20 Summer Movies You Must See On The Big Screen in 2022

After a 2020 summer movie season that was wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic and a 2021 summer movie season that saw its share of delays, the 2022 summer movie calendar is packed with long-awaited and oft-delayed projects.

Movies like “Top Gun: Maverick” and “The Bob’s Burgers Movie,” which were moved from 2020 to 2021 to 2022, will finally see the light of day. And studios like Disney can finally release their full slate in theaters after two years of shifting half of their movies directly to Disney Plus.

This list only includes films that have confirmed release dates from May through August, though a few of IndieWire’s most-anticipated 2022 films have yet to announce their release plans. As spring and summer festivals begin in earnest, we expect a fresh round of new films to be excited about that just might sneak in their own summer release plans after bowing across the circuit.

That means that everything remains in flux, and as plans continue to change, this list will be updated. Whether that includes changing release dates, the method of a film’s release, or adding in some of those anticipated titles that lock in an official date in 2022, this preview remains particularly fluid. For now, however, these are the films we are most excited to see in the coming months.

20 Summer Movies You Must See On The Big Screen in 2022

1. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Release date: May 6 in theaters

Multiverse mania at Marvel continues, as Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch, “Sherlock”) casts a spell that opens a portal to multiple universes. As a demon chases Strange from universe to universe, the doctor searches for who is responsible, and comes across a familiar face. A tip for non-Marvel completists: You can get away with having not seen every single title before seeing “Doctor Strange 2,” but you should probably catch up on the Disney Plus series “Wandavision” before heading to theaters. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” casts into theaters May 6.

2. Pleasure

Release date: May 13, theaters

Director Ninja Thyberg eviscerates the Los Angeles adult industry in this cooly detached but ballsy porn drama, which was initially scooped up by A24 out of Sundance 2021. But the distributor parted ways with the film over its theatrical cut, with Neon now making moves to release the movie uncensored to U.S. audiences.

The film follows a 20-year-old woman named Linnéa (newcomer Sofia Kappel), who arrives from Sweden to Los Angeles. It’s in the glittering land of Hollywood that she assumes the identity of Bella Cherry, hoping to become an international adult movie star, but that path to fame comes with a slew of compromises and anguishes. As Bella starts to rise up in the industry, the stakes, too, are raised, and some of her shoots become increasingly harrowing, and friends and lines of trust get blurred in the process.

3. Men

20 Summer Movies You Must See On The Big Screen in 2022
Photo: hollywoodreporter

Release date: May 20, theaters

The trailer to Alex Garland’s latest oddity freaked us out, but it also left us hankering for more clues. That vagueness is no surprise, given that the director of “Ex Machina” and “Annihilation” loves to mess with our minds. What we do know is that versatile Jessie Buckley (“The Lost Daughter”) plays a recovering trauma victim needing some R&R in the English countryside. She gets none of that from the moment she checks in. But is that stalker all in her mind? Cue the Vincent Price laugh.

4. Downton Abbey: A New Era

Release date: May 20 in theaters

When the Crawley family matriarch (Smith) announces she has come into possession of an estate on the French Riviera — courtesy of a man she knew in her youth — the clan decamps from Yorkshire to the South of France, leaving Dockery’s Lady Mary to oversee a film crew that has rented out the titular house for a movie shoot. The Dowager Countess’s windfall leaves several mysteries to be plumbed, including one concerning a character’s paternity. According to the Guardian, the sequel is “hammy, silly and undeniably entertaining as ever.”

5. Top Gun: Maverick

Release date: May 27, theaters

Two years after its original release date, the long-awaited new chapter in the saga of American cinema’s most iconic fighter pilot is finally here. Though it was released 36 years ago, “Top Gun” left open an ideal portal for a sequel: Tom Cruise’s Maverick decides to parlay his heroic stature into a teaching gig. Years later, he’s brought back to instruct some plucky new Top Gun hopefuls under the auspices of his old pal Tom “Iceman” Kasinsky (Val Kilmer, whose limited speaking ability these days leaves open the question of what a cameo might look like).

After Indiana Jones had to coach the next generation, this has become de rigeur for long-awaited sequels to ’80s franchises, and Maverick’s tasked with managing the rambunctious young pilot (Miles Teller) who happens to be the son of Maverick’s late pal Goose (RIP). The rest of the cast includes an assemblage of other familiar faces, from Ed Harris to Jon Hamm, but everyone’s really here for the daring flight sequences (especially Cruise, the daredevil who gets into the pilot seat for his own scenes). On that front, Joseph Kosinski appears to have delivered, and “Top Gun: Maverick” may be just the familiar ticket to welcome audiences back to movie theaters this summer.

6. Poser

20 Summer Movies You Must See On The Big Screen in 2022
Photo: indiewire

Release date: June 3, theaters

Lennon looks the part: teal-tinted hair, cool tattoos, a punky sartorial sense, big headphones. As she sulks around the edges of a gallery opening on the arty side of Columbus, Ohio, she seems to fit in, until you notice… Why isn’t Lennon talking to anyone else? How come no one has said hello to her? And why is she recording the incredibly basic party chatter around her instead of actually partaking in it?

