This Is America(n Cinema): Your 2018 Summer Movie Preview

This is your ultimate summer movie preview. From 'Deadpool 2' and 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' to 'The Predator' and 'Superfly,' here are all of the best movies scheduled to hit the big screen during the summer 2018 movie season.

Summer 2018 Movie Preview illustration
Complex Original

Image via Complex/Sho Hanafusa

Summer 2018 Movie Preview illustration

With word that Deadpool 2 is set to end Avengers: Infinity War's box office reign (and break its own R-rated opening weekend record), it would appear that SUMMER MOVIE SZN is officially underway. No matter how much Deadpool, which dropped in February 2016, proved that blockbusters were no longer relegated to the months between June and August, the summer of 2018 is different. There are a grip of films that appear to be aimed squarely at the popcorn lovers who can't wait to escape the sweatbox known as "outside" by partaking in the viewing of films in air-conditioned cinemas.

From superhero sagas (both live-action and animated) to prehistoric predators (both genetically-altered and otherworldly) to big-budget action flicks (with and without Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson), Hollywood's got flavors for everyone hitting the movies this summer. There are massive sequels like Incredibles 2, the superwomen of Ocean's Eight, what could be the best horror film of 2018 (Hereditary), two examinations of America (The First Purge and BlacKkKlansman)... you really can't go wrong.

We sifted through the release dates and highlighted the films that look like they'll be worth the price of admission. For an extra-added bonus, we've made sure to give you a brief idea of what each movie looks like, just so you aren't going into your theaters blind. Mark your calendars and assemble your squad.

Deadpool weilding lightsabers

Deadpool 2

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Director: David Leitch

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Zazie Beetz, Josh Brolin

Release Date: May 18

It Looks LikeDeadpool meets Suicide Squad (but, you know, good)

Fox hit the motherlode with the 2016 release of the hard R-rated superhero flick Deadpool. No one thought it'd break the box office records it did, especially dropping in February of that year. Now in 2018, the Merc With a Mouth is back with some notable friends (including Cable and Domino) and two-times the comedy, gore, and fourth-wall breaks. —khal

Solo: A Star Wars Story

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Director: Ron Howard

Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton

Release Date: May 25

It Looks Like: Ocean’s Eleven meets Cowboys & Aliens

There’s no coming back from death in real life, but resurrections are par for the course in the movie business—now more than ever. In the wake of Han Solo getting murked in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the iconic character gets a second shot at life on the big screen in this space western prequel, which stars Alden Ehrenreich some guy not named Harrison Ford. Be that as it may, the cast—which includes Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton, and Emilia Clarke—is stacked with enough star power to put butts in the seats. If not to see the origin story of one of the franchise’s most beloved figures, at least to bare witness to the next chapter in George Lucas’ never-ending saga, which coincidentally turns 41 on the day Solo hits theatres. —Anslem Samuel Rocque

Rihanna riding a dinosaur

Ocean's Eight

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Director: Gary Ross

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna

Release Date: June 8

It Looks Like: Ocean’s Eleven meets Bridesmaids

Rihanna. Cate Blanchett. Sandra Bullock. Mindy Kaling. Helena Bonham-Carter. If just reading the cast for Ocean’s Eight doesn’t get you even kind of hyped to see it, I’m not sure what to do with you. Styled after the iconic Ocean’s Eleven trilogy, Ocean’s Eight is the kind of baller heist movie audiences haven’t seen in a while, with what look like incredible turns from Rih Rih and the up-and-coming Awkwafina. Set at the Met Gala and obviously centered around some kind of high-stakes robbery, Ocean’s Eight is primed to be an instant classic or, at the very least, it’ll be a pretty rad way to spend an afternoon. —Aubrey Page


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Director: Ari Aster

Cast: Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro

Release Date: June 8

It Looks Like: Rosemary’s Baby meets The Exorcist

If 2016 belonged to The Witch and 2017 belonged to Get Out, I’d put chips on Hereditary (which reviewers out of Sundance have literally called “pants-wettingly scary”) becoming the horror movie of the year. Not much is known about the movie’s specific plot details, but it’s currently rocking at a solid 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and dropped a f*cking terrifying trailer to further fill out its cred. Starring Toni Collette and featuring supporting work from Alex Wolff, Gabriel Byrne and tha gawd Ann Dowd, I’m still not quite sure what Hereditary is about, and I don’t care—I’m just ready for it to give me nightmares. —Aubrey Page

Hotel Artemis

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Director: Drew Pearce

Cast: Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Jeff Goldblum, Charlie Day, Brian Tyree Henry, David Bautista

