, and this time he’s lending his vocal chords to the Monday-hating, lasagna-loving ginger cat, Garfield. In “The Garfield Movie”, this indoor house pet is forced to step into the wild outdoors on his most high-stakes adventure yet. After reuniting with his long-lost father, a scruffy street cat named Vic (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson), Garfield and pooch pal Odie, are forced to swap their pampered existence for a life of crime when they join Vic on a dangerous heist. The early reviews for this one have been surprisingly solid, and at the very least it should be a step above the last Garfield movie to hit cinemas, 2006’s awful “Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties”. — RM

'Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga' (May 24, in theaters) 

“Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” chronicles the story of the young warrior Furiosa (Anya Taylor-Joy) as she is kidnapped from the Green Place and thrown into a biker horde led by the warlord Dementus (Chris Hemsworth). Set fifteen years before the events of “Fury Road”, this prequel focuses on the Citadel, the stronghold of Immortan Joe (Lachy Hulme), and Dementus, a powerful leader who wants to gain dominance over the fortress. During this ongoing battle, Furiosa has to survive the many trials as she figures out a way to get home. — Alix Blackburn


'Bad Boys: Ride or Die' (June 7, in theaters)

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are back as Miami-based detectives Mike and Marcus in this fourth installment in the buddy-cop action-comedy series. “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” promises to be the duo’s most personal mission yet as they sniff out corruption within their own department, and after Captain Conrad Howard (Joe Pantoliano) is posthumously accused of being involved in the drugs trade, the maverick cops are themselves indicted and become fugitives. Forced to operate outside the law to solve the case, this looks set to be the most dramatic “Bad Boys” movie yet, but it won’t lose its series' slapstick comedy streak either. — RM

'Hit Man' (June 7, on Netflix)

Glen Powell is set for a big summer. “Twisters” is a chance for him to further prove his credentials as a box office draw, while “Hit Man” could be a surprise awards player. The film received a rave reception when it premiered at the Venice Film Festival last September, and its arrival on Netflix in June should expose the Richard Linklater-directed flick to a large viewership and further boost the actor's star power. The action-comedy sees Powell play a bogus professional killer who is working for the cops but when a desperate woman (Adria Arjona) enlists his help, he finds himself descending into a dangerous criminal world for real. — RM

'Inside Out 2' (June 14, in theaters)

The first “Inside Out” is one of the best Pixar movies — in the top five on my personal list and according to Rotten Tomatoes ratings. It’s a gorgeously animated and powerfully moving story that gives life to inner emotions. The sequel returns to the mind of the now-teenage Riley, where headquarters is undergoing a major change to make room for new Emotions: Anxiety (Maya Hawke), Envy (Ayo Edebiri), Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos) and Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser). We know all too well the churning chaos that is a teen’s inner thoughts and feelings, so “Inside Out 2” should be an even wilder ride than the original. — Kelly Woo

'Kinds of Kindness' (June 21, in theaters)

Fresh off her second Oscar win, Emma Stone reunites with “Poor Things” director Yorgos Lanthimos for what’s being described as a “triptych fable.” Stone and fellow cast members play multiple roles across three loosely connected stories. They follow a man who tries to take control of his life after breaking away from his boss; a police officer who suspects his recently-returned missing wife is an imposter; and a woman looking for a specific person destined to become a spiritual leader. Considering Lanthimos’ previous films include “The Lobster” and “The Favourite,” we expect something wondrously weird and manically marvelous. — KW

'A Quiet Place: Day One' (June 28, in theaters)

One of the most anticipated horror movies of the summer is “A Quiet Place: Day One”, an exciting prequel that shows us how the world fell apart when alien creatures fell to Earth. These creatures, known for their ultrasonic hearing, can prey on humans based on sound. The story itself follows Sam (Lupita Nyong'o) as she is caught in the chaos that erupts throughout New York City on day one of the apocalypse. She is joined by Eric (Joseph Quinn), a stranger who is determined to find a way out of the city. However, with aliens around every corner, the two struggle to locate safety while keeping quiet. — AB


Despicable Me 4 (July 3, in theaters)

The “Despicable Me” franchise is showing no signs of slowing down. After three mainline entries and two “Minions” spin-offs, this summer will see Guru (Steve Carll) face his toughest assignment yet, taking care of newborn Gru Jr. With help from his minion army, wife Lucy (Kristen Wigg) and three adopted daughters, Gru must look after a baby that is hellbent on causing chaos. There's also a new supervillain nemesis on the scene, Maxime Le Mal (Will Ferrell), who is seeking revenge on the former villain turned-hero and his family. Expect hilarious animated hijinks, and a whole load of new Minions merch in every single store all summer. — RM

'Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F' (July 3, on Netflix)

It’s a little surprising it’s taken this long for a legacy sequel to the 80s classic “Beverly Hills Cop” to surface considering Hollywood’s ongoing obsession with rebooting just about everything, but this summer Axel F (Eddie Murphy) will make his long-awaited return. It’s not just Murphy returning either as Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Paul Reiser, and Bronson Pinchot will also reprise their roles, alongside newcomers to the franchise Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Taylour Paige, and Kevin Bacon. The plot will follow Foley returning to Beverly Hills after his daughter’s life is threatened. Once there he reunites with old pals and also uncovers a conspiracy. — RM

'MaXXXine' (July 5, in theaters)