Cut to a title card that, amusingly and painfully, lets us in on the surface truth of Lennon’s existence: The film is called “Poser,” and that is exactly what Lennon (Sylvie Mix, outrageously good in her first starring role) is. While the elevator pitch of Ori Segev and Noah Dixon’s prickly feature directorial debut is simple enough — it’s “Single White Female” set in the vibrant Columbus indie scene, with a generous dash of podcast humor — the film’s fascinating setting and a pair of breakout lead performances set it a cut above other films like it. Spiky, funny, feverish, and more than a little nail-biting, “Poser” is an auspicious debut and proof that this seemingly well-tapped sub-genre isn’t done chilling audiences just yet.

7. Jurassic World Dominion

Release date: June 10 in theaters

Nearly thirty years on and six films deep, at least one thing remains irrevocably true about the “Jurassic World” milieu: attempting to bring back dinosaurs in a human-dominated world was a very, very bad idea. For the third film in the series’ second franchise — an absolutely bonkers moneymaker that the multiplex could really use, by the way — that sentiment looms even larger. Picking up after the events of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” director Colin Trevorrow again returns to the director’s chair for something kind of tricky: how to make a world positively overrun by dinos feel, well, kinda fun?

He’ll be helped by a murderer’s row of returning talent, not just this trilogy’s stars like Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, but also original stars Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum. If any cinematic event in history demanded an all-star team-up, it is (again) the story of a bunch of people who brought back massive carnivorous (well, some of them! veggie-a-saurus!) beasts and then realized that was a bad call. Will humans emerge triumphant? Do we even deserve to? Who cares, when it seems like Trevorrow and company are itching to bring us the most wild and crazy blockbuster event of the summer?

8. The Bob's Burgers Movie

Release date: May 27

Now in its 12th season — and renewed for a 13th — the beloved Fox animated series hits the big screen after five years in development and several pandemic delays. Patty purveyor Bob Belcher (voice of Benjamin) finds himself struggling to keep his greasy spoon afloat after a massive sinkhole opens up outside the restaurant, and he struggles to make a bank payment. Meanwhile, his kids (Mintz, Schaal and Mirman) investigate a mystery that could save the family business.

9. Brian and Charles

20 Summer Movies You Must See On The Big Screen in 2022
Photo: variety

Release date: June 17, theaters

This year’s Sundance Film Festival wasn’t short on the charm, and Jim Archer’s feature-length take on his 2017 short film of the same name was a major part of that trend. Starring co-writers David Earl as lonely country dude Brian and Chris Hayward as his unusual best pal Charles, “Brian and Charles” is the kind of heart-warming buddy comedy we’re not getting too many of these days. Oh, the twist? Yes, there is one. Charles is a robot.

After an unusually tough winter, Brian — who loves tinkering with things, puttering around his small country home, and always dreams bigger than might be expected — decides he needs a friend, and so he builds Charles out of a mess of household items. And then he comes alive. The pair embark on all sorts of adventures, both wacky and frightening, as they attempt to carve out a life for them (and their bond). It’s sweet and funny, but Archer and his muses also sneak in deceptively big questions about what it means to live a good life, how to share it with others, and really, what it means to be human.

10. Elvis

Release date: June 24 in theaters

The Aussie filmmaker Baz Luhrmann brought an outsider’s perspective to his 2013 adaptation of “The Great Gatsby,” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 critique of the American Dream. So it wouldn’t be unfair to expect Luhrmann’s biography of Elvis Presley (Butler) to also bring a jaundiced eye to this quintessentially American tale, which views the rise and fall of the King through the lens of his relationship with his enigmatic music manager, “Colonel” Tom Parker (who may or may not have been a Dutch immigrant born Andreas Cornelius van Kuijk).

11. Watcher

Release date: June 3

Between Alex Garland’s “Men” and Chloe Okuno’s debut feature “Watcher,” is 2022 the summer of the gaslighting thriller? This one returns “It Follows” breakout Maika Monroe to her rightful place as a horror-movie scream queen, here starring as lonely wife Julie, who joins her new husband (Karl Glusman) on a gloomy relocation to his family’s native Romania. She’s abandoned her acting career, and whatever shreds of hope she had left, to follow him to Bucharest. She often finds herself alone, unoccupied, and despondent amid the anonymous apartment complex that surrounds her.

One night, while people-watching from her window, Julie sees a vague-looking figure watching her across the shaft in an adjacent building. Later, her sense of being followed intensifies, but by whom exactly remains unclear. All the while, a serial killer known as The Spider is stalking the streets, slashing women’s throats to the point of nearly beheading them.