Release Date: June 8

It Looks Like: John Wick meets Wanted

A constant predicament people on the run in movies find themselves in is not being able to go to the emergency room because it’s a quick way to get caught. This star-studded action flick sidesteps that problem by presenting a secret hospital for criminals that fronts as a legitimate hotel. Although there are steadfast rules of conducts for the patients/guests of Hotel Artemis, things go awry when a criminal boss tracks down the crooks who made the mistake of stealing his valuable pen(?!?!) that turns the safe zone into a war zone. If the premise of this film doesn’t get you then the all-star cast (Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Brian Tyree Henry, etc.) surely will. —Anslem Samuel Rocque

Incredibles 2

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Director: Brad Bird

Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Holly Hunter, John Ratzenberger

Release Date: June 15

It Looks Like: Fantastic Four meets Toy Story

We’ve been waiting for a literal decade for Pixar to finally come through with a sequel to their near-perfect Incredibles, and while I’m sure we all would have been psyched to see it sooner, it’s basically the perfect time for the studio to get back into the superhero game. Writer/director Brad Bird is back in the cut, and basically the entire original cast has returned (though prepare yourself for Dash to have a very different voice), so while the track record for long awaited sequels isn’t awesome, there’s really no reason this one will be anything less than, well, incredible. —Aubrey Page


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Director: Director X

Cast: Michael K. Williams, Esai Morales, Trevor Jackson

Release Date: June 15

It Looks Like: Belly meets Dope

Grown-ish heartthrob Trevor K. Jackson steps into the title role of this remake of the 1972 blaxploitation film, in which a karate-chopping coke dealer plans to hit one last lick so he can get out the game before a new, more ruthless crew takes him out. Legendary music video director, Director X updates the story by taking Superfly from cash to crypto, and from Harlem to ATL... but how do we account for his conk hairdo? Nevertheless, with a score by Future and performances by Jason Mitchell and Michael Kenneth Williams, Superfly looks to be a promising, action-packed gangster flick for a new generation. —Dria Roland


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Director: Jeff Tomsic

Cast: Ed Helms, Jeremy Renner, Rashida Jones, Jon Hamm, Hannibal Buress

Release Date: June 15

It Looks Like: Grown Ups meets American Pie

If I had to think of a bunch of things that I’d want to do for 30 years, I guarantee you that playing a game of tag would not be anywhere near the top of the list. But that’s exactly what the group of friends at the center of this film have chosen to do every May since childhood. Although this sounds like something that came out of a high AF brainstorm sessions, it’s actually based on a true story. Jeremy Renner stars as the un-taggable Jerry who has gone three decades without ever being “it” and his buddies want to end his hot streak before he retires from the game. Okay, they’ve piqued my interest but please don’t tell me this is why Hawkeye wasn’t in Avengers: Infinity War. —Anslem Samuel Rocque

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

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Director: J. A. Bayona

Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Justice Smith

Release Date: June 22

It Looks Like: Jurassic Park meets The Day After Tomorrow

The fourth installment of the Jurassic Park series, 2015's Jurassic World, showed off what happens when Chris Pratt has to rectify a situation where scientists keep f*cking around with nature. Fallen Kingdom is back for more dino mayhem, but with the addition of The Get Down's Justice Smith and a host of creepy AF monsters sneaking into the beds and homes of unsuspecting park attendees. We have a feeling this will easily destroy the box office upon arrival. —khal

Under the Silver Lake

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Director: David Robert Mitchell

Cast: Andrew Garfield, Dakota Johnson

Release Date: June 22

It Looks Like: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets Scavenger Hunt

Honestly, this trailer is weird AF but at this point A24 is in itself, a brand name marketing tool. Their stamp is enough to pique interest, this being the next joint from the guy who gave us It Follows only solidifies it. Modern neo-noir set in LA is basically all I need to hear to ever get me to pay for a movie off rip. One that promises to lampoon LA with the specificity of a bemused insider auteur is just icing on the cake. —Frazier Tharpe

Sicario: Day of the Soldado

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Director: Stefano Sollima

Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Elijah Rodriguez

Release Date: June 29

It Looks Like: Sicario meets Desperado

We were undecided on Sicario, but there's something about Soldado that feels different. Gone are the underutilized Emily Blount storylines and added is much more Benicio, who had us at whatever that rapid fire gun firing thing is in the trailer. —khal