The third (and final) chapter in Ti West’s “X” trilogy, “MaXXXine” once again stars Mia Goth, this time she’s reprising her role as the eponymous Maxine, a survivor of a brutal massacre in Texas (as seen in the trilogy’s first installment, “X”), as she pursues her dreams of stardom in 1980’s Los Angeles. Maxine is hellbent on becoming a famous actress at any cost, but there’s a ruthless killer on the loose targeting the starlets of Hollywood, and Maxine’s bloody past may resurface. Ti West’s trilogy has been a critical darling, with “X” and “Pearl” earning strong reviews. Fingers crossed that “MaXXXine” can close out the trilogy in some style. — RM

'Fly Me to the Moon' (July 12, in theaters)

This space race romantic dramedy will probably fan the flames of conspiracy theorists who believe the moon landing was faked, but it may also fan the flames of your heart. Set during the space race of the 1960s, it stars Scarlett Johansson as a PR specialist brought in to boost NASA’s image and sell the idea of space flight. She develops a working and romantic relationship with Apollo 11 manager Cole Davis (Channing Tatum) while staging a backup fake moon landing in case things go awry. — KW

Twisters (July 19, in theaters)

Set in the same world as “Twister”, the standalone sequel “Twisters” follows Kate Cooper (Daisy Edgar-Jones), a former tornado chaser who now continues her passion behind a computer screen. Her friend Javi (Anthony Ramos) encourages her to return to the open plains to test a new tracking system, and although Kate is haunted by her past encounter with a tornado, she reluctantly agrees to go with him. Along the way, she meets the charming social media star Tyler Owens (Glen Powell) who is in another competing team. However, both teams find themselves fighting for their lives when multiple storms consume central Oklahoma. — AB

'Deadpool & Wolverine' (July 26, in theaters) 

The only Marvel Cinematic Univrese movie releasing in 2024, “Deadpool & Wolverine” follows Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) as he’s taken by The Time Variance Authority (TVA), an organization that manages the timelines to prevent broken branches. Now, Wade must assume his Deadpool identity to set out on a mission requested by the TVA, but he won’t be alone. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), currently recovering from his injuries, meets Deadpool for this specific mission, but they instantly butt heads. Aside from the fighting, insults, and death threats, the two have to put their differences aside to defeat a common enemy that will change the history of the Marvel Universe. — AB


'Trap' (August 9, in theaters)

M. Night Shyamalan’s latest psychological thriller sports one of the coolest concepts for a movie in ages. It sees a man named Cooper (Josh Hartnett) take his young daughter to a pop concert for global smash hit singer Lady Raven (Saleka Shyamalan). However, what Cooper doesn’t know is that the gig is a trap set by the police to catch him because while on the surface he appears to be a doting father, he’s actually living a dark double life as a serial killer known as “The Butcher." Of course, this is a Shyamalan movie so expect at least a couple of dramatic twists as the filmmaker is notorious for unexpected third-act reveals. — RM

'Alien: Romulus' (August 16, in theaters)

“Alien: Romulus” is a standalone installment in the classic sci-fi franchise, and it sits between the events of “Alien” and “Aliens”. The story focuses on a group of young space colonists who encounter the most terrifying alien species in the universe. While on board an abandoned space station, the group will face the Xenomorphs and parasitic creatures such as the facehuggers. Rain (Cailee Spaeny) leads the group, and joining her is her android brother Andy (David Jonsson), Archie Renaux as Tyler, Isabela Merced as Kay, and two other unnamed characters played by Spike Fearn and Aileen Wu. Prepare to see this iconic creature wreak havoc once again. — AB

'Jackpot' (August 15, on Prime Video) 

(L-R) John Cena as Noel and Awkwafina as Katie in "Jackpot" streaming on Prime Video this summer

(Image credit: Amazon MGM Studios)

Paul Feig adds the latest comedy to a resume that already includes “Bridesmaids” and “Freaks and Geeks.”  Prime Video's "Jackpot" will have more of an action flavor, much like 2015’s “Spy.” This time, Awkafina and John Cena make for an unlikely pairing. Katie is a new L.A. transplant who finds herself holding a winning lottery ticket — making her a target under new rules that allow anyone to seize the ticket and multi-billion dollar prize if they kill the winner by sundown. Noel is an amateur jackpot protector who safeguards Katie until the deadline. But greedy foes and a rival protector (Simu Liu) threaten their big bonanza. — KW

'The Union' (August 16, on Netflix)

(L-R) Mark Wahlberg as Mike and Halle Berry as Roxanne in "The Union" streaming on Netflix this summer

(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix has got great milage of out action-comedies that team up A-list stars (see “Red Notice” and “The Gray Man” as past examples), its latest offering that fits this template is “The Union” which stars Mark Wahlberg and Halle Berry. This popcorn flick aims to bring the thrills of the big screen to the comfort of your home and sees Walhberg play a construction worker who is roped into the world of international superspies by his former high school girlfriend, Roxanne (Berry). “The Union” probably won’t be a firm favorite among critics, but expect it to make quite the impression on Netflix subscribers and rocket into the streamer's top 10. — RM

Other notable 2024 summer movies

  • "The Strangers: Chapter 1" (May 17, in theaters)
  • "Young Woman and the Sea" (May 31, in theaters)
  • "The Watchers" (June 7, in theaters)
  • "The Bikeriders" (June 21, in theaters)
  • "Horizon: An American Saga - Chapter 1" (June 28, in theaters)
  • "Longlegs" (July 12, in theaters)
  • "Cuckoo" (August 2, in theaters)
  • "It Ends with Us" (August 9, in theaters)
  • "Borderlands" (August 9, in theaters)
  • "Horizon: An American Saga - Chapter 2" (August 16, in theaters)
  • "The Crow" (August 23, in theaters)

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Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team. 

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