20 Summer Movies You Must See On The Big Screen in 2022
Photo: bloody-disgusting

Body-horror maestro David Cronenberg is set to return to the subgenre he helped define with his upcoming 2022 film Crimes of the Future. Frequent collaborator Viggo Mortensen stars as Saul Tenser, a performance artist in a near-future society who rises to prominence by undergoing elaborate acts of self-mutilation for the entertainment of onlookers worldwide. Unbeknownst to him, Saul’s actions have attracted the attention of a mysterious group who views his career as a means to steer the course of human evolution. Joining Mortensen are Léa Seydoux as Saul’s partner, Caprice, and Kristen Stewart as Timlin, an investigator from the National Organ Registry.

The footage seen from the teaser trailer looks appropriately gnarly, with glimpses of Saul seated in a strange Gigerian apparatus, a man with ears protruding from his forehead having his eyes and mouth sewn shut, and Stewart’s Timlin holding an eyepiece while probing a camera inside the abdomen of an unseen person. Oh yeah, and a boy eating a pink ceramic waste basket. Cronenberg is back, baby!

Release date: In theaters on June 3


Release date: In theaters on June 24

Scott Derrickson (Doctor Strange, Sinister) returns to horror in this Ethan Hawke-led supernatural serial killer thriller based on the 2007 Joe Hill book. That’s honestly enough for us to be interested, but if you need a little plot to help you out: Hawke plays a serial killer who abducts a young boy. When the child sees a disconnected phone in the room he’s being held in, he discovers he can communicate with the killer’s past victims. Meanwhile, a fellow classmate is having dreams about the kidnapping and attempts to help the search for the boy.


Release date: In theaters on July 8

The follow-up to “Thor: Ragnarok” sees the God of Thunder back in the mix along with the Guardians of the Galaxy and his old flame Jane (Natalie Portman) suiting up in director Taika Waititi’s sequel. We also see Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and his Guardian pals teaming with Thor, as teased at the end of “Avengers: Endgame,” which will be a thrill for fans. The film stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Chris Pratt, Christian Bale, Russell Crowe, Tessa Thompson, Melissa McCarthy and Sam Neill. Who doesn’t love Thor?


20 Summer Movies You Must See On The Big Screen in 2022
Photo: imdb

Release date: In theaters on July 15

Based on the 1958 novel, this comedy looks like a charming story about a domestic worker who becomes enchanted with a beautiful Dior dress. When she receives a delayed pension for her husband’s death in the war, she travels to Paris to buy one herself. Lesley Manville stars as Mrs. Harris, with supporting roles played by Isabelle Huppert and Jason Isaacs in this story that meets a fish-out-of-water comedy with class commentary and gorgeous dresses.

16. NOPE

Release date: In theaters on July 22

The residents of a lonely gulch in inland California bear witness to an uncanny and chilling discovery in Jordan Peele’s latest eerie tale, reuniting the Oscar-winning writer/director with “Get Out” pal Daniel Kaluuya. The mysterious film also stars Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun and Michael Wincott. It’s probably best to know as little as possible going into it, other than Peele’s career should only continue to skyrocket.


Release date: In theaters on July 29

Following “Nope,” moviegoers will be treated to a second straight weekend in which the biggest studio movie isn’t based on an existing story or IP, a rarity in our 2022 summer movie preview. “Bullet Train” stars Brad Pitt as one of several assassins who all have their own conflicting agendas aboard a fast-moving bullet train in Japan. Directed by David Leitch (“Deadpool 2”) and co-starring Sandra Bullock (“Speed”), Lady Gaga (“House of Gucci”), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals), Brian Tyree Henry (“Atlanta”), and Michael Shannon (“Knives Out”), “Bullet Train” whizzes into theaters July 29.


20 Summer Movies You Must See On The Big Screen in 2022
Photo: Youtube

Release date: In theaters on July 29

In this animated comedy, Johnson provides the voice of Krypto, a super-dog belonging to Superman (Krasinski). When his master is kidnapped by Lex Luthor (Maron), along with Batman (Reeves) and other members of the Justice League, Krypto must rally his animal friends — who have newly discovered powers of their own — to rescue them.

After contributing to a string of very funny screenplays for “The Lego Batman Movie” and other comedies — live action and animated — Jared Stern (“Happy Anniversary”) makes his animated directorial debut.


Release date: In theaters on Aug. 5

The first movie in a decade by writer-director Andrew Semans (Nancy, Please) stars Rebecca Hall (The Night House) in a horror thriller that sounds somewhat reminiscent of the 1981 masterwork Possession. Hall plays a woman who seems to have her life together — a single mom with a daughter going off to college and a successful career. But when a monster from her past (Tim Roth) reappears, things get ... spooky. Hall starring in this kind of project is always worth paying attention to — she’s one of our great modern screen actors, and it seems like the kind of project ripe for an unforgettable performance.


Release date: In theaters on Aug. 31

George Miller’s first film since Mad Max: Fury Road is this epic romantic fantasy about a woman who encounters a djinn who offers her three wishes in exchange for his freedom.

Details are light on George Miller’s long-awaited follow-up to Mad Max: Fury Road, but that’s OK — the fact that he’s making another movie, and that Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton are in it, is plenty enough for us. We do know the movie is about a scholar who meets a djinn in Istanbul, which offers her three wishes.

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