Uncle Drew

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Director: Charles Stone III

Cast: Kyrie Irving, Shaquille O’Neal, Lil Rel Howery

Release Date: June 29

It Looks Like: Space Jam meets You Got Served

Played by funnyman Lil Rel Howery, Dax is so desperate to win a streetball tournament at the Rucker Park in Harlem that he begs former playground legend “Uncle Drew” (who is now an old man) to help. Drew agrees on the condition that he can form his own team, which is a who’s who of legends including Shaq, Reggie Miller, and Lisa Leslie, all in character as senior citizens. Does it kinda look like Space Jam with “old” people? Sure. But older basketball fans should be excited to see some of their favorite male and female players of all time teaming up, and younger fans will recognize titular character Kyrie Irving in the persona he popularized from his long-running Pepsi commercials. Athletes might have sketchy track records as actors, but appearances by Tiffany Haddish, Nick Kroll, Erica Ash, and Mike Epps should make up the difference—or at least keep you laughing. —Dria Roland

Tom Cruise being carried by the Wasp

The First Purge

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Director: Gerard McMurray

Cast: Mo McRae, Joivan Wade, Luna Lauren Velez

Release Date: July 4

It Looks Like: American Horror Story meets actual America

Bruh. As the Purge series has grown, so has the lore of this universe, where crime is legal for one insane night. While the last film effectively saw the end of this rich man's murder holiday, this prequel does what it says in the title: it showcases the very FIRST Purge. From the looks of the trailer, class and racial lines turn this inaugural event into a struggle to survive the beginnings of a game that's rigged from the opening alarm. —khal

Ant-Man and the Wasp

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Director: Peyton Reed

Cast: Paul Rudd, Hannah John-Kamen, Evangeline Lilly

Release Date: July 6

It Looks Like: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids meets Bonnie & Clyde

2015's Ant-Man is loved by heads who understood that the MCU can feature origin stories of characters that aren't knocking Captain America out of the park. It was essentially a one-and-done, and with the sequel, we're finally getting the first MCU film to feature a female character in the title. Evangeline's a beaut, and is sure to dazzle fans with her physical abilities against Ghost, the latest big bad who is aiming to wreak havoc on everything she sees fit. —khal

Sorry To Bother You

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Director: Boots Riley

Cast: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Steven Yeun

Release Date: July 6

It Looks Like: Bamboozled meets Indecent Proposal

Romance comedy? Satire? Spoof? Drama? It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what category Sorry to Bother You should fall in, but one thing’s for sure: that opinion won’t change even after you see the movie. In his directorial debut, rapper-turned-screenwriter Boots Riley delivers one of the quirkiest films of the year—hands down. The premise of a down-on-his-luck slacker named Cassius “Cash” Green (played by Atlanta’s Lakeith Stanfield) who gets a job as a telemarketer to make ends meet is the foundation for what is a much bigger and weirder story. Cash finds his come-up in his ability to put on a “white voice” to sell questionable products and, in the process, possibly his soul. But anyone who makes the mistake of labeling this just another rags-to-riches movie will be in for a big surprise by time the final credits roll. —Anslem Samuel Rocque


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Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han

Release Date: July 13

It Looks Like: Die Hard meets Breaking In

Given The Rock's usual Midas touch, we can imagine that Skyscraper will do fine at the box office, even if the only draw is seeing Dwayne Johnson's amputee character jumping to and from buildings as he tries to save his family from the bad guy(s). What more do you honestly need from a summer blockbuster? —khal

The Equalizer 2

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Director: Antoine Fuqua

Cast: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Melissa Leo

Release Date: July 20

It Looks Like: John Wick meets Taken

Over the course of his illustrious career, Denzel Washington has done a lot of things but make a sequel was not one of them—until now. Out of all the memorable characters on his resume, the Oscar-winner opted to step back into the role of Robert McCall. The former CIA black ops operative comes out of retirement once more to avenge the death of an old friend, leaving a bevy of bodies in his wake. Sure, it’s another old guy kicking ass and taking names film—which seems to be a growing trend as box-office titans age—but this is Denzel and there’s gotta be a reason why he chose this film as his first to double down on, right? —Anslem Samuel Rocque

Mission: Impossible - Fallout

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Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Cast: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby, Angela Bassett

Release Date: July 27

It Looks Like: Jason Bourne meets Skyfall

Mission: Impossible movies never miss. Pound for pound, it’s the best, sturdiest, and most consistent action franchise ever. Check the stats. Fallout marks the first time the series will feature a return director. With five fire films under Tom Crusies’ workaholic belt though, that’s probably the only switch-up we should expect. I’m fully betting on this movie to validate Henry Cavill’s mustache gate from Justice League. I’m fully betting on death-defying stunts that validate the price an IMAX ticket hits for these days. I’m fully betting on TC to deliver excellence. He has nothing better to do theses days. —Frazier Tharpe

Teen Titans GO! To The Movies

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Director: Peter Rida Michail & Aaron Horvath

Cast: Kristen Bell, Will Arnett, Greg Cipes, Lil Yachty

Release Date: July 27

It Looks Like: Daria meets Powerpuff Girls

The Teen Titans GO animated TV series has been a wonder, even though it's aimed for your younger siblings or nieces and nephews. Depicting the Robin-led superhero team, these cartoons lend more to the madcap hilarity of Looney Tunes than the more serious side of the DC movie universe. Plus, Lil Yachty stars as Green Lantern in this movie about the team making a movie. Don't be surprised if you get dragged into this one and walk out loving it. —khal

Slender Man meets the Meg

The Meg

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Director: Jon Turteltaub

Cast: Jason Statham, Jessica McNamee, Ruby Rose

Release Date: August 10

It Looks Like: Jaws meets Lake Placid

A summer blockbuster about a giant ass megalodon trying to eat everyone in its way? You had us at megalodon. We're not even sure if this flick needs Jason Statham or Ruby Rose (or the hilarious Rainn Wilson) to sell us on it; just take a look at that giant meg trying to eat its way through the ship. We'll meet you at the box office. —khal


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Director: Spike Lee

Cast: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace

Release Date: August 10

It Looks Like: Dead Presidents meets The Birth of a Nation

Spike looks like he's got a hit on his hands. Produced by Jordan Peele and Jason Blum (aka the minds behind Get Out) and starring Kylo Ren(!), this film is based on an actual black cop who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s. It's funny, but in the sense that the more things in the world change, the more they stay the same. Could be the woke August winner. —khal

Crazy Rich Asians

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Director: Jon M. Chu

Cast: Constance Wu, Michelle Yeoh, Henry Golding, Akwafina

Release Date: August 17

It Looks Like: My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets Jumping the Broom

This is a highly anticipated adaptation of a best-selling 2013 novel by author Kevin Kwan, and for many viewers it will be one of the first times they get to see an all-Asian cast in a rom com (or any major studio film). Anchored by Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Ken Jeong, and Akwafina, Crazy Rich Asians follows a Chinese-American woman who has something like a reverse culture shock when she travels to Singapore with her boyfriend for a wedding, only to discover that he’s from a super-wealthy family and is one of the most eligible bachelors in Asia. And, if it lives up to the hype, there are two more novels in the series that fans can possibly look forward to seeing on the big screen. —Dria Roland

The Happytime Murders

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Director: Brian Henson

Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Elizabeth Banks

Release Date: August 17

It Looks Like: Muppets meets Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

The premise alone is wild: In a world where humans and puppets coexist, a serial killer is knocking off the puppet cast of an '80s children's TV show called The Happytime Gang. A disgraced LAPD puppet detective teams up with his ex-partner, played by Melissa McCarthy, to solve the case. It’s brought to you by Henson’s Alternative, an offshoot of the Jim Henson Company, so it’s sure to be legit. If Kermit and the Gang had an edge and teamed up with some of the funniest actors around, like Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, and Elizabeth Banks, that might be the lane to expect from The Happytime Murders. —Dria Roland

Slender Man

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Director: Sylvain White

Cast: Joey King, Julia Goldani-Telles, Annalise Basso

Release Date: August 24

It Looks Like: Insidious meets any creepypasta ever

If you’ve been on the internet for any amount of time, it’s basically impossible to have never heard of Slenderman—the mythical, creepy as hell nightmare-fuel famous for his long, dangling arms and penchant for snatching up children. It’s a creepypasta that’s powerful enough to have inspired a true-crime case, and now, a movie. The details about the horror flick are scant, but it’s worth noting that the dude who originally invented the character in 2009 wrote the script and Sylvain White (of Stomp the Yard fame) is handling directing. The chances of Slender Man becoming the summer’s most surprising hit is slim, but it’s the kind of movie perfectly made for a late August excuse to disappear into an air-conditioned theater for an hour or two. —Aubrey Page

The Predator captured White Boy Rick

White Boy Rick

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Director: Yann Demange

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Bruce Dern, Jennifer Jason Leigh

Release Date: September 14

It Looks Like: Donnie Brasco meets Little Man Tate

A drama from the guy who directed Top Boy about the youngest snit—I mean, "informant," ever? Say less. —Frazier Tharpe

The Predator

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Director: Shane Black

Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Thomas Jane, Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key

Release Date: September 14

It Looks Like: Predator meets Kong: Skull Island

If there's any director who can somehow instill excitement over yet another stab at a franchise that's suffered more than a fair share of stop-starts, it's Shane Black. His voice and vision are distinct, his wit and wonder razor sharp. It's high time the Predator got the adventure he deserved since Arnold got it poppin' in the jungle. With a cast this stacked and a director this whimsical the odds of success are higher than they actually have any business being. —Frazier Tharpe

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